Just two guys discussing the common types of problem players that appear at gaming tables and how to deal with them.
As a DM I don’t like to discourage my players from going off on their own or going off in small groups. I just try to find ways to delay the split until we’re near the end of the gaming session. That way I can handle the consequences between game, in person or over email. (You briefly acknowledged this, but I thought I would flesh it out a bit.)
I agree that a DM should establish that solo or duo adventures increases risk of death. On the one hand, a dungeon should not suddenly get easier just because the party got separated. On the other hand, not every danger in the area should be CR 5 just because the party is 4th or 5th level.
Many DMs under-appreciate the RP and tactical possibilities when you have a group of players that are occasionally willing to separate their party. Think of the # of possible permutations in party composition when the group splits itself. (When the party is all together the possible permutations in party composition equal 1.) Smart players will make very different choices depending on which other PCs they are traveling with at the moment. (They’ll select different spells, use different combat tactics, display different levels of tact in dealing with NPCs, etc, etc). There are lots of exciting possibilities when a party splits itself, and a DM that is adequately prepared can take advantage of those possibilities without slowing down the game.
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