Poor Attendance: Advice Needed


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His response:

Quote:
Probably an extremely good idea (and one that I was going to mention... But forgot). Also, send me the one you think you'll be calling from so I can thine add as a contact.

Oddly, he hasn't actually given me the number yet, but I'll wait a bit.

If I see a half-orc ninja and a swashbuckler in a funny hat waiting outside, I'll be sure to point them in the direction of the nearest flaky player.


Again, people have things going on in their personal lives that take priority over gaming and that's understandable...but repeated no call no shows should = the boot.

The guy clearly doesn't care enough that he's screwing up your game and also screwing it up for everyone else. And this was said in another thread, but just because it has to be done 100 times doesn't make you wrong. If a guy wants to play a half-dragon half-Kitsune Elemental Gunslinger Commando and 30 DMs tell him no, there is no obligation for the 31st DM to say yes. If you have 20 total flakes come through your game and have to let 20 go, that isn't an indicator of you necessarily.

I was an employer (well "assistant manager" sort of) and I can't count how many people we had to fire for the same crap over and over again. It wasn't an indicator of us, just that the field of employees out there was full of turds and we had to do a better job of screening new hires.

Sovereign Court

@ 3.5 Loyalist

Not really. Just googled the distance between Belgrade, Serbia and San Francisco. Althoigh there have been organ harvestig down south in kosovo during the late nineties and early 2000s.


:/
I more meant the game.

Sovereign Court

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Oh...sorry...<awkward>

Silver Crusade

Kobold Cleaver wrote:
If I see a half-orc ninja and a swashbuckler in a funny hat waiting outside, I'll be sure to point them in the direction of the nearest flaky player.

That only makes a road trip sound MORE appealing!


Alright, he's given me his number. Perhaps things will get easier from now on.

Sovereign Court

Hopefully. Looking forward to updates on the situation.

Silver Crusade

Aw, no road trip?
Guess I'd best put away the ninja outfit and wooden swords...heh.


I think I'll put 10 gp on the phone just meaning that the next time he no shows PP will get a text that he won't respond to and then a call which won't get answered or he'll be like "Oh ya dude I uh totally forgot that like I had to feed my neighbor's hamster. My bad. Maybe next week"

Project Manager

Removed a post.

Do not post personally-identifiable information (phone numbers, addresses, etc.) for yourself or anyone else.


Aw, geez. Sorry, I'm just really stupid. That's seriously inexcusable and I have no idea how it slipped by me.


Anyways, moving away from how moronic a kobold can be, I got this fun message from him just now:

Quote:

Oh…….. PARENTS

(sobs)
They planned a "family outing" for tommorow… (sighs)


It is now the evening before game day, in case anybody's wondering if time zones might make this any more convenient.


Regardless of whether its a lame excuse or not he at least gave you notice and before the day of the game at that.


I'm not denying that.


Well its an improvement at least. He's graduated to a 2nd level Flake.


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Be the Buddha, my friend.

Simply stop expecting him to show up.


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Guys, I think we're seriously missing the bigger point of all of this.

Always busy? Flimsy excuses and no shows? Out of town unexpectedly for long periods of time?

KC's friend is Batman.


I normally would just work around his attendance, but it's hard to introduce four new characters (two new players and two replacements for dead PCs) when half of the remaining party never shows up. If he'd just show up for a week or so it wouldn't be a problem--the party would be synched up again and I'd be able to proceed. As is, introductions are awkward.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I normally would just work around his attendance, but it's hard to introduce four new characters (two new players and two replacements for dead PCs) when half of the remaining party never shows up. If he'd just show up for a week or so it wouldn't be a problem--the party would be synched up again and I'd be able to proceed. As is, introductions are awkward.

Based on this, I deduce that you have 6 total characters: 2 new players, 2 "replacement" characters for existing players, 1 dedicated player, and the problem player in question.

I think the solution to introducing these characters is that the 4 "new" characters are an adventuring party already; the 5th "reliable" character joins this party and they go adventuring. The "problem" character is now a spare wheel and need not be present every time.

As for this "problem" player, he has stated that doesn't like the current game; thus it appears that he creates excuses to not be present. It seems like it is time for the adult conversation. The one where you calmly present your observations (i.e the cheating, the negative comments on RP, the lack of regular attendance, all suggest that you do not want to play this game) and get his side of the story. Then come to an amenable solution. Such as he chooses to bow out for now until you switch back to high-level play or to another game he likes. Meanwhile you remain friends (if you so choose) and socialize outside of gaming.

Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Anyways, this was half rant, but I am looking for advice. How do I get this player to normalize? How do I get him to play the 'right' way? If neither is an option, how do I just keep him from making the game harder to run?

You cannot force him to do anything. If the amenable solution above does not work and he continues to be disruptive, then I'd recommend creating and instituting a "social contract" among the gamers that lay out the ground rules, probably to include:

1. Contacting the group ahead of time if you will be absent. True emergencies are the exception.
2. No hating on other people’s RP.
3. No cheating.
4. Three strikes and you are out. Being let back in requires approval of the group (with the host/GM having final say).

Ratify this among the group to get buy in from all the other players. Then let the rules take care of the problem. One way or another, the problem goes away.

That’s all I got. I’ve had my share of problem players in the past. If they are not dealt with, they will wreck the group (and possibly friendships). I’ve seen more than one gaming group dissolve in the past because of the actions of just one person.

Liberty's Edge

Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I normally would just work around his attendance, but it's hard to introduce four new characters (two new players and two replacements for dead PCs) when half of the remaining party never shows up. If he'd just show up for a week or so it wouldn't be a problem--the party would be synched up again and I'd be able to proceed. As is, introductions are awkward.

I think it will be easier to give you advice on how to proceed with introductions in the absence of the problem player. Rather than try and manually align the stars so that he comes to your table in his full and awful glory :-))

But we need some more info about your game and PCs ;-)


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I normally would just work around his attendance, but it's hard to introduce four new characters (two new players and two replacements for dead PCs) when half of the remaining party never shows up. If he'd just show up for a week or so it wouldn't be a problem--the party would be synched up again and I'd be able to proceed. As is, introductions are awkward.

RP problem player's PC making the necessary intros, then have him disappear until the player shows up again. (If and when that ever happens.)

Not to flippant about your situation, but I think you're making it more complicated than it is.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

The other thing that occurs to me is that if he's almost never showing, it sounds like he's not actually very interested in the game. It could be a situation of he's not into the game, but doesn't want to say so because you're his friend and he doesn't want to hurt your feelings, and no one wants to kick him out of the game because he's their friend and they don't want to hurt his feelings.

So instead in the interests of not hurting everyone's feelings, everyone's frustrated and miserable. Way to go for regard for feelings.


You missed where the player straight up told KC that he enjoyed the other game better and pretty much told him he didn't like his game.

And ya, don't want for this guy to come just to bring in new people. THere's another thread in this section with a bazillion ways for the party to meet besides they all gather at the tavern etc.


Jezred wrote:


Based on this, I deduce that you have 6 total characters: 2 new players, 2 "replacement" characters for existing players, 1 dedicated player, and the problem player in question.

Well, the second-to-last is stretching things a bit, but otherwise, yup.

Quote:
I think the solution to introducing these characters is that the 4 "new" characters are an adventuring party already; the 5th "reliable" character joins this party and they go adventuring. The "problem" character is now a spare wheel and need not be present every time.

Sadly, not only are they in the middle of a rescue mission, two of the new characters have already joined the team. They haven't gotten very acquainted, and haven't yet met half the team, but they've joined. Otherwise, I'd definitely like this idea.

Silver Crusade

Someone saying they like the game isn't the same as someone feeling they like the game and just saying they still want to play so as not to hurt anyone's feelings.

I can say I like Napoleonic historical fiction but not actually, you know, like it. I might just be saying it to impress someone or to seem cool. Or to keep my social standing with the other person.


Nymian Harthing wrote:
I can say I like Napoleonic historical fiction but not actually, you know, like it. I might just be saying it to impress someone or to seem cool. Or to keep my social standing with the other person.

...or because you've just read Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell and realized how awesome that novel actually is...

Silver Crusade

Wait, what?? Have you been poking around in my closet of Forbidden Reading Materials?!? What else have you seen, man--what else have you seen?!?

We now return you to the regularly scheduled real topic at hand...

(As far as advice or opinions on this subject, I'm completely tapped at this point.)


Nymian Harthing wrote:
Wait, what?? Have you been poking around in my closet of Forbidden Reading Materials?!? What else have you seen, man--what else have you seen?!?

I'm DEFINITELY not poking around in the porn section of that closet, because then... ooh! Get a load of THAT! Is that even POSSIBLE? Oh, wait, sorry, what was I saying again?


It sounds like the closest thing there is to a solution that isn't "kick him out" is have a talk with him. To do that, I'm gonna have to get him in-person, I think, so it could be a while.

Thanks to everyone for the help.


It must be nice to have a DM so generous that he gives a 45th chance.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I have a somewhat unreliable player. Of late, it's been getting problematic.

So let me get this right. You have a player that:

- Cheats
- Doesn’t roleplay
- Makes fun of other players when they roleplay
- Doesn’t give you notice when he misses sessions
- Doesn’t appreciate your game or the hard work you do to prepare it
- Ignores communications with you
- Is a general pain in the azz

And you’re asking us if you should kick him? lol!

Look, whether he is friends with you or not, it’s time to lay down the law. Ignoring you and not giving advance warning of when he’s going to miss sessions is NOT cool. It’s disrespectful. So that has to stop.

Ask him if he really wants to play your game? Tell him it’s OK to hang out for a few hours. Maybe he’ll just answer that he’s just there to see his buds or whatever. Or stop coming.

If you want to continue having him around, just ignore the fact that his PC is there one moment and not another. Don't write any campaign specific material about him. Maybe make him a sidekick of someone else. Or have a good in-game reason why he might be in and out. Or not. It doesn’t really matter. Point is, don't waste any time making things fun for him.

Btw, I didn't read the rest of this thread, it's possible everything is already good.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yes, you either need to have a talk or... let it drop. Seriously. How important is it that he's there? You've got a group of five players plus him? The typical party is 4 -- how vital is it, really, that he be present? So he misses the story -- he clearly doesn't care about it and it doesn't sound like he adds anything to the experience.

The only reason I see a need to let it bother you is if you do, in fact, need that sixth space to be filled for some reason, in which case he either needs to attend more or leave so you can recruit a new player.

If you don't need it to be filled... why not just let it drop? Assume he won't be there and, if he shows up, great. A sixth person isn't going to make much of a difference when you're already working with a group of five. But if you think it does, just add +1 or +2 to all the bad guys' rolls when he shows up and increase the xp a little. Doesn't have to be hugely complicated.

Not trying to excuse his behavior; it sounds quite poor. But, if you're not going to kick him (and I understand why if you're all friends or he's friends with the other players), then you've really only got two options: talk to him to try to find a compromise, or let it roll of your back.


The only reason I'm this reluctant to kick Problem Player is that the same player who was upset by the last kicking is good friends with him. I worry I'd lose two players if I kicked one, at which point we'd be left with a completely fresh party of adventurers and all the previous adventures would feel like a waste of time.


I have friends...and some of them are total flakes. So if they were in my game and the DM wanted to kick them I wouldn't mind.

That being said, don't tell problem player or Friend Player that you are booting him. Rephrase it as you're "changing him from being a main PC to a cameo PC" which means he isn't banned from the table but he isn't a main character of the party..just someone that comes by once in a while to help. Since this guy is never going to show up you can revovle your game around the normal players and if he says he's coming you can just add a few more goblins for his char.

If the guy has been caught cheating in front of everyone including Friend Player I don't see why he would mind him getting an actual boot though.

Sovereign Court

Kobold Cleaver wrote:
The only reason I'm this reluctant to kick Problem Player is that the same player who was upset by the last kicking is good friends with him. I worry I'd lose two players if I kicked one, at which point we'd be left with a completely fresh party of adventurers and all the previous adventures would feel like a waste of time.

If he leaves because you kicked a problem player, you don't need him anyway. Nothing that you have fun doing is a waste of time. Nothing.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
The only reason I'm this reluctant to kick Problem Player is that the same player who was upset by the last kicking is good friends with him. I worry I'd lose two players if I kicked one, at which point we'd be left with a completely fresh party of adventurers and all the previous adventures would feel like a waste of time.

Then talk to that player. If you are worried about how they are going to react, then that's the person you need to talk to. Tell them what you've told us; surely they'll see where you're coming from.


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I honestly think Paizo should produce a book that deals with the real-world etiquette of gaming, with strategies for making this kind of thing work.

I say that because when I first started gaming back in the late Seventies this sort of conflict gobbled up a huge amount of our time and energy.

And disputes like this affect game-play. It's just not as fun sitting at a table when these personality-table-politics issues get in the way.

And it's fixable. I know from experience because we just don't have tensions like this at our gaming table any more.

Here are a couple of the fixes that work for us:

1. The social contract is that people come whenever they can and when it will be fun for them. Period. No pressure, no arm-twisting, no do-or-die. If a PC isn't there one session he/she magically vanishes. If the PC is back the next session -- poof, she/he is back in. (I subtract hit points, spells, etc. to balance game-play.) This dings the continuity a bit, sure. But the pay-off in lack of stress and funkiness is HUGE. In my experience, once things relax and get really fun, people start coming more often. That said, though, especially at particular times of life, other things are going to take priority. New relationships, jobs, classes, parents - don't try to get in the way of that stuff with your Runelords campaign. By running our table this way we literally have more players than we know what to do with on any given week.

2. Out-of-game rivalries are FORBIDDEN in game. People come to the table with baggage. Some of that is unavoidable. But we absolutely forbid any back-stabby, gang-uppy, odd-man-outism at our table. At first, I had to say this a couple of times a game. "We're here to have fun - and that means absolute coolness player-to-player. Your only enemies here are my BBGs." But after a couple of months of that, guys just got it and knocked that crap off. We still have two brothers who sometimes snipe at each other instinctively, but then they'll glance sheepishly around the table and say, "Sorry, sorry" and get back to rolling dice.

3. Recruit more players. In my experience, the way to build a thriving game table isn't to try to hold onto players. You should be looking for new ones and putting on games that make all kinds of folks want to come. I'm not sure why, but it seems like problem players can smell a fragile gaming table. They know that their $*(W* will be tolerated. But if you've got a big group of eager gamers committed to the game, that kind of dopiness just begins to feel more and more marginal.

4. Be firm. This isn't easy, but it's necessary. Once you figure out what you're comfortable with and what you're not comfortable with, draw some firm lines in the sand. But be darn sure that they are lines you really care about and you aren't just engaging in some kind of rivalry. In my game, I'm firm about computers and book-reading at the table. I don't allow it, don't tolerate it. I don't allow PC on PC violence. I don't tolerate overt plot-destruction. Sandboxing? Fine. But if I see that you're out to fudge the basic narrative, for some reason, I step into meta-game mode and say "Knock it off."

I know this sounds lecturey. But the truth is that I played a lot of really weird, tense, unfun D&D before we figured out that it just doesn't have to go like that.

--Marsh


Captain Marsh wrote:

Here are a couple of the fixes that work for us:

That's great advice. I think we've come from the same place, gaming wise. I've listed your post for future reference.

On #1. That's exactly what I do. For some reason when "everyone" had to attend, I had poor attendance and we could only game every 2-3 months. Now that "your attendance is optional", almost every can attend every 3-5 weeks. It makes no sense but it's true.

On #2, haven't had that for years, but I've had it in the past. Arguing with the GM is a big one here, a little is fine, a lot is not.

On #3. Works with #1. I have 7 players and at any session I'm missing 1-2 of them. It means if someone is missing, game days still continue.

On #4. Absolutely. Sometimes you have to lay down the law. But... hopefully you're a reasonable person.


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Captain Marsh wrote:

Here are a couple of the fixes that work for us:

1. The social contract is that people come whenever they can and when it will be fun for them. Period. No pressure, no arm-twisting, no do-or-die. If a PC isn't there one session he/she magically vanishes. If the PC is back the next session -- poof, she/he is back in. (I subtract hit points, spells, etc. to balance game-play.) This dings the continuity a bit, sure. But the pay-off in lack of stress and funkiness is HUGE. In my experience, once things relax and get really fun, people start coming more often. That said, though, especially at particular times of life, other things are going to take priority. New relationships, jobs, classes, parents - don't try to get in the way of that stuff with your Runelords campaign. By running our table this way we literally have more players than we know what to do with on any given week.

One of the all-time greatest house rules I ever read here on the forums was "the Kenny Method": if a player misses a session, their PC is brutally killed by the first trap, monster, or hazard the party encounters. When the player returns next session, their character rejoins the party and the other players are forbidden from ever mentioning the death.

I wish I could remember who to credit for that.

Sovereign Court

Evil Lincoln wrote:
Captain Marsh wrote:

Here are a couple of the fixes that work for us:

1. The social contract is that people come whenever they can and when it will be fun for them. Period. No pressure, no arm-twisting, no do-or-die. If a PC isn't there one session he/she magically vanishes. If the PC is back the next session -- poof, she/he is back in. (I subtract hit points, spells, etc. to balance game-play.) This dings the continuity a bit, sure. But the pay-off in lack of stress and funkiness is HUGE. In my experience, once things relax and get really fun, people start coming more often. That said, though, especially at particular times of life, other things are going to take priority. New relationships, jobs, classes, parents - don't try to get in the way of that stuff with your Runelords campaign. By running our table this way we literally have more players than we know what to do with on any given week.

One of the all-time greatest house rules I ever read here on the forums was "the Kenny Method": if a player misses a session, their PC is brutally killed by the first trap, monster, or hazard the party encounters. When the player returns next session, their character rejoins the party and the other players are forbidden from ever mentioning the death.

I wish I could remember who to credit for that.

Whoever thought of that should get a medal. Implementing it in my game post haste!


Alright, I'm gonna have a talk with him this Sunday (or on Skype text chat if he doesn't show). I'll see if there's a reason he hasn't discussed for his nonattendance. Unless he can assure me convincingly that his attendance will pick up, I'll be reducing his role to that of a Guest Star.

Sovereign Court

You're too nice.


Yeah, I'm pretty sure I am, but I'll give this a try. :P

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