Impractical Applications (Character in Absentia)

Earlier this week, I talked about player absences. Timing was perfect, as my game’s about to deal with one: one of my players is going on foreign exchange, and even for a play-by-IM like my game, the resulting time differences are near-impossible to work around. What else could I do but write him out?

Fortunately, my setup was also pretty much perfect. The character in question, during my five weeks in the swamp sequence, ran afoul of a location of concentrated nastiness, and reacted strongly, to say the least. I saw this not only as excellent characterization, but as an opportunity. This mission of theirs is under the auspices of an NPC they know mostly for her near-obsessive devotion to her goals; however, one of her major secondary traits was a tendency to take care of her subordinates, particularly when they had undead things messing with their heads. This definitely qualified.

So when it came time to write him out, I had her show up, ready to explore this nifty new place that had once housed one of her enemies. She paused in the doorway, looked over the group—and decided that taking care of these people, particularly doing something about the damage to this one’s mind, came first. At least, that was the plan. It didn’t work out quite the way I’d expected, since some things that I’d thought were going to be resolved weren’t, and some people don’t know how to quit adding complications. But overall, it seems to have gotten the point across. The fact that I still managed to strongly hint at her gratitude to the group for what they’d done just made things better for me.

Character safely removed until player can return. Facet of other character better illuminated. And as a bonus, lots of crazy hints and things for the remainder of the group to work from. Not bad for a night’s work!

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