D&D 5E Cancelling games over absent player(s)

When do you cancel a game?

  • If 1 player is absent

    Votes: 10 11.6%
  • If 2 or more players are absent

    Votes: 58 67.4%
  • Never! As long as there are players and a DM, we play

    Votes: 18 20.9%

log in or register to remove this ad


I'm playing with a large group (approx 9 people, plus myself as DM). We had a full house last time, but that's unusual.

I'm planning on running when we have at least 5 pplayers, we haven't hit that low floor yet.

Anyone that is missing, their character is "forgotten". Can't contribute, can't die. Basically like they never existed. Requires some buy-in from everyone of course, but actually less buy-in than when you have to make stuff up for the critical character that is there-but-not-there. I don't like to have players having to babysit other players' characters, and I really don't want to be doing that myself either.

Everyone always gets the same XP (milestone advancement), regardless of attendance.

I encourage (but don't dictate) the party to handle treasure thusly:

All income is pooled.
Firstly, there is a pay-out for party-critical stuff:
a reserve fund (for future Raise Deads, etc)
spell components for casters (and spell-writing for the wizards)
armour for the melee folk
healing potions, antidotes, etc

Only then is the "profit" given out for characters to spend on their own stuff. (I am open to players buying magic items, using the Sane Item Prices as a basic guide).

Magic items go to the most deserving, including anyone not there, but miscellaneous stuff goes to the folk who attended.


Dances with Gnolls
Likewise as others. 5 Players and a DM. If we don't have at least 3 players and a DM, there is no game day.

Exceptions do exist. If the DM is missing or if something big is going to happen or important to a particular Character's arc. Always a full house if we start a new campaign of course.


I have a large group of 9. One of us DMs and the rest are players. It's pretty rare that all of us are there. We play if we can get 3 players or more. We don't penalize anyone for having to miss either. Typically we have about 5 or 6 at every session anyway. We divide all experience and treasure equally. If you can't make a game, your character is in the "background". Sometimes you're in the middle of a dungeon delve or something and it doesn't make much sense for that character to suddenly be gone. So it's just assumed that character is helping out in some way. They are helping to search that room but don't find anything. They are battling whatever kind of monster has attacked the group in the background. So they help but don't affect the outcome, for good or bad. Sometimes the DM may use them to pass along a quick plot point or something. Like if I wasn't there, the DM could say "well as a paladin of Helm, so and so can tell you that the..." and those kind of things. Of course, if our DM has to miss the session we don't play D&D, but we'll still get together and do a one shot of something else or play board games.


My players keep inviting more people (There's about six, possibly even seven people who might join a given session, and five "regulars"), so my general rule of thumb has evolved into: As long as at least three of you are here, we keep going forward.

bedir than

Full Moon Storyteller
I have a pool of about a dozen or so players. My goal is to have drop-in sessions so that if I'm able to run a game and I can get at least 2 PCs around we can continue to evolve the story. This is quite episodic but there have been chunks of time when the story follows the same X PCs through a multi-session arc.

The two-or-more rule seems to be pretty common. I've seen it playing with several different DMs and groups in different cities.

Me? I play when we're missing a person, but I don't run the main campaign. I run a separate one-shot adventure for the attending players' "second string" characters. It's in the same setting, and a second-stringer can eventually be promoted to the main campaign if a first-stringer dies or retires or turns into a vampire or whatever. This allows for replacement PCs with a little more backstory than "Hi, I'm the new guy", as well as giving us something to do when we're down a player.

the Jester

None of the above.

We play as long as we have a quorum (three players + DM). My groups are large enough that that usually means we have to be down 4-5 people to not make quorum.


My ideal party size for my campaigns is 4 players + DM (me). I cancel if 1 player can't make it. For the 30 years I've DM'd; dem's dah rules, all of which I make very clear before we start a campaign and again at Session Zero.

I don't want to risk that the rest of the party dies as a result of that missing player.

Remove ads


Remove ads

Upcoming Releases