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Author Topic: Return of the Living Dead  (Read 2002 times)

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Offline alxnjshTopic starter

Return of the Living Dead
« on: January 16, 2012, 09:20:38 AM »
Removing Characters and UnRemoving Characters

This thread is inspired by Sasha who suggested that we have some fun with threads. Often when a player leaves a game, a GM will have to come up with a creative way to remove his/her/hir characters from story play.

How would you dispense with characters...only to have them miraculously return and rejoin the story at a later date?

Remember...this is a public thread so we need to keep things appropriate ;)

« Last Edit: January 16, 2012, 09:27:46 AM by alxnjsh »

Offline alxnjshTopic starter

Re: Return of the Living Dead
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2012, 09:24:26 AM »
Disappearance
While spending time at the beach former manicurist Erika "E-Way" Torkleson, was discovered by Mtv and asked to join the cast of the Jersey Shore.

Return
Three months later Erika returns. She appears to have aged thirty years and has a permanent scowl on her face. Evidently she was kept prisoner by Snooki and Deena who forced Erika daily to do their nails. They fed her only Meow Mix and tequila.

Online Chrystal

Re: Return of the Living Dead
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2012, 11:00:51 AM »
I still think my absolute all-time favourites of this (two of) have got to be from those two excruciating 1980s soaps, Dallasty.

In Dallas, Bobby Ewing is shot and killed, Pamela Ewing is abducted by aliens, the plot is getting so silly that people are writing in to complain, and the Sue-Ellen Ewing wakes up and it's all been a terrible dream.

In Dynasty, (And this is my favourite), at the end of one episode the entire cast is gathered in a church for a wedding, when terrorists burst in and shoot everyone! (I fell about laughing when I watched it the first time - I hated the show). At the beginning of the next episode (to my unending disappointment), The entire cast simply picked themselves up and susted themselves off with nothing more that a few scratches - in spite of some of them having clearly been shown being shot, the night before!

This sort of plot device actually has a name: Deus Ex Machina - literally, God From The Machine (or From the God machine, according to Google Translate). This refers to the Greek Tragedies where a character would often be rescued from impending disaster by a god or godess. The actor playing such would be propelled onto the stage using a machine such as a trapdoor or suspension sling.

The Late Great Douglas Adams admits to the "infinite improbability drive" being such a plot device. He had Ford and Arthur thrown out of an airlock to see what would happen, realised he had painted himself into a corner (his own metaphor) and was stumped by the sheer improbability of them being rescued. (He also mentions something about Judo, but can't remember why!)

It is always possible to "resurrect" a character some how, as long as you don't put too many bullets in them or dismember them too badly. Leaving them floating unprotected in deep space is probably not a good idea either!

For example, Player X has apparently dropped out of your high-body-count cyber-punk game. So, you NPC their character into a position where they get shot by the good guys! (Assumes you're playing the bad guys). Three months real-time later the player returns. Three months of real time can be as little as an afternoon of game time! So the action in which the character was shot at the beginning has literally just finished. As your team is extracting, one of them checks the corpse and finds out the character is still alive.

Yay for Kevlar skull plate replacement surgery!

Offline Aiden

Re: Return of the Living Dead
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2012, 08:58:57 PM »
I did this with a character I was NPC for the sake of the game in Camp Jupiter.

He was killed by another player's evil character after saving a mortal seer, (for plot reasons) only for him to wash up ashore elsewhere when needed (for the sake of plot) and because all of my players did not want him to die. *

I should mention he was a demigod child of Neptune, so the ocean actually prevented him from dying.

I warn in most my group games if they drop, I gain the right to kill them off (for plot reasons, never out of some vindictive reason) and have in the past. In UTBLOV, they might return as vampires or held in some secret lab ran by the "bad guys".

Online Chrystal

Re: Return of the Living Dead
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2012, 12:59:43 PM »
I always make clear to players that if they drop out of any "combat" based game I'm running I will kill off their character. It's not for any vindictive reason, either, but because I can't see any point in leaving card-board characters standing about the place, especially in an action based scenario, and dragging along extra NPCs is a pain.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: Return of the Living Dead
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2012, 01:33:45 PM »
Back when I ran my old tabletop game at home, the long-standing tradition was that dropouts would be obliterated by incredibly precise and accurate meteor strikes that caused no collateral damage but completely eradicated any trace of the individual. It wasn't a very serious game. :-)

Offline alxnjshTopic starter

Re: Return of the Living Dead
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2012, 05:07:23 PM »
I once had a ST game where I caused a malfunction in the door sensor which hacked a person in two. You know how tough it is to get blood stains out of cheap carpeting?

Online Chrystal

Re: Return of the Living Dead
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2012, 05:46:21 PM »
*giggles* Now that's a scary thought. Given that the modern automatic door would not even exist if it hadn't been for Roddenberry. So it leaves the possibility open for the same thing to happen in real life... Oh wait - I seem to remember it did in the early days of automatic doors...

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: Return of the Living Dead
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2012, 05:54:18 PM »
*giggles* Now that's a scary thought. Given that the modern automatic door would not even exist if it hadn't been for Roddenberry. So it leaves the possibility open for the same thing to happen in real life... Oh wait - I seem to remember it did in the early days of automatic doors...
Google 'Suzanne Hart' if you want to be horrified. :'( :-\

Or if you'd rather not...a woman died when her elevator started going up while she was only halfway through the doors because of a malfunctioning sensor.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2012, 05:59:35 PM by TheGlyphstone »

Online Chrystal

Re: Return of the Living Dead
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2012, 06:14:02 PM »
Okay, so, back on topic...

I have been notified of an apparent player drop-out from my current group, "The Mammalian Slave Trade" (shameless plug - still recruiting). The player has not posted for over two weeks, and in fact has not logged in to E for two weeks.

Obviously, this is a real-life issue dragging her away. There is a chance she has left E permanently without telling anyone, but equally she could easily return at any time.

The player's character was involved in a sex scene with three other characters when she disappeared. I have made my decision public to the other players on the OOC thread and PMed it to the player in question, in the hope that she comes back.

I have ruled that her character has passed out from the (rather extreme) sex she was being subjected to. The character will remain, unconscious, in the room with the others until one of two things happens - either the player returns, in which case the character revives, or the story moves on, in which case the character will be returned to a slave cage. As there are more cages than slave characters, it is assumed that a lot of the cages are filled with NPC slaves, and the absent player's character simply joins their ranks.

I find this to be a very elegant solution to the problem of dropping out slaves.

As for the crew of the pirate ship, well, a simple announcement from the ship's AI (controlled by myself) that the character has been called away to other duties. In either case, the character can simply be assumed to be somewhere on the ship, until such time as the player returns, if they do.

Offline Sasha

Re: Return of the Living Dead
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2012, 10:49:36 AM »
 I think creativity should not be limited when it comes to the disappearance of a player ..leaving his character behind . One of my favorite movies comes to mind ...." Oh Brother Where Art Thou ..."  When the other two woke up and found the clothes of their comrade laid out after having been taken in by those beauty's at the creek . The toad that emerged out was soon thought to be that of the missing individual .  Later of course you find out that is not the case ....but it always makes me laugh. 

Honestly on E ....think I only killed one character when the player went absent but I was not sure what else to really do since the last post was the man checking the perimeter of the Lodge . With that impending snowstorm rolling in and the temperature dropping ...mean one couldn't exactly survive out there . So when it cleared ...I let a few of them find a frozen body that had been done in with a shovel . So he would be very difficult to bring back at this point . Though he could be a ghost that haunted the place seen walking around outside or playing little pranks not thinking he had passed on. Wouldn't go with the central theme of the game much but would be interesting comic relief . Goes to ponder the idea more ........



Once I posted this something funny popped up into my mind ....so I shall share .

Disappearance  : In the heat of rooftop battle ...one of the characters was hit and due to a rolled botch managed to fall over the edge .  The player we thought logged ...in reality what happened was his modem died . So we assumed him dead from the injuries.

Reappearance : A month later ...the character reappeared , seemed he had fallen into a open garbage truck that took him away and dumped him at some chemical waste site . Where he had to fight off a few guard dogs ...etc , making his way back to the hide out , not smelling the greatest and having this errie green glow to his flesh .

2nd Disappearance : After awhile of dealing with all the teasing ....he entered the sewers with the rest of the group to go exploring  turning down the wrong tunnel and was separated from the group.

2nd Reappearance : About 3 months later .. Seemed he had ran into a Nossie and was captured , drug away into their hidden lair ...used in some experimental project and had escaped . However ...not without a few grotesque modifications .

The character then lead the group down into the next mission ...and unfortunately was eaten by an alligator. He really needed to of sacrificed something to the dice roller . The rest of the group decided it was some sort of trap and managed to pull out only loosing one more character to the filthy bowls of the under city . Least my character swore she was never going back down there again nor was she getting involved with any crazy ass hunting of supernatural beasts again. In her mind ...if they wanted to live down in the sewers so be it .


« Last Edit: January 28, 2012, 11:16:25 AM by Sasha »

Offline Deva

Re: Return of the Living Dead
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2012, 12:01:32 PM »
I like the approach of rping them as npcs(If I like the char and feel like it) then when they return I sometimes do a posessionish rp thingie.

But usually I talk with how regular I want people to post, so if they disappear without warning (with warning I can always contrive something) I'm rather unforgiving.

Offline Haibane

Re: Return of the Living Dead
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2012, 03:42:27 AM »
Its a conundrum that has no solution and it is not fair to be unforgiving on a missing player since we have no idea of what has caused them to stop posting. It could be some very real and very serious issue with family, job, school, health, finances... anything. I am trying to be respectful and forgiving towards random disappearances for this reason, though we all know how frustrating it is.

A shrug and move on type of reaction with a kind and well meaning PM to them and a practical response if possible to their character no longer being active in my game is where I try to put my thoughts and actions.

I am not proud to say that in the past I have been very short on forgiveness with people who would vanish for months wrecking my game(s) then reappear without apology or explanation. I do think both are warranted, regardless of why a person might drop out.

Offline Deva

Re: Return of the Living Dead
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2012, 09:15:30 AM »
What lead you to this conclusion?

I should expand. I have examples of people reading my pms (you see that on invisionfreeforums) and not responding, aka having opportunity and not answering. gone they are!

I agree that there can be RL things happening. but Be honest now, how often has a serious rl thing happened VS them just loosing interest or whatever?

Offline Haibane

Re: Return of the Living Dead
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2012, 04:42:30 AM »
I think its wrong to think badly of people, I guess. At least, I'm trying my level best not to.

Even if someone is clearly on the site and active there can be reasons why they don't continue your game or talk to you that have nothing to do with loosing interest in a game. You can never see inside another's head.

Offline alxnjshTopic starter

Re: Return of the Living Dead
« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2012, 08:24:49 AM »
I think its wrong to think badly of people, I guess. At least, I'm trying my level best not to.

Even if someone is clearly on the site and active there can be reasons why they don't continue your game or talk to you that have nothing to do with loosing interest in a game. You can never see inside another's head.

I would agree for the most point. I give people the benefit of the doubt. However, if their absence is causing issues plotwise with the game, then as is said, "off with his/her/hir head!"  ;D

Offline Deva

Re: Return of the Living Dead
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2012, 09:52:50 AM »
I think its wrong to think badly of people, I guess. At least, I'm trying my level best not to.

Even if someone is clearly on the site and active there can be reasons why they don't continue your game or talk to you that have nothing to do with loosing interest in a game. You can never see inside another's head.

What reasons would that be?

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: Return of the Living Dead
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2012, 10:46:19 AM »
What reasons would that be?

Personal feuding with another player could be one. Sometimes outside issues get dragged into games without any fault on the part of the GM or the game itself.

Offline Deva

Re: Return of the Living Dead
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2012, 11:27:02 AM »
Personal feuding with another player could be one. Sometimes outside issues get dragged into games without any fault on the part of the GM or the game itself.

If players feud amongst each other perhaps it is better to seperate them into two settings imo.  The other one.. heh. perhaps I care about my settings too much, I can see that one.

Online Chrystal

Re: Return of the Living Dead
« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2012, 06:32:25 PM »
Hmm. I can see all sides here and I think everyone is basically in agreement.

If someone vanishes without warning and then returns months later having no explanation of why, or even with an explanation, but one that really should not have prevented them from at least giving some warning and removing the character from the game, then I think a little annoyance on the part of the GM is more than justified.

I think Hai and I are both thinking of the same two people...

The other side of the coin, and again I'm sure we are thinking of the same examples, where something drastic in real life happens - a player gets taken into hospital, for example, is entirely forgiveable as it is obviously beyond the player's control.

Going on holiday for two weeks is an example of a real life event that, in all honesty, you should warn your GM (and/or your players) of well in advance, and post something in your A/A thread. (If people don't look at your A/A thread that's their lookout!)

As for people who are still around and posting regularly, but don't reply to PMs, I'm afraid I consider that to be plane rude.

I will ALWAYS answer a PM unless it is from someone I am seriously upset with. I have to admit that there are one-on-ones where I haven't posted in a while mostly because my interest has waned, but what I try to do is PM the other player and ask if they want to continue and then try and find a way to revive my interest. If I get no reply to my PM, it's a safe bet they aren't bothered.

Group games are a different matter. Even if I'm having trouble finding the enthusiasm to post in the game, I will usually find the time to post something in the OOC thread just to let people know what is happening.

Offline Deva

Re: Return of the Living Dead
« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2012, 07:01:43 AM »
aaah.,perhaps I misunderstood slightly, cause I was referrring entirely to group RP's.. if someone has rl reasons to leave on me alone I'd see it more relaxed. not cool but more relaxed ye.

*fights urge to pm Chrystal to proof is not upset!*

Online Chrystal

Re: Return of the Living Dead
« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2012, 08:08:20 AM »
I was only using one-on-ones as an example, because I have a lot more experience with them, and frankly I prefer them to group games.

I think its wrong to think badly of people, I guess. At least, I'm trying my level best not to.

Even if someone is clearly on the site and active there can be reasons why they don't continue your game or talk to you that have nothing to do with loosing interest in a game. You can never see inside another's head.
What reasons would that be?

Well, suppose two players have a very close relationship and often roleplay together. I have that sort of relationship with a few people on E, so it can't be that uncommon. Players that have multiple on-on-one games with each other and follow each other around the group games because they have a lot of interests and kinks in common.

Now, suppose one of those players lost interest in a game, or got upset with the GM, or with another player, and decided to drop out. Maybe, because she's the dominant one of the pair, she informs the GM that she's leaving.

Now, she is not allowed to order her sub to leave the game too, that's against E's rules, but if the sub is only there because her D is there, then obviously she's not going to stay long, and she may feel that the D has already given sufficient explanation.

I'm just giving that as a hypothetical example. I'm not saying it has happened nor even that it might, just that it is a plausible scenario.

And Deva, if you feel the need to PM me, please do, although I can't think why you might imagine I'm upset...? *giggles8

Offline Deva

Re: Return of the Living Dead
« Reply #22 on: April 02, 2012, 11:57:19 AM »
Cause I'm so cute it's upsetting yo!

.. this scenario seems rather complicated and rare to be honest.