Interpersonal Relationships In-Game

Here’s something I haven’t experienced much in-game: Player Characters dating either Non-Player Characters or other Player Characters.

About four years ago, on deployment, we briefly began to play Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, and my Cleric almost ended up in a relationship with an NPC, but the game sort of fell apart before that ever came to fruition.

In my current online Star Wars game, my character is a simple mechanic, just wanting to get home to his family on Alderaan.

Other than that, I’ve never really experienced relationships in game, either as a DM or as a player.

So, how does one handle this? What happens when a husband and wife are at the table, and the husband’s character begins flirting with the barmaid? How about when the wife’s character begins dating one of the PCs? How would one handle that?

I think that you need to set some ground rules if you’re going to be introducing relationships into the game.

  1. Ask your players. If you’ve got a great idea for a romance between your NPC and a PC, ask them if they’re cool with that. Ask the others at the table if they’re comfortable with romance being addressed in-game. Some players hate it. Check.
  2. Establish ground rules. I understand it could get a bit uncomfortable to watch two heterosexual guys making eyes at each other across the table as the DM discribes the flirting between the barmaid and the PC. Find out what the players are comfortable with before going forward.
  3. If anyone’s getting uncomfortable, back off. You’re RPing some great ineractions between the PC and the barmaid. You look up, and his wife is looking upset. Stop, make sure everything’s okay. It may spoil the mood of the scene, but it never hurts to make sure all of your players are having a good time.

Those are the three tips I have. Keep things mature and friendly, and everyone will enjoy themselves.

One thought on “Interpersonal Relationships In-Game

  1. All good advice. Amazing how many things work better in game if the group is consulted.

    Interpersonal relations in game (and in character) depend even more on the player than most roleplaying. It is really fun to watch when everyone is comfortable with it and having fun.

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