I’m going to go ahead and call Mark the Red patient zero for the listlessness. Poor bastard. I just feel bad that I, as a player with a turbulent schedule, am partially responsible for the spread of this awful illness.

We’ve touched on player absence a couple of times already. There may be ways to get around it for the gamers at the table, but it’s a lot harder to find solutions for the characters down in the dungeon. I mean, if you’re trying to construct one of those internally consistent fantasy worlds that all the cool kids are talking about, it is straight up silly to imagine a PC standing around zombie-like on account of player absence. You have to come up with some kind of in-game explanation to justify the weirdness.

Some groups just handwave it away with, “They went back to town for the session,” but that feels unsatisfying (especially when town is hundreds of miles away on the far edge of the map). Other groups make a joke of the absence, claiming that disappeared PCs came down with “sudden onset diarrhea.” Of course they’ll be indisposed for a few hours! The Paizo guys have the only official metagame explanation I know of in their scar of destiny, but even that strikes me as a bit arbitrary.

I dunno guys… I’m honestly considering turning “the listlessness” into a full on metagame campaign hook. The PCs quest for the source of this strange malady, and so come to realize that they are fictional constructs in an artificial world. If they’re monks they’ll gain enlightenment. Everyone else can just switch over to Toon.

What about the rest of you guys? Do you ever wonder what it’s like for your characters to deal with metagame weirdness? For example, do they know what their alignments are? Do they ever wonder why the NPCs all sound vaguely like the same person? Do they ever go in search of that weird ding noise when they level up? Share your idle musings and bizarre in-game shower thoughts down in the comments!


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