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Absent players

Gamer Talk

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ok I have a question and I can't seem to find a good answer. But first backstory!

For a while now I've been running CotCT for my players and they've just reached the end of Seven Days to the Grave.

Well before moving to the final room the party, well the majority, decided to heal up after a tough fight in Hall of Pestilence. Two of the players (an archer and an sword and board fighter) though decided to charge, balls to the wall, into the sanctum (while the other players stared dumbstruck). They met Andaisin (Andaisin had time to prepare for the fight since the party inadvertently alerted the temple). Thinking they could take her down solo, rolled initiative and ended the game there.

Well all of this was two weeks ago. Coming back to tonight's game everyone is there except these two (they were at band performance). The game starts with the two (being played "ghosted") yelling "CHARGE" as they dash threw the hall leading to the sanctum. The other players roll their eyes and say "let'em die it'll be there fault for doing that last game". Well that's what happened. While the rest of the party healed up and took a few minutes to relax, team "doorknob" (as they're being called now) challenged Andaisin alone.

Round 1 - Andaisin (buffed) won init (16, the other two rolled a 9 and an 8). Her first action is to cast greater command "fall". Both of them fail their saves a 2 and a 5 on the die. She used her move action to close in on the two. There turn comes and “Dami” the fighter fails his will save. He stabs at her with his longspear but misses with both attacks. “Ty” the archer fails his save aswell and we at the table come to a mind-boggling discovery. Ty has no weapons other than his bow! So Ty attempts to stab her with an arrow and manages to hit. But only manages to lay some nonlethal damage on her.

Round 2 - Andaisin casts slay living on Dami. They both make AoO but miss. Dami’s save fumbles! He takes 52 points and is down. Ty makes his save against the greater command. He takes up Dami’s spear but misses L.

Round 3 - Andaisin makes two attacks with her scythe. One miss the other one CRITS. Well after that his character wasn’t getting back up.

So here it is. Two absent players dead. So I ask you, what would you have done? Just let the characters live? Pretend they never entered the room even though that’s what they wanted?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I added a spoiler tag.

The Exchange

As a DM, I always determine how people want their characters run in absentia and then do so. Usually people are fine with another player running their character. Occasionally, someone will only feel comfortable with their character run as an NPC by me. In any event, whatever happens during a game happens, whether or not a player is present. It sucks, but that's the way the cookie crumbles.

Who's to say that things would have gone any differently if the players had been present? If their desire was to charge ahead without the rest of the group, then chances are they'd be just as dead.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Totally agree with you, Shadowborn.

I'm always very up-front with my players from the get-go regarding characters with absent players: the characters are run as NPCs, with my honest best attempt at role-playing them.

Characters with absent players receive 75% of the normal experience award, but full shares of treasure. They know that there is always a risk of something bad happening if they aren't there.

I also let my players know what constitutes a quorum. I've currently got six players, so if only four are attending, we'll play. If three players show up, we'll either cancel, or play a one-shot, or a non-RPG (like Chrononauts or Talisman).

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