Thursday, August 19, 2010

Who Owns This Character Anyhow?

When a regular player is sick…do you…

A. Cancel
B. Let the other players run the character
C. Run the character yourself (as DM)
D. Have the character stay back at the inn as too hungover or sick to adventure just now, or something similar if possible.
E. Ask the sick player what they prefer…

Follow up: if the player can’t attend due to something other than illness, does it change the above? For example: “Can’t make it - Dodgers playing Giants today!”

I’ve got a touch of the flu and had to cancel being present for a game last night. I was a little upset when the DM seemed to be pushing me to let a new player run my fella. It’s a dangerous (but maybe also good) sign that I’m getting attached to the little guy - my little flower of a dwarf I’ve nurtured these months past, just shy of his 2nd level… Sniff! Anyhow, it didn’t seem appropriate to me and I was wondering what others thought. Personally I would have gone with option D for what it’s worth.
..
On an unrelated note, I’m looking forward to using some of Kellri’s excellent necromancer NPC write-up in Knockspell #1 for the S&W game I’m DM’ing. The premier issue was great throughout but the necromancer article takes the cake. The whole necromancer concept keeps making me think of cloning vats, Frankenstein, replacement body parts and such… It might be a great way to somehow begin to transition the campaign from the fairly strict middle-ages fantasy setting I originally envisioned to the more Science Fantasy-like setting laid out in Savage Swords of Athanor and elsewhere that increasingly attracts me.

19 comments:

Gratuitous Saxon Violence said...

If the last session ended after an adventure then D.

If the game was in the middle with no plausible way for the character to leave then C (or B) but with the understanding that the character would be a wallflower, do little and could NOT die. So, no using the character as a trap detector, or speedbump.

Jeff Rients said...

D. Almost always hung over.

ze bulette said...

I'm down with C with qualifying keywords being "no plausible way" and "could not die." B presents problems for me since there may be things about or in possession of my character that I wish to keep from other players.

Gabriel said...

I rather do as GSV says, but in my last group 2 out of 5 didn't like their characters being run by others, so that meant we couldn't play if we were in the middle of something and it was not possible to go for option D.

Saludos!

Matt said...

We usually just went on without them with no explanation. Not realistic, but much easier to manage people coming in and out of a game in the middle of a prolonged adventure.

shlominus said...

d if possible, e if it isn't.

or let the missing player be captured or something and turn him into a plot.

Grendelwulf said...

Before starting a session that may get involved into a mini-campaign, I usually ask the players up front, "In the event of an emergency, etc..."

They usually tell me if they trust someone else running their character or not. Most of the time, they let me run their character because I am the neutral referee afterall. Plus, I can usually emulate their style of play enough that it doesn't seem too out-of-character.

Of course, the PC will tend to take a backseat whenever possible. And the player who owns the PC is aware they get no XP for that session, no matter what they accomplish.

Ciao!
GW

Sean said...

I'd say C.

When I started gaming as a teen the 2 times I was off ill my character was needlessly killed by the same bloke. There was seething resentment then I stole his girlfriend as payback, rotten little sod that I was.

Telecanter said...

I was surprised at how much it bugged me that the DM/players in my 4e campaign played my character when I was gone.

I came to play one night and the first thing they told me was "Yeah, you almost died by falling in a chasm." What!!!

Nah, I'm with Matt, just handwave the characters of players not present to be elsewhere . . . somehow.

Nathan P. Mahney said...

Option D is definitely the go-to solution. If there's no possible way to explain the character disappearing for a session, then it's option E - ask the absent player who he wants to run his character.

IHaveTilFive said...

I whenever I run, it's always D. If there's a convenient way to explain the absence, I'll throw it out there. Otherwise, I don't bother, and no one usually makes a big deal out of it. If there's a nitpicker who questions how I explain the absence, I usually say "I don't" or "Poof." The gaming experience requires a suspension of disbelief on so many levels, what's one more?

DrBargle said...

We discussed this at the start of a recent WFRP game. As GM, I proposed option C for times when a single adventure was spread across multiple play sessions. I was surprised at the hostility to this idea, and that some of the players would rather have option F - have the character fall into an invulnerable, unexplained coma, which would shatter the fiction entirely - than allow me, or another player, to run the character.

Trey said...

These days my answers A because I have so few players. When I was younger and did, it would be C.

David said...

In order: E, D, C, B, A.

Doc Grognard said...

Haven't thought of this in ages. Nowadays,tthe character gets played if the player isn't there, but then again, it isn't taken as an opportunity to use the character as a mine detector, either, or play it wildly out of character. Still, back when I was 19, that absolutely wasn'tthe case -we hated having our character played by others -of course, that was with a DM who let another player use my guy to mouth off to a major good guy priest, steal petty items in town, and try to bugger a stormbull (the animal, not the priests). Another time, he ruled that a character died of a heart attack when the player couldn' make it at the last minute.

So, when I started this post, it was to suggget that it was the players trust in each other, or teamwork that mattered, but after recalling the old campaign, its the DM as much as the players who I trust (now). He won't let a proxied character be played for spite or convenience or kamikazi value. Or, dare I say it: out of character.

Doc Grognard said...

So, to answer the question clearly: B,D,A. Never C. E is usually already known. If there are too many missing, then A. Break out the cards or boardgames.

Blair said...

D.

I can't wrap my head about this "letting someone else run you character" wackiness...you get the flu and someone else get's to run your PC into the grave?!

Madness I tell you, Madness!

Jarrah said...

Regular player? What's a regular player? :p

kathulhu said...

We have a guy who cancels on a regular basis because his wife won't let him out of the house, even though she knows that we have a regularly scheduled game every other Sunday. So sometimes his character stays back at the inn, when we don't need him but when we are adventuring then one of us will run him. I think that we all try to protect his character from an untimely death because we'd all feel bad if we got him killed but at the same time, we feel that if he doesn't want us to play his character then he needs to grow a pair and stop missing the game.

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