Having players drop out is something all DMs have to deal with, normally on short notice. Rather than cancel the game why not try out some of Alric’s suggestions on other things you can do when players go AWOL.
For most of us, gaming is a hobby, meaning that actual life responsibilities can and often do take precedence over playing games. It is to be expected, then, that one or more players may not be able to attend a regularly scheduled D&D session for such reasons, leaving those in attendance questioning how best to proceed. Fortunately, having one or more missing players doesn’t mean that those players able to attend are relegated to the most common or, for campaign purposes, inane solutions to player absenteeism such as watching fantasy films, playing a different tabletop game or turning on a video game console. Neither does having absent players make it necessary to run the player characters (PCs) of missing players in their absence.
The challenge is finding a way to enrich the ongoing D&D campaign for those present – without cheating attending players out of the role-playing fun the missing players would have brought, or exposing the PCs normally controlled…
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