I recently pitched a game to my group, to which they were receptive. However they pointed out some problems I would have to solve before the game started.
The game is set in the near-future, the players would be a group of teens who spend too much of their time in a VR world, and one of the players would be an AI. Much of the game would revolve around trying to reconcile their addiction (the VR world) with their real-world responsibilities (school).
The plots would be along the lines of a dark and twisted Scooby Doo episode – they stumble across a mystery that affects them and their friends, and they have to work together to solve it. For example, they have to solve the string of suicides in their high school, a task requiring activity in both the VR world and the real world.
Most plots would require splitting the party – the ‘Decker Problem’ of early editions of Shadowrun. As the focus of the GM (me) switches from the real world to the VR world, half the players are left to twiddle their thumbs. The game not only allows the party to split, but would almost require it (as is the case in Shadowrun deckers). While one part of the party is taking actions, or dealing with NPC’s, my attention cannot be on the other part of the party, which might as well go out for a pizza.
What are some techniques for minimizing how disruptive this can be?
I have not chosen a system, but will probably use a flavor of FATE. Communication between the parties is not an issue, but GM attention to half the party at a time would be. I am really not looking to find ways of creating make-work for the party not in the spotlight at the time. I am more interested in trying to maintain the split party (as would be needed by the setting) and keeping more of the table in the spotlight more of the time.