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Ashly Burch asks how do we encourage conflict without derailing the story? Tabletop tips from an anxious GM

How does one encourage conflict within a party that doesn’t derail the story or lead to any hurt feelings? There’s almost always going to be character conflict, and that’s because people are inherently different. Everyone has their own personal compass that guides them, and no one compass is exactly the same. Fictional characters are no different. As someone who struggles with anxiety and depression — a combo that is less than ideal for a journalist or a game master juggling seven different players in a six-hour Dungeons & Dragons game — it’s hard to put yourself out there, especially when you risk hurting another player outside of the game.

I had the opportunity to interview Ashly Burch (Aloy in Horizon Forbidden West, Tiny Tina in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands), and I couldn’t pass up the chance to chat about D&D and TTRPGs. In this week’s column of Tabletop tips from an anxious GM (all of which can be found on our DND tips hub), I’ll be answering a question from Ashly Burch herself. 

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