The Evil GM – No Show, NO XP! But I’m falling behind!

Now we all know life happens. We all love the game, but sometimes real life prevents us from gaming, and it just can’t be helped. You want to play, you really do, but you seem to miss every third game or maybe you miss 2 games in a row as the rest of your friends are able to make it each game with little to no issues. You hate to keep doing it, but crap happens. 

What can be done to keep your character in line with the rest of the group, when no one wants to play the character, and the DM is not using him or her as an NPC.
In these instances, I like to say the character ran off on his own journey and will still gain experience points. I normally will give the missing player half the amount each player would get. So when I award each person say 500 XP for the night, the missing player will get 250 XP.
Players who do as we call in the call center I run, “No call, no show” they will get nothing. Don’t have the courtesy to call me, text me, email or throw a rock with note attached threw my window then I don’t have to extend it back to you. NOW if that person has a reason they feel comfortable telling me or provide then the  next time we meet up, then 0 XP is removed.
While this will not solve the whole issue of them falling behind, it still does keep that missing character from falling so far behind, the player will just drop out of the group. Some people have limited people to play with and someone dropping or showing up can make or break a group. I think this is fair.
Do you think this is fair? 

Posted in xp

4 thoughts on “The Evil GM – No Show, NO XP! But I’m falling behind!

  1. That is actually an interesting point, +Leo Marshall. I never really could explain XP. I get that there is some sort of "advancement", a measurement for the growth of the characters from zero to hero, I you want to use the storytelling approach. But that would just be an argument for the advancing of ALL characters, so they can cope with their heroic quest. Everything else just leads to the competitive approach, and there are a lot of hooks in there (for example: if you want a realistic disparity between the player characters "level", why do they all start on level 1? Wouldn't it be more realistic to roll a die for their starting level?).
    Anyway, in our homebrew, we don't use XP for precisely that reason. We use a model where you collect experience in the skills and abilities you use, or where you can actually pay someone to teach you, investing time and money. I can explain that way better. 😉

  2. I see what you're saying +Heinz Kreienbaum. If XP is dished out to the party, rather than the individual player, then certainly all the players should receive it, but is it party-based? In most of the games I've played where XP operates (I'm in one now, namely Space 1889) it's given out per individual, players who didn't take part in a particular part of the adventure simply not receiving any, without any intended malice on the part of the GM.

    However, I've never actually seen a good explanation for using XP as an advancement tool. In fact, I suspect that most GMs who use it, if pinned down, wouldn't be able to give a convincing answer as to why they use it. It would be good to see some discussion on this topic.

  3. I think it is, indeed, a question of perspective. Should the other players be angry if the missing player gets the same XP? Aren't they on the same party? Don't they benefit from their teammate being more capable? Is this a competitive game where you "win" by pulling ahead of your fellow player? Shouldn't they feel pity for him because he missed the fun? Because it sure is like that in our group.

    Or, asked the other way round: the player behind the other character missed out on the fun of the last session. Should he be punished more by falling behind with his character for that?

    I get that you expect the common courtesy of informing you about missing the play. Not doing that is just rude. Unless something grave happened, it is to expected to inform your fellow players. But I sincerely doubt you can "educate" the player by withdrawing his XP. This looks (I repeat: looks! Not necessarily IS) just petty. We tried, back in the day, to educate the player via measures taken in the game. And in my experience, it simply does not work… and it is a bit… condescendend? I'm sorry if that sounds too harsh, I lack a better word right now. 🙂

    Anyway: we don't play with XP, so maybe I'm just not the one to talk about that. 🙂

  4. I can see how people might think the player is being 'punished', but look at it from the other players' pov, i.e. the ones who turn up regularly and on time. Wouldn't they feel aggrieved if the irregular player was getting the same XP as them but without having done the same stuff?

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