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How long do your sessions usually last?

How long do your sessions usually last?


  • Total voters
    27

JohnnFour

Game Master
Staff member
Demonplague Author
Wizard of Adventure
Beta-Tester
Adventure Builder
Gamer Lifestyle
Adventure Master
I used to run regular weekend marathon sessions. Alas, real life and age cap my sessions.

Oddly, I prefer 3 hours now. But I GM longer to make it worth it for my players who need to block off their schedules, break away from family, and sometimes have to commute quite a distance.

My Terror in the Badlands campaign on Roll20 is perfect. I schedule 3.5 hours, and we go longer if everyone's feeling it. Nice and flexible.
 

pgcannonjr

Member
3 hours seems to be natural limit I hit, but if we're in the zone it can easily slip to 4 hours and no one notices. I do some 1-on-1 games that go 2 1/2 to 3 hours as an upper limit. I have had friends or family visiting to play and then we just go until we're finished.
 

Xik

Member
Adventure Builder
Adventure Master
Most sessions I've preferred to schedule for 1-5 in the afternoon, out of the desire to have the game go on as long as possible, heh. Some days I've wondered about shaving off an hour though. Other days we end up overrunning half an hour or so to finish a scene.
 

TealdragonUK

Member
Faster Combatant
Adventure Builder
Adventure Master
This one is a variable for me. Monday nights are around 2.5 hours. Wednesday games (on hiatus thanks to viruses) were more of a 2 hour thing as we'd meet up and have dinner first, and then fit in a game until 10pm. We've also on occasion booked out a Saturday when calendars/kids/pets/spouses allow which is 10am to 5pm, but usually not an exact start time and a break for lunch. I find the long session tiring and tough to prep for, you can easily burn through ideas.
 

BenS

Member
Adventure Builder
Adventure Master
I am not a fan of sessions during the work week and prefer saturday night sessions as it makes things more relaxed for all. During the week people tend to be sleepy and more stressed, as there is a very limited amount of time. That can keep players more focused, but sometimes also takes away some breathing-room for roleplaying. Some players are fine with just fireplace banter itself, but I sometimes got the notion that some other players like to have the feeling of having accomplished something tangible and will try to press for that rather pure role-playing. For that, our sessions are between 4 and 8 hours long, with a lot of time at the beginning to let everyone calm down, settle in, get the food situation organized, get up to speed on non-rpg topics and get into character and the story. So basically we would have a soft and a hard start, also allowing to join for the hard start, when everyone else is already settled in and people couldn't join earlier.
 
Last edited:

ErikaHLX

Member
Adventure Builder
Adventure Master
As a player, I'm in two games with wildly different session timing.

Game #1: strictly scheduled for four hours every other week. We rarely go over or under by more than 15 min (though the first 15-30 min is usually social time as we feed ourselves). Although we joke around a bit, we hold to our objectives and prioritize getting things done

Game #2: s roughly every other weekend, date and time not set until one of us gets around to it, and usually runs at least seven hours. During this time we're drinking, taking 15-minute breaks, joking around a lot and going off on social tangents, sharing videos, etc.

As a GM, neither of these is exactly my ideal for running game, so I try to find a balance.

I run mostly for a lot of the same players from the jokey/social crew in Game #2. At first they were surprised at how short my sessions were, but also that we were getting more done per session than in our seven-hour game. Here's how I found the balance: I see that we as a crew get bored when we're not meeting in-game objectives and milestones, which makes us even more likely to entertain ourselves with socializing, thus a feedback loop where we spend even more time in the session to try to get things done, and more time socializing. However I also find the socializing to be a valuable source of input for me as a GM, because my guys' way of thinking out loud is to riff on things, associate a scene to a funny video they saw, etc. I need to build in time for the socializing because that's how I learn what they're picking up on in the world, which NPC traits have an impact on them, etc. But I also need to build in time to achieve things in game.

Now, how I try to manage that balance is a topic for a different thread, but that's how I have determined five hours is my ideal! We're lucky to have at least enough flexibility in our schedules right now that we can make the time.
 

Gedece

Active member
Adventure Builder
Adventure Master
Our sessions normally lasts 6 hours, but that includes hour and a half for things we want to talk outside the game, and little stops, so real time is around 4:30 hours
 

ObliviousGeek

Member
Adventure Builder
Adventure Master
My preference would be 4-6 hours - a solid weekend afternoon of gaming is the dream, but one that happens less often the older I get as my friends have more children and less time to themselves.

These days we generally play midweek games for a few hours from 8:30pm, but usually someone is late due to said kids and someone else is starting to doze off by around 10:30pm so I've started looking for natural stopping points at around the 2-hour mark. Frustrating, but everyone still has fun and it's the main interaction I have with my friends back home.
 

Frost Birch

Member
Adventure Builder
Adventure Master
My sessions are about 4 hours of playtime online. That's 4 hours for the players, more for me as I rehash the game into a post so I can line up the next week's game.
 

MarkD

Member
Wizard of Adventure
Adventure Builder
Adventure Master
My sessions are pretty short (comparatively). It's a couple of games with folks from work (across three time zones), and are about 2 1/2 hours with a break after each hour. We've been opening up the zoom link a half hour earlier for anyone at the company that wants to hang out.
 

Brent Romans

Member
Wizard of Adventure
Adventure Builder
Adventure Master
Usually 2-3 hours every Sunday. As GM, I usually find I can prep enough stuff during the week to handle it. Any more than that and the players might start sticking their noses into places I could be totally unprepared for.
 

EmaDM

New member
Wizard of Adventure
we play during workdays from 21.30 to midnight, 2,5 hours. If we have a topic encounter we go on till it is finished but max to 1 am, we play in person. Only during lockdown we played in video conference
 

Ronaldo Lima

Member
Adventure Builder
Adventure Master
Standard is 4 hours during a week evening (currently every Tuesday), but there is a good half hour of that time spent eating and socializing before we actually start playing.

Also, lately I have noticed a tendency to "divided attention" during game time, which makes me bonkers... since we are all using D&D Beyond everybody is looking at a laptop or iPad at all times.
I am actually considering a shorter session to see if get them more focused, nut I am not sure yet.

Probably a topic for another thread here... to talk specific about player engagement and "multi-tasking" during game.
I feel I will gladly receive help from this community before starting GMing my next adventure in a month or so...
 
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