In essence, how would you keep a colorful group of players together in a world filled with mistrust, without going too much meta?
Here is the scenario :
Our hero consists of members of a special academy, a school designed for grooming young boys and girls to become heroes and protector of the kingdoms. To fight monster and defeat evil when the time should arise. Unfortunately, a dark cult have infiltrated the academy, and started abusing the pupils for all kinds of dark twisted operations. As a result of this, the player group have cut of all ties with the academy, and now just go wherever they see fit, living by the original heroic codex upon which the academy was founded upon.
Its going pretty well so far, the backstabbery of the villain npcs came as a huge suprise for the players, and they have handled being on their own quite well.
The problem is that now, I have a group of characters that have learned that a number of people is clearly not to be trusted (which is absolutely true for this setting.) But since the roots of evil stretched far into their academy, how can I ensure that they don't start distrusting the other party members, and either split up or stop cooperating.
Im not looking for inspiration on dialogue or plots, but rather which game- or group-dynamics I could use to keep the group together?
So far, the players have been sharing some rather big secrets together, which kindof ties them together (they killed their mentor together on grounds that they suspected him of being a cultist, only to find out that he was on their side all along.)
The situation becomes really tense when :
- Alignment differences begin to affect the common goal of the group.
- New characters or players join the campaign, without having been part of the "basic trust" team.
- Characters use their contacts (childhood friends or family mostly) without informing the rest of the group what they communicate to them about their new "friends".
- The party is conflicted between fight or flee, since their adversary in this campaign is rather powerful.
Any methods or techniques you wise sages out there can recommend ?
If it matters, its a fantasy medieval setting using the Pathfinder rules.