Author Topic: Dealing with Absent Players  (Read 8506 times)

dragonshaos

  • I am worth 100 points in GURPS...ladies
  • ***
  • Posts: 194
  • Amateur DM
    • View Profile
    • Myspace
Dealing with Absent Players
« on: May 15, 2009, 06:09:05 PM »
How do you deal with players who are absent for 1, 2, maybe 3 sessions?

In my DnD campaign I run weekly, one player has missed 2 sessions in a row and both sessions other players learned alot of information.  I keep this information learned on a wiki for easy access for players who are absent.  However, players who can make it every week have a serious advantage XP wise.  Whereas these regulars are near leveling, this player is just nearing the 1/2 way point.

Now this player still wants to play.  They still have the interest in playing their character, it just happened that these weekends plans were made.  How should I deal with his XP so he dosen't fall behind w/o just giving him XP so other players won't complain.

And what does everyone else do when players are absent due to real life things but still want to play?

Be the Ultimate Ninja! Play Billy Vs. SNAKEMAN today!

Tadanori Oyama

  • Extreme XP CEO
  • *******
  • Posts: 3897
  • The Full Time GM
    • View Profile
    • Full Time GM
Re: Dealing with Absent Players
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2009, 06:24:03 PM »
I tend to go easy on them, especially with DnD (and especially 4th edition) where the level of party is very important. If the player has a reason for missing the session than I don't punish them.

For other games PCs have two options: go invisible or get NPCed.

Being NPCed means you get XP and other stuff but are at the mercy of the GM and other PCs. Going invisible means protection but no acquired resources.

clockworkjoe

  • BUY MY BOOK
  • Administrator
  • Extreme XP CEO
  • *****
  • Posts: 6517
    • View Profile
    • BUY MY BOOK
Re: Dealing with Absent Players
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2009, 12:23:33 AM »
Fortunately most of the time, I can say the PCs go off and do something else in the background. Raise an army, do warlock things etc.

I don't deal with XP, I just hand out levels at appropriate times.

Tadanori Oyama

  • Extreme XP CEO
  • *******
  • Posts: 3897
  • The Full Time GM
    • View Profile
    • Full Time GM
Re: Dealing with Absent Players
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2009, 12:46:17 AM »
Fortunately most of the time, I can say the PCs go off and do something else in the background. Raise an army, do warlock things etc.

I don't deal with XP, I just hand out levels at appropriate times.

I've been doing that since I started 4th Edition. Much easier for me to manage. No having to worry about XP for item crafting and all that other stuff is a real load off.

dragonshaos

  • I am worth 100 points in GURPS...ladies
  • ***
  • Posts: 194
  • Amateur DM
    • View Profile
    • Myspace
Re: Dealing with Absent Players
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2009, 04:15:49 AM »
Hmm...I've considered that but I've felt I should try and stick with the xp system.  Then again, when we played Rifts we just said 'Fuck that xp whatchamacallit'.  Depending on how things go I may do that myself...

Be the Ultimate Ninja! Play Billy Vs. SNAKEMAN today!

arthwollipot

  • Slayer of the Dread Gazebo
  • *
  • Posts: 41
    • View Profile
Re: Dealing with Absent Players
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2009, 05:44:13 AM »
I usually reschedule. I don't much like gaming when players are absent.
This cloaking device is heavily destroyed.

wrotenbe

  • Zombie Apocalypse Survivor
  • **
  • Posts: 70
  • RAWRF
    • View Profile
Re: Dealing with Absent Players
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2009, 07:11:55 AM »
Three strikes, you're out. Don't bother bellying up to the table after that.

Five absences even with excuses, you're an NPC until you give me a way to bow your character for the duration of your hiatus.

rayner23

  • President of the Apparatus of Kwalish fan club
  • *****
  • Posts: 1306
  • Machine. Unexpectantly, I invented a time
    • View Profile
    • Paladin Curse Blog
Re: Dealing with Absent Players
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2009, 09:50:58 AM »
I think it comes down to how many players you regularly have. If you only game with three or four people, then it can be tough to just let them come and go as they please. On the other hand, if you have more than that, a few absenses aren't really a big deal.

New World has enough people that if one of us misses one week, it isn't reallly a bother at all. That's the same for the D&D game I run with my students. I have 8 students that have created characters and can play, so if some miss, then I am better off.
I'm from Alaska. About Fifty miles south of Ankorage there's a little fishing town, maybe you've heard of it, it's called fuck your momma.

Tadanori Oyama

  • Extreme XP CEO
  • *******
  • Posts: 3897
  • The Full Time GM
    • View Profile
    • Full Time GM
Re: Dealing with Absent Players
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2009, 10:40:07 AM »
Also the kind of campaign you run. I always try to make it to a "save point" before ending a session, like the PCs are back at their base or on their boat or somewhere else that they might decide to split up and explain the missing PC.

codered

  • I dream in graph paper lines
  • ****
  • Posts: 289
  • Don't Hate!!!
    • View Profile
Re: Dealing with Absent Players
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2009, 11:57:24 AM »
I like green thumb syndrome with dealing with absent players, then have them make up the xp some other way. Either doing gamming on the side writing some back story bring pizza some crap like that.
Kenders Rock

clockworkjoe

  • BUY MY BOOK
  • Administrator
  • Extreme XP CEO
  • *****
  • Posts: 6517
    • View Profile
    • BUY MY BOOK
Re: Dealing with Absent Players
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2009, 12:53:41 PM »
I think it comes down to how many players you regularly have. If you only game with three or four people, then it can be tough to just let them come and go as they please. On the other hand, if you have more than that, a few absenses aren't really a big deal.

New World has enough people that if one of us misses one week, it isn't reallly a bother at all. That's the same for the D&D game I run with my students. I have 8 students that have created characters and can play, so if some miss, then I am better off.

As long as I have a quorum of players, I'm good to go. Doesn't bother me if 1 dude doesn't show up.

Corrosive Rabbit

  • Slayer of the Dread Gazebo
  • *
  • Posts: 35
    • View Profile
Re: Dealing with Absent Players
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2009, 09:31:32 AM »
Although this isn't really "dealing with the player", one thing that helps if you have a group with a high absenteeism rate is to run certain types of games.  Games that send PCs far from a home base make it trickier to explain away the absence of a PC, but if your campaign is set in a large city, there can be lots of reasons that PC X isn't around during a particular session.  This also applies with games that include common and easy fast travel, such as modern games.  Of course, this still requires that you ended the last session somewhere where it makes sense to ease a PC out.  This is why I learned early on as a GM that ending a session on a cliffhanger is great, but only do it if you can be sure that the "cliffhung" PC or PCs will be available next session.

CR
A bullet may have your name on it, but hand grenades are like spam for the battlefield.

Phelanar

  • Zombie Apocalypse Survivor
  • **
  • Posts: 84
  • Stop nuzzling the instrument of my vengeance
    • View Profile
Re: Dealing with Absent Players
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2009, 10:34:48 PM »
In my games, we tend to put absent players in the background. They're doing this or that and are out of focus, so to speak. Half the time, the player in question or the other players tend to do the heavy lifting in explaining why that character is MIA. We haven't kicked out anybody because they've been forced to be absent, but we have had people leave because they couldn't commit to being at the game very often.

As for handing out XP (or similar stuff), in my current games it varies depending on the game and the people and the circumstances:

In our Shadowrun game, if you're not there, you get nothing. No karma, no money. It's just that kind of game for us. Progression tends to be pretty slow in Shadowrun anyway, so missing a session or two doesn't hurt anybody all that much.

In our Star Wars game, absent players get a % of the XP that the present players get. We play 8-10 hour sessions each week, so we get a lot of experience. Without the percentage awarded, the power gap grows far far too quickly and the punishment for player death is even worse. In our game, a new character begins play at a level equal to the lowest level character and without the partial experience we've ended up at times with characters as low as level 4 together with characters at level 9. Even with the partial reward we've currently hit the point where the highest level character is very nearly level 13 and the lowest is only 8. Then again, this Star Wars game is about to blow up, so it may be a moot point.

In my Dark Heresy game, the GM hands out experience based on how we move the plot along and as long as we're there for at least part of what happened, everybody gets the same experience. Unfortunately, it's a ~very~ small game, so if we're missing more than 1 person we can't even really have a game session. So even though it's very fair as to the rewards, the game gets outright canceled a lot.
A great ninja move is like great jazz. Nobody is aware of it and anyone who saw it live is now dead.