10. "It's not going to happen tonight, sorry fellas!"
Also called the "Multiple Wipe Gambit," this excuse only works after your party either has gotten stuck at a certain point in your run or has wiped at least twice. If one wipe has occurred and the time is near enough to midnight, you can risk pulling it out as well.
It sounds friendly, earnest and not at all selfish, doesn't it? "Gee golly, we gave it a great shot, but the fates are against us tonight! Might as well hit the sack and come back to it fresh tomorrow!" Considering the low tolerance for wipes that many MMO players carry these days, I don't think you'll have a hard time convincing the entire group to just disband.
You are a wonderful human being. You are a model gamer, with nerves of steel and dedication of Theodore Roosevelt. You are a minor deity among your fellow players for your honed skills and enviable armor. You also have a child or spouse that can be blamed for your own desire to weasel out of runs. You have the good life.
Much like #10, this excuse hinges on something beyond your control. Sure, you'd love to keep running the Dungeon of Despair until your eyes bleed, but gosh darn it, those pesky people living with you sometimes demand your attention! And as much as you'd love to forsake your marital vows and/or parental responsibility for the team, you don't want to be in the doghouse tonight.
So hide behind your wife's skirt or your kid's pack-and-play and savor the knowledge that there's little anyone can say in response.
8. "Power outage! Act of God!"
OK, this one takes a bit of setting up. You need to let the group know that there's a storm rolling in, usually by interjecting statements like "Wow! Look at that lightning!" to people who can't see squat. Then fake a power outage and you're home free.
Of course, if you're going to be a liar, liar, pants on fire, it helps to have the Weather Channel on your side. If suspicious friends look at the weather map and realize that the nearest storm is in the Arctic, your ruse will be at an end.
7. "My wife's/I am going into labor"
This is pretty much a one-time trump card, and not that believable even so. If it's true, then more power to you -- you have an impenetrable excuse. If not, then you have to spend months in advance lying about pregnancy by dropping details about morning sickness, gestational diabetes, back pain, and wild mood swings so that no one will be suspicious.
It's perhaps not worth the trouble, especially considering that you're going to have to secure baby photos after the fact and carry on with this charade until "Billy" "graduates" at age "18" and you've been living a lie for so long that you half believe he's real.
6. "I HATE YOU ALL! DIE IN A FIRE AND THEN STFU! ARGH!"
If you have little regard to what your group thinks of you and you've been boiling a hot pot of rage in your belly, then this might be your go-to response. Flip out at a completely unexpected point in the run, screech about how you've been carrying the group on your mighty shoulders, and then huff out of there like a toddler who didn't get his cookies and milk before nap time. Your stunned former teammates will undoubtedly have things to say about your parentage after the fact, but you'll be watching The Daily Show on TiVo by then.
5. "Imperial troops have entered the base! Imperial troops have *SHHZZZT*"
The Death Star may have been destroyed, but the threat of the Empire -- and the Sith -- is always present. Who's to say that the Rebels aren't using your kitchenette as headquarters for a secret base and that several AT-ATs haven't dropped down from Star Destroyers onto the cul-de-sac two streets down?
4. "The house/cat/baby/me is on fire!"
Fire is nothing to mess with, young lady. It is a destroyer of worlds, and it really, really hurts if it's on your skin. Gamers understand the seriousness of fire safety, which is why diligent raid leaders are forever screaming at their teammates to "stop standing in the fire!"
Announcing that there is a fire-related emergency in your domicile will elicit instant sympathy, although the higher-IQ members of your team may be wondering why you're taking time to type this out instead of helping to prevent third-degree burns.
3. "Godzilla/Cloverfield monster/Yeti attack!"
You will need to adapt this excuse to the creature best known for terrorizing your region. The Horrific Nightmares Union has chapters everywhere in the world and has assigned territorial rights to specific monstrosities. So if you're in, say, Mexico, it would be silly to announce that the Loch Ness Monster has arisen from your swimming pool and is making headway into your living room. Nobody's going to believe that. But a Chupacabra gnawing at your leg-bone? That's solid.
2. "Got to go back in time and stop this run from ever happening! /88mph"
OK, obviously you don't have a time machine -- that's just silly. The only workable time machine was destroyed in 1985 when a train ran over it just as Marty McFly was coming back from 1885. But even though this is the most transparent lie in the book, your teammates may appreciate the comment for its amusement value. If you've got to ditch, the new adage goes, might as well leave them chuckling instead of fuming.
1. "A car just drove through my house!"
Completely ridiculous, right? I mean, what do you take us for, fools? Why don't you just go with a much more believable... what? This actually happened?
It did. Massively's own Jef is famous for recounting a time when a guildmate of his pulled this line out and abruptly left the game, leaving everyone rolling their eyes at its stupidity. The thing was, a car really had just skidded off the road and rammed into the guildie's house, a fact which he proved a couple of days later with all manner of photographic evidence.
If it happened once, it can be an excuse forever. And we're sticking with that.
Justin "Syp" Olivetti enjoys counting up to ten, a feat that he considers the apex of his career. If you'd like to learn how to count as well, check out The Perfect Ten. You can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his gaming blog, Bio Break.