View Full Version : DM Help Any experience with two groups in the same gameworld? (Pathfinder)

2017-06-16, 09:44 AM
I have about 8 interested players, mostly new to roleplaying, all people I've met at my college. They can generally be put into two groups: Those who can play on wednesdays and those who cant but are available other days.
8 players is too many players when I GM. I prefer 4-5 players.

I've come up with the idea to have:
One group play a campaign with a overarching story. Higher chance of stopping a session on a cliffhanger.
Another group play in the same campaignworld but more oneshot and guild-structure. So this group will have more oneshot-friendly sessions and gives room for people to leave and join from session to session.

I've only experience with the first kind of group and I'm interested to hear what other people think. Suggestions, warnings, comments, etc.

Thanks in advance

Magic Myrmidon
2017-06-16, 11:35 AM
I have, actually. Not in pathfinder specifically, but I've used my homemade setting since high school. I make every session in it canon, and it has eventually given me some of my more unique aspects in the setting.

It's not too hard to run multiple groups in the same setting, really. My main recommendation would probably be to put the groups in completely separate parts of the world at the same time. Theoretically, the world is a pretty big place, and that's probably not too difficult. Basically, make it pretty dang unlikely for two parties to be in the same place at the same time.

Each party should maaaybe be brought up as background info to make the setting feel more alive. More specifically, the aftereffects of their actions might reach the other party's ears. So if one party starts an uprising in one country, the rebellion might be discussed in a tavern.

I probably wouldn't recommend having them intersect at all. Don't want one party's machinations to hurt the other without them having a chance to do something about it.

2017-06-16, 04:55 PM
If you're going to have them in the same world but not have them interact, I don't really see the point. They won't be able to tell the difference. If they can tell, it's because something is so big that it affects the entire world and then you have to come up with some convoluted reason for why the two groups aren't working together (if they're high enough level).

On the other side of that coin, if you allow them to interact you will occasionally have to DM for all eight people at once.

I've done something similar in D&D 3.5. I have one group of players, but I had them run two adventuring parties working on different parts of the campaign plot. Timing was a little difficult. The two groups weren't moving at the same speed through time. The result was that interaction between the two groups was not always "allowed" for timekeeping reasons. I'd say something like, "You can't go see the other group because they've already done something else today." The players were okay with this type of play, but other players might rankle at the thought that they don't have control over their characters in this respect.
This timekeeping issue becomes even more complex with two sets of players. If I wanted to catch one group of PCs up, we just didn't play the other group for a while. That's not a solution that works very well with two groups.
"Why aren't we playing this week?"
"Because Group #2 wants to steal your golden ruby idol for a ritual, but they're five weeks behind you in game time."
The best solution would be to have the timekeeping be abstract. Maybe three months pass for one group and only two months for the other before they interact again. It doesn't make sense, but its fine from a narrative standpoint. That will require your players to suspend their disbelief a little bit, but I think they can manage it.

As for the end of my double PC campaign, eventually one group attained primacy and we abandoned the secondary group at a good stopping point.

EDIT: Forgot to add another solution is to just have the two groups hear about the other group or read about them in the newspaper (newspapers are always a great extra for a campaign). It doesn't go to full-on interaction, but it improves the "living, breathing world" feeling.