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Party Scattering

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An event in which a group of characters traveling as a team gets involuntarily separated from one another, possibly 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.

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 Breaking the Fellowship, internal frictions within the party play no role in the split, so the heroes are always motivated to get back together immediately.

Contrast Let's Split Up, Gang!, where the party splits voluntarily; Never Split the Party, where they stay together voluntarily until this happens; Split and Reunion; where they come back together more powerful than before; and We Were Your Team and The Fellowship Has Ended, where the party splits after completing The Quest.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the Digimon Adventure, this is what Devimon does to the Digidestined.
  • Digimon Adventure tri.: Happens to the kids in the fourth movie temporarily.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Führer 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.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Stardust Crusaders: Upon setting foot in DIO's mansion, Jotaro, Joseph, and Kakyoin are dropped into a Trap Door, separating them from the others until they meet up for the last battle.
    • Stone Ocean: During the team's escape from the prison, Jolyne only manages to bring Ermes and Emporio along with her due to the male and female wards being separated. Thus, Weather Report and Anasui end up escaping separately and have to take a different route until they join back at the Kennedy Space Center.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, 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 My Hero Academia, Kurogiri warps the U.A. students all across the Unforeseen Simulation Joint in hopes of making them easy pickings for the dozens of grunts they've stationed all around the facility.
  • One Piece:
    • In the One Piece Film: Strong World, the Straw Hats are scattered across the islands of Merveille by Shiki, with the exception of Nami who he captured with the intent of making her his navigator.
    • At the end of the Sabaody Arc of the series, the Straw Hats are scattered across the world by Bartholomew Kuma and only come back together after the Time Skip.
    • Less extreme examples happen throughout every arc, where the Straw Hats and their current allies are often split up due to various circumstances.
  • 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.
  • 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 "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.
  • In Toriko, an irate pack of Rock Drums split the cast apart by sending them flying in all directions about a third through the Regal Mammoth Arc.
  • Trinity Seven: In the Dante's Gate arc, Arata and the Trinity Seven plus Selina are scattered across the circles of Hell where each must face one of the Malebranche's demon generals.

    Comic Books 
  • The Defenders: On a time travel jaunt, due to an accident with a malfunctioning teleport, the non-team and their allies the Guardians of the Galaxy wind up scattered across the universe. Hulk and Yondu wind up on a planet of human-like aliens who enslave them and try to make them kill one another, Major Victory and Valkyrie wind up on the Badoon homeworld, and Charlie-27, Martinex and Nighthawk are on Earth, still overrun by Badoon.
  • Exiles: Happens to the team during Chris Claremont's run, while they're on an Earth as it's destroyed, causing them to be scattered across realities. They're all reunited, save Spider-Man 2099, who they find is happily living with an alternate Mary-Jane Watson, and decide to leave him be.
  • In Shazam! and the Seven Magic Lands! King Kid of the Funlands banishes Billy and Mary to "the Below" for being adults (thanks to Billy's Older Alter Ego and Mary being almost at the age of 18). Meanwhile, Freddy and Darla get thrown into the Wildlands, while Pedro and Eugene get sent to the Gamelands.
  • In the DC Infinite Frontier era of Green Lantern, most of the human Green Lanterns were separated at the time the Central Power Battery on Oa exploded, thanks to some reassignments the Guardians of the Universe imposed on the Corps in compliance to the recently formed United Planets. Hal Jordan was sent to Earth as its sole Green Lantern, Guy Gardner and John Stewart were sent into outer space (with John as part of a team of Green Lanterns exploring new regions of space, and Guy assigned as an Outrider), and Kyle Rayner and Jessica Cruz were on their way to the Crux worlds of Raggashoon and Oishiha, respectively. The only ones left on Oa at the time of the explosion were Simon Baz and Keli Quintela (A.K.A. Teen Lantern), and Keli noticed something wrong with the Battery moments beforehand, enabling her to anticipate the explosion and protect Simon.

    Fan Work 
  • The premise of Start Again is that the Phantom Thieves are scattered by space and time. While Akira is outside of Tokyo, each of the Phantom Thieves that immediately have their memories (Haru, Yusuke, and Ryuji) initially believe they're the only ones that remember the old timeline, while the others had to get their memories back through stressful situations.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Star-Lord, Gamora, and Drax go with Mantis and Ego to his planet while Rocket and Groot stay back to repair the ship and guard Nebula, where they're attacked by Yondu and the Ravagers.
  • In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Drax, Mantis, and Nebula are forced to board the Arete to escape Counter-Earth's destruction while the rest of the team escapes on the Bowie. The High Evolutionary captures the trio and uses them as bait to force a face-off with the Guardians.
  • 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 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.
  • In the Horus Heresy, following the disastrous Battle of Isstvan V (known in the present day as the Drop Site Massacre), the Salamanders, Raven Guard, and Iron Hands get smashed to pieces, with the survivors fleeing however they can. The entire plot thread involving them is actually referred to as "Shattered Legions".
    • The Iron Hands have the worst of this, as their Primarch, Ferrus Manus, was killed fighting his brother Fulgrim, and spend much of the Heresy in small bands, though one among their number, Shadrak Meduson, ends up uniting a large portion of the survivors and harasses the Traitors for much of the Heresy.
    • The Salamanders initially lose track of their Primarch, Vulcan, and when they finally find him, it appears that he has died (for real this time). Luckily, Vulcan is revived by the sacrifice of one of his guards, Artellus Numeneon, and eventually Vulcan leads several of the Salamanders to Earth in time for the final battle.
    • The Raven Guard are the best off, as their Primarch, Corvus Corax, made it off planet with them, allowing their chain of command to remain mostly intact. Corax breifly returns to Terra to ask the Emperor for help, before leading his forces in fighting a guerilla war against the forces of Horus.
  • 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 the far reaches of the known world and Ciri is Trapped in Another World altogether.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones: The Stark children, gradually. By Season 4, each has their own storyline and most are unsure if any of the others are even alive, let alone how far they are from each other. Also, they seem to suffer from a case of Missed Him by That Much with the members almost reuniting but circumstances preventing this. At the end of Season 4, Bran is beyond the Wall under the care of a Humanoid Abomination, Rickon and Osha were sent to the Umbers but Roose Bolton states that no Northern Lord has seen or heard of them, Jon Snow is at Castle Black, Sansa Stark has changed her identity and become a willing accomplice to the lecherous Chessmaster Petyr Baelish, and Arya Stark has left Westeros all together for the Free City of Braavos. At the moment, only Jon and Sansa are believed by all their living siblings to still be alive. In season 6, two of the Stark kids, Jon and Sansa, are finally reunited. Additionally, Arya, who returned to Westeros at the end of season 6, reunites with Sansa in season 7 and Bran returns to Winterfell as well.
  • Legends of Tomorrow: At the start of season 2, it's revealed that at some point between season 1 and 2, Rip was forced to use a program appropriately called "Time Scatter", which sends the Legends sans Mick and himself to different time periods. Hence, the first task of Mick and newcommer Nate is to find and retrieve all the legends.
  • In the Supernatural episode "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here", Castiel ends up over 1,300 miles from the Winchesters. This wouldn't even be an inconvenience for him, except he's also been Brought Down to Normal.
  • The Umbrella Academy (2019): The premise of Season 2 is the siblings getting separated in time and space and them trying to make it back to the present.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • 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 Avatar: The Last Airbender, while Aang is exploring a temple, the rest of the group gets captured and sent to different prison cells, leaving Aang to find them.
  • 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.
  • BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm has a sidequest where most of the party is kidnapped by a tribe of shapeshifting enemies. Catie has to sneak into their hideout by herself, and save each of her friends one at a time (while successfully picking out the real ones from among the many imposters).
  • 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.
    • The game prevents you having more than three people in your party due to the Timey-Wimey Ball, although you can switch them out at any time. One Bonus Dungeon sees your current party imprisoned with no way out until the backup (limited to the remaining 1-4 characters) come in. Once rescued, you are again limited to three.
  • In City of Heroes, a long standing bug with teleporters in certain Oranbega mission maps would inadvertently cause this as the destinations would sometimes randomize as players stepped through them.
  • This is how Deag Grav of Doom Eternal betrayed and doomed the Night Sentinels under the Doom Slayer. He sent them to assault the demonic city of Nekravol where the souls of their fallen comrades were being tortured and converted into Argent Energy, only to use dark magic upon the portal that scattered everyone throughout Hell, leaving them at the mercy of the demons. The Sentinels did not sell their lives cheaply, but ultimately, only the Slayer survived. And he was PISSED.
  • 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.
  • The end of Act 1 of Dragon Quest XI has one invoked by one of the heroes when the team is cornered by the Big Bad. The mostly reunited party is devastated that Veronica died after saving their lives.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • 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.)
    • This happens twice in Final Fantasy VI. First Locke leaves for South Figaro, while Sabin is cut off from the rest of the party and ends up on the other side of the continent, though all of them end up converging on Narshe afterwards (with some new party members in tow). Second, the Player Party is scattered upon entering the World of Ruin.
    • Final Fantasy X:
      • At one point, 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 is taken 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.
      • Later, the team gets split up by the Corrupt Church to await execution. Tidus and Yuna need to find the team members on either dungeon (Tidus, Rikku and Wakka, the only ones who can swim, are in an underwater dungeon).
    • 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.
    • Final Fantasy XIV:
      • Happens at the end of A Realm Reborn. When the player and the Scions of the Seventh Dawn are invited to a banquet, scheming by the Crystal Braves and the Monetarist faction results in the apparent assassination of the sultana and the Scions getting blamed for it. After the party decides to flee the scene, it results in the Scions pulling a You Shall Not Pass! one by one until only the Warrior of Light is left. Thankfully, they meet up with Alphinaud and flee together to Ishgard for sanctuary with him and Tataru. Y'shtola is found first, well into the Heavensward scenario, with Thancred showing up in the following patch cycle. Minfilia's whereabouts are learned not long after, though they never truly reunite with her, while Yda and Papalymo aren't found until the lead up into the following expansion, Stormblood.
      • Happens to the Scions again at the end of the Stormblood patches, and they aren't all reunited until almost halfway through Shadowbringers.
  • Ghostbusters: The Video Game: For various reasons, usually a bit of architectural malevolence or some minor task that has to be seen to elsewhere, the Ghostbusters are always splitting up into groups of 1-4 and never work together as a full team until the finale.
  • Granblue Fantasy: When the party reaches the Nalhegrande Skydom, Loki closes the Grim Basin on the group, scattering them all across the Skydom.
  • Jak II: Renegade opens up with the initial four main characters being scattered across Haven City, with only Daxter escaping capture or employment from a crime lord. Two years later, he soon saves Jak from a prison lab, and they later track down Samos and Keira.
  • 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.
  • Near the end of Kingdom Hearts III, the Guardians of Light are attacked and killed, and find themselves scattered across previous worlds. Sora and Kairi would then proceed to track their missing friends down and save and revive them from the Lich.
  • The Legend of Heroes - Trails:
    • Trails to Azure: The SSS runs into a Party Scattering situation that forces Lloyd to reassemble the entire team after they've been arrested and put under lockdown.
    • Trails of Cold Steel: The first act of Cold Steel II consists of reuniting Class VII after they were scattered by the events in the finale of Cold Steel I.
  • Mega Man Star Force 2: Solo tosses Luna, Zack, Bud, and Sonia into the Un-Dimension. Geo successfully retrieves Luna, but is unable to stop the last three from being sucked in, though later, they've been cast around the world.
  • 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.
  • Pathfinder: Kingmaker has this happen at at the penultimate chapter where your companions can permanently leave your party and/or die depending on the choices you've made throughout the game.
  • 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.
  • In Shadowverse, this is Lampshaded by Yuwan at the end of Morning Star. The seals he gave to the other leaders would ensure that all of them will end up on the same world after crossing portals... That is, not until if some outside force would interfere, causing this trope.
  • In Steven Universe: Save The Light, at the temple under the Strawberry Battlefield, attempting to attack Hessonite leaves Steven off by himself and the rest of the party split into two groups: Sapphire, Peridot, and Connie in one, Ruby, Greg, Amethyst, and Pearl in the other.
  • 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.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Super Smash Bros. Brawl: In the Subspace Emissary mode, there are multiple times where party members are forced to split up (for example, Mario being shot into Skyworld by Petey Piranha, or DK throwing away Diddy Kong to prevent Bowser from "trophy-fying" him), culminating in a complete party wipe by the Big Bad that only fails because of a huge gambit on one character's part. Eventually, they all reunite to enter Subspace.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: World of Light mode begins with one. Only Kirby is able to escape Galeem's attack and starts the story solo.
  • Tales from the Borderlands: Mid-way through Episode 5, the gang got scattered when they escaped from an exploding Helios.
  • Tale of Food starts off with bad guys destroying the pact between foodsouls and their home Kòngsāng, making them permanently lose memory of their life there and get separated as they're sent back through space and time to where they originated. The player character spends most of the game Putting the Band Back Together.
  • Warcraft III:
    • In the Night Elf campaign, Furion realizes they've arrived at Illidan's prison and forbids Tyrande from going in. Tyrande reasons that they'll need all the help they can get to defeat the Burning Legion, tells Furion to shove it and goes to break Illidan free while Furion goes to awaken the druids. In both cases neither is really alone, since they still have a few units each.
    • In the expansion's Undead campaign, an earthquake cuts Arthas off from the rest of his party. When they reunite later, Anub'arak expresses his admiration for Arthas surviving alone (note that at this point, Arthas is only level 2, having been losing levels since the beginning of the campaign).
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 1, 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.
  • Partway through Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Nanba temporarily leaves the party to pursue a lead on his long-lost brother. This results in him aligning with the villains for a time, since he believed they would help him find his brother. A few chapters later, he returns to the party.


    Web Original 
  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia: The premise starts with Anne and her two friends, Sasha and Marcy, being transported to the titular world after opening a mysterious box, with the series following Anne trying to reactivate the box and finding Sasha and Marcy.
  • 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.
  • Ben 10: Ultimate Alien: In "Perplexahedron", a wind tunnel caused by a Deadly Rotary Fan separates Gwen from Ben and Kevin, sending the two groups to different rooms in the maze.
  • Infinity Train: During the third season, Grace and Simon are separated from the rest of the Apex when the Unfinished Car starts to move while the Apex is in the process of raiding it.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003): The Season 3 episodes "Reality Check", "Across the Universe", "Same As It Never Was", "The Real World Part 1" & "The Real World Part 2" deal with the four Turtles and Splinter being sent through time and space to different locations by Ultimate Draco. The first four episodes are day in the limelight episodes for the turtles, where they have an individual adventure in the place they are send to, before Splinter manages to unite them all in the fifth episode to take on Ultimate Draco.
  • 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.


Video Example(s):


Shiki Scatters the Straw Hats

Shiki uses his powers to scatter the straw hat pirate across his floating islands of Merveille.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / PartyScattering

Media sources: