Tecumseh
 member, 7 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 05:05
Etiquette around a GM ghosting a game
I'm in a game where the GM hasn't posted in almost a month and hasn't logged on in over three weeks. Prior to their absence, the GM's posting was sporadic - at best - so their disappearance isn't a surprise.

(I PM'd the GM two weeks ago, and rMailed a week ago, but neither received a reply.)

The game in question is relatively young (three months old now, including the monthlong GM absence) but very fun and I'd like to see it continue. I know that RPoL has specific rules about when a co-GM can be promoted to GM, and rules that players will never be promoted to GM. Those are understood and that's fine.

At this point I'm willing to set up my own version of the game and run it myself. My questions are around the etiquette of conducting an interest check among the other players and/or extending them invitations to join the new game:

1) Is there a customary period of time after which it's safe to assume that the GM isn't returning and you can make plans without them?

2) Are there any rules - formal or informal - about advertising the new game to the original game's existing players? Any or all of them would be welcome.

Thanks in advance for any opinions on the matter.
bigbadron
 moderator, 15895 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 05:44
Etiquette around a GM ghosting a game
There are no formal rules about any of this, except if you decide to advertise your game in the public advertising forums, in which case you can't mention the original game at all.
Tecumseh
 member, 8 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 06:01
Etiquette around a GM ghosting a game
Understood.

Are there any informal rules or rules of thumb around GM absences? I'm doing my best to be polite, given the state of the world and the likelihood of unannounced absences for any number of reasons.

Any thresholds like "I've never had a GM come back after an unannounced absence of ___ weeks/months?"
NowhereMan
 member, 367 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 06:15
Etiquette around a GM ghosting a game
That could be a very long time. I've had/heard of GMs coming back and picking up a game years after they disappeared for one reason or another.

That said, there's no reason you can't start a game of your own with the same group of players. Even if the GM came back tomorrow, the two games would be very different, by virtue of having different GMs.

GMs run games because they like the concepts. Some GMs might not like it, but if one of my groups started up a new game using a concept I came up with, you'd better believe I'd be one of the first applicants.
nauthiz
 subscriber, 652 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 06:24
Etiquette around a GM ghosting a game
The closest to anything is, I think, a 3 month time period mentioned in the FAQs regarding game ownership transfer.
facemaker329
 member, 7210 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 06:25
Etiquette around a GM ghosting a game
If you're setting up your own version of the game, you should check the flags on it first...I believe (but could be mistaken...if I am, someone will correct my error, I'm sure) that if the 'sole ownership' flag is set, you're not allowed to copy anything from that game to create your own version of it (at the very least, it wouldn't exactly be kosher to do so.)

That said, the longest-running game I've ever been in on RPOL (and it's getting close to have the title for anywhere, just another year or two and it will beat the decade-and-change Star Wars campaign I was in through college and into life afterwards) started because our GM vanished and one of the other players decided to start his own game.  It wasn't the same...or even similar at all, really, aside from being a game about Earth fighting against hostile aliens, but it was set in a different century, with different technology, and different aliens...pretty much everything except that central theme was different.  But within a couple of weeks of those of us who were still active coming to a consensus that we'd been abandoned by the GM, he posted about his game and invited any of us who were interested to join up.

The etiquette regarding that depends largely on the individual GM.  This guy has not only advertised for his other games in that game, he's allowed any of his players to make pitches for their own games or games in which they participate.  I know some GMs are extremely averse to anyone advertising anything in their game, but at this point, it sounds like he's been derelict in his duty as GM and it's fair game to promote whatever option you want.  You can, for good measure, say that you're only doing it because you're pretty sure the game is dead, but if it starts back up, everyone is welcome to play there as well as in your game (just to clarify that you're not trying to steal away players, just offer them an option to fill up the unexpected free time they now have because their GM has gone AWOL...it's not demanded, or even expected, necessarily...but it's still a good gesture to make.)

And, like NowhereMan, I've had GMs return from lengthy, unannounced absences and resume games where they left off...I had a Shadowrun game that had been dormant for so long that I'd removed it from my sticky list and figured it would just vanish in the breeze at some point, and then one day about a year and a half after my last post in the game, I got a PM the GM asking if I was interested in resuming play.  Never did find out the reason for the extended absence, or why it came up so abruptly.  Life happens...I was just glad to have a fun GM back.
bigbadron
 moderator, 15896 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 07:21
Re: Etiquette around a GM ghosting a game
facemaker329:
I believe (but could be mistaken...if I am, someone will correct my error, I'm sure) that if the 'sole ownership' flag is set, you're not allowed to copy anything from that game to create your own version of it (at the very least, it wouldn't exactly be kosher to do so.)
The sole ownership flag means one thing, and one thing only - that the mods will never transfer ownership of the game to anybody else.
facemaker329
 member, 7211 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 07:56
Re: Etiquette around a GM ghosting a game
Thank you for the correction.  My only experience with it is in a game that was resurrected from an earlier game...the GM of the second iteration persuaded the original GM to let him utilize all the 'paperwork' from the original game...setting notes, images, etc.  So it had sounded to me like he NEEDED to get permission to use it, rather than just being an extremely decent guy and not hijacking someone else's efforts to put up his own game without their say-so.
SunRuanEr
 subscriber, 271 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 14:10
Re: Etiquette around a GM ghosting a game
quote:
1) Is there a customary period of time after which it's safe to assume that the GM isn't returning and you can make plans without them?

I think this really depends.

Given the current state of the world, I wouldn't think anything is "definitely over and done" because of a one month absence. Really, it depends on how much you like the GM, and whether or not you feel they've been a good GM to you when they were active, to determine how long you want to wait for them. Personally, I've seen many people (GMs and players) take one-monthish powders and come back, and some games are sporadic enough that one month breaks aren't abnormal.

The only time I ever had a GM really up and disappear without any word, the guy was gone for a -year- before he came back. Admittedly, he came back with a really lame excuse, and I decided to leave the game and make a note to never play for him again, but the game itself continued on at that point. I'm rambling, but I guess the point is: there's not a customary period of time, it's really just up to you and what you're willing to put up with. A month feels a little short, though, if your goal is to get all the players to jump ship to somewhere else and give up on the game entirely. If your goal is just to get everyone into a second game for funsies while you wait, though, have at it.
donsr
 member, 1954 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 14:28
Re: Etiquette around a GM ghosting a game
I know this isn't a popular take?.. But  i view it  as if i was a player.... and? of course  . have only done this in games i play in myself.

when a GM Bails..with no  notice... I will post in OOC  try to keep folsk together.. share  stuff , holidat greetings..ect ect.

 I'll send the   GM a PN  and  ask/hope everything is alright.

  if there is no answer, I will  offer  the active players  a Place in  my games, witht he Caveat  that , when the GM  comes   back.. we  all go back, so   we  can  get that game rolling again.

Most folks  just sya   ' to heck with it" and go off lookign for other games... If I am lucky I'll pick up  one  or two players..maybe one will stick in my game...

 there  are three  games where the GMs   vanished...One used to play in my games , and I know he had serious health issues..he hasn't been around, closing in on 2  years.

 another GAmne, the player   came from that game, and started her own game that I alowed her to advertise in my game... But   has alot on her plate  as a Doc  and the Covid going on... she remians in contact in my game.. but her  game is hurting, I made  my  offer there..even sent her a PM that i was goign to do it?..but sometimes  folks  will bail witht he GM, forgetting  what RP and  history they were making with other active players.

...............

 Now?...all that above  beign said?  NEVER  poach players  unless the Game has  been 'GM-Less' for a few months...AND.. the GM hasn't answered your PMs...lets face it,, as someone here mentioned, there are alot  more imortant  stuff going on..Play-by-post is sorta down  on the totem pole.
Lauriebear
 member, 60 posts
 There is no truth. There
 is only perception
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 16:14
Re: Etiquette around a GM ghosting a game
I'll chime in as the game I run started because the GM vanished.

We the players of the original game were posting, and posting when I happened to notice the posts slowing down and one character not about.  PM-ed the character then noticed the last day they checked in was the same as the GM.  So I PM-ed the GM, waited for a bot without an answer.

I then posted in OOC.  We all loved the concept of the game and wanted to continue but without a GM it would have been hard as there were some threads not open to all players for game reasons and so without access to crate new threads and what not we players as a whole decided to try to make a new game.  I PM-ed and rmailed the GM, in the OOC I also left message that we "moved to this new spot" but would all come back if the GM came back.  The GM did come back but for about a week then they vanished again, I took the game off my sticky and dove into making the new game.

Once the new game was posted I sent rmails to the players who had expressed wishes to move over, I even rmailed the GM with the link.  The game has never popped back up in my sticky and the GM never rmailed me back.

My game has been going for about two years now, I am glad I did it.  Some of the original players from that other game are still in mine, they a wonderful.  We picked up some new ones who are great too.  Some of the original players never came over, while some did but have left.  All in all beloved character in a similar concept got a chance to be played, I learned a lot, one thing is that if the concept is good players will find a way to play it out!
Tecumseh
 member, 9 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 17:19
Re: Etiquette around a GM ghosting a game
Thanks, everyone, for taking the time to write out your thoughts and experiences.

A couple points of clarification:

- The same GM ghosted two different games last year, both of them new games about the same age as this one. I knew this going into the game but the concept was great so I was willing to take the risk. As such, this disappearance isn't a necessarily a surprise. Those other games did not come back to life when the GM finally returned to the site - after being gone about seven months - so I don't expect this one to either.

- I don't intend to poach players in the sense of demanding exclusivity. Everyone would be completely free to participate in one game, both games, or neither game.

I sincerely hope that the GM returns and picks up the game, because I'd really love to keep playing in it. But failing that - or even in parallel with that - I think it's a great concept and I'm willing to carry the torch forward.
Brianna
 member, 2217 posts
Sun 14 Jun 2020
at 10:40
Re: Etiquette around a GM ghosting a game
Keep in mind that under the current circumstances it's possible the GM doesn't have internet access.  Libraries, internet cafes, and the like are all closed, at least where I am, so if that's what someone used, they can't even get online to tell you what happened.

Even in more normal times there are any number of reasons a GM might go missing.  A hospital stay, or even an at-home illness, a work or personal emergency, a move, a break up, any number of things.  And even when it's technically possible for someone to post, it may just be more than they can manage to do.

That said there is no length of time after which you can be sure the GM will not return.  I once had a GM who used to show for a while every year or so.  His game was wonderful when it was on, so most of us just waited.  Sigh.
locojedi
 member, 188 posts
Sun 14 Jun 2020
at 18:04
Re: Etiquette around a GM ghosting a game
My two longest running games were those I inherited after a GM vanished. If I like the game I usually make an offer or propose someone take it over. Sometimes missing GMs will pop in, and see an old rmail or PM and make the right decision ..