View Full Version : Suggestions for a split game?

2008-08-29, 07:46 PM
I'm running an Eberron campaign that uses the Worm that Walks arc from Exemplars of Evil and Elder Evils. Soon, my group of 8 will be splitting due to scheduling conflicts into two games, with some new players joining both groups.

I can handle the big groups, been doing it for a while, and I can handle the influx of new characters at 10th level. That's all fine.

What I would like some suggestions on, how do I keep a storyline with two groups of main characters fluid and coherent? I will be separating them (luckily, they're a mostly DM-friendly bunch) but I still want to keep the main goals of the campaign valid, as well as keep them aware of the other group.

Any suggestions?


2008-08-29, 07:51 PM
Generally, just treat it like they're both doing stuff in the same world, with different goals. If you have a princess captured by an evil dictator, have the princess moved to the most secure fortress in the land, while the dictator is traveling with his army. One group goes after the dictator, the other the princess. When they do Gather Info checks, have one of the things they learn be what the other group is doing, from the point of view of the populace. Especially if all the players are in contact, that can be a really cool way of rewarding/punishing players. "Did you guys really blow a hole in our own forward defenses?" "No, we...well...there is a hole there, but it wasn't our fault. We only...well...Damnit, papa, what have you been telling them?!?"

2008-08-29, 09:00 PM
Its a lot of work, but what I try to keep current in my game is what events are happening and where. The events will happen whether or not the PCs are there, though if they are there they may have an affect on how the events play out.

Hmm, that sounded bad, because it made it sound like the PCs cannot change the course of events in the world in any way. Let me try again.

Say a necromancer is trying to raise an undead army. In my notes I mention that the army will be raised on X date. If the party doesn't find out about it, then the army is raised and something new is added to the world. If the party does find out about it, then they are free to go and try to stop the necromancer.

Plan out your world that way. Work out plot points and write them down. Figure out when events are going to happen, and let them play out that way. But don't plan TOO far ahead, because what the PCs do (or don't do) may very well change the events dramatically. However, it is always good to have some major milestones plugged in way in advance. There are some things that are going to happen that the PCs wont be able to change. (Example, I had an earthquake go off in a major city once.)

It is a lot of work, but try to take a step back from the players. You know about the entire world. All the events that are going on, and what the PCs place is within those events. No matter how great the party is they can't deal with everything. And that is what lets you keep the 2 groups running. Don't just focus on the group and their immediate environs. generalize out to the world (or at least the continent).

I don't envy you, however. I just don't have nearly enough free time to keep a double game like that running.

2008-08-29, 09:43 PM
We play once a week now, on Wednesdays. The new group will be on Sunday afternoons. Classes in the morning, work in the evening. Free time? What's that? (Actually, I do most of my campaign planning during lulls in class/work. Statistics was beautiful for that last semester.)

Thanks for these suggestions, they seem like they could be fun. I like the idea of using a gather information check to find out what the other party is doing. Also, it's Eberron, so a House Sivis sending spell is only 30gp away. (You never call, you never write... what are you trying to do to your father and me?)

Does anyone else have anything?

2008-08-29, 10:57 PM
There could be a lot of catastrophe's that could permanently separate the characters, but I'm assuming the players care which group they are in.

Maybe if you had a portal into a different time, space, or plane that the party knew they probably wouldn't be able to return through than you and the party could come up with reasons why some would be inclined to go and others inclined to stay. I can imagine a rather epic ending of the campaign coniciding with the reunion of the party.

If it can be managed through the various backstories, have the world erupt into a massive war and the party forced to pick sides. There could be some very distant PvP type action, which could be amusing. A combination of nationhood, religion, race, and class might be able to provide reasons for grouping the party in a certain way, but only if you are lucky. Or I guess, ayd of the same type of reasons that would work for the portal idea.

Here's an interesting separation idea. A member of the party becomes dangerous (is keeping back a powerful disease, is a werewolf, is undead, is cursed, is haunted by demons, has a powerful alter ego etc.) or is in danger (terrible disease or disability, has a hit out on them etc.) So the party decides that it would be best if they split up so that the person can still be protected and still aide the cause but in the event of a worse case scenario, at least half of the party survives to carry out the overarching mission.