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While I Was Away - 50 Reasons for Character Absences
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While I Was Away - 50 Reasons for Character Absences

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It can happen, for one reason or another, that a player is absent from a game for one, or more, sessions - probably due to real life. When this occurs, the player's character can simply be considered to be absent as well, or they may be run by another player. Which can be unfortunate if the character is then killed.

Rather than simply having a character be absent, or run by someone else, to add more flavour to the game have the character doing an in-game activity that explains their absence. These activities could take anything from days to months, and can involve the character doing something "off screen" that has a genuine game purpose, or can be explained by one. Some may have actual in-game results, and cost in-game money to do. They are best agreed to beforehand, in the case of known absences, but can always be decided afterwards, for those that are unexpected.

All should be agreed to between the player and the GM before they are done, given that they can have game effects. This supplement provides 50 different activities, suited primarily for fantasy settings but they could be adapted to others, that absent characters could be doing, together with an example.

Make character absences more interesting!

Here is an example:

Creating Art

Characters with suitable artistic skills could be spending the time they are absent creating artwork, such as a sculpture or a painting, which could then be sold at a profit, at the GM's discretion. The time taken for this is variable; a major piece of artwork can easily take days, perhaps even weeks, of game time to complete, but more simple ones could be completed in a day. There may also be some initial expense for purchasing materials; how much will depend on what is being made, as a life size sculpture will require more expensive materials than a painting would. This is an activity that is only suited to characters with appropriate skills.

Example: Gerfertis has some artistic skills, and is going to spend three days creating a portrait of an important personage in his town. The GM rules that this will require only 5 gp of materials to do and, if Gerfertis makes a  successful skill roll for the appropriate craft skill, he will be able to sell the painting for 50 gp.

One page of the supplement is the title page, one the front matter and one the Introduction.

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More character-related supplements

More than Coin – Non-Monetary Rewards While I Was Away - 50 Reasons for Character Absences

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Customer avatar
Steve N March 03, 2020 8:21 pm UTC
Great product!
Though I wish you had included an index so we wouldn't have to thumb through the whole thing every time we needed it.
Customer avatar
Adrian K March 03, 2020 8:43 pm UTC
Ah, this is one of the pre-InDesign supplements that lacked bookmarks and layers. Would bookmarks be sufficient? Scribus did not handle those at all well, and I've been updating older supplements every so often.
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File Last Updated:
May 07, 2016
This title was added to our catalog on May 07, 2016.
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