jaegamer: (Chewing)
2013-03-31 08:51 pm

Only marginally related to gaming

I haven't posted any gaming material here in far too long, and am resolved to do better. For one thing, gaming continues to be the one thing positive in my life.

I have fallen upon pretty hard times, to the point where I'm not sure how I'm going to keep a roof over my head or gas in my car, to say nothing of being unable to afford the meds for my diabetes. Like everyone else in this terrible economy I'm job hunting; I just haven't had any luck. It is, unfortunately, a pretty common hard-luck story these days.

If you're in the industry and could use an editor, please consider me. And if you're a gaming hobbyist (and if you're not, why the heck would you read MY Livejournal?), watch this space. I'm going to be selling all of my Star Wars collectibles and most of my print gaming materials via Ebay over the next while. This includes cards, games and probably even dice...

Help a fellow gamer out if you can.

(jaegamer AT gmail DOT com)
jaegamer: (GOD)
2011-02-26 06:46 pm
Entry tags:

March 4th - GM Appreciation Day

March 4th is GM's Day, time to show some appreciation for your GM(s).

Geek's Dream Girl has some useful suggestions.

This isn't a naked plea for prezzies from my players, but instead a reminder that it would be nice to tell your GM how much you appreciate what s/he does to entertain you. GMing is fun (or I, at least, wouldn't do it), but it's always nice to hear that your work is appreciated.

GM's Day is actually several years old, and happens to be the anniversary of Gary Gygax's death.  This is a coincidence, as GM's Day predates the passing of that gaming icon.  Here's a posting from ENWorld from 2005 discussing how it began in 2002 (original thread).

Do something nice for your GM(s) in March - even a sincere thank you is always nice.
jaegamer: (Cons)
2011-01-25 12:45 pm
Entry tags:

Gencon finally gets it.

I'm stunned.  Both badge purchasing and hotel reservation were quick and painless.  No reload screens, no lag, and I got my room of choice without a hitch.

Wow.  I'm looking forward to event registration.
jaegamer: (Cons)
2010-04-11 05:17 pm
Entry tags:

Gencon Registration 2010

 There were the usual glitches of the site being overloaded, but I got all but one of my first choices, and my second choice for that slot was good as well.   I'm working some at the Rogue Games booth, sleeping in most mornings, and looking forward to a fairly relaxed 25th Gencon.

Thursday 8/5
  • 01:00:00 PM - Ghostfacers in Hell (Supernatural, Cortex System)
Friday 8/6 
  • 08:00:00 AM  - Pathfinder Society #57: Before the Dawn, P1: The Bloodcove Disguise
  • 08:00:00 PM - The Shotgun Diaries: Die Zombie Die! (Ker-blam! Ker-blam!) (John Wick's The Shotgun Diaries)
Saturday 8/7
  • 08:00:00 PM - All the Better... (Supernatural)

Sunday 8/8
  • 10:00:00 AM - Alien Agents (Monsters and Other Childish Things)
jaegamer: (Rocks Fall)
2010-02-26 05:02 pm

Read an RPG Book in Public - Feb 28-Mar 6 2010

Read An RPG Book In PublicI'm kind of excited about this idea, and plan to haul out some of my prettiest RPG books. Trail of Cthulhu springs to mind...

The full story is here.  I'm posting a brief excerpt, but I encourage you to go to the source and read all about it.

Read An RPG Book in Public Week is an event that happens three times a year, during the weeks surrounding March 4th, July 27th, and October 1st (starting on the Sunday on or before, and ending on the Saturday on or after). During these weeks, roleplaying enthusiasts are encouraged to take their favorite RPG rulebooks out with them and read them in public - on the bus, in the coffee shop, at lunch, at the park, or anywhere (as long as it isn't disruptive to work, school, church, or any other functions).

What's the point?

The point is to make the roleplaying hobby more visible, to get it "out of the basement" and into public areas where more people can see it. This will make others more aware of the hobby - some may ask you what your book is about, giving you the opportunity to explain the hobby to them. A few of those may be interested enough to try it themselves. Former gamers may see what you're reading and think about the great times they used to have with roleplaying, and possibly even try it again.

Me again.  I'm also reminded that March 4th is GM's Day - ENWorld created the holiday in 2002, and, sadly, Gary Gygax died on that date in 2009.  Players, say something nice to your GM on March 4th.
jaegamer: (Cons)
2010-01-20 03:18 pm
Entry tags:

Let the mockery commence

My resolution to spend my 25th Gencon playing (rather than my usual mix of running/volunteering more than I play) lasted till mid-morning today. [livejournal.com profile] mind_of_richard  emailed me about helping out at the Rogue Games booth and the next thing I know, I'm saying "sure".  I like their products (particularly Colonial Gothic), and much of what I want to do at Gencon is talking to people anyways, soooo... there it is.

Whomever has Jan 20th in the betting pool, you win!
jaegamer: (GOD)
2010-01-07 10:27 am
Entry tags:

GMing Tips

I'm participating in a panel on better GMing at Confusion (Troy MI, Jan 22-24, 2010), and I'm compiling a set of useful tips.  It's a one hour panel, and I'm sure I'm not the only one on it.  I'll be storing my own ideas in this post (and will be updating it as things occur to me), and I'd appreciate any tips any of you have.

In no particular order...
  • It's not just YOUR story, it's THEIR story too (collaborate).
  • Don't be wedded to your scenario.  If you plan for 4 possible choices, the players will take the 6th.
  • GM ain't havin' fun, ain't nobody havin' fun.  (The inverse is also true.)
  • Know your players and their characters.  Make sure there's an opportunity for everyone to shine.
  • If you don't want them to screw it up, don't let them roll the dice (contsts/tests should be meaningful - if they need info/success/whatever to continue, *give* it to them
  • Nobody likes a no-win scenario.  Make sure you've thought of at least one way to succeed.  Mind you, the players will probably come up with another.
  • Failure can be even more interesting than success.  (differs from no-win, in that failure at a particular test means an unexpected outcome, as opposed to "too bad, you're dead".
  • Players don't mind losing a character if the death is meaningful.
  • Complicate their lives, complicate their lives, complicate their lives.
  • Dependents, cohorts and NPC friends - snack food for monsters and ways to complicate their lives.
Stuff I've appropriated from other people:
  • Failure is boring.  The credible but unrealized threat of failure is very exciting (Robin Laws)
  • Say "yes" or roll the dice. (Vincent Baker)
  • Try to give your players at least one meaningful choice in an adventure with no pre-determined conclusion. (@slyflourish)
  • "The game must be fun shall be the whole of the Law." Making Light
jaegamer: (Cons)
2009-10-16 10:12 am
Entry tags:

Pentacon 2009 Schedule

I should never try to sign up for things when my coffee hasn't metabolized yet... the slot information is beneath the listing, dummy!

Pentacon LogoPentacon is in Fort Wayne, IN, USA, November 6-8, 2009. To register for events, go to their Consupport site.
There are just not enough slots in any con to go around - I long for the days when I was younger and could get by on a lot less sleep. I'm tickled that I might finally get to play the Pathfinder that I missed when it ran at the club (because I was eating the other scheduled scenario). Then Witch Hunter through Saturday evening - becoming a tradition for me. Sunday I have to have time to pack/check out, so nothing till 2pm, but at least I'll get in one new Fellowship of the White Star. I could easily play the whole con in any of the three campaigns, darn it! I need that thingy that Hermione used in Harry Potter!

Jae's Pentacon Schedule
Slot When Event Status
2 Fri 2-6 Pathfinder #3: Murder on the Silken Caravan Player
3 Fri 7:30 -11:30 WH: DP Pt 1 - Trier Player
4 Sat 9-1 WH: DP Pt 2 - Munich Player
5 Sat 2-6 WH: DP Pt 3 - Wiesbaden Player
6 Sat 7:30-11:30 PM WH: DP Interactive GM
8 Sun 2-6 PM FWS B205: Nature of the Beast Player

jaegamer: (Clear Dice)
2009-09-25 02:12 pm
Entry tags:

Coolest Gaming Room Addition ever - Dry Erase Paint!

dry erase paintI stumbled across this in my blog reading, and I *love* the idea of having a wall (or walls) of dry-erase whiteboard to doodle on while running a game. It's called IdeaPaint.

Our FLGS (Evolution Games) has a couple of rooms set aside for gaming (and is building more) with a modicum of noise abatement, and I thrill to the idea of having the walls painted with this stuff!  I already bring a tabletop whiteboard for things like tracking initiative and putting up things for the players to remember.

It would also make a good surface for a mini-projector and a GMing aid like D20 Pro or Maptool.

docupocket standWhile I'm talking about cool game aids, let me link you to Trainer's Warehouse, where I got these nifty little stands/clear plastic holders for signs, character tents, etc.  For $7 plus shipping you get a sturdy little marble base and your choice of a holder (this is 8 1/2 x 11, but I got 5x7 for my character card.

In fact I got a whole bunch of 5x7 holders and I keep one with each of my characters with the character card in it.  That way it's ready to go any time I play.  They're pretty inexpensive, and work really well.

jaegamer: (Cons)
2009-08-19 12:49 pm
Entry tags:

Back from Gencon... so much to tell...

I had a great Gencon.  Worked my tail off (16 hrs Thursday and Saturday), ran for wonderful people, bought far too much stuff, even managed to play a game or two.  Not enough time spent with chums or playing games, but next year I'm going to play and only play.

I know... I say that every year.

More later, with pics - must return to work now.
jaegamer: (Default)
2009-07-31 09:14 am

I've now got the new LiveJournal Messenger.

I've now got the new LiveJournal Messenger. My Windows Live ID is jaegamer@livejournal.com. Sign up now and we can chat!
jaegamer: (Rocks Fall)
2009-05-13 10:11 am
Entry tags:

Bobbing For Chocolate Kisses in a Bucket of Razor Blades

shipment of failOr... registering for Origins event tickets this year.

The title is a quote from the Gencon forums re Origins Registration this year.

They hired a contract firm to upgrade their deeply awful web registration.  Alas, evidently meeting deadlines (the opening of registration was postponed, postponed again, and then was pretty much impossible to connect to), and any kind of testing aren't part of the contract. 

Actually, I'm pretty sure they are, as Trey Riley says "heads will roll".  None of which helps the majority of us who can't get our frickin' events.  I empathize - hell, I quit IT because I couldn't deal with the level of stress any more.  It's not good for Origins, though.  Their web interface has always been a poster child for poor customer interfacing, and this just piles more on top of that growing bad reputation.

It's a good thing that Origins is a totally rockin' con, where I meet up with some of the best players and GMs I've ever known, 'cause otherwise I'd have given up.

I did, after hours and hours of attempting, slip through a hole in the endless "enter address" loop, and finally dodged the "you must buy a badge" after you click "credit card" wall to get the tickets that I manged to squeeze into my cart in one lucky transaction sometime during yesterday's 8 hour ordeal.  I can't buy the last ticket I need because, well, now vast tracts of events have just disappeared from the event list.  Which, btw, currently only shows the first 25 (lowest) numbers, and is relatively impervious to efforts to see anything else.

I hope they get it fixed, and soon.  I understand that the problem is probably the contractor, but well... management hired the contractor.  No matter how you spin it, it's EPIC FAIL.

If you use Twitter, the tags are #Origins2009 and #OriginsFAIL.

My schedule (I hope)... There's a distinct lack of early morning events, and I've left Saturday wide open in case Blackmoor is in dire need.  And I'm actually playing!  That's because I expect most of Gencon to be work, work, work, with the launch of Blackmoor 4th ed.

Wednesday 6/24/09
  • 1:30 PM    6049    WitchHunter - Dark Providence: Redemption    That which was stolen must be returned; that which is free must willingly return to captivity.
  • 7:00 PM    6102    Strange Times: I Am Mythos    Lou Grant meets the Tick meets Cthulhu in this game of horror and humor.
Thursday 6/25/09
  • 8:00 AM    6251    WitchHunter - Dark Providence: Corruption    Along the Italian Alps a poison spreads; a pact once sworn has been broken. The pact must be avenged before the oaths can be restored.
  • RUN 1:30 PM    6381    Star Mage Prophecies: R001 - Reborn    The StarMage Prophecies is a continuing RPG campaign that launched at Origins 2007. It is *not* Living Dragonstar reborn.
  • 7:00 PM    6516    WitchHunter - Dark Providence: Salvation    Death walks the land. The hand that set the stone to roll may be forever severed if the memory of the hunt is keen.
Friday 6/26/09
  • RUN 1:30 PM    6780    Fellowship of the white Star: A208 The Fat Lady's Song, (Part Four of the Faulty Towers series ) An Interactive Event.    Origins Premiere #4.  A semi-historic d20 horror campaign module set in San Francisco 1906.
  • RUN 7:00 PM    6902    Star Mage Prophecies: R001 - Reborn    The StarMage Prophecies is a continuing RPG campaign that launched at Origins 2007. It is *not* Living Dragonstar reborn, but it could be considered Living Dragonstar reincarnated.
Saturday 6/27/09
  • RUN 7:00 PM    7245    Blackmoor: Episode 49 Heroes on Ice (1-4)    With Dave Arneson's Blackmoor: The MMRPG, you can play at home or at any one of the great conventions that run Blackmoor games. We have released over 40 Episodes for home play and more popping up all the time!
Sunday 6/27/09
  • SUN 1:30 PM    7502    Pathfinder Society Scenario #25: Hands of the Muted God    "When the man who would be the Muted God wordlessly stepped beyond the gates of the Starstone's Cathedral, his thousand and one faithful ringing the Ascendant Court watched with the silent contemplation that is their highest sacrament. When he failed to emerge, many of his penitents abandoned their vows but a small sect remained loyal and worshipful. You and your fellow Pathfinders are sent into the mountains north of Absalom to follow the path of a doomed party and uncover the secrets of the Muted God. His loyal band of followers, called the Hand, will stop at nothing to keep you away from their shrine--even forming an alliance with some of Golarion's most evil denizens."
jaegamer: (Light)
2009-04-09 10:04 am
Entry tags:

Dave Arneson - RIP

It was less than 24 hours from false report to true.  :: sniffle ::

I knew Dave, not well enough to call him a friend or even acquaintance, though I flatter myself that he might recognize me.  He was only six years older than I am now.  The First Generation is passing far too rapidly.

From the family:
Shortly after 11pm on Tuesday, April 7th, Dave Arneson passed away. He was comfortable and with family at the time and his passing was peaceful.

The Arneson family would like to thank everyone for their support over the last few days, and for the support the entire community has shown Dave over the years.

We are in the process of making final arrangements and will provide additional details as we work them out. We will continue to receive cards and letters in Dave's honor. We are planning to hold a public visitation so that anyone wishing to say their goodbye in person has the opportunity to do so.

Cards and letters can continue to be sent:
Dave Arneson
1043 Grand Avenue
Box #257
St. Paul, MN

Visitation will be on April 20th
Time: yet to be determined
Bradshaw Funeral Home
687 Snelling Avenue South
St. Paul, MN 55105
And the best eulogy I've read yet, from Ken Hite's Out of the Box column:

Dave Arneson invented this column.

Dave Arneson invented the reason you read this column.

Dave Arneson invented the reason the website that hosts this column exists.

Dave Arneson invented "armor class." He invented "hit points." He invented the "cleric." He invented the "dungeon." He invented "so, last week you cleaned out the dungeon, and now you've heard about another, even scarier dungeon, over the ridge there." He invented "everyone plays one guy, and I play all the monsters."

Dave Arneson co-invented Dungeons & Dragons.

Dave Arneson invented role-playing games.

On a personal note, he was a friendly, generous person who genuinely liked games and gamers; seeing him at a convention, or a store appearance, was always a delight - for me, for the fans, and (as far as I could tell) for him. I had the good fortune to talk to him a lot at various shows; he was a demigod adept at playing a mere tenth-level game designer, or  first-level fan, but he also liked hanging out and talking about the Civil War, or his students, or what was going on in my life.

I first met him at GenCon 1997, right after Wizards took over TSR. He was sitting alone, near the Wizards booth, wearing a badge but otherwise inconspicuous. Certainly, there should have been throngs of worshipers bestrewing his lap with rose petals, or a shaft of light from the Fifth Heaven, or an honor guard of bugbears, or something. But I got to shake his hand and thank him for inventing my spare time, and my career.

And now he has leveled up.

jaegamer: (Cons)
2009-02-17 01:21 pm
Entry tags:

GENCON Housing Acquired and what should I run?

[livejournal.com profile] wampameat  , Mike and I all started trying for Gencon 2009 rooms at noon, and scored the Hyatt on the 2nd try (point to Vic!).  There was no problem logging in, no lockups, no eternal screen refreshes... it looks like they've finally actually and genuinely upgraded the computer system!  Yippiee!  Welcome to the 21st century, Gencon!

I'll mostly be tied up with the 4th edition launch of Dave Arneson's Blackmoor, but I traditionally run one slot (at least) of my own.  I haven't submitted yet because, well, I'm just not sure what I want to run.  I've got "Something In the Dark", a Colonial Gothic that I'm working on (considerably LESS dark than last year's), and I always enjoy running some form of Firefly, and of course there's always Cat, or Savage Chill...

Last year I barely got to play, so I want to remedy that this year.  My role for DAB is as much organizational as anything, and the modules WILL be ready well ahead of time.  11-12 slots... probably half of those given over to DAB.  So, one slot, maybe two, that I'll run something.  Oh, and of course I need to make sure I sleep enough.  Drat old age...

Any requests from the peanut gallery?
jaegamer: (DnD4)
2009-01-19 10:36 am
Entry tags:

D&D 4.0 - Brilliance from Sean Reynolds

I've copied this from the comments in [livejournal.com profile] seankreynolds's entry on 4E and the "revised" archons, simply because it's so utterly brilliant, and because it completely expresses the way I feel about the apparent design decisions in 4E. It's down a ways in the comments, but I encourage you to read all of the comments.

I don't dislike 4E - but I have a lot of cognitive dissonance every time I play. I have to deliberately sit myself down and remind myself that this is a whole new game, and not D&D as I've known it for 30+ years. I still get that jarring "step off an unexpected curb" sensation dozens of time per game, as core concepts kinda leap up and moon me with either their radical changes or complete disappearance.

The game has intrinsic value and playability, but the only reason it's called D&D is because that IP is owned by the people who put out the game. Any other similarities appear to be entirely coincidental.

Sean says:
Let's say I like muscle cars, the Chevy Camaro in particular. I've been buying a new Chevy Camaro every 10 years because I know the company, I know the machine, I like how it handles, I like the slight upgrades. Then 2008 rolls around and Chevy is trying to get me excited about the new Camaro (though they sold me one just three years ago). Except this "Camaro" "muscle car" is actually a Geo Metro that they stuck the name "Camaro" on.

A Geo Metro has very little to do with a Chevy Camaro. They're both cars, sure, but one is a muscle car, and the other is a highly fuel-efficient lightweight supermini. Heck, the Metro isn't technically a Chevrolet, it's a Suzuki.

I, as the long-term, brand-aware Camaro buyer, is pissed that they're calling this new car a Camaro. It's not a damn Camaro!

You, as the relative newcomer to the car scene, may have driven a real Camaro before or at least ridden in one, but you don't really car, you just want a car you can drive. You try out and like the new "Camaro" (i.e., Suzuki), like it, and buy it. You wanted a light, fuel-efficient small car, and it's perfect for you.

My CDs play in my car and your car. I can even hang my fuzzy dice from your rear-view mirror. We both drive using the same general rules of the road, though my acceleration, mileage, seating capacity, and crash survivability may be different than yours.

I'm not stupid for liking the original Camaro.
You're not stupid for liking the new *choke* Camaro-Suzuki.
But Chevy is stupid for trying to call its new non-Camaro car a Camaro and expecting its existing customers to swallow that one whole. If they called the new car a Cappucino and stopped producing the old Camaros, you'd still have angry fans of the old Camaro model but you wouldn't be insulting their intelligence by insisting that the supermini was really a Camaro.


I'm not stupid for liking 3e.
You're not stupid for liking 4e.
Wizards is stupid for changing so many things in D&D to fit their definition of what D&D should be, ignoring that the existing players have been playing D&D the previous way for 30 years and might not want to change that.

jaegamer: (movie cat)
2008-12-31 02:02 pm
Entry tags:

B-Movie Card game and other Non-rpg obsessions

Grave Robbers from outer spaceI've been a fanatical consumer of (and proselytizer for) Z-Man Games B-Movie card game since I discovered it years ago. I'm not a big card player, but this is fast and fun.  The objective is to "build" a b-movie while emptying your hand, before someone plays the "roll credits" card.  What makes this fun is that you attack each others movies (sabotage is your friend!), and the cards are absolutely hysterical.  It's de rigeur to read the card when you play it.  Last year I gave all of my closest friends decks for Christmas.

Each deck is a send-up of a different genre, and Skippy the Wonder Dog appears in every deck.  (As does - Is that a tentacle?).  I ordered the latest release, Silent But Deadly NIght, sight unseen, though I was a little troubled that it cost more than any of the other decks had*.

Silent but deadly nightIt arrived yesterday, and now I see why it's a little more.  Besides the usual two packs of cards and instructions, it's packed in a custom holiday tin, with a tiny plush "Skippy the Wonder Dog" ornament.

Guess what' I'm taking to the New Year's Party (along with the Dr. Horrible Sing Along Blog DVD, of course).

*Point of reference - the decks are:
  •      Grave Robbers From Outer Space (2001)
  •      Cannibal Pygmies in the Jungle of Doom (2002)
  •      Kung Fu Samurai on Giant Robot Island (2003)
  •      Grave Robbers from Outer Space 2: Skippy's Revenge (2003)
  •      Bell-Bottomed Badassses on the Mean Streets of Funk (2004)
  •      Berserker Halflings from the Dungeon of Dragons (2005)
  •      Scurvy Musketeers of the Spanish Main (2006)
  •      Bushwhackin' Varmints out of Sergio's Butte (2007)
  •      Silent But Deadly Night (2008)

jaegamer: (killerdice)
2008-12-17 12:40 pm
Entry tags:

Gaming stuff - here and there about the Internets

Dungeon Mastering LogoI read a lot of RPG blogs. A lot... Lately I've been finding so much good stuff that I have to share some of it. Or at least store it where I can find it later.
  • One Sentence NPC Generator - an oldie but goodie from RPGTips. Stuck for NPC ideas? Click this puppy till you find one you like. A few examples:
    • Clumsy, drunken wizard morbidly afraid her own sobriety.
    • The town witch doctor, reputed as a medical miracle worker, is actually nothing more than a lucky fraud, in way over their head.
    • Highly superstitious about local fey, the blacksmith only takes payment in silver for fear of being duped with 'faerie gold.'
    • Depressed elementalist has forgotten how to summon all but the nicest of weather.
  • 5 NPCs That Won’t Put Your Players to Sleep - From Dungeon Mastering Some good general tips for designing interesting NPCs. I've used a few of these myself and will probably use more of them in the future.
  • Nerdy Chix - Web site by and for female MMORPG , videogame and RPG players.
  • D20 end of year deals from [livejournal.com profile] montecook . "WotC pulled the plug on d20, so that anything with the d20 logo on it can't be sold after the end of this year." I didn't realize that. eek!
  • Delta Green Rules for Survival - from RoleplayingPro - I just discovered this blog, and it's full of nifty, interesting stuff. If you've ever played Delta Green (or the shared world campaign Delta Files) this will ring really true. If you haven't, and you're within driving distance of Lansing MI, email me and we'll set something up. X-Files meets Cthulhu for the win!
  • How to Get Players More Involved again from RoleplayingPro. Oh, heck, just go read everything there!
Finally, from [livejournal.com profile] muskrat_john , is a bit of gaming holiday shopping advice (humor).

jaegamer: (warm)
2008-12-15 03:57 pm
Entry tags:

Not gaming - winter lol-cats

Ohhhh.. the weather outside is frightful, but the kitties inside are delightful...

it are sno all your warm

More cats + snow below the cut )
jaegamer: (Default)
2008-11-04 06:10 pm
Entry tags:

While we await election returns...

1. Stop talking about politics for a moment or two.compucat
2. Post a reasonably-sized picture in your LJ, NOT under a cut tag, of something pleasant, such as an adorable kitten, or a fluffy white cloud, or a bottle of booze. Something that has NOTHING TO DO WITH POLITICS.
3. Include these instructions, and share the love.

(gacked from [livejournal.com profile] amnesiack )

jaegamer: (Chill)
2008-10-29 03:35 pm
Entry tags:

Tis the Season

It's the season for Chill, and I have a problem.

I love running Chill, and I have a group of wonderful players.  Until I took a hiatus a month ago, we'd been running weekly for a couple of years.  I tend to long, involved scenarios deeply linked into the backgrounds of the characters.  That made for a lot of good play, but Real Life has reared its monstrous head.  Odds are good that no more than 3 of my six players will be able to make any given week night session, which ends up limiting my story options.  What do I do if I've centered the story around a character who can't make it that week - or for several weeks?

I don't want to replace the players who can't make it often - they're great players, they just have Real Life conflicts.  I want to make my game more "absence friendly" without losing the personal connection that I feel is so important in a horror game.

I'd like to go to a more episodic approach (a la Supernatural, Friday the 13th the Series or Poltergeist: the Legacy), but I'm kinda stalled.  I don't want to do tired old stuff - these folks are all pretty well mired in the horror genre.  I'd like to string the episodic events into arcs so that eventually they'd look at them an realize that this and this and OMG THAT all apply to their personal arcs, and it's time to batten down the hatches.

So I turn to you, my fellow evil geniuses, for a burst of ideas for short (3-4 hr) torture sessions...er... games.

Edit: Game blogs are available at: www.chillrpg.net/chilldetroit