Let's say you need to leave a role-playing game where you have a major character because something unexpectedly came up or you cannot stay for the allotted time, what would be the best way to leave the game without spoiling it for everyone?
The best way I have seen is to retire your character for a short time. Have them go take care of a personal matter or quest they need to do that way it is always possible to bring the character back into the game if you so desire.
If in an awkward position for the character to just up and go do something else, I'd suggest giving the Dungeon Master the reins for a bit. The character is still there, if perhaps not as forward as normal, then departs for whatever else is pulling him off when an opening occurs.
Of course, there is always the possibility of just having him killed off. Character death is always good RP fuel, especially if the GM is given enough of a heads up to work it into the story.
Comments: If you are going to leave then at least give some time. Something like, 'I need to leave in the next half hour' is cool enough to prepare everyone. Of course if you just got a phone call that someone died and you have to leave right away then no need to wait. Even with that said I think most people just lose track of time and then try to run at the last minute which isn't fair to everyone else.