Thursday, February 21, 2013

Illness at the Gaming Table

Considering that one of the players in my regular group was out sick all last week, and the fact that Ive spent most of the past few days in bed trying to get better (sorry for how much that impacted here by the way) I figure it would be a good idea to talk about being sick and being at the gaming table. This will likely be a quick post, but mostly I just want to cover a few quick points to re-enforce them in your head. That said, let's go.

Know Your Limits
This one is an amusing one for me to be saying (as I often don't) but know your limits when it comes to your gaming time. Don't judge whether or not you can go to game based on how you feel right now; make the judgement based on how you expect to feel four to six hours from now. You know, when your body is beginning to wind down, it's late and dark outside, and you have to make that drive back home. Also, keep in mind the gaming environment. If your GMs house has cats and you are allergic to cats - though normally ok when feeling normal - it may be best to not expose yourself to a further irritant when you are under the weather.

In general, never go to game if you are feeling dizzy or light headed. While these can pass - and up to you to decide when it has passes - this immediately makes you unsafe to drive and so you shouldn't do it. If game is at your house, you're probably going to have a hard time paying attention while light headed so it may be best for you to relax in another room where you can listen to what is going on while being more comfortable on a couch or other more comfortable piece of furniture.

Coughing and Sneezing
Personally I hate coughing and sneezing more than anything. I mean this from the perspective of being the sick person and, selfishly, from being around sick people. Generally speaking if you are prone to coughing fits it may be best to consider not attending game. Obviously you know how sick you are, your group, and yourself better than me so judge with that, but also keep in mind the following.

One: if you are having regular coughing fits you're going to be regularly interrupting the GM and other players which could be an annoyance. Two: coughing generally spreads germs meaning you're increasing the chance of infecting everyone else at the table. Three: Sitting at a gaming table, surrounded by who knows what in the way of odors (from food to your friends to maybe even incense or other things meant to help) can be a great way to make a bad cough worse thus causing you to feel worse and  be sick for longer.

We Game With Our Friends, Not Our Bosses
Gaming doesn't pay us to come in. (if it does, let me know where to sign up for that!) Nor do we game with co workers or bosses unless those people are also our friends in some way. The point though is that no one is going to judge you if you say you cant make a session because you aren't feeling well. Will it suck? Yeah, probably. Most of us like gaming so when we don't get to it sucks. However, I - and I would wager most reading this - would rather my friend be healthy than at the gaming table. Especially when you consider that being in such close proximity with someone sick is a great way to get sick yourself.

Going To Game Anyhow
If you're going to game anyhow, take some precautions. For one, dose yourself with whatever medication you are using before going to game (RIGHT before game if possible.) Most medicine has a life of about 4-6 hours and this way the dosage should cover you for game. It also means that after game you can dose yourself again before going to sleep for the night. For another, if you are sneezing or coughing a lot bring some hand sanitizer, your own tissues,and/or a surgical mask. The idea here is to keep yourself from hacking up germs all over your friends at the table.

Other considerations to take include bringing your own dice, or segregating dice from the communal pool for your exclusive use, right at the beginning and being sure to clean them after you are done with them. It may seem a bit extreme, but considering that odds are you'll cough into your hand and then make a die roll, those dice will be covered by the end of the session. Add that to the fact were trying to not infect your friends and htis one becomes a no brainer.

Also, if you are really feeling sick ask if you should show up. This may sound strange but it is very possible that your group doesn't want you there if you are sick. This could be as selfish as they don't want to get sick (or can't afford to get sick if they don't have things like sick time at their job) or it could be as selfless as wanting you to get better. In the end, a missed sessoin isn't worth your health. So take care of yourself.

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