View Full Version : DM Help Retiring a PC (player has moved on)

2019-04-08, 10:29 PM
So one of my players has decided to move on from the game I'm running, opting to swap to work shifts for the foreseeable future instead of returning to the weekly game sessions.

I have a couple of days to decide on who to have their character depart from the adventure.
Not sure if I should have them killed off, run out of town, betray the party, move on peacefully, or other.

Looking for suggestions.

Tortle Sorcerer
Passive personality
Runs a delivery service with a wagon and a couple of oxen
Has wandered off mid dungeon previously (player had to step out early)
Currently early in LMoP

2019-04-08, 10:47 PM
I would definitely try to have the character leave peacefully and on good terms with the party. Life changes and I would want to keep the door open for this player should things change and then desire to return you the game.

Don't dwell on it overly long. I would roleplay his character simply telling the party that as much as he'd like to help them he had personal matters that must be attended to immediately. Maybe a family member passed away or something if you need to fill in details.

Doing this if the player every decided to return you simply level his character to match the party and say "He ended up adventuring on his own, but tracked you down to offer you assistance because he felt guilty about leaving you before"

2019-04-09, 06:40 AM
He withdrew from the world, turning ever inward until naught was left but an empty shell.

King of Nowhere
2019-04-09, 07:09 AM
Passive personality + runs a delivery service you have a good excuse to have him retire to private life

2019-04-09, 07:10 AM
Can't you just have the PC keep running the delivery service? If a PC has a goal or profession or background then it seems most natural to just fall back onto that.

2019-04-09, 09:41 AM
If the player was to ever return, this is not the character they'll be returning to (we've talked about it, and they have no interest in its survival past their departure).

Why I want to effectively remove the character from the story is to avoid complications:

I don't want to have a DMPC. There are meta game aspects that are easier to avoid without them, and I'm wanting to be sure the players have their time in the spotlight and have ownership of their victories.
I'm not handing the character over to another player in the group as running two PC's can result in upsetting the party balance. What's to stop the player using the second character to get a higher share of treasure, represent more voting power in the group, spotlight hogging over two characters, etc.
A peaceful departure could work, but as some of the other PC's are more tied to this character than to others in the party, it would make more sense for them to go with instead of staying in the party on the current adventure.
And I'm just really tempted to use the character to spark an inciting incident, either to drop major clues and hooks for the current adventure, or setting up for a later plot thread.

Jay R
2019-04-09, 10:22 AM
It depends on his character as portrayed up to now.

If he has always been loyal to the party, but not reliable (leaving the game early), then use that. Whatever prior commitment or sickness caused him to leave temporarily in the past is causing him to leave permanently now.

But if he's been trustworthy (when present), then he doesn't betray them now.

Also, don't do anything that looks like a plothook. If you don't want to play him as an NPC, don't have him do anything that will make the party want to seek him out again.

So marry him off, or have him inherit a farm, or otherwise give him a reason to stop adventuring that doesn't give the other PCs a reason to follow.

2019-04-09, 10:25 AM
I'm not handing the character over to another player in the group as running two PC's can result in upsetting the party balance. What's to stop the player using the second character to get a higher share of treasure, represent more voting power in the group, spotlight hogging over two characters, etc.

On this specifically,especially if it's a passive character already, you can just say "Hey, you're running this guy in the fights and rolling for him until we have a good point for him to retire, but you're still playing your character, not this guy."

2019-04-10, 07:47 AM
Cheers for the input everyone.

I recognise the reasons for wanting to leave the character untouched and just phased out peacefully.
But (there's always a but), I'm not compelled to run my game that way. Most things I bring to my players are done to either:
a) Give then a scenarios to act upon, or
b) Put them in a scenario that they need to react to

Having the character depart peacefully DOES work for their personality and backstory, but does nothing for to engage the remaining players, and those other 5 are who I care about pleasing.

Setup: Sorcerer(said they had an online exam) and monk(sick) both missed last week's session. Fortunately the party was just arriving in Phandalin, so I had them working with unloading the supplies from Neverwinter and returning to the (now cleared out) caves to retrieve the stolen goods for the Trading Post. Easy way to keep the two on the sidelines while the other 4 players did their thing.
In that time, the active party has gone searching out Cragmaw Castle. This week will resume while the party is fighting their way through there.

The monk player should be back this week. I've emailed them a list of names of people they got to interact with while they were in town moving supplies (seeding for some of the sidequests in the module), along with a short rundown of what the sorcerer was up to. They had been wandering around town trying to drum up business for their next big delivery, finding out what needed to be taken back to the coast and what can be arranged for delivery on a return trip. This place has been cutoff from trade with outside town for a while (and it is assumed by the players that the goblins they had just cleared out was solely responsible). Monk noticed while they were wandering about town that the guards had been trailing them at a distance for most of the day. A Tortle and a Firbolg in a small human town is bound to raise suspicion (monk wasn't present for the interactions with the townsfolk about the redbrand). While the monk was away from the sorcerer for a few hours, the guards approached them trying to track down the tortle, claiming that they had attempted to rob the woodworker's shop, killed the owner and has skipped town. Also the woodworker's family is missing. The monk now armed with a list of names of people around town, some details about the woodworker's wife wanting to revisit Thundertree, decides to gather up the rest of the party to help him find out the truth of the matter. Can they find clue or witnesses to what happened? Where did the family go? Where's the sorcerer? They've only known his for a less than a week in-game. Could they really be a murderer and a criminal? They've always been on the road, looking to move one from one place to the next very quickly.

I've a few ideas for if the sorcerer can be found alive or dead, but that scenario should hold off being revealed till next week thursday.