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Whats your opinion on Concurrent Groups in PbP

Whats your opinion on Concurrent Groups in PbP

I'm considering having a second group (two groups of 3) independent of the one I've been planning, considering the number of interested people I think I'll have enough good players to fill it out. Essentially it would be two games, in the same setting with the same large events effecting both groups. I've never done this before, so what do you think? Does running concurrent groups in a campaign become too complicated? I don't think it will be, but its the things you can't anticipate that cause problems usually, surely some others have done this.

I'm running an entire game on the theory. Holds up pretty well. Just make sure to priv one from the other. And don't be afraid to "ignore" a little bit of the timetable between parties- one may have been doing a week worth of activity in town while the other spent the same real-time doing a single major encounter. Don't bother tracking this crap. It won't matter if you do it right.

It's not hard. Easier by far than trying to run two different games.

Timing is the only real factor. *nod* Should you want them to interact with each other, or for their actions to impact each other, timing may become problematic. It's not something to give up on the idea because of, just something to keep in mind. Expect lagging or flash posting sessions to happen in one game or the other from time to time, and keep your plans flexible to accommodate.

I suggest starting them separately enough that they won't impact each other until you have a good handle on their relative posting habits. Once you know what to expect from that, planning for it shouldn't be a big deal.

Originally Posted by TanaNari View Post
It's not hard. Easier by far than trying to run two different games.
This. You can shamelessly reuse encounters, for the most part, which will cut down on your workload. You only have to worry about a single setting, and the parties can generate plot hooks for each other without even realizing it.

What amazes me is how different parties face the exact same challenge in completely different ways.

As has been said, timing can be a little tricky if you're trying to have two parties meet, but it's usually not that hard to match it up.

I'm thinking of having two separate groups start out and run a couple one-off adventures each, then both groups get involved with the same organization, and at the end of that whole thing, they have a choice to stay or leave, which will take me back to two separate groups, one involved with the organization, and another opposing them. Thanks for letting me think about the timing thing beforehand, was not something I had considered.

Keep a literal timeline with major events highlighted in blocks. I agree with the sentiment that you should fudge synchronicity, but it will help you keep cause and effect straight. Provide regular stints of downtime so that you can artificially catch up the groups to each other. Ignore aging and time (assume all PC's don't age) and you can run major world events without having those little humans die off when you pass 100 years (
Everyone else was playing elves or mutant hybrids and I was human. DM says, "Okay 100 years pass. What have you been doing?" Me: "Fertilizing the soil. I went Tango Uniform about fifty years ago" DM: "Uh... it turns out you were actually ancient Atlantean and don't age."
happened to me once as a player).

Again, time is the real factor. Essentially there is no difference between this and splitting up the party regularly. You just have to be careful of time paradoxes and careful not to consistently make people wait, and the larger the game the more this is going to happen.

If you can, consider time/space stretching/travel to be an actual part of the setting, that will help you lots and avoid tons of paradoxes through use of the many worlds theory.

Or do it the old fashioned way, and expect at times people are going to have to wait or time paradoxes are going to occur.

I run nothing but concurrent group campaigns (The Redemption of Ral Shaereth: 14 people in 7 locations, Agents of Chaos: 5 people in 2 locations). However, I tend to keep them reasonably spread apart at the start. One of my previous campaigns, Even Heroes Fall, only had a direct inter-party interaction once, though it did end earlier than I wanted it to. Every group has an effect on the growth and flow of the setting, but things happen slowly enough that they don't run into synchronicity problems.

Great discussion everyone, I also like concurrent groups and Im glad Ive stumbled upon this thread. I went with player versus player action and while some of the players were reluctant of this methodology, concurrent groups are great. What I did with my first one was split each group up along a concurrent time setting and made two different goals in each. I placed each group with similar qualities and it seemed to mesh well. I kept pace with the group posting rate and above all else, I actively got each of the players involved with skill checks and a lot of combat. I reached my first 1000 post game with concurrent player groups and I will most definitely run this type of game again. I think were I messed up although it had its moments is getting rid of PvP action and linear alignments. I also wanted to run a city based game in which it would be a living and breathing game in which there are small goals to be met and tangible adventure waiting at every turn.

If one could pull it off, a campaign with concurrent groups--one group being the protagonists, the other the antagonists--you would potentially have the bulk of your work being done for you by the players. Your group of villains pursuing their agendas, the group of protagonists no doubt uncovering aforementioned agendas and trying to thwart them. It could be legend.... ary.


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