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  1. #1

    Dealing with absentees

    Hi,

    We've recently put into place a system for dealing with absentees IMC. I was wondering how everyone else handles it?

    Here's ours:
    We aim to play every 6 weeks, and plan time and date for the next session as we finish the last. We strive to plan for a date that everyone can play. This usually gives most people time to book the session before the day to day running of our lives book it for us. We aim to play for 6 hours every session.

    There are 4+ absentee warning levels:

    0: You played last session yourself.

    1: You missed last session and was played by the DM (you still gained XP)

    2: You missed last session and was written out of the story, temporarily (no xp) - or if joining the group, you fail to join and you gain no XP (obviously).

    3: You missed last session, your character didn't take part of the story, and your place in the gaming group is being put into open solicitation. If someone else takes the spot before next session, you're gone from the group, but we may want to play with you again in the future, if we have a spot in the group.

    4+: You missed last session, your character didn't take part of the story, and even if no one else wants your spot in the group, you're kicked and we don't want to play with you any longer: You're banned.



    - If, during planning of the next session, you state that you cannot make that date, but you are happy with everyone else playing, you will be played by the DM and no rise in warning levels occur.

    - If you cancel a session more than 14 days before the session is due to start, you rise one warning level.

    - If you cancel a session less than 14 days before the session is due to start, you rise two warning levels.

    - If you fail to show up for your first session, you rise two warning levels (that way, if you fail to show up for your first two sessions, we don't want to play with you again).

    - If you mysteriously fail to show up for a session without notification, you rise three warning levels.

    - The DM's warning level can never go above 0, but his failure to show up may cause players to leave the group.

    - Showing up for a session automatically puts your warning level back to 0.

    - If you cancel more than 21 days before a session is due, we may - at the DM's discretion - try to reschedule the whole session, just for you. In rescheduling succeeds, you rise no warning levels. If it fails, gaming goes ahead on the date and your warning level rises.

    - If you cancel less than 21 days before the session is due no attempt of replanning will occur.

    - You will still be included in the time/date planning of next session even if you missed the current session.

    I think this is a fairly good system; it allows people to cancel a session every now and again, if they do so in good time, but it still gives us a framework in which people understand that their failure to turn up has consequences fairly quickly.

    How do you guys handle this?
    Last edited by sunbeam60; March 12th, 2007 at 10:48.

  2. #2

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    I take the exact opposite approch.

    Show up if you can. If you can't make it, no big deal.

    I can do this because:

    All the players are friends.
    We are playing the The Worlds Largest Dungeon.

    While there are story lines in the book, its not very story driven. Nothing derails if a player doesn't show up.

    I keep all the players at the same level even if they don't show up. That way, when/if they do they can still compete. We now have a 10th level barbarian that has only played twice.

    rv
    Last edited by richvalle; March 12th, 2007 at 14:23.

  3. #3

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    I should add, we play once a week for about 3-4 hours per session.

    rv

  4. #4
    Sigurd's Avatar
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    I soo understand the tempation to have a judgemental structure in place. If people show but their game is reduced by people missing it is frustrating.

    Unfortunately I think RV has the right approach, at least for my group. We mostly have spouses, kids, mortgages, deadlines, work, and other issues, did I mention spouses, that are simply going to be more important.

    It stands to reason that if you have a structure that doesn't accomidate that most of our players have to back out completely. Some of my players or DM's are in the military and have been stationed somewhere. They can't very well say 'no, I'm gaming.'

    Ironically I think what is hurting you is your 6week interval time. I know I'd forget because I plan weekly recurring things.

    I am proud of the fact that I've never missed a scheduled game without notice (and damn few of those) but it happens. I would resent a judgemental group as much as I would enjoy the illusion of making people show up on time.


    Thats my .02

    Sigurd
    J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, "I wish life was not so short. Languages take such a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about."

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Sigurd
    did I mention spouses
    Not near enough!

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Culdraug
    Not near enough!
    Heh, yeah.

    Or kids. 3 of them put a serious crimp on your free time.

    I was having a very had time making the groups, at the time, regular games which were every other Friday. I was making, maybe, 1 in 4... my goal had been to make half.

    So I had a 4th level cleric while everyone else had 7th level characters. Then we had a run in with a level draining creature and suddenly I was 3rd level with 7th level guys. At that point it was pretty usless trying to play as I would just be outclassed by anything thrown at the party.

    Now that we play with FG it is easier to make games, but by no means a guarentee. We have one player who's company sends him off for weeks at a time to foreign countries. He doesn't make many games but we enjoy the ones he can make. When he does make a game, his halfling cleric is the same level as the rest of the characters. Though with less treasure and having less of an idea about what is going on.

    Like I said above, this works because we're all friends and running a casual game. If I was playing with strangers or trying to run a 'serious' game I would feel more like SB60 does and be ready to boot players till we had a solid group.

    rv

  7. #7
    Sigurd's Avatar
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    I think it would be fine to have some sort of carrot for players that show up. Punishments break up groups but a bonus might be fine.

    In many of the parties I play with I try to divide gold etc with an extra party share for expenses. ie. Seven shares for six players and a mythical player called Bank. Bank is usually hit for all the piddling expenses so that we have one record not 6. At high level bank is fairly rich (it takes party concensus to spend from the bank acount). Then I like to see bank used for acts of alignment or party strategic magic items.

    What do people think of dividing experience this way. Everyone gets a share, and then the attending characters split another share. You'd have to do it per session but it might be a reasonable carrot.

    Everyone has to get along, no alignment disputes or it wont work. What do people think?
    Last edited by Sigurd; March 12th, 2007 at 19:00.
    J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, "I wish life was not so short. Languages take such a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about."

  8. #8

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    Yeah, we did the same think for party gold.

    We also had a semi-complicated arrangment for magic items. (In effect everyone got a share of each item).

    You could proababy accomplish the same effect as you say above by giving a +10% or so bonus.

    In my game I figure the ones that don't show up miss out on the fun of playing... and thats enough punishment.

    rv

  9. #9
    Sigurd's Avatar
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    Challenge Rating

    It gets hard to set challenge rating and that also affects experience (especially if it is also given to absent players).

    A 3 character party is much weaker than a 6 character party. With FG not handling second characters it is real tempting to just not use players who are missing. If your front line bulwurk is gone your wizards etc... feel a mite bit pinched. DM's have to tone down the challenges or risk a TPK.

    If you reduce the challenge do you reduce the xp award?


    S
    J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, "I wish life was not so short. Languages take such a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about."

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sigurd
    It gets hard to set challenge rating and that also affects experience (especially if it is also given to absent players).

    A 3 character party is much weaker than a 6 character party. With FG not handling second characters it is real tempting to just not use players who are missing. If your front line bulwurk is gone your wizards etc... feel a mite bit pinched. DM's have to tone down the challenges or risk a TPK.

    If you reduce the challenge do you reduce the xp award?


    S
    Well, if you scale it down to match the party they should get about the same as they would have if a bigger party fought the bigger group of monsters right?

    One think I really like about WLD is that for EVERY encounter (over 1000) they give scaling directions. One to make it easier and one to make it harder. Things like "To make it harder add 1 Fire Giant, to make it easier remove one". Or, to make it easer reduce the BBEG's HP by 50, to make it harder add 30. Stuff like that. Nothing fancy but easy for me to adjust on the fly.

    Another think I like is that I'm totaly skipping Exp. Each Region in the Dungeon is made for 3 levels of characters... 1-3, 4-6 ect. I just make sure I bump them up 3 times in each region. Once early, once in the middle and once at the end. Makes my job easier.

    rv

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