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Split the Party without Dividing Interest

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Tucked away on the copyright page of the fifth edition Player’s Handbook for Dungeons & Dragons, the publisher writes, “Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast is not responsible for the consequences of splitting up the party, […] or saying yes when the DM asks, ‘Are you really sure?’” In dark dungeons that are designed for full-strength parties of adventurers, splitting the party almost always leaves the groups too weak or ill-equipped to combat any monsters and hazards.

Splitting the party can be dangerous to the player characters, but it represents another deadly threat to the players themselves: boredom. When you split the party and focus a whole chunk of game time on one group of players, a game master risks having the ignored group lose interest in the game. GMs who want to maintain all the players’ interest and engagement can do two things: first, involve the uninvolved players, and second, resort to structured time in a pinch.

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