Weekly GMing – Late Players

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Another week with everyone in person, just arriving at different times. It’s common for folks to all arrive within about 30 minutes. Our group eats dinner before playing so there’s always time for talking and catching up before we play. However, for the next few months there is one player that can’t arrive until we are well into playing. Feels like that scene in “The Gamers” where the perennially missing player shows up, joins the fight, and then fades back into the background.

As a GM, it can be a pain. The game gets interrupted, explanations of what is going on and where people are. The inevitable I wouldn’t have done that, or why didn’t you do this always must be discussed. Sign…

So do you say thanks, but no thanks to the late player. No – not playing sucks.

Ideas to make the transition to another player easier and lessen interuptions

  • Don’t come in in the middle of a battle
  • Have one player catch up the latecomer as a side conversation
  • Have a plan for interruptions. Some spots are better than others
  • Alter the adventure to move focus from what the missing player normally does.

For the last point, in my case the player is one of the magic users in the group. What I can do is alter parts of the adventure to not require as much magic. We are just starting Rise of Tiamat, and it is easy enough to lessen the dependence on magic at least for the first few adventures.

Any more ideas are welcome – please post as comments.

Start Spoilers


The players finally got to attend the First Council of Waterdeep. Focus turned to the Draakhorn and finding more information. The PCs were volunteered to go and find a magic user that was the only known Draakhorn expert – conveniently lost in the see of moving ice. They took advantage of the ice castle to get most of the way there and then used an ice skimmer that they had lashed to the bottom (awesome!). After spotting an iceberg with a small settlement on the top and some very large bones stashed on the side, they made their way to the top and encountered an angry group of ice hunters. They are now guests of the ice hunters after besting the clan champion in single combat (go monk powers).

Up next is some investigation with the clan, and maybe a little searching for the lost wizard.


End Spoilers

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