In my world, I have an NPC (Baron) who made a deal with a devil (Stan) which requires Baron to maintain a diary in exchange for immortality. The many volumes of the diary serve to give Baron his immortality and also are leading to Stan taking dominion of the realm (unless, or maybe if, the players intervene).

I really dig the idea that reading a volume of the diary transports the reader into the memories of the author. "Reading" here includes the stipulation that when the book is read aloud, all within hearing distance get teleported into the memory. However, if the person holding the book chooses not to read out loud, or the entire party isn't within hearing distance, this scenario comes with the risk of the party being split.

My central fear is that the party is separated at the time the book gets read, and I have to find a way of effectively running two games simultaneously. Party splits aren't uncommon in D&D, since there are published dungeons with traps that split the party, but it's a difficult scenario to run.

What GM techniques or strategies can I use to run a game in which the party has been split for an extended length of time?

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    \$\begingroup\$ As it stands, this will likely attract random opinions instead of good experienced-backed answers. Could you clarify the problem a bit? Are you specifically looking for existing rules/mechanics for entering someone's memories? If not, could you elaborate on why "teleport them all anyway" isn't going to work at your table? \$\endgroup\$
    – Red Orca
    May 1, 2022 at 2:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ What makes you think a fighter would not be literate, high ranking soldiers were often literate. Bard would almost certainly literate. Also you are the DM you make the rules, maybe reading the book teleports everyone present. \$\endgroup\$
    – John
    May 1, 2022 at 2:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ It sounds more like your actual question here has nothing to do with the specifics of the "teleporting into another character's memories" situation, but rather that you want to know how viable it is, as a GM, to have half your party in one place and half in another. Is that correct? \$\endgroup\$
    – thatgirldm
    May 1, 2022 at 4:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @thatgirldm Actually, yeah I think so \$\endgroup\$ May 1, 2022 at 4:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ The other way this question could go is to focus more on the "how can I do this while ensuring the party doesn't get split" part. That might be more directly answerable with experience, especially since more common things like teleporter traps have similar issues. \$\endgroup\$ May 1, 2022 at 4:54

1 Answer 1


Make the triggering clause include a contingency of keeping the group together to focus on the desired part.

When you worry about long-distance travel with a logic component that would split the party, you can adjust the initial clause to have a contingency that keeps the group together.

On the spot, I could generate the idea that the book doesn't only transport the entities in immediate proximity but also those included in the reader's thoughts or similar shenanigans.

The trick here is not this specific or any other solution but lies in the approach to make the story fit the party instead of focusing on the party as consumers of the story.

The desired part is that the diary transports the party to the memory realm — the set-piece you and your players want to experience, so make them do that.

The consequence of splitting the party is not the set piece you want to focus on, even though it could be, but you choose whether or not it is the case. Eliminate the option by designing the set-piece in a manner that doesn't detract from its appeal. You already see that splitting the party is undesirable, and there might be some other unplanned weird interactions — follow the logic that makes you and your players experience the game you want to play. You don't need an air-tight explanation, and if you want one, you can rationalise it after the fact.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure what justified this question being reopened, but thank you for articulating what I believe to be the right way of handling this :P \$\endgroup\$ May 2, 2022 at 10:15

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