Somewhat similar to this, but this is a different case with different answers (Or so I hope).

I've been playing "the dark eye", my PnP of choice, for a few years now and have recently taken up GM'ing for my group. We are currently in the second adventure of my planned 3 adventure campaign, but in less than a month, one of the players is leaving the country. Without him, we could continue the campaign, but a) he is the old GM, it is mostly "his" world (or: He has created most of the non-player characters) and I would feel bad finishing without him and b) We would only have three players left, of which only two are any good in combat, which would not work well with the campaign I had in mind.

So, do I:

  • Shorten the Campaign so we can finish it in the final meeting we will have?
  • Keep playing without him and rewrite the campaign so it is possible to finish with the others?
  • Play the final meeting and then write up the rest of the campaign as a short story for the others to read (to get some closure)? I dislike this idea, but I would prefer it to just letting the story die in the middle of the campaign...

Waiting for the departing player to come back is not an option, sadly, as he will not live back in our hometown when he gets back. I also dislike shortening the campaign, as it would mean basically taking out the whole big turning point of the plot, or at least leaving the players wondering what the visions I already gave them were about.

I know that there is no definitive answer to this, but I was wondering how you fellow GMs handle such situations.


5 Answers 5


As a spinoff to valadil's answer, I would try talking to all the players about it and try to get a consensus.

But to break it down a bit, you seem to have two interrelated but separate problems:

  • This is "his" world which you will be continuing without him.
  • Without him, the team will be light on combat power.

The first, I don't think is too much of a problem. If he were still the GM, it might require a fair bit of turnover to continue without him and still keep the same flavor. But he turned over the reins a while ago, so there is no real continuity problem. You certainly want to acknowledge his contributions, give him credit, and perhaps give him updates so he also gets closure, but since he's already turned over the reins it isn't much of a practical problem.

As for the second, there are a number of ways of dealing with characters that aren't powerful enough. One, as suggested in the question, is to rewrite the campaign, but it isn't the only way. You could weaken the opponents without really changing their nature much (drop hit points by half). You could strengthen the characters by handing out XP/gear/whatever your system uses like candy for a little while (and there are plenty of in-story ways to do this, one of the more common being gifts from a supporter). You can NPC the departing player's characters, or hand out henchmen.

Whichever route you go, you need player buy-in though, so I would talk to the whole group as a group and see what they want.


Have you talked to the departing player about it? The problem of it being his world may be in your head. There's a good chance he'd rather see the game conclude properly than get cut short or rewritten. If that's the case I see no reason to compromise the rest of the game.


It depends on the game world, but have you thought about creating a "break" in the world itself? You could potentially create some big event that "changes everything" for the player characters. A cataclysmic war starts. Aliens invade. The Big Mystery is revealed, but hints of an Even Bigger Mystery are found. The PCs are forced to flee to a new locale, captured and taken far away, or otherwise made to leave their current environment.

The drawback to this approach is that it could feel forced, but if you could pull from the existing dynamics at play in the game world there might be a way to do it that makes sense. Once the Big Reset occurs, you could introduce new NPCs, new storylines, and so on. You could also tailor the Big Reset to the abilities of the remaining PCs.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The world of TDE is pretty set concerning cataclysmic events. We are actually playing a few years before the return of borbarad, which is a pretty cataclysmic event. But resetting the world wasn't the problem, it's more about how I should go about my campaign. Resetting will sadly not help with that, as it won't work with my campaign, although it was a good idea. \$\endgroup\$
    – malexmave
    Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 9:32

I would keep playing and recruit a new player to replace the one who left, and advising the new player to create a combat-capable character.

The setting you should continue with - what gives more respect to a world-smith than some group he is not playing in using that world in play? But I think I'm missing the problematic part here.


Is it possible for you to have the leaving player join the games via Skype?

I have had to miss out on several games with my group as I was somewhere else and we played via Skype.

We had a good old fashioned webcam hanging from the dining room light to point at the map, and with Skype it is almost as if I am there.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome back to RPG.SE! We've missed you! (we keep rolling 1s.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 15:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ We've been thinking about doing that, and we will probably try it out, but finding a date and time for all of us was hard enough when we were still in the same city. Now, different timezones pose another problem... \$\endgroup\$
    – malexmave
    Commented Apr 1, 2012 at 10:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, good luck. It is just like being there and for me, it was a lot easier to connect as we could start and finish later in the evening (no need to worry about driving). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 2, 2012 at 18:24

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