On the perils of 'splitting the party'?
I know I've thrown my veteran gamer status around in this blog a bit so far, but the truth is, for some half the time since my first AD&D, I've been out of touch with roleplaying. That's why I was so excited about getting this new group going with WFRP, and about the fact that yes, I can hack all this stuff.
Yet, even with a growing sense of confidence based on 7 sessions, it was with some disquiet that I witnessed the party starting to split up as soon as they hit Middenheim.
It all began with Siegfreid (IIRC), who immediately set about pursuing his own agendas- which involve trying to get back in touch with all his shady old pals. It continued when Berthold was left to fulfil Father Dietrich's dying wish himself while Mordrin went off to make contact with his brother's smuggling operation. Meantime the rest of the party were on a shopping trip that turned out to be more of a cover for Siegfried looking for a likely mark for a quick dip.
I managed to hold everything together, thanks to the simple plot and my players' essential good sense.
Then as the investigation into Father Morten's murder really took off, they went and organised a 3-way split which made perfect sense because there were 3 more murders to follow up in a plot where they were hot on the trail of Skaven, of all things. There was no way I was going to railroad them out of this, so off they went in their separate directions.
It's easy for me to say that I held everything together, but I reckon that that sequence was one of the most dynamic non-combat sequences I've GM'ed so far in this campaign. Most of the reasons why it worked weren't down to me. One of those reasons was precisely that the party split up when it was the most intelligent thing to do, risk or no risk.
I'll come back to this another time. But... that old saw about not splitting the party? Just like every single other rule in roleplaying:- system, plotting, etiquette, you name it: it's there to be broken. Just break it right is all!
Grundi Smites Again
- #1 "You're in"
- #2 Bitter dregs of Ulric's Fury!
- Index:- My little Old World: Ashes of Middenheim