There are always some players in a group that will show up only once in a while, but might not have the will to play regularly (like, every week). Sometimes, it´s better not to play with them. But in some cases, for whatever reason, the group doesn´t mind having such players in a campaign.
The question is: how to deal with them (in AW, not in general)?
Let´s suppose they create their character, they play once, they have the PC take stakes within an ongoing conflict, change it, etc., but next session they aren´t here, or probably they play once and they don´t like the game. What to do?
-Having them "disappear" feels weird to me, as the character has already a part in what´s going on, so normally it will feel awkward, to say the least. Still, if we do this, the best thing to do would be to have a brief talk with the player, make up a reason for the PC to be absent once in a while, so that it feels as natural as possible. When the player shows up again, you make him roll for a love letter, maybe tell the other players what´s been his character doing all this time (maybe not, or let them ask him during session itself), and job done.
This would be the standard solution, I think. Are there other alternatives?
-Have a one-shot player within an ongoing campaign turn a known NPC into a PC. You inform him about his past, general motivations, relationship with other PCs, but he´s free to do what he wants from then on. I think that "minor", not so important NPCs are better for this, but I can imagine a player taking a former NPC hardholder, it would be quite a surprise. Next sessions, the PC turns back into an NPC, but taking into account the previous events. Should that player ever show up againt, he takes another NPC, maybe, or the same one if still alive.
-If the player will be absent for some time, and for whatever reason the character can´t just fade into the background, you may sit with the player so that he tells you, briefly, how to run his character while he´s absent. It wouldn´t be a PC run by the MC, since he´d work as an NPC for the whole session, perhaps with a minimum protection like, say, having death occur only at 3-harm, or a -1 when acting with X stat against them (like, a gunlugger: -1 to roll +HARD against him). Other possibility might be to have his death, should it happen while he´s absent, be apparent and not real (if possible). He´ll show again next time, despite all odds, badly hurt and all, but alive.
This hasn´t happened yet in my group, but I have a friend (newcomer to the hobby) who doesn´t want to sit and play every week, but she still loves the game and wants to play every now and then (in fact, she says she doesn´t love the whole hobby, she just loves AW :P). I´d like to have her come when she wants, pick a character, have fun, and then come again another time, no pressure or schedule. Have you already dealt with this issue? If so, what have you done? What do you think of the ideas I´ve wrote above?