Nobody likes fighting with their siblings. As someone that grew up as number four out of five, I know this all to well. In spite of this fact, my siblings and I would always argue and bicker with one another over the stupidest little things, even if it had no consequences either way for us. In that same vein, sometimes an RPG party can bicker and fight with one another over some pretty ridiculous stuff. What Hall to go down, who gets this magic item, who’s the most important member of the group…the list goes on and on and on. (It’s the cleric.)
Every now and again, however, there comes a decision that can cause some healthy debate within the party. Not only can this lead to some character development, it can also open up some pretty interesting information about a character’s current disposition and backstory. As a GM, I try to put my players into situations that force them to speak in character. Usually an NPC will directly confront a player about something very specific that the character did. Make the characters defend themselves in a public place and it will draw out an instinctual reaction. It’s when that happens that the players are more likely to reveal something new that maybe they didn’t even know! As a player, I use these opportunities to learn more about my character and the other characters in the party. It doesn’t have to be anything Earth shattering or life changing, but something small like talking about dreams, desires, or home. If that makes a couple of players butt heads, that can be healthy in the long run. Differences in morality help players learn and grow in a very personal way. Little spats like this enrich the experience of the game and really help attach your players to their characters.
I just want to be clear on one thing, there are some games that don’t include a lot of Inter-Party dialogue and run just fine. Sometimes character development and growth isn’t a priority to a group and that’s just fine! The genre is meant to play how you like to play it, and if that doesn’t include a lot of character growth then it doesn’t change too much about the game itself.
At the end of it all, dialogue is what drives the story forward, even more than combat. Dialogue gives much needed information and makes the entire experience that much better for those involved in the game. It also doesn’t require “serious role-play” or funny voices to make the character relatable to the people at the table either. Simply being yourself and making your character real is enough to enhance every gameplay experience.