How Many Actual Sessions Do Your Campaigns Last?

Retreater

Adventurer
I had a conversation with one of my friends lately about how long campaigns actually last in reality (as opposed to the lofty goals of Game Masters, the ideals of players, and the intent of designers). While both of us have had outlier experiences of year-long (or two years long) campaigns, we found that in practice, it's been much shorter for an average campaign.

Despite the actual player composition, most of our games meet biweekly (with the occasional skipped session due to real world situations). We've found that most games last between 8-12 sessions (or in real-world time, between 4-6 months.)
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Depends on whether the players like the campaign, whether there’s a TPK- or, in Paranoia, how many TPKs- and other factors. Some have lasted only a few sessions, others have gone years or even decades.
 

TwoSix

The hero you deserve
Averages about 20-25 sessions, which we occasionally mix up with shorter arcs to try out different games.
 

Nagol

Unimportant
If my campaign isn't working, 1-5 sessions. If I plan a specific limited run, (single adventure, until 5th level, whatever), typically 5 - 12 sessions. If it is open-ended, 12 to... hundreds. My current (non-D&D) campaign has been running semi-monthly since 2012. My last D&D campaign ran semi-monthly for 6 years. My highest session-count campaign was probably a CHAMPIONs campaign run twice a week for 4 years.
 
Let's see, my old AD&D campaign was weekly from '85 through '90 ...more sporadic after that... until wrapping in '95 I'd have to guess like 400 sessions. The amazing thing about that was that in 84-86, about the same group was also playing a couple of Champions games every week, and Traveler, and GURPS - we spent like 30hrs a week gaming: Thurs & Fri night, all day Saturday, and Sunday afternoon.

From 93 to 2002 I ran Mage/Werewolf, at first it was rotating with other GMs & my old AD&D, so every-other week or 1/month, then it was every week for a while, then rotating with a Champions! campaign, then sporadic, then weekly for the last year or so as we did the apocalypse and wrapped it. Maybe 200 sessions in all, including a short denouement mini-campaign set in the far-flung future of 2020... yeah.

From 2000 through 2010 I was in a regular group, we ran 3.0 and 3.5 for their full runs, then 4e, meeting almost every week for over 10 years, that's 500+ sessions, but we traded off DMing. Still, the primary DM probably ran half those sessions, easy.

It started as a lark, but "Pixies & Pirates" went from a 4th level continuation of The Crystal Cave in early 2012, to 25th level in summer 2018, and was weekly almost without exception - major holidays and the like - so over 300 sessions. (And we've just re-started it, so it may yet go all the way to 30).
 

ccs

39th lv DM
To date all of the 5e games I've run, save one, have lasted 12-15 months (we play weekly, 4/4.5 hr sessions, occasionally missing a week.)
So about 60 sessions or so.
The short one only lasted 6 sessions before RL scheduling problems tore it apart.

Every 5e game I've played in , save one, has lasted 4-6 months. Again, generally weekly sessions, occasionally missing a week.
The long game was a CoS campaign that lasted almost a year, ending in (effectively) a TPK.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Despite the actual player composition, most of our games meet biweekly (with the occasional skipped session due to real world situations). We've found that most games last between 8-12 sessions (or in real-world time, between 4-6 months.)
My group uses a similar biweekly format (twice a month).

My first campaign with them was Deadlands, and ran... 5 years and one month.

We took a bit of a palate cleanser with (what for us is) a short arc that lasted 6 months with Atomic Robo.

The following campaign has been Ashen Stars, and has been running for... just about 3.5 years now? It is heading into some plotlines that the group may consider to be a good close to the character's stories.
 

practicalm

Explorer
I like to build my games with some story arc and then the game ends when the arc is complete (or whatever the players ending up doing to resolve or ignore the situation).

Games can run from 25-40 sessions for me.


This way it's easier to switch to a new GM who now can do his story arc.

You could even have GMs list their game ideas and then players can select which games they are interested in playing and the GM is interested because they put the idea together.
 

Odysseus

Explorer
Shorter campaigns 10 to 15 sessions (40 hours)
Longer campaigns over 100 sessions (350 hours) there is usually some fatigue by then. And we do something else.
 

Richards

Adventurer
My last campaign: 100 gaming sessions of 4-6 hours each over the course of 9 years.

My current campaign: 80 scheduled gaming sessions of 4-6 hours each, anticipated to last 5 years or so.

My next campaign: 100 scheduled gaming sessions (we've done 63 so far) of 4-6 hours each.

My son's campaign (in which I am a player): 49 gaming sessions over almost 3 years thus far, with probably another 20 or so to go.

Johnathan
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I had a conversation with one of my friends lately about how long campaigns actually last in reality (as opposed to the lofty goals of Game Masters, the ideals of players, and the intent of designers). While both of us have had outlier experiences of year-long (or two years long) campaigns, we found that in practice, it's been much shorter for an average campaign.

Despite the actual player composition, most of our games meet biweekly (with the occasional skipped session due to real world situations). We've found that most games last between 8-12 sessions (or in real-world time, between 4-6 months.)
Ended - either completed or fizzled:

The last three campaigns that ended were 5 years, 7 years, and 4.5 years. Play bi-weekly, with significant gaps in summer and the winter holidays. Say 16-20 sessions a year. But that's my table - there's two player overlap for all three, and 3-4 player overlap between any two of them.

Last three campaigns I played in that ended were ~15 months of more weekly than not, 4-5 months strictly weekly and then ended early by outside circumstances, and about a year of bi-weekly. I'm not including an AL game at a FLGS that I joined after start for three sessions and never caught my interest.
 

Xaelvaen

Explorer
Just wrapped up a "Magic meets Tech" campaign that lasted (480 hours of total playtime). Our sessions have varied lengths, so it's best for me to just equate it into hours. Sometimes if we all get a night to kill, we'll have a random 1 - 2 hour play session, otherwise we meet twice a week at ~5 - 7 hours a session.

Long ago, at all our employments, we changed our availability to have Monday and Tuesday off (because weekends here suck and have way too much traffic). So the 5 - 7 hours, twice a week, is guaranteed. Everything else is... random.
 
4 hours sessions, 35-40 sessions for an average campaign.

We've also done lengthy campaigns (80-100 sessions) and one-shots or mini-series (3-5 sessions) over the years.
 

dragoner

Dying in Chargen
Recently finished an M-Space game, hard-ish sci-fi setting: 3-4 hours per session, around 20-30 sessions a years, just over 2 years. Approximately 60 sessions, or about 200 hours.

Edit: This seems slightly below average, where average is around 3-4 years.
 

Sadras

Adventurer
Multi-Campaign (from 4e evolved to 5e), going 100+ sessions, running for over a decade (3 different parties).
Shorter Campaigns, sometimes criss-crossing the above (5-15 sessions, 40-70 hours).
I'm the sole DM for the above.

Westeros game - using the RPG for that setting, probably 7-8 sessions in (30+ hours), I'm not the DM.

Other non-D&D games, 1-3 sessions, when we find the time - which is not often.
 

HJFudge

Visitor
My campaigns are usually planned to be around 50-60 sessions. This may be extended or reduced, depending on the flow of things and how they go. TPK has really only ended one of my campaigns (I've had 5 I consider 'successful'...the TPK is one of those I consider successful).

I find this is long enough for characters to feel they've reached peak power and kind of wrap up their goals, whatever it is those may be. I've had one campaign run longer, I think it clocked in at around 100 sessions...but there were a few extenuating circumstances (had a major party shakeup 20 sessions in).

But yes. 50-60 sessions, 3 hours or so a session, is how I like to plan.
 

S'mon

Legend
I tend to track my #sessions and run longer campaigns, a couple years is typical.

Some recent campaigns:
Loudwater (4e) 2011-2016, 5.5 years, 103 sessions, levels 1-29 & reached 30 at end.
Follow on 5e Princes of the Apocalypse campaign runs monthly and plan to go 36 sessions over 3 years, 2019-2021, with fast advancement level 1-20.

Primeval Thule I have run 27 sessions so far since January 2019, plan to run around 60 sessions over 12 months or so, level 1-20 at 2-3 sessions/level.

Varisia - Runelords of the Shattered Star 5e D&D, so far 83 sessions since November 2015, but took a break in 2018 and switched from tabletop to online. Most of the PCs are now 20th level.
Followed on from Curse of the Crimson Throne PF, 34 sessions Jan 2014-Oct 2015.

Nentir Vale 4e campaign 26 sessions 2017-18, level 1-6.

Karameikos Campaign (Classic) 25 months to January 2017, ca level 1-18 at about 4 sessions/level, ca 72 total.

Southlands Campaign (4e) 20 sessions 2011-12, level 3-10.

Yggsburgh Campaign (1e AD&D) was 45 online sessions before tailing off.
Wilderlands (online5e ) has run a few hundred sessions since 2015.
1e Rise of the Runelords was 16 sessions online before TPK.

I used to mostly run 20-35 session campaigns in 3e, but with 5e I find it fits longer campaigns going the full level range.

Adding up #sessions for the completed campaigns above I get 103+34+26+20+45+16=244/6=22 sessions average campaign length, but this is biased to the low end by not counting the long duration ongoing campaigns like Runelords (83) and Wilderlands (200+).
 
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