But We Are Missing The Cleric!
A problem I see in most groups is the missing player. There is almost always a player or two who can’t make the session, in our group we covered this by having another player cover their character for the session and in olden D and Ye D days this worked fine but in 4e this was a hassle. Each class, even the lowly fighter has its own flavor now and special rules that impact its play. Some of my players were really struggling to get their heads around another PC and it was not really fun for them. The second problem is ages old, the player who wasn’t there’s PC was somehow always the one in the most danger. This wasn’t intentional, out come the monsters and then there they are down on the ground taking death saves. I can try to cheat this as DM, but I have enough to juggle as it is. By the end of the last game we turned no show’s PCs into semi-NPCs, they got one at will they could use and in the case of a leader they could still use the class basic heals. This solved the first problem but left us with the second.
For the next campaign I am working on each PC will come in two flavors, full PC and Companion character. Each player will have two PCs, a prime and a back up. The backup will become the prime PC if the other character dies, but until then they will likely be run only as companion characters. If we know someone is missing we will fill in from the pool of each attending player’s backup PCs run as a companion character. This way every player is still playing ‘his’ characters, even if one is cut down to NPC stats. This can cause problems if they are in the middle of the lost caves of Aaaargh or some other situation where a swap is impossible, but I would rather have the immersion issues than someone’s pc dying the week they are gone.
Below is my monk as a companion character:
HP 43; Bloodied 21
AC 20; Fortitude 18, Reflex 19, Will 18
Action Points None
Basic Attack (Standard, At-Will) ♦ Melee
Five Storms (Standard, At-Will) ♦ Full Discipline, Psychic, Implement
Drunken Monkey (Standard, Encounter) ♦ Melee
Skills Perception +10, Bluff +9, Acrobatics +12, Stealth +13
|Str 14 (+4)||Dex 19 (+6)||Wis 16 (+5)|
|Con 11 (+2)||Int 10 (+2)||Cha 10 (+2)|
Much easier to play than four pages of character sheets, he has a basic attack, an at will and an encounter. I will likely give them magic items if the effect is worth worrying about, but not bother listing items like his +2 Amulet of Protection, which only effects his stats. Campaign is still months away I think, but I hope players will prefer this to the way running other’s full PC’s.
Monster and PC sheet CSS forms can be found at Omnichron’s D&D Tools
Greg Bilsland on Ally Cards, another alternative to give the PCs some coverage.