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windupmonkey

Party splitting up.

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This might sound like a weird question, but are any other GMs noticing the PCs splitting up a lot more often that they would in other games?

 

I'm not sure if it's the setting, the rules or my GMing style, but I don't think I've run a single combat in this game with all of the players in the same place.

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When you remove the tactical (pushing around of miniatures) the game opens up to more dynamic situations so I do think that the game mechanics do lend themselves to characters splitting up in logical ways.  In fact in the narrative, outside of combat the same thing tends to happen.  There is just no logic to "we need to get some parts for the ship" and have everyone go to the parts store... you send the mechanic.  

 

The idea of "staying together" is kind of a D&D trope that has sort of become an accepted norm in role-playing games because GM's savored the opportunity to punish players for splitting up. There was this "yeah that's what you get for splitting up" kind of thing.  Hell the first poster in here already showed how that works.  They split up and suddenly the world becomes more dangerous as a result.

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The idea of "staying together" is kind of a D&D trope that has sort of become an accepted norm in role-playing games because GM's savored the opportunity to punish players for splitting up. There was this "yeah that's what you get for splitting up" kind of thing.  Hell the first poster in here already showed how that works.  They split up and suddenly the world becomes more dangerous as a result.

 

I'd argue that it's also partially because, depending on the group, D&D combat can be rather slow. A split party in D&D may find the non-participants twiddling their thumbs for a significant amount of time before they're able to participate again.

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The idea of "staying together" is kind of a D&D trope that has sort of become an accepted norm in role-playing games because GM's savored the opportunity to punish players for splitting up. There was this "yeah that's what you get for splitting up" kind of thing.  Hell the first poster in here already showed how that works.  They split up and suddenly the world becomes more dangerous as a result.

I'd argue that it's also partially because, depending on the group, D&D combat can be rather slow. A split party in D&D may find the non-participants twiddling their thumbs for a significant amount of time before they're able to participate again.

 

Very likely why the convention was born to begin with. Suffice to say its a convention that is not really necessary in EOTE.

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Star Wars stories often (if not always) split the party, so it's not surprising for groups to follow suit. My group does on a regular basis. Heck, when they don't split up, I often split them up.

 

There's a reason Han, Leia, and Chewie weren't taking pot-shots at Vader while Luke dueled him...

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The idea of "staying together" is kind of a D&D trope that has sort of become an accepted norm in role-playing games because GM's savored the opportunity to punish players for splitting up. There was this "yeah that's what you get for splitting up" kind of thing.  Hell the first poster in here already showed how that works.  They split up and suddenly the world becomes more dangerous as a result.

 

I'd argue that it's also partially because, depending on the group, D&D combat can be rather slow. A split party in D&D may find the non-participants twiddling their thumbs for a significant amount of time before they're able to participate again.

 

Not just D&D, my Shadowrun GM often has the decker or magician spending a lot of time doing things while the rest of us twiddle our thumbs

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I'd argue that it's also partially because, depending on the group, D&D combat can be rather slow. A split party in D&D may find the non-participants twiddling their thumbs for a significant amount of time before they're able to participate again.

 

 

It's not just with combat, it's the nature of RPGs in general.

 

Whenever a group splits up, only the players of the characters present in a scene can participate, while the other players must twiddle their thumbs.  This, obviously, tends to be boring for the other players.  So as a result, many players adopt the unspoken habit of just having their characters go everywhere and doing everything as a group.  This way, whatever ends up happening, all of the players can participate.  It's not "realistic", of course; but it does often make for a more fun game experience.

 

I've been running a World of Darkness game for the past year and it practically devolved into four separate games for four separate PCs who would only occasionally interact with one another.  80% of the time I'd be interacting with one and only one player while the others, whose characters weren't present, had to sit quietly.  I'm hoping that won't happen with Star Wars.

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Depends on the game and the style of play. I once ran a two year Amber Diceless RPG campaign in which all PCs were together at the same location on one occasion that I can remember. It's a lot of work for the GM but can be a lot of fun if the players are sufficiently interested in each other's story lines.

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My two cents is that it depends on the type of game you are running on whether your group splits up "more than normal".

 

If you normally run dungeon crawl, linear style games then the group will stay together more often. But if you design and run more dynamic sandbox type games then the group will split more often. So, depending on the type of game depends on the normal splitting up or not.

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The D&D game I've been running (that we are putting on hold for a while to start our first EotE game) has had a lot of splitting up, and I've tried my very hardest to actually reward the players for doing that, as it has mostly made the story more interesting for all involved. I'm hoping they continue this in EotE because there is even more potential for this sort of story in the Star Wars galaxy.

 

It is, in fact, my fantasy that the game will actually split in to two (or more!) campaigns based on them splitting up, only to eventually get back together for certain climactic encounters.

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My old practice (particularly D&D)

"You must gather your party before venturing forth."  (instant "Like" for the first post to identify the source)

 

My new philosophy on staying with the party.

"Decide you must, how to serve them best."  -Yoda

 

In a recent (d20) adventure (and by recent, within the past year), the players were trying to infiltrate an outlaw mining operation.  Once they made it to a central computer port, the Tech Specialist remained there and aided the rest by interfering with and controlling various systems, even turning the turbolift into a martini shaker when reinforcements were trying to cut them off.  I had the main group find new terminals, and hold position for the tech to "catch up" so they didn't get too separated, and the Tech's player was having enough fun with what he was doing that he realized he didn't need to stay with the group to "serve them best." 

 

There have been situations where the group splitting up meant a player having to wait, especially when some skill uses took "minutes" while a combat round was a few seconds.  (and this could even occur with everyone in the same room)  The non-specified, but "about a minute" round for EotE makes it easier to switch back and forth between the two groups.  It may get more separated if one group ends up in a fight while the other is still moving through corridors.  

 

The key is to have enough "happenings" ready for both (all) groups.  I've made a practice of keeping experience rewards pretty even for all players.  When there's really great role playing, I give everyone a bonus, but I let the players know whom to thank. I will probably break from this in this system, since there's no real "levels", but the base XP for the session would be even, whether the character was in the thick of things, or running interference from a separate location.  

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I think it is worth noting that in the future everyone has comlinks, so all the PCs can talk to each other even when they are not in the same place.

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"You must gather your party before venturing forth." (instant "Like" for the first post to identify the source)

That would be any of the Baldurs Gate or Icewind Dale games

Edited by Zippee
GM Stark likes this

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I think it is worth noting that in the future everyone has comlinks, so all the PCs can talk to each other even when they are not in the same place.

Yeah, and that has broken more Chthulu modern games than I can count :-)

Trying to keep 5 or 6 (or as it will be this week 8) players involved and occupied with quality narrative when they are all over the place doing their own thing is too much hard work for limited return IMO. It has its place for "research" or background activity but not for actual play - scenes important enough to be played out at the table should really involve all or most of the players present. Leastways that's what works best in our group.

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I think it's very do-able but as a GM you have to remember to split your attention between the PCs and not favour one over the others. It always works best if you have players (like I do) that get enjoyment out of seeing what each of them does in their own situations.

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In D&D... the hard and fast rule is that you don't split up.  I suppose it is because the DM loves to punish such a thing, but I also think it is just a common curtesy to the DM.  It gets hard to manage 3 or 4 things at a time: weaving stories together, answering questions, thinking of stuff on the fly, etc.

 

Frankly, though... I love the idea of the party splitting up.  It's a more organic approach to story telling.  But something I've noticed is that all the Careers can pretty much hold their own in battle.  In D&D... this just simply isn't the case.  Once you hit level 7-12... a Fighter off on his own is going to die.  A Wizard might not, though.

 

I think that this realization is kind of sinking in with players in EotE.  They are more confident as unique characters, instead of just being part of the group.

 

When my party splits up and someone gets into combat... I make everyone role initiative.  This way no one is sitting by the wayside while I manage the battle between 1 player and a couple of thugs.

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I do not like party splits. It creates difficulty for the GM (me) to keep everyone involved, it creates difficulty for players not to lose their focus, combats are way more deadly and most of the encounters/situations I write for have the complete party in mind.

I therefor ask my party not to split up unless they are in a familiar place and/or when they see no other way than to do so.

They usually stick to this advice.

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Also systems like D&D combat balancing is more precise and players are expected to be able to win most combat situations. As I hope my players had learn with Star Wars this is not the case. You will find times when you either need to surrender or run (though the former not very often unless it's a plot thing I hope).

My players had a hard time swallowing this, which didn't help I am still getting the balancing issue down and had to bring in more minions. After awhile they got the point and ran, though I think they could have still won... 

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The idea of "staying together" is kind of a D&D trope that has sort of become an accepted norm in role-playing games because GM's savored the opportunity to punish players for splitting up. There was this "yeah that's what you get for splitting up" kind of thing.  Hell the first poster in here already showed how that works.  They split up and suddenly the world becomes more dangerous as a result.

I'd argue that it's also partially because, depending on the group, D&D combat can be rather slow. A split party in D&D may find the non-participants twiddling their thumbs for a significant amount of time before they're able to participate again.

 

Very likely why the convention was born to begin with. Suffice to say its a convention that is not really necessary in EOTE.

 

I disagree, mainly from a table gaming perspective. It's not enjoyable to be sitting around an hour waiting for the other party's scene to resolve for you to have your own. Or the alternative is lots of back-and-forth which can be either unengaging or confusing. PbP makes this easier but you still run into the issue.

 

And not everyone has commlinks unless they buy them.

Edited by Kshatriya

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I think if you can split players into small groups, but you want each group to be part of the overarcing combat.

 

You can have Obi-Wan, Luke and Leia, Han and Chewbacca, 3PO and R2 running all over the Death Star. Each group may have different tasks or objectives, but because they are all involved together the problem as given by Kshatriya is diminished. In fact you may find that players in one group are even more alert to issues in another group as their chances of success diminish should that other group fail.

 

I think though the GM should have a plan to do this and orchestrate the flow of events to keep things pretty even between the groups.

 

If you have a group split and one goes to the cantina and the other goes to the spaceport, if one group gets in a fight and the other just makes a coercion test and passes, you are going to have a problem. Now, perhaps you could have an encounter with some Stormtroopers or Bounty Hunters as to give all the players something to do, but if you are finding your groups splits alot sooner or later this approach will get tired.

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I disagree, mainly from a table gaming perspective. It's not enjoyable to be sitting around an hour waiting for the other party's scene to resolve for you to have your own.

 

While this is VERY true in other games like D&D and SW Saga, I would say its definitely not as bad in EotE where ALL players get to help create the narrative.  I also have 3 players who enjoy creating and rolling the dice polls on their tablets heh!

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I think the quote you have is pretty much irrefutable, if players have to wait for an hour to do something you'll have a bad situation for the players. On the other hand, if you have the right players and a creative GM then you may well make it work extremely well. 

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