Well, today is April's 1st. I think that means I'm supposed to have a prank or something up here, but in actuality my mind is going ahead like 2 months to the coming summer months and what that is going to mean for me. Now, this could be a bit more specific to my situation, but the summer months pose some problems for a lot of people. Today I want to talk about some of those issues.
This may be a personal issue for me - I do live in a college area - but the beginning of the summer months often coincides with a player needing to leave the game. Now, this is usually a good thing (though not necessarily for the game.) A lot of companies hire around the beginning of summer so folks get jobs and they have to move to work those jobs. It's happy for them. For the GM though it means you have to deal with a player leaving the game. Now, for some games the character can just vanish. But in other games this can take work. You need story reasons for the person to go, things to work out, and - well - especially when the person is leaving for pretty much ever it can be a good thing to give the person a last hurrah.
How you do this is up to you and your game. Like I said, every group is different, but generally you should know what plans you had for the character going into the game. Take those plans and just accelerate them. if you need to, talk to the other players in your game to get them in on it to help out.
Even if you're keeping all your players for the game, Summer brings the additional challenge that it tends to be the time when people have plans, make plans, or just go out on vacation. Could be they have kids and summer means it is a chance to go and see the sights. Could be that we're conditioned to think of summer as the time to go on vacation now from our days in school. It could just be because it is nicer to see things when it is warm and pleasant out than when it is cold and snowing. Either way, you are going to have people missing sessions. The worst part? There's really nothing you can do about it.
Well, not nothing. You can have rules for peace of mind. For example, my standard rule is that I will run if I have 3/5 of the game present. If I have less than 3/5 something else can happen, but I won't run game. This means that in a 4 player game 2 people gone cancels game but in a 6 person game those same 2 people just miss out on adventure and XP.
Beyond that, I request my players let me know ahead of time. If possible we can work out a reason why they're not around for a particular session or something like that.
What other woes do you see plaguing your game in the summer months? How do you avoid them? Is heat a problem in your gaming area? What about humidity? Soggy character sheets can be a royal pain to deal with after al. Sound off in the comments if you have any advice, or issues, that you think should go on this list.