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How Many Actual Sessions Do Your Campaigns Last?

Hussar

Legend
S'mon said:
Karameikos Campaign (Classic) 25 months to January 2017, ca level 1-18 at about 4 sessions/level, ca 72 total.
You are obviously playing the game entirely wrong dontchaknow? You aren't supposed to level that fast in classic D&D. You should still be second level after a hundred sessions. :D :uhoh: :p
 

S'mon

Hero
You are obviously playing the game entirely wrong dontchaknow? You aren't supposed to level that fast in classic D&D. You should still be second level after a hundred sessions. :D :uhoh: :p
Well Mentzer said 5 sessions per level but it tended a bit faster in practice. Around 80 sessions and 18-19 levels over 2 years.
 

pogre

Adventurer
Average about 40 sessions of 4 hours each equaling 160 hours or so. However, that truly is an average - it is highly variable. Currently on session 33 of the current campaign and I expect it will go well past 40.
 

steenan

Villager
Our long campaigns last for 20-30 sessions, 4-6 hours each. It translates to 1-2 IRL years.

We have also played a few short (5-10 sessions) campaigns and a big number of single adventures (1-3 sessions).

The campaigns generally last until they get an appropriate closure. None of our campaigns in the last 10 years fizzled and were abandoned halfway.
 
Generally a year. Couple sessions a month. 4-6 hour sessions. This has been my experience with many different DM's. Also, for most of those D&D campaigns, we never made it above 10th level and never finished the story.
 

ART!

Explorer
We had a mostly weekly D&D 5E game last from 1/2017 to 4/2019. The PCs went from 1st to 16th level. I ran most of that, but I increasingly handed over the reins to other players who wanted to DM. One of them is our new 5E DM, running in the same setting with the victorious PCs of the previous game as high-level NPCs now, so it's arguably the same game...?

In between, I ran a game of Masks for...6 sessions? We didn't really finish, but I seriously lost my GMing mojo.
 
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I don't know about most of the campaigns that I've been involved in, but for the last two that I've run, I have kept session logs.

The campaign previous to the current one ended after 73 sessions. Characters has just reached level 10. A couple of 'story arcs' had been completed, but several more were still in progress when the campaign ended due to the death of a player.

The current campaign just had its 64th session. Characters have just reached level 9. Three 'story arcs' are complete, one is very close to completion, two more are maybe a third to half-way through, and three more are one-quarter or less complete. An uncountable number of other possible story arcs have been passed by or discarded by the player characters (or the players).

By 'story arc' I mean a problem presented to the player characters that will take multiple sessions to solve, like, "The Draconian Empire is about to declare war on the planet that some of you y'all are from. Keep your home planet from getting wrecked." which was resolved via the player characters finding an alternate food source for the Draconian Empire (among several other solutions or possible solutions that were attempted or partially attempted and discarded) or "A mysterious crime family is gobbling up all the smaller crime syndicates in the sector. Find out what the eff is going on." which was resolved by the eventual taking over of the mysterious crime syndicate by one of the player characters (after going to 'work for' the mysterious crime syndicate and having the crime boss attempt to kill the player characters several times in an elaborate triple cross scheme between the player characters, a couple of planetary governments, and the crime syndicate). Or a goal that the player characters decided to pursue, like, "develop a faster than light communications network so that we can call each other when in different planetary systems." which also certainly helped resolve some of the other things or, "open an academy to train young psions to use their powers so they can defend themselves against the depredations of the Draconian Empire (and other forces that the player characters didn't know about at the time) which ended badly, but opened up another, even more revengier story arc.
 

Venley

Villager
Anywhere from about 250 to around 5000 hours depending on the game. Other than those where we are trying something out which may be 10-30 hours or so.
But proper campaigns go on for years: Al Qadim, L5R, Glorantha, Harn, Ars Magica, WFRP besides all the ancient D&D we played back in the day.
My main group mostly play for a weekend at a time, several times a year, plus a week around New Year.

Local groups generally a few hours at a time once a week but they are mostly shorter, perhaps 10, perhaps 50 sessions.
 

Lanefan

Hero
I count a campaign as being whatever happens within a particular game world or setting under the same DM involving one or more vaguely-continuous parties that share a common root. Players and PCs come and go over the long run.

So, on that basis my current campaign will hit session 796 tomorrow night (assuming no random life interrupts); it's been running since March 2008. And it's still got some legs to it; provided anyone wants to play I'd guess it's good for another 100-200 sessions as things stand at the moment.

The one before that went 782 sessions from mid 1995 to mid 2007 (there was a big gap in 1997-8 and it also slowed down some near the end).
 

Schmoe

Villager
My current campaign has been running for 10 sessions or so and is hopefully just getting started. My previous campaign came to a premature end after about 8 sessions (due to the birth of my twins), and the campaign before that ran for well over 100 sessions.

I have a hard time understanding how people can estimate how many sessions a campaign will last. I have a hard enough time predicting where the party will be 2-3 sessions out, figuring out whether there will even be a campaign 20 session from now seems ambitious.
 

Lanefan

Hero
I have a hard time understanding how people can estimate how many sessions a campaign will last.
It's difficult to do before the campaign actually starts, in that despite best planning you don't entirely know how the player dynamics will mesh, nor what combination of PCs they'll bring in, nor whether your setting/ideas/etc. will gain any traction even if you've broached them ahead of time and got an OK.

Once things get going, however, it's pretty easy to at least educatedly-guess how long it'll go: you now have a vague idea of what the pace of play is like; you know vaguely what adventures you have in mind (to which the players will inevitably add their own as things go along, unless you're running a no-deviations AP); and you have a rough idea of how many sessions they take to play through a typical adventure. Spin those numbers out and you've got a rough estimate of how many sessions you're good for.
 

R_Chance

Explorer
My game is a sandbox with adventures inseted into it. I've used the same setting since I started in 1974. It ends when the players change / move / etc. or decide to start new characters. The longest groups have lasted over 5 years (6 and 12 years for two I can think of). The shortest about a year, but that involved me moving. I have a couple of players who have played with me, on and off, for decades (moving out of town and then, years later, back).

Play time is variable. Generally from 1 to 4 sessions a month depending on my work and player schedules. Typically 6+ hour sessions. Play time has been very limited during the school year lately (I teach). I'll be retiring in a couple of years and then I plan on making up for that :)
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
I have a hard time understanding how people can estimate how many sessions a campaign will last. I have a hard enough time predicting where the party will be 2-3 sessions out, figuring out whether there will even be a campaign 20 session from now seems ambitious.
I don't bother. Sometimes the players do something and skip a large portion. Other times they putz around in an area for 5 sessions longer than I figured. I just roll with it until the campaign ends. My estimation here was based on the range of time my campaigns have historically lasted. They rarely go less than a year and we lose a few sessions due to life, so 48 on the low end, and rarely go past a year and a half, so 70 on the high end with more missed sessions due to life.
 

dragoner

Dying in Chargen
I have a hard time understanding how people can estimate how many sessions a campaign will last. I have a hard enough time predicting where the party will be 2-3 sessions out, figuring out whether there will even be a campaign 20 session from now seems ambitious.

I know myself well enough that I get bored with a setting after about four years. Yes, though, the players often faff about, so it is impossible to really tell what will be going on at any time with any true accuracy. Even if I come up with a good little adventure that I know the players will go for, I often have to take copious amounts of notes, so I remember it all when they are finally ready to go.
 

Zhaleskra

Explorer
Never actually counted. Actually, I think I've never actually run a campaign to its conclusion. Teenager - quickly shifting interests, Adult - scheduling, boredom with play by post games, losing interest.
 
I do think there is a market for a campaign that lasts 10-12 sessions, with characters levelling from 1st to max; each session approximately four hours in length. This alleviates any fatigue in the setting, too much down time in the story, long combats (long, key word) that don't help drive the story, and character fatigue (players wanting to start a new character to try something different).
 

Lanefan

Hero
I do think there is a market for a campaign that lasts 10-12 sessions, with characters levelling from 1st to max; each session approximately four hours in length. This alleviates any fatigue in the setting, too much down time in the story, long combats (long, key word) that don't help drive the story, and character fatigue (players wanting to start a new character to try something different).
Levelling 1st to max in 10-12 sessions would mean level-ups about twice per session, thus your players would spend half of each session bookkeeping and rewriting their character sheets.

That, and such a campaign would have to be on a pretty hard railroad to prevent players from (oh the horror!) deciding to veer off-story and maybe explore the setting a bit deeper...
 
Levelling 1st to max in 10-12 sessions would mean level-ups about twice per session, thus your players would spend half of each session bookkeeping and rewriting their character sheets.

That, and such a campaign would have to be on a pretty hard railroad to prevent players from (oh the horror!) deciding to veer off-story and maybe explore the setting a bit deeper...
You are correct if we are playing D&D. But, a system with 10 levels, completely doable. But D&D would not offer time. I agree.

As for railroading, if you have five objectives that they need to accomplish, have a system that doesn't make ever piece of combat an hour, and are know your world - this gives them plenty of time to steer the ship and delve deeper into the setting. Once you make combat 60 minutes out of the 4 hours instead of 120 or 180 minutes, you can dig pretty deep into the realm.
 

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