Split parties are bound to happen during a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. Here’s how to unify a party that splits because of roleplaying.
Dungeons & Dragons campaigns are carried out by the narrative’s heroic parties, but are meticulously designed by DMs. When everyone is working together, whether in battle or spending time in a town, it can make the story worthy of legend. Even amidst inter-party disagreements or mistakes, as is wont to happen in Dungeons & Dragons gameplay, the adventure is at its best when its players work together. Unfortunately, this unity does not always happen.
No matter how strong a Dungeons & Dragons DM is, a divided party is one of the most difficult things to run in a campaign. When a split party does happen, it’s usually because the team has elected to divide and conquer their current obstacle or quest. A DM must then carry out both branches of the narrative, switching from one to the other until the party is reunited. This also may mean tracking two separate combat initiatives, a daunting but doable task.
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Sometimes, however, the party splits before it has a chance to divide and conquer. This usually happens when players are highly committed to the role-playing aspect of Dungeons & Dragons, and decide there’s no viable reason why their character would stay with the party. A druid might slip away to be in nature; a rogue might cut the would-be-companions’ purses and flee. When this happens, there are several surefire ways to stop a split party before it happens.
Dungeons & Dragons: How To Unify A Divided Party
If a Dungeons & Dragons party is on the verge of floundering, it’s okay to contrive a specific scenario designed to get each character invested in a quest. Maybe the character sending the party on their quest just so happens to serve the same god as the Dungeons & Dragons cleric, or have a large enough reward to satisfy the rogue, or perhaps the quest itself offers spell tomes for the wizard. It’s important for DMs to look at their party’s specific character motivations to tailor make an irresistible point of entry. This doesn’t have to apply to every character, but instead can be endemic to ones the DM thinks will be a potential problem.
Another option is to tell the party at the start of the first session that the characters have already banded and bonded together, whether it’s because they’re all looking for the same person, or they’re all in jail after a tavern brawl. This approach could come off heavy-handed, but if the Dungeons & Dragons DM focuses on storytelling, it could prove an entrancing point of entry to the story.
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