An event, supernatural occurrence, or enemy that hinders the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits/Player Party's progress by transporting them to different remote locations, so they have to find each other again before resuming their adventure. A non-lethal version of Everybody's Dead, Dave. Always followed by Putting the Band Back Together. A Sub-Trope of Breaking the Fellowship and Involuntary Group Split. Its key feature is that all members suddenly and almost instantaneously find themselves stranded alone and far apart from each other. Unlike with the original Fellowship of the Ring, internal frictions within the party play no role in the split, so the heroes are always motivated to get back together immediately. Compare Let's Split Up, Gang, where the party splits voluntarily; and We Were Your Team and The Fellowship Has Ended, where the party splits after completing The Quest.
Examples (some spoilers ahead):
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- In One Piece, the Straw Hats are scattered across the world by Bartholomew Kuma and only come back together after the Time Skip.
- In Toriko some irate rock monsters split the cast apart by sending them flying in all directions about 1/3 of the way through the regal mammoth arc.
- In the first season of Digimon this is what Devimon does to the Digidestined.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!, the main cast is at a Gateport, having just arrived in the Magic World from Wales. The Bad Guys pick that moment to launch their attack on the Portal Network to cut the Magic World off from the real one. As the system explodes, there's all kinds of swirly craziness and the cast end up scattered in ones and twos across a surface area nearly a third that of Earth. It takes an interminable period to get everyone back together, but when they do, everyone has, as they say, taken a level in badass.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Fuhrer Bradley feels that Colonel Mustang and the people under him are capable of dethroning him, so at one point in the story, Bradley uses his position to reassign the entire Mustang group to far corners of the country, each doing a job they're not very good at... which has the unintended side effect of placing soldiers loyal to the Big Good in key strategic positions when shit starts to get real. They aren't reunited until near the end of the story with added allies, one of whom does kill Bradley and appoint Mustang as the new leader of the country.
- Ronin Warriors has Talpa send the five warriors to five locations, each of them stuck in their own element (mostly - Ryo's in a volcano, Rowan in the stratosphere, Sai beneath the waves and Kento stuck in rock, but Sage too is stuck in rock because it blocks the light??). Mia and Yuli manage to locate Ryo and wake him up, and then they spend several episodes gathering the rest of the team.
- In the Pretty Cure All Stars DX movies, the fairies and the Cures are always separated for one reason or another and it's usually a bad thing because some of the girls need the fairies to transform and some of the girls need their partner to pull off finishers.
- In the "Try" season of the Slayers anime, Lina and Zelgadiss are split up from Gourry and Ameilia halfway through the season and spend a couple of episodes trying to get back together.
- Near the beginning of X2: X-Men United, Prof. X and Cyclops are captured at the same time but taken to different areas where different things happen to them. Storm and Jean go after Nightcrawler and eventually run into Magneto. The government kidnaps several mutants and take them to their facility. Wolverine and a few of the students escape the mansion and hide out at Iceman's house for a while. They come back in the third act.
- Happens to the main cast of The Witcher Saga during the Thanedd coup at the end of The Time of Contempt. Also, again in the end of Lady of the Lake, where Geralt and Yennefer end up Not Quite Dead on opposing ends of the known world and Ciri is Trapped in Another World altogether.
- Happens at the end of The Dark Tower novel Wolves of the Calla when Mia/Susannah goes through a portal to give birth to her chap. The remaining members are further split up at the start of the next novel.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- Adventure S1 Tomb of Horrors. The demilich Acererak had the ability to teleport the PCs attacking it up to 600 miles away in random directions.
- Adventure S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. A glowing underground grotto would teleport each PC who entered it to one of 4 possible extra-dimensional locations, thus almost certainly splitting up the party.
- The Crypt Thing monster could teleport each PC facing it up to 1,000 feet north, south, east or west.
- In Final Fantasy IV, the team is scattered after Golbez kidnaps Rosa and Leviathan attacks Cecil's ship; except in some remakes, it's never fully reassembled, either (as Edward can't be re-recruited in the original.)
- In Final Fantasy VI, the Player Party is scattered upon entering the World of Ruin.
- At one point in Final Fantasy X, Sin splits up the characters and sends them across Spira. Luckily, it sends them to an island that isn't overly large, and most of the characters are pretty close together, so it's not long before they're reunited. The one big exception to this is Yuna, as the inhabitants of the island, the Al-Bhed, had already taken her to their fortress, and then she was captured from there by the forces of one of the game's recurring villains, all before the other characters could reform the party. The player must do without her until the party can find her again.
- In Final Fantasy XIII-2, Serah, Noel and Mog are scattered across time and space after being given a corrupted Artifact by Alyssa. This leads to a Solo Sequence with just Serah (well, she has her Mons) and a possible bad ending.
- In the Fade section of Dragon Age: Origins, the Warden's active party is scattered across a demon's otherworldly realm and s/he has to find and free them before they can fight the demon.
- In Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean after Kalas reveals he was Evil All Along the party is reduced to just Xelha, who has to rescue them all. With the exception of Kalas they come back fairly quickly.
- In Age of Mythology, the team of heroes is scattered by an avalanche caused by Kronos and must regroup before they can build a settlement.
- In Super Paper Mario, Dimentio sends Mario and gang to the Underwhere, the Mario-verse equivalent of Hell. Mario wakes up alone and has to team up with Luigi, Bowser and Peach again before they can obtain the next MacGuffin and escape.
- Also, in Super Smash Bros. Subspace Emissary mode, there are multiple times where party members are forced to split up (for example, Mario being shot into Skyworld by Petey Pirahna, or DK throwing away Diddy Kong to prevent Bowser from "trophy-fying" him). They all reunite late into the game to enter Subspace.
- In Chrono Trigger, this happens after the trial: of the party members you've had so far, one is in prison, one in the castle, one presumably at home, and one 400 years in the past.
- In Planescape: Torment, this happens to your party once you enter the Fortress of Regrets. Unlike other examples of this trope, in this case your companions inevitably die one by one while you're looking for them (except for one, who betrays and attacks you). You get a chance to resurrect them all after getting to the end, though.
- Happens in Jay's Journey shortly after the first meeting with Thinbeard and Azareth, and it's a significant chunk of the game before the original party is entirely reassembled.
- In Xenoblade, this happens briefly to the party after the fight against Face Nemesis actually Fiora, when you fall out of the bottom of the Sword Valley Fortress, down to the island of the Machina, the party lands in different places, Shulk and Fiora, Dunban-Riki-Melia, and Reyn and Sharla.
- In MS Saga: A New Dawn, the hero and his crew is separated after a cave in and the hero spends a small portion of the game with only one other who had found him.
- In Rusty and Co., the vampire split up the party into the individual monsters and Madeline, each on their own, before attacking.
- In Reds Planet, pursuit means that the rock splits them without fallen. Then Red falls down a hole.
- In Magience, some dungeons split parties automatically.
Sev: Erran's place uses magic ta split up groups biggah than two.
- In Autumn Bay, Nesariel uses Weaponized Teleportation to inflict this on Lt. Bishops anti-anomaly team.
- In the Whateley Universe story "Ayla and the Great Shoulder Angel Conspiracy", Team Kimba gets split the first time they use the holographic simulation system on campus. It's a deliberate plan by Overclock to torture them individually, then kill all of them except Tennyo who would then get A Fate Worse Than Death.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the gaang goes through a period of this after a series of setbacks, starting with the invasion on the Day of Black Sun, which ends in failure thanks to Azula warning her father of the invasion months in advance. Hakoda and the majority of the invasion army surrender to buy Aang and the others time to escape on Appa.
- Aang takes them to the Western Air Temple, which serves as a temporary safe haven. However, Azula tracks them down only days later and attacks, forcing their dwindling party to split up and go their separate ways.
- In The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, the first season's finale begins with the Avengers each venturing to a different corner of the world to stop the Masters of Evil from opening portals to the realms of Norse mythology. After each Avenger defeats a Master of Evil, he or she closes the respective portal, but per Loki's plans, gets sent to one of seven realms in the process.
- In Transformers Prime, an arc features the majority of the cast separated across the globe as they search for Iacon relics, each episode giving some Character Development to the respective parties. For example, Miko's recklessness is finally explained, Soundwave's attachment to Laserbeak is looked at, and Bulkhead and Fowler come to respect each other as soldiers.
- A much more painful example occurs in the second season finale. After years of searching, the Decepticons have finally found the Autobot base and mount a massive assault on it. Optimus declares the base lost and has the team scattered across America. Wheeljack is captured by the Decepticons, Fowler and June have no idea if the team survived (June's worst fear having come to pass), the Autobots and their human partners are alone, and Optimus is still in the base when it's destroyed. The first arc of the third season deals with reuniting the team and striking back against Megatron.