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D&D General That one player who cancels at the last day

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I would say, since it was him who suggested you find an extra player so game can still happen if he can’t make it, you should do so. Additionally, since you are concerned he might be disengaging from the game, just ask him directly if he’s still having fun with the game. He’ll let you know what he needs.
 

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aco175

Legend
Cancelling happens. I had to cancel a few weeks ago due to a sprinkler problem at work and I needed to stay. My brother deals with propane and is on call in the winter and sometimes he gets a service call at night when someone has no heat. My father is 1/2 retires, so he is always around and my son is in school still, but is he skips his homework he cannot play. So, it happens.

If it is happening more frequently, then it is more of a problem for everyone. He seems to sense this and offered the route of another player to fill in. i would think that would be fine. A 4th or 5th player at the table would fill out things, but add another person to cancel if needed. You can all agree that you would play with 3 players, but not only 2. There are other threads about how to handle missing PCs and if they tag along or magically disappear for the session.
 

Tom Bagwell

Explorer
As long as we have enough players to play, and the cancelling player at least made an attempt to let me know in advance (or missing was unavoidable and last-minute), then it doesn't bother me.

I've had more problems with GMs cancelling. If I have to drive 40 minutes to get to your house, then don't SEND A TEXT 20 minutes before game time cancelling. I don't read texts while driving. Also, don't decide to cancel the game so last minute that I've just pulled into your driveway after the aforementioned 40-minute drive.
 

Rafael Martin

Explorer
I am the DM of a group of three excellent players. They're very good and that's almost a problem: I enjoy playing with them so much I dread the time when for some reason or another we won't be able to play anymore.

We play once a week, using Roll20. At the end of the session, we immediately schedule the next one. This has been going on regularly for all summer.

Except for one time, when a player, let's call him A, had to cancel at the last day for "work reasons". He's a computer programmer, but I dunno, maybe computer programmers gotta work at night too sometime. Or wake up too early. I didn't ask, because I didn't want to make him feel guilty for not being able to join.

Ok, so, today it happened again: he cannot make it all week for "work reasons". This time I'm already beginning to get paranoid about it.

So I've decided to skip the week and postpone to next week, so he doesn't feel excluded. He however suggested we may also find another player so if someone cannot make it the others can still play: well, this line made me suspicious. What was he implying?

This is a bummer because the other two players always make it on time. And, because mr. A is the only player who's more quiet than the others during the session, but I do always find ways to engage him, and most importantly he is very good when not keeping quiet, so I always assumed he was simply more shy than the others. Now for the first time I begin to wonder if he just isn't into DnD as much as the other two.

I do tend to overreact at times, so am I reading too much into the whole situation?

How should I approach this? Do I start searching for a 4th player as he himself suggested, or would that make him feel like I am replacing him?
Yes replace "Andrew" immediately! Its clear to me he doesn't want to play with your group anymore!
 

Bird Of Play

Explorer
I want to thank you all a lot for the sound advice!! I really appreciated. Y'all rock!

Yeah, it's the only time he canceled last minute so far, so I guess there's a fair chance I'm being exaggerated in my reaction. It's just that my schedule is so regular I have a hard time imagining someone suddenly canceling for work reasons, and, as someone here pointed out, "for work reasons" can sound a lot like a generic excuse.

As for playing with a missing player: generally that wouldn't be a problem, but the reason this little group is so special to me is because they do an excellent job working inside the story and enjoying it, the downside of that being that one of the protagonists suddenly missing mid-plot is not as easy to deal with as it normally is.

So far, I've decided to wait next week and see what happens. I'm thinking to add a fourth player to the game, although I need to find someone who fits (I'm so used to unfortunately ending up with players who prefer a more hack'n'slash experience or who roleplay anime-ish characters....). But this is not the moment, it'll feel like I am wanting to exclude him if I immediately pick up his statement that we might find a fourth guy.

Meanwhile, I went all socially awkward by messaging mr A with something on the lines of "aha, I hope you didn't think I'm pouty bro..... I'm just so pissed that you put your actual job over DnD! XP "...... but my sarcasm got lost as he didn't reply to the joke.
 

aco175

Legend
People type things on this site all the time that comes across wrong from their intent. Worse is when it comes across wrong for the group of people here and your joke should not have been posted in the first place. People tend to put the winking emoji ;) to tell that you are using jokes or sarcasm, but still it does not always come across when you type. I wouldn't feel bad on your end for reaching out.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Another IT guy here - between on-call and being salaried, you end up with a lot of weird hours. For ex., we have an upgrade this weekend that required I cancel our biweekly D&D game, and a few nights ago I was involved in an upgrade that went sideways keeping me on the clock until 8 pm! Thank goodness these days I get to work from home for a lot of these late-night shenanigans, after 20+ years...

Some people just don't get the luxury of a job that ends at 5 PM every day.
 

Considering this is only the second cancelation, maybe we can not 'talk' to them about it and avoid some unnecessary confrontation over nothing?

I would be all kinds of not okay with my friends giving me an attendance review over missing game twice.
 

Bird Of Play

Explorer
Considering this is only the second cancelation, maybe we can not 'talk' to them about it and avoid some unnecessary confrontation over nothing?

I would be all kinds of not okay with my friends giving me an attendance review over missing game twice.

It was more about the vibe.
Last-minute cancels don't sit well with me, because honestly, unless you have an emergency, why would you cancel at the last minute? For work? What kind of day job prevents you to play after dinner, for a whole week? It even is counterproductive because I'd really like to see what your productivity is like when you're kept after 8 hours to keep working.

I mean, the whole thing gave me off a "I just don't feel like playing today so I'm making an excuse, and to heck if it ruins everyone else's plans".
 

Welcome to the board!

I don't mean to sound rude, but are you and your group quite young? With family commitments and urgent work responsibilties, having several weeks were one cannot find time to play is pretty normal.

Heck i've had weeks where i've had a hard time getting enough sleep.

So I wouldn't worry about it.

They may be feeling bad about the game cancelling because they can't make it.

But like others said, the only way to solve an out of game issue is out of game.
 

Bird Of Play

Explorer
I don't mean to sound rude, but are you and your group quite young? With family commitments and urgent work responsibilties, having several weeks were one cannot find time to play is pretty normal.

I'm 37 years old.
My life is more regular and I have more free time in the evening now, than when I was a teenager.
I guess I'm a white fly!
 



jasper

Rotten DM
I am the DM of a group of three excellent players. They're very good and that's almost a problem: I enjoy playing with them so much I dread the time when for some reason or another we won't be able to play anymore.

We play once a week, using Roll20. At the end of the session, we immediately schedule the next one. This has been going on regularly for all summer.

Except for one time, when a player, let's call him A, had to cancel at the last day for "work reasons". He's a computer programmer, but I dunno, maybe computer programmers gotta work at night too sometime. Or wake up too early. I didn't ask, because I didn't want to make him feel guilty for not being able to join.

Ok, so, today it happened again: he cannot make it all week for "work reasons". This time I'm already beginning to get paranoid about it.

So I've decided to skip the week and postpone to next week, so he doesn't feel excluded. He however suggested we may also find another player so if someone cannot make it the others can still play: well, this line made me suspicious. What was he implying?

This is a bummer because the other two players always make it on time. And, because mr. A is the only player who's more quiet than the others during the session, but I do always find ways to engage him, and most importantly he is very good when not keeping quiet, so I always assumed he was simply more shy than the others. Now for the first time I begin to wonder if he just isn't into DnD as much as the other two.

I do tend to overreact at times, so am I reading too much into the whole situation?

How should I approach this? Do I start searching for a 4th player as he himself suggested, or would that make him feel like I am replacing him?
MR. A is hinting he is leaving the group. He may have a valid reason or not. Find another player. I quit playing 2004. One of the reasons was the group could not start on time.
 

Last-minute cancels don't sit well with me, because honestly, unless you have an emergency, why would you cancel at the last minute? For work?
Yes for work. Jobs that actually end at the end of the day or week are increasingly rare these days. There's productivity to suck out of our caracasses and early graves to fill.
What kind of day job prevents you to play after dinner, for a whole week?
Computer programming. Like especially, as has been discussed.
It even is counterproductive because I'd really like to see what your productivity is like when you're kept after 8 hours to keep working.
Actual logic has nothing to do with the recommendations of a 10,000 dollar an hour consultant hired to tell the higher ups what they want to hear.
I mean, the whole thing gave me off a "I just don't feel like playing today so I'm making an excuse, and to heck if it ruins everyone else's plans".
The problem here lies more in your cynicism than your friend trying to not be killed by society due to insufficient 'productivity'.
 

Also, I know we love this hobby, but it's just a game. Sometimes people don't feel like it and even if it were that case here, that's okay too. We should care more about our friends than whether or not we get to home invasion some goblins one day in a week.
 

Dausuul

Legend
It was more about the vibe.
Last-minute cancels don't sit well with me, because honestly, unless you have an emergency, why would you cancel at the last minute? For work? What kind of day job prevents you to play after dinner, for a whole week?
...Computer programming. That kind of job. As half a dozen people have pointed out, this is common in the industry. And unless Player A is an aspiring novelist or musician or something, it's not a "day job," it's his job, period.

I'm with @Vaalingrade. With two cancellations, only one of which was last-minute, you do not have reason to have A Talk about commitment and attendance. You cannot assume that everyone's job is a nice steady eight-to-five with no weird hours and no overtime. And you certainly cannot expect people to put D&D above their employment.
 

aco175

Legend
I wonder if an online game is easer to blow off than an in-person game? I have never played online, but would think that like so many other computer related things- it is easier to not care as much and drop it for other things. I mean, we all see how easy it is on social media to say things that would get you punched in the face if you said it in person. I'm not saying that is what is going on here, but in general, is it easier to not be as invested online as to actually see the people and know them more than just online?
 

Bird Of Play

Explorer
MR. A is hinting he is leaving the group. He may have a valid reason or not. Find another player. I quit playing 2004. One of the reasons was the group could not start on time.

This is what I'm worried about and what got me a bit bitter: no hint whatsoever that he'd suddenly want to leave the group, and we all seemed to be having a great time so far.
I hope his comment about finding a fourth player was either a reasonable suggestion or a spur of the moment reply, but not the hint that he wants to leave us like that.

Now, to reply about the general situation. My rule is that all I ask out of my players is 3 hours a week. Nothing more. I hardly talk to them about DnD related stuff outside of that weekly session, and I'm very open for rescheduling.
But when those 3 hours a week happen, I expect my players to commit to those 3 hours a week. If you can't commit 3 hours a week to the game, just don't ask to join the group or be very upfront about how you cannot do that on a semi-regular basis. We're living people, not a Netflix program you can choose to watch or not. It's rude to cancel at the last minute when the other guys have made sure to keep their evening free.

All in all, this is more about how the first time it happened, I didn't care at all and just thought that sometimes stuff happens, and we've all postponed the game and that's it.
But this time there's a suspicion on my side that he was making up excuses. I hope I'm wrong.

Oh well, mulling about it doesn't help. I tried to reach out but he didn't reach back. We'll see what happens; I can control his actions and I have to get over how bummed I am by them.


Again, thanks everyone for giving me advice and sharing your opinion. This was really nice!
 

Stormonu

Legend
It was more about the vibe.
Last-minute cancels don't sit well with me, because honestly, unless you have an emergency, why would you cancel at the last minute? For work? What kind of day job prevents you to play after dinner, for a whole week? It even is counterproductive because I'd really like to see what your productivity is like when you're kept after 8 hours to keep working.

I mean, the whole thing gave me off a "I just don't feel like playing today so I'm making an excuse, and to heck if it ruins everyone else's plans".
Yeah, I’m very touchy when it comes to people giving me grief about my work life. My youngest’ s son’s 18th birthday is this weekend, but we couldn’t plan a party for him because I’ll be working from 12AM to at least 5AM this weekend (if all goes well, which is unlikely), with having to get back up at 10AM to give a report on how the upgrade has gone, and address any issues that have come up. Then be in the office bright & cheery at 8 AM come Monday. And I have to do this at least 3 times a year (down from 4 from previous years). This doesn’t include other upgrades and issues throughout the year (such as being in the middle of a Thanksgiving dinner at relatives when a client calls that their system is down).

Don’t get me started about our management deciding Christmas two years ago was a good time to do our end-of-year upgrade, because “no one would be on the system”. Gee, I wonder why that could be…

I enjoy being able to set time aside to play a game of D&D - but sometimes life interferes, and I’ve had days coming home from work and my brain is so melted I don’t even take dinner and just go to bed and say to hell with it all. Lately, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve just had to reschedule our weekend game because I’m just too burned out and need a day just to destress - and end up running errands that have been piling up.

<EDIT>. As Arnold once said, “I need a vacation” - the past year and a half has been exceptionally hellish.
 

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