Page 655 - Brief Missioning

3rd Oct 2015, 6:00 AM in The Last Roundup
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Brief Missioning
Average Rating: 5 (3 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 3rd Oct 2015, 6:00 AM edit delete
We didn't have a Dynamic Duo session this week due to at first exciting and then later regrettable circumstances, but we did have the epic finale to Mawlers Take Manehattan this week! Yes, it is the finale. Yes, it is epic.
Session 11 - Fire in the Sky: Libsyn YouTube

Notice: Guest comic submissions are open! Guidelines here. Deadline: January 27th, 2023.



ANW 3rd Oct 2015, 6:44 AM edit delete reply
Guess the order time.
Who will get their tickets when?
We know the first two, but what about the rest?
Twilight Sparkle
Pinkie Pie
Rainbow Dash
Archeo Lumiere 3rd Oct 2015, 12:00 PM edit delete reply
Twilight has hers already, flutters is earning hers this time, character arc for AJ is next, but no ticket.
RileaSW 3rd Oct 2015, 6:48 AM edit delete reply
Story Time!

Tell us when a player wasn't around, and neither was their character for completely different reasons.

For me... the closest I can think of is when my GURPS GM decided to kill my character offscreen when I was trying to sell plasma. Even after I called and informed the group I would be arriving late.
Digo 3rd Oct 2015, 7:49 AM edit delete reply
It was fairly easy in Shadowrun to write out characters if their player wasn't around. It was commonplace for players not to make it, so I'd adjust missions to only requires the skills of who showed up.

On the other hand...

In a D&D game, the party was exploring a pretty extensive dungeon when the team sorcerer decided to split off and go down a different path. Session ended there. The following session, the player didn't show and so the party was without their sorcerer. Who was lost somewhere in the dungeon.

And of course the party didn't want to leave the dungeon without their sorcerer so that required some fancy modding of the adventure path to have the sorcerer show up later. Just so the players would eventually leave!
Boris Carlot 3rd Oct 2015, 9:30 AM edit delete reply
We got ambushed by kobolds at the end of one session. I missed the next, where we won the fight and reached our destination. GM declared that my character got ganked and dragged off just before the fight started, managed to defeat his captors, wandered lost for a bit and happened to arrive at the destination just after the rest of the party figured out the "open the door" puzzle that finished the session. Seemed a pretty neat solution to me 'cause it was how he handwaved me getting enough XP to level up with the rest of the group too.
Digo 3rd Oct 2015, 10:13 AM edit delete reply
That was nice of the GM to keep you with the rest of the party leveling.
Raxon 3rd Oct 2015, 12:46 PM edit delete reply
Had a guy who was in poor healh, and could only make it to about half the sessions. Still, he was a great guy, and we all liked him. We came to the conclusion that his character was attending weddings and funerals whenever the player couldn't make it.

Naturally, I suggested they were his own weddings, and that's how our cancer riddled friend became a black widower.
Digo 3rd Oct 2015, 7:46 PM edit delete reply
Interesting. Did he know about that? If so, his thoughts?
Raxon 3rd Oct 2015, 8:07 PM edit delete reply
He knew. He thought it was funny.
BrownDog77 3rd Oct 2015, 1:21 PM edit delete reply
When it comes to missing characters because of absent players, we usually go the route of "Oh they kind of just disappeared for a bit," which is absolutely hilarious to us, and we'll even call it out as characters.

In our Star Wars Campaign though, our Half Insane Technology Savvy person's player couldn't make it in time, and this was after a cliffhanger where we were caught in a collapsing building. We were all hospitalized by Gangsters and released to do a job for them, so since she was a tiny character and mine is a 7 foot tall Lizard Alien,we concluded that he stuck her still unconscious body into his backpack and carried her around.
This actually worked, because the player came in late and right when we needed her for hacking, so out of the Back Pack she popped.
aylatrigger 3rd Oct 2015, 10:51 PM edit delete reply
After going into the plane of sweets/Laughter in my ponyfinder game (we were doing planescape...the plane's images were taken from Charlotte's Realm of Madoka Magika), one of the characters found a secret door...and did not tell the rest of the party. Instead, he went in himself, quietly. And the next few sessions he had tests, so he ended up missing anyway.

...That one is pretty tame, though. But usually my parties just have characters of people who are gone, 'Be Mark' (See The Gamers for the reference... Actually, just go see it now. Even if you have seen it before.)
Winged Cat 4th Oct 2015, 12:50 PM edit delete reply
Not too long ago, one of my players had to skip a session due to IRL drama.

This was in the middle of a civil war that the PCs had indirectly caused, and had decided to end in favor of one side. Her character was effectively the group's berserker. (This was a Fate-based game, so no character classes, but the concept was certainly there.) She and her adopted child of unworldly power (another PC) had split off from the party last session; I had been planning combat when the party reunited, but this is far from the first or worst last minute alteration I've had to pull, and the rest of the players seemed to be in the mood for social encounters that session anyway.

So the party found her unconscious but otherwise unharmed, the only living or immediately recognizable thing (other than that child PC hovering protectively over her) in a large field of char and melt that, on further examination, turned out to have previously been the majority of the opposition's armored forces. Given the character's history, no one was the least bit surprised ICly or OOCly, and they did not even bother asking the child for details. They spent most of the rest of the session talking the war's victors into war crime trials for the other side's leaders and orderly elections to choose the new government, instead of torture-and-execution retribution followed by a new civil war.

The berserker woke up a few hours later, during the next session when her player was able to attend again, just in time to help set up the next plot arc.
Tyrantviewer 5th Oct 2015, 1:52 AM the toad wizard edit delete reply
My last group had a wizard(the toad wizard I believe I have talked about before), whose player had other commitments and kept missing sessions- and as luck had it he kept coming back right before we either finally beat the current foe, or before we found the loot.

We just forgot about his character when this happened- In retrospect it was like he was gandalf- who kept disapearing during the dwarves' encounters until the very end. But it became a running joke that he only came back for the loot. If anything in character I would think he just kept finding ways to hide or scamper off during the biggest fights- and considering the biggest involve a swarm of anti-magic minions- that was probably wise.
Desparil 5th Oct 2015, 6:53 AM edit delete reply
Not the "for completely different reasons," but this is a pretty common feature of old-school style gaming. Generally a dungeon excursion was expected to last a single session - either it would be completed in that time, or the party would leave to deposit treasure in a safe place and rest up before sallying forth once more. If someone wasn't there, then his or her character just didn't go on the adventure and was assumed to be otherwise occupied.
Joe the Rat 6th Oct 2015, 6:16 AM Many Worlds, Many Methods edit delete reply
I've got a few that pop out on occasion (one with random familial issues, one who starts at about 2am their local time. Sleep happens). Also, I take a week off here and there, but I'm god, so the world kind of goes on hold on those days. But I've been exploring options.

What we have done most often is "missing player, passive character" The character is present, but relatively uninvolved *unless* their specialty is required, then they do just that. I try not to run combats when the fighty types are missing, but accidents happen. My one rule is to *not* kill someone's character if they are absent that week, though the amount of notice I have does tend to affect their health upon return.

For missing characters: In the past, I've toyed with "vanishing flu" epidemics. All of a sudden, poof! you're gone. I actually used this as spoooky story point. Our resident elf was out for the week, and at the same time we were getting a new player, starting in the middle of a dungeon. So the elf turned a corner, there was an explosion, and the new character was standing there. No idea how it happened. The following week, the elf "poofed" back into the game, standing in an explosion of blood that started seeping under the door of the room the party was camped in. They were not terribly inclined to open the door and let him in. It was a mystery at the time (where he went, who's blood was that), which has since slipped from memory. It will be interesting when they start playing with an acquired artifact, and learn that some of the "lolrandom" stuff that's been happening actually has a reason behind it...

When we've been topside, it is pretty easy to simply have the missing characters be off on their own side missions. Last week, our rogue was busy trying to track down a henchman that went missing.

I've come across a variant akin to Schroedinger's Party - using Many Worlds as an explanation. There are myriad alternate realities where the party is engaged in this particular adventure. The specific character mix that shows up tells the tale from one reality - what the missing character did previously was, for the intents of *that session* performed by someone else. Next week, we shift to a world where the character was there and participated. The party tends to stockpile loot and divvy at the end, so characters get their share of wealth, but may be a session or two behind on XP.

If I can get buy-in on this, I can stop running missing PCs in the background, and add "evil twins from an alternate reality" as story option. I'm tempted to set it up and have the players run the social side of their doppelgangers: A ruthless, devil-may care elf warrior mage, the hedonistic, dishonorable monk, the level-headed and rational warlock who is running from her Patron, the chaste and cautious rogue, and the life-loving, spiritual and highly empathetic gnome cleric with his very-much alive squirrel companion.
Guest 8th Oct 2015, 8:12 PM edit delete reply
One of our players was out for a session (for finals week, as I recall). His character, on the other hand, was the subject of a friendly abduction by a twenty-foot-tall Norsewoman.
Specter 3rd Oct 2015, 7:52 AM edit delete reply
Ominous hat in the last panel. ...

*Checks something*

Or, that's where Applejack left her hat a few pages ago.

On the brighter side, I can think of a group who needs this level of planning.
Bed Head 3rd Oct 2015, 8:05 AM edit delete reply

I've been running a Pathfinder game for almost a year now. Been a lot of fun, but on a few rare occasions the party Paladin had to miss a session.

The last time this happened, due to his player feeling sick, we played it in game that the Paladin was staying in town to make sure it was safe while the rest of the team explored the dungeon (a haunted mansion that doubles as an important historical sight for the town). Shouldn't be a problem, right? I mean, what're the others going to do, burn the place to the ground?

Fast forward to just after the team fights a monstrous otherworldly bird at the top levels of the mansion and that's exactly what happens. Dungeon is burned down, and even the other Lawful Good party member (the Monk) doesn't feel bad about destroying an irreplaceable piece of history.

Our Paladin has not missed any sessions since then.
Cliff Snowpeak 3rd Oct 2015, 8:40 AM edit delete reply
I'm a big fan of using Schrodinger's Party. That is, if a player isn't at the table, then his character isn't in the party.

Not that they're kicked out, but that they just aren't there and were never there. And when the player comes back, then their character is back in the party and was always in the party.

I started this after a summer during college, where some of my players were in town, some where leaving for part of the summer, and some would go out of town for a week or so. Trying to explain why the party changed every other week got to so convoluted, I just threw up my hands in defeat.

The amount of time spent justifying a character's absence (especially if it was in the middle of a dungeon) was never worth the effort. It was much simpler to imagine we were playing in an alternate universe where they never existed in the first place.
Nixitur 3rd Oct 2015, 12:37 PM edit delete reply
That's an alright solution, but I can only think that that would make distributing loot a pain where nobody is happy.

Let's say a player is missing and you get some fat loot from a dungeon. The loot is distributed among the present party members according to what makes sense.
Then, next week, the player comes back. If you assume that the character was there during the dungeon run, then logically, that character should have some of the loot.
But if the loot consists of some special or even unique items, then you can't just conjure up more of them to give to the previously absent player. Similarly, taking loot away from other party members is just going to leave the players disgruntled. This would be even worse if, say, your "stab people with swords" player is missing when the party finds a wicked sword.

And hell, just in general, with all the bonds the characters inevitably forge, I don't understand how you could explain that a person was never in the party, unless the players don't care about roleplaying at all.
Disloyal Subject 3rd Oct 2015, 1:55 PM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
My 40K GM uses this. (Deathwatch at the moment.) It actually works really well, and doesn't really hurt roleplaying - it just means that PCs can't interact with absent PCs. Even a party if 3 can have plenty of interesting intraparty roleplay, and that's without considering the NPCs.
Those of us who NEED some kind of explanation just figure that the Inquisition is altering our memories.
terrycloth 4th Oct 2015, 10:28 AM edit delete reply
That's easily solved with a bit of metagaming when a similar thing happens in our group. The players know if there was any specific loot that the missing person would have wanted, and coins and things are easy enough to split up X ways without anyone really caring.
Albedoequals1 3rd Oct 2015, 3:22 PM edit delete reply
I find it easiest to just take control of a missing player's character and just have them abstain in any roleplaying or puzzle encounters. That way, they still get credit/blame, xp and loot like everyone else.
FanOfMostEverything 4th Oct 2015, 5:45 AM edit delete reply
My current campaign is in a city, so I can just say that missing players' characters have other concerns they have to address... assuming we didn't stop in the middle of a fight or an infiltration. Which is often.
Tyrantviewer 5th Oct 2015, 9:17 AM Exactly edit delete reply
yes this is just what my group did- see story above- I think I was the only one that didn't miss a session- though it was only relevant with our wizard- who kept showing up again just in time for loot- the last time it happened this included a fight against a mimic so he wasn't completely useless- then he lied about what some of the magic items did.

It never really became a problem- except when we wished we could have some magical assistance beyond my own meager means (dragonfire adept) and the subtle back and forth of my social savvy character seeing through him lead to some interesting roleplay- I think I tricked him into whereing a cursed ring - We couldn't nail down exactly what it did but my arcana roll was higher than his and hinted of negative side effects- and he gave me a ring of the ram- thinking it did nothing in character
j-eagle12212012 3rd Oct 2015, 10:16 AM edit delete reply

I'm on session eight of Mawlers take Manehatten I'm going to power through the rest of the sessions today. You said you did the Finale last week, does this mean that tomorrow you will be doing Fallout is Dragons session? Even if you aren't are you at least livestreaming? If so what time? Is it 7pm eastern?
Newbiespud 3rd Oct 2015, 12:49 PM edit delete reply
Normal session time is 7pm Pacific, or 10pm Eastern.

Alas, this weekend I might not be streaming at all. I have some irritating obligations.
j-eagle12212012 3rd Oct 2015, 6:56 PM edit delete reply
Ok 10pm eastern got it. I set up a hitbox account under my OC name JurriRig so I can comment on your next session. I just finished watching the Dynamic Duo stream Replay on your channel and only have the Mawlers take Manhatten Finale to watch and then I am all caught up...took about a month but it was worth it, love all the charecters but Flotsam is still my favorite (with Xencarn a close second)
Nixitur 3rd Oct 2015, 12:27 PM edit delete reply
I don't know if I just missed this before, but Rainbow Dash's player actually using the character names instead of "the druid" or "the rogue" as she did before is a nice touch.
Winged Cat 4th Oct 2015, 12:55 PM edit delete reply
Yay for character development in action!
Zaranthan 5th Oct 2015, 7:42 AM edit delete reply
Development is great, but the last panel highlighted a slight issue with the writing: the players don't have NAMES. Nobody, no matter how obsessed with the "everything you say is in character" rule they are, would ever say "Applejack's player had to bring her brother to the doctor" instead of "Mary had to..."
CCC 6th Oct 2015, 12:46 AM edit delete reply
Perhaps they all just named their characters after themselves...
█████ 6th Oct 2015, 1:11 AM edit delete reply
Online gamers regularly refer to people by their tag rather than their name if their main source of interaction is through the game.

And when you refer to a particular person by a particular name 100% of the time (or close to it) and you only actually meet that one person in that one environment that tends to be the name that sticks.
Lilystar 6th Oct 2015, 2:02 PM edit delete reply
I often end up having to leave one of my games early, and I knew this during character creation so I built a character that could disappear and reaper with her player.

A relatively simple combat style that could be easily handed over to one of the other players; and the ability to stealth so well that none of the other party members would be able to see her standing next to them if she didn't want to be seen. Tends to troll the party by hiding in plain sight.

So when I leave, the elf is stealth-ing and can't be bothered helping unless the party is under attack. And if she gets forgotten about or fails to react to something important whats to say she didn't wander off while sneaking, after all you can't be sure she's there unless she is in combat.