Hello everyone. There's a couple things I do when I GM, and I do them all too often. One of my most used tropes is "Impending danger forces the players to band together." Now, this is a pretty solid mechanism. Very quickly gets people to work together. Gives players the narrative excuse to band together with this motley crew and start having some adventures. However, I've just done it soooooo much. I'm tired of it. The way I see it, there are three ways to approach the classic problem of: "How do I get the party together and get them to start working together."
1) The easiest way is to put the onus on them. Start the game saying, "Hey you're a party. Why is that? What circumstances pushed you people together and what about one another makes it believable that you continue to work together?"
2) Impending Doom! Some external threat is forcing the PCs to come together as a unit, and they need each other to see their way out of it.
3) "You are stronger together, than you are divided." Develop a scenario early on that shows the players that as a unit they are more capable of getting things done and can more easily pursue individual goals with the help of their other PC friends. This could be as simple as, make them a band of mercs and give each player a spotlight to show how they help contribute to group badassness.
My questions to you: How do you approach this problem? What are your preferred solutions (if you have one)?
Where I struggle with this the most is in making it believable that they all want to start and continue working together. With good players, they'll bend over backwards to help accommodate this part of the story. But I always want to do my best to make it believable and plausible that these people want to and continue to work together. I've put the onus on them many of times. I've thrown external danger on them many times. Showing them they're stronger together than divided however, haven't done that as much. And really, this is coming up because I want the game to be driven by character goals and choices far more than any kind of external threats. Sure, they'll show up eventually. But I want them engaged on personal missions and the rest of the group to be totally into seeing those missions accomplished.
p.s. If you're curious, it's a game of FFG Star Wars with some jedi, smugglers, and a rebel.