How to Schedule a DND Group When All Your Players Are Constantly Busy

As you get older, scheduling DND sessions becomes steadily more difficult. Work, family and other responsibilities all combine to make organizing a regular time slot seemingly impossible. But that doesn't mean that you have to give up on DND, it just means that you need to work a little harder. Organizing a social event today means you need to take control, making decisions and keeping everyone on the same page. 

1. Begin by using your tools. 

Our lives are now digital. From Google Calender to Facebook Events, we have instant access to virtually everything that we're doing for the next ten years. Begin by creating a poll to figure out which days and times people are available. From there, schedule it! Both Google Calender and Facebook Events will automatically send your players notifications that your DND session is coming up. They have no excuse for not participating.

2. Don't obsess over accommodating every schedule change.

Once in a while is fine, but if you start moving your game sessions around a lot, you can eventually expect the group to fall apart. It's easier for players to plan around a time slot that they know exists than having to check in every day. Even if everyone says sure, this week Thursday is fine, you can practically guarantee that they're forgetting something.

Remember: though they don't mean to, people are going to agree to more than they can actually promise. This isn't malicious; people just think they're going to be less busy in the future than they really are. 

3. Consider options like Roll20.

It's 2018. Some of us don't want to leave the house. That's fine. You don't have to. Platforms like Roll20 let you run a game from within your own homes, and even though it may not have the same social aspect to it, it does have a lot of advantages. You can play with friends who are in another country and you can play anywhere you have internet access. You can also digitize your maps and program in things such as spells and feats. 

4. Check in with players before the session.

An interesting cultural shift has occurred.

In the past, it was assumed that an event was still happening if you didn't hear anything to the contrary. Today, it's often assumed that an event is cancelled if you don't hear anything about it. This has led to many confused conversations between older and younger members of my groups, with the younger ones saying, "Well, I didn't hear anything, so I assumed it was cancelled," and the older ones responding, "Why would you think that!?"

5. Take something important from them the next time you see them.

Do your players have a pet they particularly like? Maybe a trinket from a dead but beloved family member? Next time you're in their house, take it from them. They can get it back when they attend the next session. Maybe make them a punch card; once filled, they get back grandma's ashes. Three more sessions and you get to see your cat again.

Don't get too excited: I said you get to see it.

6. Don't be afraid to drop someone from the group.

If someone keeps missing sessions, you're completely within your rights to say "Hey, this isn't working out. Either you come to sessions consistently, or we need to fill your slot." Remember -- someone flaking out multiple times destroys the rest of the group's fun, and makes it more likely that other people are going to start to drop. The more you cycle out the flaky players, the closer yo uare to creating a group that's consistent.

7. Stop being friends with people who have kids.

Just any child. Any age. It doesn't matter. They're never going to show up, because children are a malevolent maelstrom of chaos. If one of your players is going to have a kid, happily throw them a party, wish them good luck, and put a reminder in your phone to hit them up in 18 years.

They're gone, man. Accept it.

8. Consider just breaking into their house.

They can't avoid the DND session if the DND session comes to them. Next time someone cancels, just reschedule the event for their home address. It's practically a service on their behalf, and then you get to find out which aspect of their excuse they were lying about.

9. Give up and just write a book.

Who actually needs other poeple to play DND with them anyway? It's time to write some stories about murder hobos -- and your characters won't run away from the plot at every turn.

Everyone is busy all the time. Part of this is because of the ever-present Fear of Missing Out. Your players will tell you they want to do something. They don't. Not really. Don't trust them! Yes, it's a lot of babysitting, but if it sounds too stressful, then you just don't want it bad enough. Welcome to the new world of social interactions, brought to you by an on-demand culture delivered in 5 second gifs.