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I don't think this question has been asked before. However, the 'How do you deal with missing players' question is related.

My group just started a new campaign. A player we thought would no longer be able to play has had a change of circumstances and she is now able to continue with us which is excellent. We have had one session so far, which she did not attend.

At the beginning of the session the group will be underground on an isolated island, making finding another adventurer in the local tavern unlikely. I would like the player to be able to join in as soon as possible. The easiest but probably least satisfying option would be simply to say that the character had been there all along, and was with them for the duration of the first session. This would allow the player to join in immediately but, this would most likely reduce immersion and believability. At the other end of the spectrum the player could wait until the party reaches civilisation where they will join them which would be plausible but would mean the player waiting for the rest of the group.

How can I place this new character into the campaign in a realistic and quick way?

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

Simple: How would the addition of another character enhance the story you are telling? Make the new character a story hook for the first adventure.

Why is she here alone? Does she arrived on a ship (other mean of escape?) but needs McGuffin to make it work? Was she taken prisoner by $EvilGuys? If so, why was she taken there? Has she been told in a dream by $God to head there and meet up with the rest of the party?

Ask the player why she would be there. She might come up with a really good answer allowing you to work her background to the adventure.

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Good ideas, the party do seem to have already established a name for themselves so it would make sense for the new character to seek them out. Thanks. – Archwillow Aug 16 '13 at 12:46
+1 for making her explain how she's there. A dozen immediate answers come to mind- "with a previous party that all died," "captured by whatever's-around," "I live here," "My boyfriend is a charmed henchman of the evil guy..." – mxyzplk Aug 16 '13 at 12:55
@mxyzplk: No only does this make the player feel special but it makes your life as a GM easier... Win-win. – Sardathrion Aug 16 '13 at 13:16
+1, and a quick twist on @mxyzplk's cool, quick "My boyfriend is a charmed henchman of the evil guy..." idea: "I used to be a charmed minion of the evil guy myself, but the spell's worn off already, check me..." or, perhaps, depending on the party: "I thought I'd be the evil guy when I came here, but this place, it's proven just too evil even for me..." – OpaCitiZen Aug 16 '13 at 21:33

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