Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Long Division: Doubling the Party Rather than Splitting

So a little while ago I posted about the Pokemon RPG I have been running and the problems we ahve encountered.  The most significant problem was that the party had irrevocably divided, separating in to two opposing groups.  I thought it might be worth posting about the result of the decision we made, so you have a little more of the story.  After some discussions, the group has opted to create two full parties rather than divide time up or sacrifice a group.

This decision was only partly due to a desire to follow both sides of the story and to maintain their characters.  A major factor was the lure of character creation.  Given the option to create new characters, new stats had been written up before decisions could be taken much further.  Since the players now are far more familiar with the world, creating new characters was an interesting challenge for them, and all of a sudden, the decision had essentially been made.  The new characters must be played.  So now we switch.  Every week we swap between the good-ish characters who are aligned with Brock, Blaine, Sabrina, Alakazam, and Gaston (Misty’s replacement), and the morally questionable characters who are aligned with Koga, Vincent (Giovanni), and a few other mysterious entities they are not familiar with yet...

We have now had a session with each group since the divide, and it’s going relatively well.  Both groups are poised to investigate Cerulean and Lavender respectively, and the next session for each should be filled to the brim with adventure and plot (I hope).  What is more important to me is that both groups seem to be relatively cohesive.   I asked that the new characters would be generally in line with the party they were joining; I really REALLY didn’t want another split.  Two parties are quite enough.  They are each working together relatively well, although the MQ party nearly fractured at the start as two characters met by trying to commandeer the same vessel.

I like this setup now.  It’s complicated, and I have to try and keep them both on the same timeline; having one group several days ahead of the other really is not conducive to coherent plot.  This hasn’t proven too difficult so far, but it may do.  What it does mean though, is that between the two groups, the players a) get to explore different moral paths, seeing the roads they could have taken and b) get to be involved in much more of the plot.  As there are several factions in this conflict taking place, there are a lot of things going on which the players may never be aware of.  For instance, they are only now starting to notice the problem with the Elite Four, and there is a mysterious stranger who the party will be meeting again very soon.  Yes, I am letting things drop for the benefit of the players that read this.  Good times.

Anyway, it requires extra management but the two-party system is thus far proving rewarding.  I can’t wait for both groups to continue, as things are getting exciting, and hopefully I will improve as a DM as a result of all of this.  I did realise while writing this that if I had been more on the ball I could have just pretended like this was the plan all along and not looked as incompetent.  We live and learn.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. I remember in another campaign (Science Fiction military setting) we actually had multiple characters as well, and would get sent on different missions / plotlines, which allowed a broader look at the setting and overall storylines. It also helped us play different types of tactical encounters without straining credulity (they're also PILOTS in addition to being ground fighters?)