Missing a gaming session: we’ve all done it at some point. Something came up, plans got shifted, work ran long, blah blah blah. The reasons are as varied as the day is long. However, we all know that there are only three morally acceptable reasons for missing a gaming session: an illness that is both highly contagious and debilitating (if the illness has only one of those traits, it isn’t acceptable), a death in the player’s family (or of the player him or herself), or the attendance of a CON. Therefore, if a player misses a session for any reason other than the three listed above, they need to be punished. We at High Level Games have compiled the most common excuses given for players’ absences and have provided you with the suitable response.
1. The excuse: work/school (e.g. ran late/was rescheduled/business trip)
The punishment: the player is forced to spend the entirety of the following session with his or her character pursuing a skill or trade- the duller, the better (e.g. professional whittler, understudy of an opera singer). Make them role-play as much as possible and roll frequently throughout to determine their success. Make sure to shame them for prioritizing fiscal or professional responsibility over your fantasy fun.
2. The excuse: not feeling well (i.e. a sickness not meeting the above criteria)
The punishment: their character is afflicted with a magical ailment with the same symptoms they were experiencing and assign stat penalties. For added joy, make these permanent for their character. We’ll see who misses again because of the sniffles when every time it happens, their character gets a permanent -1 to all stats (and increasingly worse sniffles).
3. The excuse: attending a different social function
The punishment: the player loses all levels in their current character class and gains that many levels in bard. If they’re such a social butterfly, then their character will become one too. Apply this punishment even in game systems which don’t include the bard class. How rude of them to have a social life outside those sitting at this table!
4. The excuse: spending time with a significant other
The punishment: their character is spayed or neutered if they roll a natural 1 during their first combat next session. If they avoid that, they must attend a mandatory abstinence class given by the clerics of Pelor, God of Light (or other deity according to your game). If they survive THAT, their character will then submit to an STD health checkup by Grognar the handsy troll. If they endure that, then you can let them off the hook. I mean, love is a beautiful thing.
5. The excuse: car trouble/lack of transportation
The punishment: kill their character’s horse. If they don’t have a horse, give them a horse and then kill it. That’ll teach them to have things out of their control malfunction.
6. The excuse: life’s just super busy right now
The punishment: their character loses all levels in their current character class and gains that many levels in wizard. Then, ban them from using a computer to look up spell descriptions and assign them spells from all applicable supplemental rulebooks. And they thought their life was busy before…
7. The excuse: too tired/overslept
The punishment: their character will be the target of any subsequent sleep spells cast during the course of the campaign. Also, on an unrelated note, all enemies, down to the humblest bandit or kobold, gain the power to cast the sleep spell as a racial power once per day.
8. The excuse: took Exlax instead of Immodium
The punishment: don’t worry about it.
So there you have it, the rational responses to your common excuses. The next time someone skips out on a session, don’t get mad, get even. *Editor’s Note, it pains me to even add this, but I am. The sarcasm is strong with this article. Please consider that before you explode.
- Jake is the Texas correspondent for High Level Games. The last time a player missed a session in his campaign, the offender returned to find his character chained and ball-gagged to the side of the ship.
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.