OSR: Missing a Session in the Veins of the Earth

A player doesn't turn up. What do you do?

If at all possible, use a plausible in-game reason for their PC's absence. The PC decided to stay at a local village. They were hired to deal with a one-person problem. They are guarding a supply cache. They are busy with their new lover/partner/sword/mysterious artifact. They are doing Wizard Business and must not be disturbed.

But if you can't think of a good reason, or nothing obvious presents itself, you may roll on the table below. Give the player a choice. There are some positive and some negative effects; they shouldn't be penalized (beyond the potential lack of XP) for missing a session.

I'd suggest writing your own tables for appropriate locations. Drunken Cossacks kidnap a PC and return them with a fine horse. Fire elementals steal them away for secret dances. A witch turns them into a new (they get better). Etc.

  Some ideas stolen from this thread.
Chris Cold

Where Did You Go?

1d20 Exit Entry Effect
1 Tiny hands grab you from the darkness. Tiny hands return you from the darkness. -
2 Touch stone and get dragged in. Vomited out from the stone. -
3 Snagged by spider silk, vanish upwards. Returned, cocooned in silk. Start session at 1/2 HP.
4 Echoes lure you away from the party. Wander back, exhausted and changed. Roll on Effects table.
5 Fall down a deep narrow hole. Fall from hole in ceiling. Start session at 1/2 HP.
6 Dragged under in a sump. Found unconscious near a stream. Start session soaked in water. 
7 Whisked away by a burst of shadow. Returned as if no time has passed. The Rapture's next target.
8 Vanish while the rest of the party sleeps. Party member rescues you in a dream. -
9 Transform into a tiny bone idol. A drop of blood changes you back. 1d6 temporary Wisdom damage.
10 Trapped by a cave-in. Loop around, harried by enemies. Gain 1/2 XP from missed session.
11 Separated while traveling in a maze. Stumble back, angry and confused. Start session with 1 random item.
12 Cave madness. Run away screaming. Return, apologetic and hollow-eyed. Roll on Effects table.
13 Nearly invisible pit trap claims you. Returned with a cryptic apology note. Start session with 1 ration.
14 Bright glow, screaming, panic. You vanish. Mysterious event repeats, you return. Start session fully healed.
15 Take the lead on a climb, aren't at top. At the top of a later climb, confused. -
16 Slave-taking raid. You were slow to run. Return with shackles, blood under nails. Gain full XP from missed session.
17 Fall off a cliff in a tangle of rope. Long, desperate climb back up. Start session at Starving. 
18 Touch a mysterious rune, vanish. Appear near the party with a thunderclap. Roll on Effects table.
19 Vanish into the darkness with a scream. Doppelganger returns, with you in pursuit. -
20 Ambush or fall. Party sees you die.  You return as if nothing happened.  Start session fully healed.


  1. This is the single greatest table I've ever seen. Or at least within the Top 10 Tables of All Time. I'm going to implement this in all my games from now on.

  2. I especially like ' Returned with a cryptic apology note.'
    If I ever be able to DM at table, this is what I am going to use at least once.

  3. Good stuff! I'm really curious to see the Effects table, could you share?