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

Bird Of Play

Explorer
What do you want him to do, produce a time card? A signed note from his boss?

Well, I've cracked a joke about him needing to provide a signed note from his parents next time it happens (I'm a teacher). Seems like this time the joke didn't fall flat, so hopefully we've cleared our disagreement out?

Honestly, a lot of speculation on my part as I cannot know about his actual work schedule, so perhaps the guy really just had to work overtime all week. Who knows.

I think this is a good way to discuss DnD and commitment. I'm appreciating hearing the different replies and opinions here.
 

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For a lot of people taking time off, even "only 3 hours" every single week is a lot. Especially when this has only happened twice and the guy gave as much notice as possible.

And I kind of have to repeat if 3 hours once a week is too much, then any social hobby is a bad idea and the person should stop kidding themselves and others otherwise. That doesn't mean you're never going to miss ever, but if it happens with any frequency its the sign you're trying to do something you really can't do.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
And I kind of have to repeat if 3 hours once a week is too much, then any social hobby is a bad idea and the person should stop kidding themselves and others otherwise. That doesn't mean you're never going to miss ever, but if it happens with any frequency its the sign you're trying to do something you really can't do.
So ... gaming is more important than jobs, other friends or personal commitments and family.

You do you, but you don't do yourself any favors with that kind of attitude.
 

jgsugden

Legend
I've been in groups where we expected everyone, everytime, and if you were a late no show, then there was hell to pay. Everyone understood it. If you had a last minute chance for a date, you turned it down. If someone had to cancel because they were sick, the game didn't play and people were frustrated/disappointed/angry. However, there were advantages for the story for the game to be so reliable. We rarely had a problem.

I've also played in games where the game went on so long as the DM could make it, and if someone couldn't be there, someone else ran the PC. It was no biggie if someone just decided not to show because they were tired, or because they wanted to binge the season of Daredevil instead.

As long as everyone is on the same page, and everyone agrees to the rules, it is all fine.
 

lingual

Adventurer
For a lot of people taking time off, even "only 3 hours" every single week is a lot. Especially when this has only happened twice and the guy gave as much notice as possible.

First, it's not just 3 hours. It's 3 hours + commute + a guarantee you don't have to work late because if you don't fix something right now you're letting down an entire team of people or perhaps an entire division of the company. Not being able to attend a single week? Do people never take vacations? Get sick? Have a family/friend get-together that just happens to fall on game night? Work super long hours once in a while so they simply have no energy or need that extra 3+ hours just to get some sleep?

It's pretty typical for IT during major deployments to have an "all hands on deck" request. Whether or not they have to physically be in the office or not, they have to be able to jump online at a moments notice.

There's a major difference between missing a single session and letting the group know they won't be able to attend next week and being unreliable.
Also. The more valuable you are in IT, the more often you will be the one to put out the fires, etc. Usually the late hours are atypical situations and atypical situations usually need the most skilled engineers around.

As for the OP? 100 percent attendance requirements can kill campaigns. Do as that player suggests and get another player or two. And waive 100 percent attendance.
 

damiller

Explorer
So ... gaming is more important than jobs, other friends or personal commitments and family.

You do you, but you don't do yourself any favors with that kind of attitude.

I would say absolutely not. A person has to decide what they can prioritize and what they cannot.

But I have chosen to prioritize game time, and I ask anyone else who wants to play in my game to choose to do the same. Otherwise I will not run a game for them. And the moment I sense it is no longer a priority for them, I will ask them pretty directly if they can still make time for the game. And if they can't I may offer alternatives or not, kinda depends on how they've conducted themselves in telling me they no longer can make game time a priority.
 

So ... gaming is more important than jobs, other friends or personal commitments and family.

You do you, but you don't do yourself any favors with that kind of attitude.

No, but pretending you're going to game when your life isn't going to permit it does no one any good. Just acknowledge its not a practical hobby any more and move on.

Seriously, if I was going to miss one in two sessions, damned if I'd tell people I was going to be in a campaign. I don't think suggesting that's rude an generally inappropriate except in a campaign very designed for people to come and go from the start is in any way a bad attitude; its just suggesting people not make more commitments than they can keep.
 

I would say absolutely not. A person has to decide what they can prioritize and what they cannot.

But I have chosen to prioritize game time, and I ask anyone else who wants to play in my game to choose to do the same. Otherwise I will not run a game for them. And the moment I sense it is no longer a priority for them, I will ask them pretty directly if they can still make time for the game. And if they can't I may offer alternatives or not, kinda depends on how they've conducted themselves in telling me they no longer can make game time a priority.

And like I said, I think everyone understands that Things Happen. But if your life is such that Things Happen All The Time, I think its only reasonable to acknowledge that up front and not try and act like it isn't going to be true. If that means someone doesn't think you're right for their campaign at that point, damned if I see how that's unreasonable.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
No, but pretending you're going to game when your life isn't going to permit it does no one any good. Just acknowledge its not a practical hobby any more and move on.

Seriously, if I was going to miss one in two sessions, damned if I'd tell people I was going to be in a campaign. I don't think suggesting that's rude an generally inappropriate except in a campaign very designed for people to come and go from the start is in any way a bad attitude; its just suggesting people not make more commitments than they can keep.
The person missed one session and let the DM know they couldn't make the next week. It's not even close to one in two sessions as far as I can tell.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I would say absolutely not. A person has to decide what they can prioritize and what they cannot.

But I have chosen to prioritize game time, and I ask anyone else who wants to play in my game to choose to do the same. Otherwise I will not run a game for them. And the moment I sense it is no longer a priority for them, I will ask them pretty directly if they can still make time for the game. And if they can't I may offer alternatives or not, kinda depends on how they've conducted themselves in telling me they no longer can make game time a priority.
If it's a choice between game and career once in a great while, career is going to win. If that's unacceptable I don't know what to say other than good luck.
 

I would say absolutely not. A person has to decide what they can prioritize and what they cannot.

But I have chosen to prioritize game time, and I ask anyone else who wants to play in my game to choose to do the same. Otherwise I will not run a game for them. And the moment I sense it is no longer a priority for them, I will ask them pretty directly if they can still make time for the game. And if they can't I may offer alternatives or not, kinda depends on how they've conducted themselves in telling me they no longer can make game time a priority.
It's hard to play D&D from inside a cardboard box on the street. The dice get cocked on the creases and sometimes a rat will steal the crude minis you fashioned out of chicken bones and bread ties.

But hey, PERFECT GAMING ATTENDANCE, am I right?
 

damiller

Explorer
If it's a choice between game and career once in a great while, career is going to win. If that's unacceptable I don't know what to say other than good luck.
Once in a great while? Or every other week? I dont' care. Mostly I am looking to see how the person handles it. If they conduct themselves like an adult and tell me they can't make it regularly any more, great, I'll see if there is anyway I can accommodate them if they want to continue to play.

But if I have to dig it out of them? Goodbye. I no longer have time to beg people to play, I run games online, and I can find other people who I hope can honor the time commitment and at least have the decency to say "I can't play anymore". I cannot control either of these things, but I can control if I continue to run games for a person who can't do at least the former.

It's hard to play D&D from inside a cardboard box on the street. The dice get cocked on the creases and sometimes a rat will steal the crude minis you fashioned out of chicken bones and bread ties.

But hey, PERFECT GAMING ATTENDANCE, am I right?

Then my game isn't for that person. I have zero problem with someone prioritizing anything else BUT my game, or any game, or anything. They just don't get to be in my game. I am not running a game for the players to show up whenever they like, I am not a video game or a movie. I put in the time and I want players who can choose to do the same. Can't do that, that's fine, but I am not obligated to run a game for that person. And I no longer will. That person will find another game, and quickly.
 

The person missed one session and let the DM know they couldn't make the next week. It's not even close to one in two sessions as far as I can tell.

And my comment was a spin-off, not a reference to the OP's specific complaint. It was just noting that at some point if your life doesn't permit specific time commitments, don't make them. And what those time commitments are can very from campaign to campaign.

(I also think at the very least if its likely you'll have to pull the plug at the last minute from time to time its only civil to let someone know that. That doesn't mean it can't happen anyway (car breakdown, sudden health issue, whatever) but if its intrinsic in your job situation that it can occasionally come up, its something you should let the GM know).
 

Bird Of Play

Explorer
I think we all are obviously on the same page: family and work (not to mention obvious sudden and unforeseeable events) above all; deciding you'd rather go to a football match or watch a film is a big no.

My disappointment at the player all started for thinking he was claiming reason A but it was actually reason B.
Which is why I think it'd be fair to make it clear that the reason you couldn't come really was honestly something important. And here we are not all on the same page anymore, because some people in the comments suggested that players do not owe any explanation if they have to suddenly cancel at the last minute.
True, but if you can't give me an explanation, I'm just gonna assume it's probably an excuse, even if it's not....
 

lingual

Adventurer
I think we all are obviously on the same page: family and work (not to mention obvious sudden and unforeseeable events) above all; deciding you'd rather go to a football match or watch a film is a big no.

My disappointment at the player all started for thinking he was claiming reason A but it was actually reason B.
Which is why I think it'd be fair to make it clear that the reason you couldn't come really was honestly something important. And here we are not all on the same page anymore, because some people in the comments suggested that players do not owe any explanation if they have to suddenly cancel at the last minute.
True, but if you can't give me an explanation, I'm just gonna assume it's probably an excuse, even if it's not....
I've played with 100 percent attendance and players' interest in the game can wax or wane depending on their situation. That's why I now try to recruit players until I hit 5 or 6. Someone can disappear for a few months cuz they are just going thru a tough time and It can be weird in an involved storyline and such but that's a compromise I can make. It all depends on personal preferences. Certainly does help if they tell you beforehand though.
 

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