Your Kingdom Goes On Without You
If you’re playing a multi-session Kingdom campaign, what do you do if someone can’t make it? How do you play without them?
When someone asked this, my first instinct was: never play without the whole crew. Just play another one-shot if someone can’t make it.
But then I thought about it a bit… and started to imagine the possibilities. You can turn that problem into a dramatic springboard.
First off, no matter what, if the player is not there, their character has zero authority and no role. If you were Perspective, any predictions you made are moot, and so on. If there’s a vacuum, there’s a vacuum: so be it!
Better still, I think the character should absolutely be absent from the kingdom during the session they’re missing. The professor is on sabbatical, the knight is off at war, whatever. Just get them physically out of the kingdom. That way when they return they can have strong reactions to what happened when they were away (“you guys did what!?!?”). It keeps their agency intact much better than saying they were there but didn’t do anything. It also works best if you end each session with a finished Crossroad instead of having them span sessions (and having a character play part of a Crossroad but miss the beginning or end).
The more I think about it, missing a session and then coming back all fired up about what the other characters did to the kingdom sounds kind of awesome. You could even create that situation artificially by temporarily switching to a different character: you were playing the loyal knight, but after resolving the Crossroad you say she rides off to war and switch to playing a scheming merchant for the next Crossroad, mess everything up, and then get to come back as the outraged knight in the Crossroad after that. That is some advanced Kingdom trouble-making.