Looking for some fun ideas to mix up your next Dungeons and Dragons (DND) campaign? Why not try out some player vs player (PvP) action?
In this guide, you’ll learn over 100 ideas for making your next DND session more competitive and fun. Whether you are looking to pit players against each other battle royale style or in a competition-based contest, this list has something for you.
Here are 140 DND player vs player ideas to get you started.
Types of Player vs Player in DND
There are many different types of DND player vs player competitions.
While this is not a comprehensive list, it should make planning your next PvP much easier.
Check out these types of DND player vs player battles:
- Sumo wrestling
- Hunger Games Style
- Solving a Mystery
- Solving a series of complex puzzles
- Capture the flag
- King of the hill – players compete to control a central area of the arena.
- Defend the VIP – one player is designated as the VIP and must be protected by their team while they attempt to reach an exit.
- Gauntlet – players must fight their way through a series of increasingly difficult opponents to emerge victorious.
- Timed matches – matches are played for a set amount of time, with the team with the most wins at the end of the match declared the winner.
- The best of three/five/seven – matches are played until one team wins a predetermined number of rounds/matches.
- Handicaps – players could be given handicaps such as being blind, being slower, or starting with less health.
- Scavenging – players must find as many useful items as possible in a set amount of time.
- Quidditch (Harry Potter-style contest)
- Quest – The players must reach a treasure or item before the other players.
- Whoever can survive being hunted by the other players for 24 hours wins.
Player vs Player Arena Ideas
An arena is a classic Player vs. Player (PvP) combat setting in Dungeons and Dragons.
In order to make sure that your next PvP battle is as fair and fun as possible, here are a few ideas for arena-style play:
- First, decide on the arena. Will it be an open field? A maze? An abandoned city? The sky’s the limit.
- Tournament-style bracket battles, where the winner of each fight moves on to the next round until there is only one fighter left standing.
- Team battles, where groups of fighters face off against each other in an all-out melee.
- Survival battles, where fighters must battle until only one is left alive.
- cages with weapon racks inside, allowing fighters to choose their weapons before entering the arena.
- Poisoned weapons deal extra damage but also sicken the weapon user.
- Traps around the arena can be used to damage or impede opponents.
- Magical barriers block physical attacks but allow spells through or vice versa.
- Ranged weapons only, melee weapons only, or unarmed combat-only battles.
- Entrance fee to enter the arena, with the winner taking home the prize money.
- Bets are placed on fights, with spectators wagering on who they think will win.
- Add environmental hazards like lava pits or poisonous gas clouds that randomly open up during a battle.
- Alternate rule sets like “first strike” or “fight to the death” require certain objectives to be completed during a fight in order to win.
- Have multiple fights going on at once in different areas of the arena.
- Low gravity, high gravity, or no gravity battles.
- Complete darkness, partial blindness, or other impairments.
- Modify damage dealt so that it scales depending on how much higher/lower the level of the opponent.
- Entrants are not told who their opponent will be beforehand.
- Reduce visibility with fog, smoke, or other impediments.
- Use mirrors or other reflections to create optical illusions in the arena.
DND Player vs Player Woodlands
Another classic DND PvP setting is the forest or woodlands.
That’s purposefully an expansive definition with lots of space for interpretation. There are so many creative ways to set up and implement a player vs player battle or competition.
Here are some of my favorite DND PvP tips for the woodlands:
- Use animal companions to scout out the enemy’s position and launch surprise attacks.
- Take advantage of the high ground by climbing trees and attacking from above.
- The battle takes place across a series of treehouses connected with rope bridges.
- Collect leaves, branches, and other natural debris to build improvised barricades.
- Set up crossfire ambush points or escape routes.
- The players set up camp in different parts of the woods, with only a certain number of people per campsite. Then, have them battle it out to see who can survive the longest in the wilderness. The last team standing wins.
- Limit the players to only using melee weapons – no magic, no bows, and arrows. This roguelike setting will test their mettle (and their Sneaky Pete skills) to the max.
- For a forest-themed twist on Capture the Flag, try playing Hide and Seek in the woods instead.
- One team has to find and capture a specific item hidden somewhere in the woods, while the other team does its best to defend it.
- Enjoy a mini-Olympics-style event, with different teams competing in physical challenges like log racing or tree climbing.
- Transform the Forest into a giant maze, with each player starting at different points. The first person to reach the center of the maze wins a major advantage in the fight.
- Capture and control key points in the forest in order to gain an advantage over other players. The first team to capture all of the points is crowned the winner.
Player vs Player Urban Ideas
Mix things up with a little DND PvP in urban areas like towns, villages, and cities.
Start with these DND player vs player ideas:
- The players are all thieves, trying to rob the same wealthy NPC. May the best thief win!
- All of the players are Tavern Brawlers, and they have to fight each other in a no-holds-barred tournament. Who will be crowned the ultimate brawler? (A DND Tavern Map comes in handy for this one).
- All-out war – the whole city becomes the battlefield when a riot breaks out.
- A battle to see who can earn the most XP by completing quests and defeating monsters.
- Use the tops of buildings for a parkour-style PvP.
- Use the tunnels under the city as a quick escape or route between locations in the city.
- Each player sets up a home base in a noble’s mansion (Use a free DND Mansion Map for this one).
- Hide valuable items around the city and have teams search for them while also fighting off the other team.
- Battle in an abandoned city full of half-crumbled buildings.
- Escort an NPC through the city while avoiding (or trying to catch) enemy players.
Player vs Player Winter Ideas
Nothing makes a DND player vs player battle tougher than using a winter setting.
Take a look at these DND PvP tips for cold-weather contests.
Keep in mind that not everyone enjoys cold combat, so make sure to take player preferences into account when planning your winter battle.
- A blizzard has blown in, and visibility is limited. Players must find and take down their opponents before they get taken down themselves.
- Snowball fight – Players use snowballs as weapons in a free-for-all battle.
- Sled race – teams must race each other down a snowy slope on sleds.
- An avalanche has swept through the area, and players must battle each other while avoiding being buried alive.
- Players play as Yetis who must stalk and fight each other.
- A magical storm has frozen the lakes and rivers solid. Players must use their magic to create ice bridges and navigate their way to safety while battling.
- Players must fight while scaling an ice mountain.
- A blizzard has stranded rival factions in the same area, and they must scavenge for resources to survive.
- Force the characters to wear extra layers of clothing in order to stay warm, making their movements more cumbersome.
- Have decorations related to various winter holidays hanging around the battlefield (e.g., Christmas lights, Hanukkah candles, etc.).
- Forgo traditional weapons in favor of more festive options, such as candy canes, snowballs, or gingerbread men.
- Replace the usual sound effects with ones more appropriate for wintertime (e.g., jingling sleigh bells, howling winds, etc.). You can use a computer or your phone to generate the sounds.
- Use miniature snowmen instead of regular figurines to represent the characters.
- Each character plays a living snowman in the battle.
- Each player gets 10 mini snowman henchmen to help battle each other.
- All the weapons are made from ice.
- When the weather outside is frightful, take the battle inside by setting up a fight in an igloo.
- Take advantage of the winter landscape by building forts out of snow and using them as cover during the battle.
- Icy floors are hazardous terrain. A character that moves more than half their speed on an icy floor must make a Dexterity (acrobatics) check or fall prone. Creatures with hooves have a disadvantage on this check.
- Wind gusts can sweep away loose snow and small creatures. A creature smaller than Large size can be blown away by a strong wind if they fail a Strength (athletics) check contested by the wind’s Strength (athletics) check. A creature that is blown away is moved up to 1d6 x 10 feet in a direction determined by the wind and falls prone at the end of its movement. If they are blown into hazardous terrain, they take appropriate damage (e.g., falling into a pit).
Player vs Player Water Ideas
Add some H2O to your PvP battles with these water-based ideas:
- Sinking Ships- Literally. Have the two sides battle it out on ships that are slowly sinking into the watery depths.
- Water Weirds- Bring in some extraplanar creatures like water weirds or elemental creatures to make things more interesting.
- The Tide is Turning- Add in some environmental hazards like rising tides or whirlpools.
- Bad Moon Rising- Have a battle during a natural disaster like a tsunami or severe thunderstorm.
- Octopus garden – Swim through an underwater maze, avoiding the angry octopi and gathering treasure along the way.
- Set the battle underwater and the players must keep going to the surface to get more air.
- The players play as mermaids, mermen, or Kraken.
- Set the battle in a raging river. The players battle while moving down the river at a high speed.
- The PvP contest takes place between a series of breathtaking waterfalls.
- Pit the players against each other in a flooded city.
- Make the players battle in a maze of flooded cave systems.
- Give the players control of a water elemental to help them in their PvP battle royale.
- Launch a raft race down a long and winding river.
- Place the players in piranha-infested waters.
- Battle while riding on the back of giant sea creatures such as whales or squids.
- Wave-based battle in which players must time their attacks and movements to ride the waves and avoid being swept away by them.
- Tsunami based battle in which players must use their creativity and quick reflexes to survive being swept away by a giant wall of water.
- Have the battle take place on a pirate ship, complete with cannons and treacherous waters.
- The players must battle while retrieving weapons and other items from submerged ruins or a sunken ship.
- Toppled tower – Fight atop a crumbling tower as it slowly falls into the water below.
DND Player vs Player Horror Ideas
Sometimes you want to play something spooky.
Here are DND player vs player ideas with a horror theme:
- The players are all vampires, vying for control over a city full of mortals.
- A group of players gets trapped in a school with a monster on the loose. Who will survive?
- Players are possessed by demons and must battle each other to see who will be the host for the Archdemon.
- Set the battle in a graveyard, tomb, or creepy house.
- The players must survive a zombie outbreak.
- A coven of witches is vying for control of a powerful magical artifact. The winner will become the new High Priestess…or will they?
- Have the players start the game in a dark, dreary forest during a rainstorm. Set the mood right from the start by having them fight off some undead creatures.
- Have an evil entity controlling one or more of the players, making them do horrible things to the other players.
- The players are trapped in an abandoned mental hospital and slowly go insane while battling each other. They must make constitution checks every round or suffer growing disadvantages.
- Add in some environmental effects like thunder and lightning that can startle and surprise players.
- The players must battle in complete darkness. Perhaps the setting lights up once every round.
- Add a swarm of creepy crawlies (like spiders or beetles) that regularly scutter through the battle.
- Give the players creepy items to use as weapons, like knives made from humanoid bones.
- Have the players face off against each other in a dark, foggy forest.
- Introduce cursed items that cause players to act irrationally against their own interests.
Player vs Player Magic Ideas
A player vs player battle can be a lot of fun, especially if it has a magical theme.
Here are some ideas to make it even more fun:
- Each player is given a different color of magic, and they have to battle it out until only one color remains dominant.
- Have players collect ingredients in order to cast spells or create potions. Some spells are more powerful (and therefore harder to make). Other spells might backfire on players.
- Scatter magical portals throughout the area and have players travel through them to reach different locations. The first player to reach all of the portals wins.
- A race through the city on mage-brooms.
- Give each character a legendary action (but don’t tell the other players).
- A contest of magical endurance, where players must cast as many spells as possible in a set period of time.
- A competition to see who can create the most impressive display of magic, with points awarded for originality, creativity, and beauty.
- An obstacle course where players must use their magic to overcome various challenges, such as firewalls, water pits, and enchanted creatures.
- Have each player choose a spell they must use in every battle.
- Magic items can only be used once per battle.
- The battlefield is transposed to a magical dimension where the laws of physics don’t apply.
- Each player has a randomly chosen magical ability that they must use in the battle.
- Each player is given a randomly selected magical creature that they must incorporate into their spells and strategies.
- The players all have mirror images of themselves created by an illusion spell, and they must figure out which one is real.
- The players must fight as giants. Points are lost by destroying landscapes and towns.
- The players must fight as miniature-sized creatures and must avoid insects and footfalls in a crowded marketplace.
- Each player turns invisible for part of the battle, chosen at random intervals.
- The players must find and use a series of unknown potions throughout the battle. The potions cause random effects such as flying, haste, invisibility, polymorphism, etc.
- The players can only use magic and no other melee or ranged combat.
- Both sides should have an equal number of wizards (or other spellcasters) and an equal number of melee fighters.
- Have the players start the battle as apprentices of powerful wizards.
- Give each player a unique wand with different properties.
- Allow players to use spells they create themselves.
- Limit what types of magic each player can use.
- Each player gets a familiar to help them fight during the battle.
Before you go, here is a good video about how to run player vs player in DND:
Final Thoughts: DND Player vs Player Ideas
Don’t let this list of DND player vs player ideas stop you from coming up with your own creative settings, style, and rules for PvP combat.
You can pit your players against each other in desserts, castles, and even in the clouds.