The Red Box Blog

Ramblings about D&D.

Absenteeism and Etiquette

We have a little bit of a problem in my group right now with regards to etiquette, one which I am not quite sure what the best choice is. We have a new player in the group; new to us and new to gaming. He asked to join the group knowing our schedule (we play every Saturday), though perhaps not understanding the gravity of it.

Since joining the group he has attended just 4 times in 11 weeks. In and of itself this might have been a problem, but its magnified 10 fold by the etiquette issue; he has done a very poor job of keeping us informed of when he will miss games.

Repeatedly I have told him that he can’t just make casual comments at sessions and expect us to remember three weeks later what he said, and repeatedly he has ignored my requests for emails letting us know what is happening.

So it was decided in his absence this past weekend that he needs to be told that mystery absences are not going to be accepted any more. Naturally the job of communicating this fell on my shoulders. So I sent him a message, and in return got a long drawn out reminder of all the problems he is having right now with his job and his marriage.

I don’t know what to do with this. He is my friend, and in that regard I really feel for him. But I have four other friends whose game is repeatedly being disrupted by these absences; its typically 30 minutes after our normal start time before we give up on him coming, and because we have had some other unexpected absences we have been at least two short every week now for 5 weeks (and I hate to play when down two).

I suppose I could have avoided this whole situation if I had emailed him every week to ask if he was coming, but I feel that it isn’t my responsibility to keep track of my friends, it is theirs to keep me informed; and I don’t consider rattling off your schedule for the next month to me during the game keeping me informed.

So am I being unreasonable? To me it seems like what I am asking for is common courtesy, but am I expecting too much?

Have an opinion about this article? I love comments. Please feel welcome to leave your thoughts.

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November 8, 2010 - Posted by | RPGs | ,

4 Comments »

  1. I don’t think you are being unreasonable, particularly since you have a standing appointment/game time it shouldn’t be very difficult to give you some kind of advanced warning. I think just not showing is a little unacceptable. I think you have to decide what you can tolerate or what will make it better for you and the other players. If sending him an email during the week saves you some grief or agitation on Saturday, then maybe it is worth it despite the fact that he should be more responsible. this is assuming you want him to continue to play in the campaign.

    If it was me, particularly since he is a friend, I would come at it from the perspective of just assuming that he wouldn’t be a regular player and plan my game accordingly, and if he shows great lets have a good time and if he doesn’t it’s no sweat of my back. it just means his character doesn’t get a lot of attention in the story of the campaign.

    Comment by middleagedm | November 8, 2010 | Reply

  2. No, you’re not being unreasonable to think he needs to shape up or ship out.

    I like middleagedm’s advice. Don’t make his character important to the story in any way. Just assume that he won’t be there, and start your game on time.

    However, I am more inclined to say that he needs to bow out of the game until he can get his marriage and job in order. If this guy is having trouble with his job and his marriage, perhaps committing to a weekly game session is not a good idea to begin with.

    Comment by Tourq | November 9, 2010 | Reply

  3. Thanks guys, getting a third party perspective is very helpful.

    Comment by The Red DM | November 9, 2010 | Reply

  4. It sounds like the guys got a lot more important issues to worry about than gaming right now and needs to prioritize getting those fixed before he can really spend time playing. You’ve done the courtesy of mentioning what you’d like to happen for gaming and additional browbeating at this point isn’t likely to be effective due to the above issues. (Although it could certainly affect a friendship in a negative fashion if done poorly.)

    I’d just make him a minor character or a semi-npc until he starts showing up regularly. Just start on time and if the guy gets there, he can jump in. You’ve done him a favor by including him at that point and if the situation can improve, it will.

    Comment by Grey | November 10, 2010 | Reply


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