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Looking around
(12/16/02 6:02:56 am)
Normal D&D session
Hi, just got a question for the hivemind:

How long is a "normal" D&D session for the group(s) that you play with?
It's four hours or less for me, personally.

In that "normal" session, how much do you accomplish? How many encounters? How much roleplaying?

The reason being I'm currently DMing a group in Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, and they're going so -slow-. Encounters take forever, it seems, roleplaying dialouges takes an eon, etc.
I fear that people are losing interest because of the pace. I know I am, a little.

So I want to hear from you guys.


Still here? Wow.
(12/16/02 6:29:32 am)
Re: Normal D&D session
If I remember correctly the average session on which the standard D&D campaign assumptions are based upon is a session of 4 hours once per week. On average they should raise 1 lvl per 5 such sessions. In the end though, there is no such thing as 'average' ;) The most important thing is that you should have fun and as long as you use the official XP rules the PCs should have the proper level at the proper place in the adventure. If you use the optional rule to just hand out a standard set of xp per session no matter how much challenges they overcome you might need to lower or increase it a bit.

As for me, on average we play one session per week which officially consists of 4.5 hours, but in reallity come down to 3.5 hours at max. Strangely enough the thursday campaign I am running is much slower then the saturday campaign. At the moment I am wondering if it is due to the players or the gaming area. On saturday we play at a dining table, while on thursday we play on a too small table in way to comforable sitting chairs and coaches...

Edited by: madfox at: 12/16/02 6:33:25 am
Still here? Wow.
(12/16/02 6:30:54 am)
Re: Normal D&D session
We play for 8 hours, including dinner break, beginning confusion as players arrive, other players arrive late, I quell chit-chat, all that. In total, I'd say that we get a good 6 hours' gaming done. Edit: I forgot to add that we play every 3rd Sunday.

In that time, my players get re-acquainted with themselves and the plot, they divvy up items and/or create new stuff, and they can get 1-2 major battles done (last session, they took care of almost the entire fire temple in one titanic battle, rested, discussed their options, scried on the temple of water who had tried to betray them, formulated a plan for an assault, and pulled that off. Now they're set to go up against the second wave of water cultists).

How often do you play? I think that 4 hours necessitates some serious organization on teh part of you as well as your players. The Game Mechanics have some great initiative cards that might be very useful.

Siobharek is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Edited by: Siobharek  at: 12/17/02 12:14:29 am
Here for a while
(12/16/02 11:07:46 am)
Re: Normal D&D session
We shoot for 4 hours, and we're fairly consistent on the once a week.

Encounters to take a while, mainly because the party is reaching 8th+ level. They have more choices in what they can do.

"You must not Ph34r, Ph34r leads to anger, anger leads to hate. Hate leads to beatdowns, and B34td0wnz Sux0r."

Here for a while
(12/16/02 12:33:42 pm)
Re: Normal D&D session
Our sessions are 3-4 hours and it is tight sometimes to make sure something 'fun' gets done during a transition or recoup session. A normal session with exploration and/or assaults allow for 1-2 decent-sized combats.

One thing we've found that helps a lot for these short sessions is to try to do some downtime business, decision making, debates, and longer conversations between sessions on GEAS, a web-based campaign system. See the links below and check my session log thread for an RTEE example (the x.y sessions are all done on-line). On a good week when the timing is right, we can cover a few hours of in-person equivalent time by doing this.

For an RTEE pacing reference, we're just finishing up the moathouse and have played 9 sessions. They have only the obelisk (1/2 done), hidden shrine (behind the crypt), and the alt exit (cockatrices) to do, if they choose to. Hommlet has been nearly purged already as well.

Group Editing & Authoring Support
flexible campaign management for the web
info :: demo

Here for a while
(12/16/02 5:52:12 pm)
Re: Normal D&D session
Like Siobharek, our group plays about 8 hour sessions on average. However, we only play about once per month as most of us live in different cities. A typical session:

9am - 10am: Players arrive
10am - 10:30am: Non-game chit-chat (we're all long-time friends)
10:30am - 12pm: gaming and snacks eaten
12pm - 12:30pm: meal
12:30pm - 5pm: gaming and more snacks eaten
5pm - 5:30pm: meal
5:30pm - ?: gaming and still more snacks eaten
Next day: the classic "D&D hangover" from having eaten too much the previous day ;)

We started RTTTOEE in February; right now, we're about 2 sessions past the Ruined Temple/Nulb (I'm using the Banewarrens instead of the CRM). My group, however, spent an extraordinarily long time in and around Hommlet, really getting into the political intrigue of the cult.

Here for a while
(12/17/02 1:45:43 am)
Typical Session
My sessions are Thursday nights (may be moving to fridays), generaly from 6pm to midnight.

We usualy actualy get started at around 7 or sometimes 8, play pretty steadily for 3 hours or so, then one of the players has to leave to make it to work (the dreaded 12-8 shift).

The other players usualy stick around for a bit, and we divy up XP, treasure, discuss what to do next, things like that. Then i email the player that left and told him how much XP he got.

We've been playing RttToEE since July, at pretty regular weekly intervals. Things were going quickly enough until we hit the CRM, now it's down to half of a map segment ("A" or "B" or whatever) per session. The players are getting restless with it, and so i'm trying to break up the monotony whenever i can with side quests and stuff.

Ritter Valliard
Here for a while
(12/17/02 8:22:12 am)
Re: Typical Session
We usually play (on average) one Saturday a month.

Players arrive between 10 and 11am.

A big lunch usually around 3pm, lots of snacking the rest of the day.

After 10:30 or 11pm, I start looking for a good stopping point. The players are usually gone by midnight.

We've been playing RttToEE for about 14 months now, maybe 18 to 20 sessions total. The party has cleared 95% of the CRM and is planning on heading into the Outer Fane next game.

Here for a while
(12/17/02 8:43:00 am)
Re: Typical Session
We play once a week on Saturday nights, getting together between 6:00-6:30 PM, eating dinner (each week we switch turns providing meals, whether it be cooked or purchased), then starting around 7:30-8:00 PM. We typically end up around midnight-12:30 AM, but on a good night it can be as late as 2:00 or even 3:00 AM.

We engage in maybe half combat and half RP. I get at least one combat in per session. I haven't had a noncombat session in a long time (pre-RttToEE), because our group prefers a little combat now and then. However, when we do RP it is typically very good, straight to the point, and I think overall it balances out well.

We have a large group (seven players plus me) and usually everyone shows up (25-33 years old, no one has kids :) ). Thus, RP would normally be a one-on-one with a player while combat involves everyone. It is difficult to RP and include the whole group, keeping everyone interested, although it happens now and then, like with Dunrat and the raising of Spugnoir ("should we do it?").

Looking around
(12/17/02 10:29:29 am)
Re: Typical Session
We play one Saturday every 6-8 weeks. Game runs from 10AM to 10PM, with an hour lost for dinner and a little at the start as players get themselves settled. Works out to 10 to 11 hours of gaming in most sessions.

In prior adventures, we'd manage 8-10 encounters per session. In RttToEE we've been quite a bit lower than that, probably 4-5. Character deaths do that to the game.

So far we've had three sessions, the first of which saw them entering Hommlet, and they've mostly cleared the moathouse. Haven't found the cockatri, but have the main area cleared and are heading out to find....Dunrat, Chat and the wagon waiting in ambush :evil

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