Right now, a player seems to be upset with events of a session he missed and hasn't responded to my messages.


About a month or two ago, a player began to be dissatisfied with how I ran the game. She's not subtle about it, but not blatantly rude about it. When a mutual friend of ours joined the game (so we had four), she promptly left stating she was "too busy" all of a sudden. A white lie to not hurt my feelings, I suppose, but I don't think any of the players thought this was the truth. Since the party was just at a dungeon's door, it didn't make sense for her character to promptly leave. Her character (fighter) had unknowingly attuned to cursed armor that hadn't come into play yet; I thought it would make a certain encounter more interesting.

Our paladin was unable to make the session where the fighter's armor possesses her and forces her to fight the party. I had the paladin initially attack the other enemy there so as to let the present players deal with the situation (who had their own reasons for wanting to save or kill the fighter). It boiled down to the cleric and fighter going unconscious while the ranger tried to hold the blood hunter back. The paladin, having subdued the other enemy, rushed in. Since his strength was low (grappling not a feasible option) and his current spells would at best slow the blood hunter for a turn, I had him heal the cleric (who at this point had passed on delivering a killing blow once in this fight) in hopes she could stop the blood hunter.

However, after being knocked out by the fighter once, the cleric decided to kill the fighter herself.

The Problem

The conundrum lies in that the paladin-player and the fighter-player (who had left the campaign several sessions previous to this) found out before I could explain the situation to them. The fighter is taking it personally, and the paladin is miffed as well. We're all in a couple Discord channels together. There have been at least one not-so subtle remarks from each of them about their displeasure, along with the paladin stating that things would not have happened as they did had he been there. At this point, the paladin has yet to respond to my messages to talk about this (and has been online/posted since then). At this point, he only knows an abridged version of events and does not have why I made his character act the way he did.

I'm at a loss - I just don't know what to do. I plan on contacting the paladin again in a couple days. I'd talk to him privately in-session, but I fear him not showing up.

If a player is upset but you won't tell you why and avoids answering your messages, how do you go about resolving the situation?

To be clear, the fighter had left the campaign prior to this with no intention to return due to our clashing styles. Further, the fighter player is a separate issue; she tries to stay informed of our sessions so that she can voice her displeasure of how I do things. We were only one player down that evening.

Issue seems to have been resolved with simple time - paladin appears to have gotten over the shock of it and managed to separate his feelings about the fighter player from the fighter character. We're all gucci over here.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 13:27

3 Answers 3


I recommend sending an email (or other communication) to your whole group, telling them you understand people are unhappy and how you plan to fix it.

It sounds like the unhappiness stems from the way you're handling absent players, so a good fix would be to tell them that in future you will handle absent players differently.

Here is how I handle absent players: I just tell the group that that character never existed. (And, conversely, if a new character joins the group, I just tell everyone the new character has been there the whole time.) That way I don't have to make up elaborate explanations for characters being present or absent, and also there's no risk of people feeling like their character was treated badly in their absence.

  • \$\begingroup\$ A general e-mail would certainly be the way to handle this, but not just the group; the ex-player should be included. And an explanation of how something will be handled in future need not say it will be different from the past. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 12, 2018 at 9:26

In our group, when a player cannot make a game we either 'balloon' them along with the permission of the player and the understanding that anything SHORT OF DEATH can happen, or they simply pop out/hide/etc and are not included in the game until they return.

If you can believe that a suit of armor is cursed to make a player attack their friends, then it can certainly teleport them elsewhere for a period of time.

It also appears that you had 4 players, one was busy, leaving three - I might still have the game with one player out. But when a second player could not make the game, that would leave two players remaining, and I would definitely have called off the game at that point. Even with 6 players, losing two means I would likely call off the game.

But that is all 'coulda/shoulda/woulda', and as it stands now you have two unhappy players.

If it were my game, I would have the armor grant Troll Regeneration when the occupant is dead. This would result in the character NOT BEING DEAD and thus resolve the unhappy player's issue of being controlled/killed while not present.

The second player was upset at the first player's character's death, so everything should be resolved with a little work.

Even better, regeneration would allow you to talk with the player and ask them to be the bad guy for a short time. When I have a cursed item or mind controlled character, I always do this, tell the player in private by note or text, etc - they usually LOVE the opportunity to be bad, and will do things far more heinous than you would think of.

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    \$\begingroup\$ My thing is that the fighter left the campaign. Running for an absent player? No way I would’ve allowed that to happen. But this was a PC that turned NPC that died, and I can’t tell if the Paladin is miffed over the death LR that the Paladin was unable to stop it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 30, 2018 at 19:11

I'd be upset in this situation too. From what I understand (correct me if I'm wrong), you decided what you would do with the PCs while the players were gone, without their consent.

I would apologize to the group, and offer an opportunity to correct things. You could put in a new rule that next time someone can't make a session, their character is "busy" (in my campaigns we usually call this "drunk in the woods", after our paladin couldn't make several sessions due to camp and came up with "I was drunk in the woods" as the reason why she was gone). Or you could give them more options, such as you or another player plays their character.

Listening to your players is super important when you're the Dungeon Master. The game needs to be fun for everyone. Ask your players for advice on what they think would make the game work better. Hopefully, this solves your issue.


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