Here’s our first guest post, courtesy of Hannah! She recently passed a successful Summon Offspring test, and has been coping admirably with the resultant -5 modifier to social tests ever since. This is her story – the first in a monthly series detailing her return to roleplaying…
Figuring out when – or if – you are able to go back to gaming can be a very difficult decision for a new parent. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the factors you need to consider: How long will you be able to maintain your sanity without a hobby? Will you be able to hear the GM over the crying? Will your character miss out on XP if you stay away from them for too long? Who will care for your baby while you are battling orcs?
In most instances when you return to a game after having a baby you be able to go back to the same character in the same condition that you left them. With this right comes the responsibility of talking to your GM and giving them plenty of notice of your return, as well as any additional requirements you may need.
XP and loot – before you return to the game discuss if it would be possible for your character to be given XP or loot to make sure that they do not drag the party down. If this is not possible, for example if you decided your character would be spending all their down time in a bar drinking, maybe you should consider asking your GM whether you should roll up a new character that will fit into the game better. If you are lucky enough to have a GM that put the game on hold while you took your maternity/paternity leave you should do a happy dance and then buy them chocolate. Note to self: buy my GM chocolate!
Keeping in touch – before you return to the game keep your GM up to date on when you plan to return and take an interest in what has happened in the game while you were away. If possible see if you can pop into the occasional game before play would normally start; if nothing else, your fellow players may appreciate a chance to try to scare the baby, and you probably need the adult company. See if it would be possible to have a one-on-one catch up session for your character, or whether you could email your GM with some ideas about what your character has been doing. Just remember to tell them that one email can now take up to two weeks to write.
Flexible requirements – take the time to ask the gaming group what they are comfortable with. Is it fine for you to change a nappy on the gaming table? Will they be okay with your baby drooling all over their dice and books? Can they cope with you gently rocking in the corner while clutching the baby and whispering “she has to sleep or the old ones will eat me” over and over again? Keep in mind that the answer to all of these questions is likely to be “No” and plan for an appropriate level of snack based bribery.
Finally, remember that you’re there to have fun… and try not to speak to the other players in baby speak. They will probably only find it cute the first time.