Once again, scheduling conflicts have forced us to postpone game. But the email discussion did come around to what to do with gated locations and groups getting stuck there.
This is a real concern, because some gates are limited access, some locations won't have a trivial gate back, and some locations will be delved into late in a session.
So what happens if the party is split?
What happens if a party ends in a gate-accessed location and can't end back in Stericksburg?
The group in the location must stay there until the delve is completed and they can return to Felltower or Stericksburg. Until then they are occupied and unavailable for use. If another game session comes up in between, with a different mix of players, there are two choices:
- allow the new players to run the PCs who are in the gated zone;
- have the players whose PCs are in the gated zone run different PCs until their original PCs are back and available for a delve.
The first solution works best if we're short on players who started the original delve. For example, Has, Hjlamarr, Vryce, Dryst, and Mo travel to Lost City of D'Abo and can't get back. The next session, Hjalmarr's player is MIA but everyone else shows up along with Gale's player. Gale's player runs Hjalmarr for the session.
This solution doesn't work as well when we get more players than delvers. Therefore I prefer to default to the second approach.
In the second approach a detailed example probably helps more.
6/4: Hjalmarr, Has', Wolfgang, and Mo go to the Lost City and end the session there.
On 6/18, we play again and Vryce/Gerry's player, Dryst/Angus's player, and Gale's player are all back and want to play. The players of the PCs in the Lost City need other characters to play with in the meantime.
For places with non-persistent gates, this could mean a given mix of PCs is basically shunted off to adventuring in that area, no reinforcements possible, until they find a way back.
Some gates might allow for PCs to join the group. If that's the case, it's possible to run a split session where the PCs who will be added adventure their way to the gate, cross it, meet up with the other PCs, and then we continue. That might not work out in some cases - a single PC isn't likely to be able to access the depths of the dungeon and get through a gate and reach the group - but if it's easy to do we may do it.
Basically, this means once you start hitting the gates, keep a spare PC on hand! You might need a different paper man to play until we've got the right mix to get your other PC back into play.