Since D&D is so driven by XP awards and level advancement, this could really become an issue. I feel like I have two options.
One, I could just let people garner XP for each session they make it, and let the dice fall where they may. It's entirely possible that lower-level PC's will catch up with their teammates because they are getting a disproportionately bigger piece of the XP pie, relatively speaking. (Does that make sense? If a level 1 PC survives a fight with a CR 3 opponent with his level 3 teammates, his share of the XP will advance him to level 2 more quickly than the level 3 teammates will advance towards level 4.)
If it doesn't work out that way, then you have what I will from now on call "Steve Jinks Syndrome."
|Do you know how hard it was for me to even find a cast picture on the internet with Jinksy in it? He never made it to the rest of the party's level.|
Option three (not mentioned in the first count), I just abandon XP awards entirely and advance the entire group whenever I feel like it, which is what 13th Age does.
What do you, faithful readers, think? For those who game, how do you handle this?