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SavageBob

New group, player can't make it this week

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Hey, folks! I've been off the forums for a while, but it's good to be back. After a long hiatus, I've got a group together, and I'm GMing for the first time. We're currently running the F&D Beginner Box in a hybrid EOTE/F&D game where the players hunt down Jedi and Sith artifacts and sell them on the black market.

So, the group is still new, and we've only played two sessions. The players are nearing the finale of the adventure, but we had to cancel our third session last week due to vacations. Now this week, one of the players can't make it due to family reasons. I'm worried that if we skip a second session in a row, the game may fizzle out and die, but I also don't want to alienate the player who can't make it this week by playing without him.

That said, I could just run the other three players through some side quests, explaining that the absent player's character is off doing other things. We'd then be able to do the big boss battle and end of the adventure when everyone's back together. Again, though, I don't want to alienate the player who can't come. What would you do?

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Side Quest..."Jawas stole out WHAT???" ...run comedy night then...as they try to chase the Thieves down...maybe they stole something important to the final encounter? 

Have fun with it, no need to penalize the others when they showed up for game...

...have the other guy waiting in line at the DMV-Equivalent, being waited on by a Sloth-equivalent!...I may have seen Zootopia recently, sue me...8D 

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1 hour ago, SavageBob said:

Hey, folks! I've been off the forums for a while, but it's good to be back. After a long hiatus, I've got a group together, and I'm GMing for the first time. We're currently running the F&D Beginner Box in a hybrid EOTE/F&D game where the players hunt down Jedi and Sith artifacts and sell them on the black market.

So, the group is still new, and we've only played two sessions. The players are nearing the finale of the adventure, but we had to cancel our third session last week due to vacations. Now this week, one of the players can't make it due to family reasons. I'm worried that if we skip a second session in a row, the game may fizzle out and die, but I also don't want to alienate the player who can't make it this week by playing without him.

That said, I could just run the other three players through some side quests, explaining that the absent player's character is off doing other things. We'd then be able to do the big boss battle and end of the adventure when everyone's back together. Again, though, I don't want to alienate the player who can't come. What would you do?

Talk to your players and come to a consensus about how you want to handle these situations. There will always be times a player or two can't make it, I would look to set some guidelines so everyone knows what the expectations are.

For example, in the past for my gaming groups, the rule of thumb was "3 PCs present and we play the campaign". The absent PCs were typically not included in the session (stayed back on the ship, out shopping, or just generally not available) unless there was some critical need, at which time I just played them as a GM controlled character.

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55 minutes ago, awayputurwpn said:

Yeah, do the game session with whoever can make it. Then emphasize how important it is for everyone to show up next time!

I agree with this entirely.  Sad facts are that if you don't show up things keep rolling without you.  Letting a series wait just for one person is how groups die.

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12 hours ago, lancal02 said:

I agree with this entirely.  Sad facts are that if you don't show up things keep rolling without you.  Letting a series wait just for one person is how groups die.

Its really according to what the "family things" are.  Kind of a crappy friend to write out a buddies character because they had a death in the family or something important to do with their children.  Playing a side quest is probably better in those situations so not look like a group of jerks.  My group are currently carrying on with out me because i work 3 weeks at a time and hundreds of miles away so thats something known and expected so we all planned for absences like this.  But if it something serious and emergency you can always do something else that doesnt have to negatively effect the missing person to much to let them deal with things happening in life.

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@SavageBob Most of the sessions we play usually aren't too crucial for plot and character for everyone to be there, but if there is a session that is absolutely crucial we have started holding Career Nights.  Each player that has made it chooses a Specialization from a preselected career at Knight Level (there can only be one PC per Spec or they can all be the same Spec) and I run them through a modular encounter or custom encounter geared towards the Career.

The last one we did was the Soldier career and each of the 3 that made it choose a different spec (Medic, Vanguard, and Heavy) and interesting things happened.  While they were designing their characters I made the basic encounter and picked their gear sets.

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Player absence is the perfect opportunity to have a side mission night that focuses on fewer players and allows the building of their personal story arcs. Especially if you have a diverse group. It's easy to have the group waylaid between your plot to handle side encounters. Hassles at the spaceport, drunken night at the cantina leads to adventure, players exploring side goals like crafting, heavy social encounter night if your fighter is missing or vice versa. In the outer rim some one is always looking for something and there is always an angle. Hook on to your players back story and play a flash back episode. 

It can make for memorable moments, your remaining players decide to innocently grab a few drinks that spins into an adventure that takes place over a single night in game time. Have fun with it and your players might walk away with one of those memories that starts... "Hey remember that time we went into that skeevy cantina The Shaved Ewok..."

 

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The day our group adopted a rain-or-shine playschedule was the day that we finally got into our groove. It's good to run a one-off if the group is severely understaffed or if it's a big plot moment, but, otherwise, I recommend plodding along and having that character do something else for a session. If you cement the schedule, people will start to adhere to it more firmly. (Now, I get that this guy had a family thing, and that's a bit different, but this is just precedent.) 

My two creds. 

Edited by Qui-Gon Jinn

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