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Old May 19th, 2012, 02:44 AM
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Dealing with Missing Players (advice)

Hello all!

WoLT here, bringer of the GUIDES that have helped at least 300 or more of you guys so far in your DnDOG adventures.

I am happy to announce that I am going to be expanding two key areas in the very near future for the GMs guide. One being a great tutorial of free software use for battlemaps, but first I'm answering a very common question that I've been getting PM'd more frequently as of late...

I would like you guys to review my answer and consider what other advice you might add in so we can be sure to give the best advice and support to our new GMs. This isn't going to be the article format, but basically a mock up of a typical PM of this nature which will then be put into an article format.

Quote:
Q
Hey,

I'm a new game master and I'm running into a problem... How do you go about handling people who disappear from the game?

I have one user sign up, post twice and...nothing for the past week or so.
Quote:
A
The most important thing you can do here is have a policy in place to begin with, since you don't you'll need to implement one as soon as possible.

First, decide the posting rate with the group, both minimum and maximum, taking into account what happens if someone has a planned absence (getting married, moving, etc.).

Here is what I use in my private games; take what you like and modify all values to suit your group. Discuss this policy with the group when creating it as well and do your best to create a system that works for everyone, or at least, something everyone is willing to deal with.

House Rules

If the GM asks you to wait to post, you must do so.

Put EDITING in bold on the top of your post if you are constructing a post as you go and when possible use private tags and be sure to remove both when finished.

Players must post once every 48 hours or lose their turn. In the event of a lost turn, the GM will passively move their character forward in a way that does not seem to disrupt the game and seems congruent with what the character should and would actually do to the best of the GM's knowledge.

If you are in a scene with many players and NPC's, do not post more than three times per 48 hour period since the all PCs in the scene last posted to allow that other players will have a chance to participate before too much significant time passes and they miss an opportunity that they should have been afforded.

This rule does not apply IF all parties in the scene (including the GM) have responded, meaning the spirit of the rule is not to outpost others in a scene by more than 3 posts within 48 hours. *(The GM may see fit to alter this according to whim, but don't ask for it)

If you are in a scene with you and only NPC's or just one other player, you may post as often as you like, be warned though, some of it may be retroactively altered by the GM due to being too far ahead in the time line. This also applies if you jump 6 hours ahead, etc. So that we may maintain timeline congruency.

If a retroactive change occurs you are not given any consolation, sorry. Whatever you thought just happened, didn't. Thus far we've been good about this and no real issues of this kind.

This rule is designed to do as little retro-changing as possible, while still advancing the game at a nice pace and keeping minimum wait time for the players that are proactive and post regularly. Again, if you post less than once in 2 days the GM will move you forward, most often this will be done passively when possible.

You can tell who is in your scene by reading who is listed at the top of the GM's post in bold.

Announce all absences as soon as possible and if possible, communicate with the GM about your character's immediate intentions and motivations privately.

Players who quit or are unreachable for two weeks are subject to any whim of the game master up to and including character death or other permanent removal. The method chosen will be what the GM decides is best for the story while being mindful to be fair to the other party members.



First if I were you, I would look to see in the user profile if they have been active recently to see if they are blowing off your game off or are simply absent from the site. If you haven't contacted them yet, do so immediately, by email if possible, since they may be too busy to check the site but may make time for email. Get active email addresses from all players if you can. Next, if they are blowing off your game, just make a polite IC announcement that unless the player returns in 48 hours their character is forfeit and send them a similar PM. If they are missing entirely, consider slowly removing them from the campaign in a way that won't hamper the party and then begin recruiting for a replacement player, start by asking your best players for referrals.
If anyone has more to add here, their own methods or tips, tricks or techniques, please share so we can ensure the best possible advice ends up in the final draft article in the PBP GM GUIDE.
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Old May 19th, 2012, 06:46 AM
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Old May 19th, 2012, 11:09 AM
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I like the guide. I think it would be useful once a game has been set up (approved). I put a brief post requirement in my Advert thread, such as 1 per day MIN. (That is my normal, however I am on 3-4 times a day). I also tell players to let me know if they can't post. If they don't notify me and don't post in 72 hours (3 days) I drop them (or kill them).

Players WILL drop. This is the nature of the beast. Some people say they will only select players with high post counts/RPXP. I disagree for two reasons:

1. They can still drop! Life Happens.
2. If we do this, how do we get and encourage new members?

I feel the issue is more often failure to read! To me, its very weird that someone on a site as this where 100% of the communication is written that people do not completely read a post. But it happens often. I constantly reject players who clearly did not even read the advert before they applied.

I think I also agree with Krazy. Having rules UP FRONT as WoLT suggests is vital, but know that stuff will still just happen!

WoLT, the only part I disagree with is the checking the profile part at the bottom. While it is a good idea, as a DM I am also here for enjoyment...it's my hobby. I won't babysit players. I do not care why they stop posting. If they let me know, great, but if they cannot take 60 seconds to log on and PM me.."Hey Life happened - can't post for a week" then I don't need them in my game.

There are WAY too many players here that WANT to play and WILL read the posts and follow the rules. My $0.02 worth.

Good Thread!

DiG
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Last edited by Digorig; May 19th, 2012 at 11:14 AM.
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Old May 19th, 2012, 01:00 PM
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While I agree there is no right answer, I'm just trying to give a template for a good system and then let them decide how to modify it to fit the group.
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Old May 19th, 2012, 03:27 PM
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I wait for a week or two during which I try contacting via PM. Then depending on the nature of the character relative to the story, I either just write them out/ kill them at the next available moment if they aren't integral. If the character is integral, then I recruit someone to take on the character with the rights to remake the character to their liking keeping the fundamentals of the character the same (name, race, class w/ flexibility).
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Old May 20th, 2012, 01:12 AM
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I always liked a 1-1 post ratio. I post, they post. If its a character driven scene, obviously I want them to post more. With the slow rate of play here losing players just happens though.
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Old May 23rd, 2012, 05:54 AM
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UPDATE

Sample Posting Procedures and Dealing with Absent Players

One of the most important things you can do to ensure game success is have a policy in place regarding posting procedure and player absence to begin with from the start. In your advert is is customary to post your expected posting procedure and it is recommended that you advertise a willingness to alter this based on the play-group needs.

First, decide the posting rate with the group, both minimum and maximum, taking into account what happens if someone has a planned absence (getting married, moving, etc.).

Here is a sample procedure; take what you like and modify all values to suit your group. Discuss this policy with the group when creating it as well and do your best to create a system that works for everyone, or at least, something everyone is willing to deal with.

[FIELDSET="House rules for posting and player absence"]
If the GM asks you to wait to post, you must do so.

Put EDITING in bold on the top of your post if you are constructing a post as you go and when possible use private tags and be sure to remove both when finished. To be extra helpful to others, add in a comment in the OOC thread to notify that you have completed your post. This is especially helpful if you have several players in the game thread at once.

Players must post once every 48 hours or lose their turn. In the event of a lost turn, the GM will passively move their character forward in a way that does not seem to disrupt the game and seems congruent with what the character should and would actually do to the best of the GM's knowledge.

If you are in a scene with many players and NPC's, do not post more than three times per 48 hour period since the all PCs in the scene last posted to allow that other players will have a chance to participate before too much significant time passes and they miss an opportunity that they should have been afforded.

This rule does not apply IF all parties in the scene (including the GM) have responded, meaning the spirit of the rule is not to outpost others in a scene by more than 3 posts within 48 hours from the last post of all players involved in the seen. *(The GM may see fit to alter this at times)

If you are in a scene with you and only NPC's or just one other player, you may post as often as appropriate; be warned though, some of your actions may be retroactively altered by the GM due to being too far ahead in the time line and causing paradox. This also applies if you jump 6 hours ahead for travel, etc. This is done so that we may maintain timeline congruency.

If a retroactive change occurs you are not given any consolation, sorry. Whatever you thought just happened, didn't, and the details will be explained to you by the GM.

This rule is designed to do as little retro-changing as possible, while still advancing the game at a nice pace and keeping minimum wait time for the players that are proactive and post regularly. Again, if you post less than once in 2 days the GM will move you forward, most often this will be done passively when possible.

You can tell who is in your scene by reading who is listed at the top of the GM's scene intro post in bold, barring if a player leaves or enters the scene during it's unfolding.

Announce all planned absences as soon as possible and if possible in the OOC thread and communicate with the GM about your character's immediate intentions and motivations privately.

Players who quit or are unreachable for two weeks are subject to any whim of the game master up to and including character death or other permanent removal. The method chosen will be what the GM decides is best for the story while being mindful to be fair to the other party members.

To determine the nature of an unplanned absence of a player, the GM will first look at the user profile if they have been active recently. The GM will then contact them immediately, by email if possible. This is because they may be too busy to check the site but may make time for email. Get active email addresses from all players at the start of the game in case they have not permitted that you can email them through their profile.

In the event the player doesn't respond the GM will make a polite IC announcement that unless the player returns in 48 hours their character is forfeit. The GM will also send the player a similar PM through the site. If they are missing entirely, the GM will then consider slowly removing them from the campaign in a way that won't hamper the party (as it is not the fault of the other players that someone has dropped the game) and then begin recruiting for a replacement player. It is wise to start by asking your best players for player referrals.[/fiedset]

Remember, this is just a sample, you and your group may need to alter this agreement significantly to balance and accommodate the group play-style and real world commitments.
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Old May 23rd, 2012, 10:40 AM
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Thread moved to DM Mentoring.

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