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"I have to get out of here...", thoughts on how to make characters leave play.

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A rather specific problem I see is that people need to leave play, and are stuck for reasons as to how they should leave.

Under roleplay ettiquette, number 11, it says as a sub-point:

Players can remove their characters from the scene in a variety of ways, such as going to the bathroom, taking a short walk for fresh air, etc. It is up to the player to get the characters out of play in a reasonable manner. Players that AFK for longer than 15 minutes in any IC channel might be subject to punishments such as removing items from characters or having bad things happen to them.
So with that in mind, I have a recent example of someone (me) who didn't want to leave.


People have jobs. There's an economy. It's not the busy and fast-paced life that cities are like. It's a slower process that suddenly ramps up during critical times. There is downtime. People have things they want to do outside of work, including hobbies, and a crucial need: food.

When you go out, have a think about how long it takes for you to sit down and enjoy yourself. I went to a Christmas party that went for over 5 hours. It was chill and there were no games and lots of relaxing. The main highlight were the presents for the kids, the food, and the alcohol slushie mixes everyone was super keen to try.

I was there mostly as the designated driver. If people wanted to go party, they could and I could drive them about, or take them home if they were too drunk to drive.

~End interlude~

Some data which may be relevant to match it to a Kaerwyn situation:

- The location is 30 minutes from his home, or anywhere he has friends he wants to be with.
- There are facilities for food and drink, much like the tavern.
- People there aren't extremely exciting, but not typically dull.
- The weather was showering.
- The area is a slightly dangerous neighbourhood. It's not murders every night, but there have been scary situations, as explained by the hosts.

In this situation, let's remove me from the picture. Let's call this person George. George may be there because of responsibility. Maybe he wants to take someone home, or he promised to stay because he felt bad for leaving early the year before. Maybe he was hoping that drunk people wouldn't be rowdy. Maybe he has presents he wants to give to people, or wants to simply relax after a hard year.

Let's say after two hours he suddenly didn't want to stay. Why?

There's a few reasons that could be a possibility that are known to HIM, but not others.

- He feels the crowd is getting too drunk, and wants to leave.
- He starts worrying his gift is bad and doesn't want people to see him when they open it.
- He said some stupid things during the night, and doesn't want to stay any longer, as people are starting to bring it up again.
- He got a text from a family member asking (pleasantly or not) for help, such as a lift.
- He feels like he forgot something critical, like his car wasn't locked, or his house is unlocked.
- He forgot that his friend was coming to his place, and he double booked.
- Someone else is leaving, and he wants to join them.
- Someone else is leaving, and he's riding their leaving as a socially accepted chance to leave.

There are many reasons why someone would want to leave, all of them specific. But people don't always know the reason why, unless it's stated so.

So, how do you convey that? Try to match up the things that others see, with the internal reasons.

- George gets up, politely thanks someone, and follows Christine out, ending his night.
- George gets up about half an hour after Christine leaves, thanking a few people graciously, wishing them merry holidays and such before he leaves.
- George walks on awkwardly out, not saying anything to anyone.
- George briefly apologises to the host, and rushes off home.
- George seems startled, says a brisk apology to everyone and heads off home
- George apologises for his behaviour to a few people, taking some crackers before he thanks the hose and leaves.
- George looks glum. He leaves while everyone is busy, and hopes nobody sees him.
- Gorge looks worried and uncomfortable. He says he's sorry he cut things short, but he has to go.

It's hard to match up, isn't it? Most can match up in multiple ways. He could have said any number of things. Change of plans, an omission of reason, a specific excuse, a vague excuse, a lie. Almost all of them would match up to a multitude of examples.

Some general ones are

- Weather ("I think it might rain soon, I best beat the weather")
- The need to move ("I need to go for a walk.")
- Obligations elsewhere ("Time to go." "I need to be back home soon.")
- Exhaustion ("I'm tired, I need to go.")

Some of my favourite ways I have 'creatively' come up with to make my character leave are:

- A sense of obligation, where the character has forgotten the specifics ("I have to go somewhere, I think. I might be late for something, but I don't know what.")
- The character needs to clip their nails, because it's bugging them.
- The character tore part of their clothing or something of value. They are distraught enough that they need to go home or elsewhere to fix the issue.
- A sudden idea they want to try (and ultimately fail at).
- The character thinks they saw something of importance. Under this perception, they rapidly leave with no explanation.
- Sudden aches don't go away, and requires the character to leave to care for it (headache, knee pain, back pain, etc.)

These 'creative' ideas require an understanding of the character. Are they particular in their ways? Are they flighty, and are taken by fancy? These creative ways to leave can further define your character, and lead to potential further play.

A torn article of clothing may be valuable to the wearer. They are upset and need it fixed quickly as they care for it so much. They can later wear unusual clothing they look uncomfortable in. Other characters could ask why it was important. It can also show the personality of the character, do they talk about it loudly, or are they discrete, or are they awkward and flustered about it?

A reason to leave can be unforeseen or planned to the character, but having a few plans up your sleeves as a player, allows you to make a reasonable leaving scenario that doesn't kill play or moods with you asking for help or advice. It is the player's responsibility, so let's bring character into it, when we take the character out. When using these reasons, use the weirder ones sparingly. Be appropriate for your character, and understand why you're making them leave this way.

Updated 12-17-2018 at 07:32 AM by Stritchy