Real life always wins.
It looks like our campaign sessions may be on hold for the moment. We may get one more game in before the year's end. If not, we'll be rolling into next year and that's fine. We've been rolling the dice pretty well considering everyone's eternally tight schedules, but with the holidays coming in and other celebratory events, this time of year tends to get a bit hectic for all. I'll keep posting other tasty gaming bits in the meantime. And for those who have been following the exploits of our intrepid souls, sit tight, as their suspended adventures will continue in a brief while.
This all brings me to a finer point of gaming, and that is whether to end a session in mid-game or get the players back to a town.
I've always been of a mindset to let the game just be. If the session happens to end while the characters are deep below the surface of the earth, the game is suspended with the characters and events frozen in time until the next session begins. No resources are used up, no hit points gained for rest, it would be just like putting down a novel and picking it back up again and continuing reading where you left off. I like that concept. It adds a continuity to the developments of the campaign. That also may have worked when my players and I were all 12 years old, but as adults and with all the complexities that brings, it may not be the most practical method at this juncture.
In the situation mentioned above, if a player(s) can't make a session, then what to do? It is ashame to continue on without a player being there controlling his/her character. I enjoy having all my players at the table. They all have a good chemistry together and each one brings something unique to the game.
The GM can run that person's character, but the GM already has too much to keep track of.
So maybe it is best to begin and end a session in a 'safe zone'. Once in that 'safe zone', life goes on in the game, resources used up, wounds healed as one day of real time passes as game time. If the next session begins with a player missing, that player's character can stay in town or guard camp, etc. It does open up some more flexibility when players indeed do have to miss a session. It may be a little bit more contrived getting the characters in and out of an adventure than I would like, but perhaps in today's busy adult world, that may be a pretty good option.
I'll have to give it some thought and maybe bounce it to my players as well.