When you have a group that’s been playing for a long time, it’s hard to lose a player. I’ve mostly been running our Friday nights over the last 6 years and during that time we’ve had a minimum of player loss. After our first major campaign we ended up losing one of our players. There was some real life issues and I think there might have been some lingering hard feelings between two of the players.
As the GM there’s a certain amount of rhythm that you develop with a group, and when things change up there is an adjustment period, for me anyway. I worry about keeping all players engaged and occupied and a change in group dynamics impacts how that happens. More than that, regardless of who you bring in (or don’t) something is lost when that person leaves the table. I admit that sometimes the loss isn’t always bad, but hardly anyone is completely poisonous. When someone leaves the table they take their contributions with them and mostly people provide unique contributions. My sense of loss is almost always acute.
We recently lost another player and I find myself once again facing this sense of loss. This particular player had a more unique approach than most and he’s been a real x-factor at our table (almost always in a fun way). I find myself once again dealing with a changing group dynamic, I hope it doesn’t slow me down too much.