1 of 4

Side-quests, personal agendas and time constraints

I'm running a D&D 4e campaign taking place in Forgotten Realms (in 3e timeframe as I'm more familiar with it). My plan for the campaign was for the group of PCs to arrive in Waterdeep, where, as one of the plotlines, several large organisations are vying for complete control, using PCs to further their goals - thus I planned a sidequest or two for every organisation, which they would offer to PCs so that PCs can gain the given organisation's trust.

However my players completely surprised me with abundance of personal quests they gave to me. Including all the personal plotlines we have running now (7 players, at least 5 of them with great plot hooks it would be a shame not to use) and the fact I would like to get somewhere before Christmas on my main plot, as we are having a D&D break over it, I feel very much time constrained. However, most of the sidequests have been already laid out and I can't really retcon them out of existence.

My question is twofold: First of all, what would be the best course of action with the sidequests? Should I modify them so that they all link in (in a more major way) with the main plotline and/or the personal quests? Should I just hope the players do not pursue them and sweep them under the metaphorical rug?

Second question, this is my first time when literally every player provided me with abundance of plot hooks, many of which are quite divergent. Because of this there's quite a lot of inter-party conflict and at least two players basically created very apathetic characters, interested ONLY in their own personal plotline, and can't really justify why are their characters travelling with the party. This creates a very strange dynamic. While we all enjoy inter-party conflicts a lot (even though D&D is in principle a team game), I'm afraid that in the long run it may majorly derail the campaign. I would be very grateful for any kind of advice what to do with all the personal baggage my players/characters brought to the table and how to make them a party.

Thanks in advance for all responses.