We discovered back in “Devil’s Night” that Antipaladin’s boss and Sorcerer’s fiendish forebear were one in the same. Now we know what happens when a busy executive tries to mix business with family life. As a Chief Executive of the Lower Planes, it’s nice to have your priorities in place. Same deal if you’re a gamer.

This holiday season, as I enjoy a little vacation time and a lot of cancelled sessions, I find myself considering the natural ebb and flow of session attendance. We’ve talked a couple of times about players who flake out on sessions, but there are times each year when the problem becomes endemic. The winter holidays tend to be one of these times. Summer vacation is another. It seems that, whether you’re in school or not, family trips and festive commitments have a way of disrupting fantasy worlds.

One workaround is to try and plan ahead for these times. I try to structure my campaigns such that CLIMACTIC EVENTS unfold in late November and early May. My thinking is that, if all the coolest stuff is happening in the busy season, players are more likely to make time for gaming. Alternatively, transitioning out of “plot arc mode” and into “episodic mode” can help to accommodate low-attendance games. If you move away from stories that require all the regulars to be present, you can have some fun times with three-man or even two-man sessions. These can be the times when you really get down to character-building and backstory. Asking for guest players can also keep the ball rolling despite poor attendance, while the ever-popular “X-mas one-shot” can lend a sense of occasion to your filler sessions.

At the end of the day though, these are just patches on an impossible problem. My best advice (and the tactic I usually rely on) is to make like Sorcerer’s Granny and pick family over armored warriors. That cycle is just part of the hobby, and I think it pays to accept it rather than fight it (or even worse, resent it) every holiday season.

Question of the day then! Are there times of the year when you notice that your session-attendance tanks? What are they? How do you work around ’em? Let’s hear all about your seasonal dry spells down in the comments!


ADD SOME NSFW TO YOUR FANTASY! If you’ve ever been curious about that Handbook of Erotic Fantasy banner down at the bottom of the page, then you should check out the “Quest Giver” reward level over on The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. Twice a month you’ll get to see what the Handbook cast get up to when the lights go out. Adults only, 18+ years of age, etc. etc.