I will try to keep this story brief enough, and I won't go into mechanical details. This was Pathfinder with a lot of third party and homebrew content, and we ignored or made up just about everything.
What matters is who we were and what happened.
My character was a man who had been infected with a fiendish virus that affected both his body and mind. He would look like a normal human, but if pushed, his skin would tear and a demonic horrible horned monster would come to the surface. He was in control, and fought in this form all the time, but the appearance and mental scars of his story were clear. The virus had even altered his mind, awakening him to psionic powers.
Another player was my adopted little sister, a feline woman who had an affinity with death and powerful arcane magicks, but years of isolation had left her with an innocent mind like a child's, unaware of the consequences of her actions.
The last player worth talking about played a priestess, but not a cleric like you might assume. She worshiped a goddess of physical pleasures but also of darker imaculations; the details I cannot remember. Regardless, the character was a rogue and bard mixed into one when it came to play style and actions. She would sneak, dance, sing, bake cookies for everyone, use knives in the darkness, and spread the word of her lady to everyone who would listen.
Then there were three other players… The six of us got along for the most part, but three of us were here for role play and story, and three of us were here to roll the biggest numbers they could. I'm a power gamer, but they weren't. I would often have to remind one of those three how to use the advantages he gained effectively and would be overconfident in his abilities. In a cave of three giant dinosaurs he decided to fight by himself, I pointed out that he should use his permanent flying to be above the dinosaurs, instead of in front of them, I said after letting him drop to half.
I think, if I can even remember right, that one was a barbarian type who could essentially rage hard enough to get damage bonuses and still use the biggest weapons and heaviest armors. One was a magus who blended spell and sword into a flurry of stacked meta magic power, easily rolling a lot of dice, if he hit. The last I can at least remember the most. He was a stacked fighter, like the first, but early on, he had become half-angel, not aasimar or a celestial template, a complete half angel with wings and holy powers and instantly doubling his effective level alone with it.
I was not cold or insulting to these other players; I just gave them space to let them enjoy what they wanted to do, and we worked together as a party, as my character recognized the murderhobos for what they were and gave them reasons to fight how and when the rest of us wanted. They would gain the great powers they wanted, while the rest of us would still gain power, but more importantly, our story would progress,
but eventually, there was a problem.
The GM and the Priestess had known each other for many years, while the rest of us were strangers online. As we leveled and the events unfolded, it became clear that there was favoritism in the things we received and what stories were pursued. After a series of events that had just benefited her to a point of absurdity, the rest of us were very vocal between sessions about it. The GM and Priestess did agree, but pushed back that this was to make up for some ongoing stress in their real lives. I think that was the reason. I wish I could remember, but all I remember was that, over a lot of arguing, flying emotions, and different wants, it was looking like there was only one answer, in story, for a resolution… One half of the party would fight the other half…
Our characters had agreed to a time and place, or at least, those who had agreed to fight. My Monster, my Sister, and my close friend, the Priestess, did not truly want to fight.
Over the campaign, two characters of opposite alignment became family. My Monster was always looking to protect his sister and those closest to him, but he knew that it was all for naught if he changed who he was to do it. He was Lawful Good. We would joke that his conviction meant he should have been a Paladin. To him, family meant you protect them, but if there's no 'you,' then you have failed them. Can you go home and be warmed by your Sister's smiling face the same way again?
The Priestess was less fortunate. She was also alone, and she had only come upon family through her faith, but had not found a church she could follow until the campaign's events. She saw every member of her church as kin, with each new member as a newborn worth teaching and guiding. This was not the path of assassins or killers. The church put joy above all. It had no such thing. The Priestess would act by her own accord however, never allowing any harm to come to her family, and doing anything it meant to save her family, without regret. She was Chaotic Evil, and we were family.
To both of us, family meant everything. We would argue, in character, about what it meant to do something unforgivable and what the right answer could even be in an unthinkable situation, and both of us would be left considering the other's words, but we were here now…
Three angry warriors versus three members of a family… Two weeks before we would cross, and things would be settled, one way or another… My Monster and I were unafraid, as we already knew what were we going to do and this was not going to be a fight. My Sister did not understand what was happening, but the Priestess and my Monster told her everything would be okay and that she should continue with whatever was keeping her busy at the time,
But the Priestess' player was not okay. PvP was not something that helped with her stresses, and the last time she was in a PvP situation, one where she hadn't been participating, it had worsened her depression for months. I had tried to console her, but I wasn't experienced in mental health issues, and to be fair, there was no fixing this unless the PvP stopped and the party reconciled… If I was the person I was now, we might have…
My Monster let the Priestess tend to my Sister, and I would fight the other three, alone. It would be three versus one, but all I would tell anyone was that "it wouldn't be a fight."
He had spent the gold he saved to buy something particular, made cheaper and affordable by assisting through the entire two-week process to create, but it was ready… a simple book, a hundred pages, held close by a simple leather strap. There was nothing special about it, appearance wise. It looked like any journal you could buy for a few coins. It was just a book.
We met at a place on the edge of town, where the entire campaign had first begun, at a worn dirt road that was rarely traveled. The sun was high in the sky and the trees were a vibrant summer green. The sounds of the animals of the woods were quieting, as each side approached.
I was alone, and they were three. We stopped one movement away from each other. Silence… My Monster, as human as ever in appearance, spoke first, that "It doesn't have to end this way. We can still talk, work something out. No one wants this."
"It's too late and we're tired of half shares! We want everything!"
My Monster sighed… and tossed the book to their feet, simply saying "That book will be the end of it then."
The angel responded with plunging his sword from cover to cover, and the GM rolled the dice for me, all two hundred of them.
Again, to be brief with the mechanics, my Monster had worked and paid for each page of the book to have a magic glyph. If you opened or damaged the book, without saying the magic word, then it would explode in a decent area, doing a die of damage. Each page had two sides, and one hundred pages meant two hundred glyphs. They were more than close enough for the blast. I did not know if they would read the book. I did not know if they would hurt the book instead. All I knew was that there wasn't going to be a fight, and there wasn't. There was only a crater.
The three players respectfully conceded a tactic well played, but that this was it, and they left. The rest of us would continue playing for a few months, but that was it. The damage had been done to our group. It was over. We couldn't shake our grudges and emotions, and… I can say I have learned a lot since then. I can say that I still remember the players and the campaign fondly… but… I still have regrets… I still talk about the book and the encounter as this cool story of 'one time I did' etc, but sometimes, a great story doesn't feel great.