Pace and Progress in your game.

aramis erak

Legend
That's absolutely true on a session basis, but it doesn't necessarily explain why the progress of the campaign would be slow.
Even in face to face...

As you increase the handling time for any given action, the increase in players lowers face time each, and thus ability to move the plot from any given player's inputs, because the player of need either has been shut down by spotlight hogs, or has a smaller share than they would in a smaller group. The smaller the time share, the less one gets done. And with more vying for attention, everyone has fewer turns to get things done.

If everyone is good about large group dynamics, they know this, and will keep their actions laser focused upon the plot. If they aren't, you can wind up with lots of side action that's irrelevant to the plot but relevant to some subset of players, at the expense of the others.

Depending upon the game and the players, I've had this happen with anywhere from 5 to to 9 players. For 10-14, if you're not in LARP mode half the session, you need to be either very quick as a GM, or the players need to work through callers so the cognative load and communicative load is reduced, or run the game in miniatures wargame mode.

It's just the dynamics of player spotlight.

Ironically, I found 8p in FFG Star Wars did NOT cross out of my normal mode for 4-6, but 4 in the 90's ALIENS Adventure Game (by Leading Edge Games. Often noted as Phoenix Command Lite) need the shift to very controlled "actions only" mode simply due to the combination of combat heavy setting and crunchy as hell mechanics.
 

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Thomas Shey

Legend
It’s the biggest red flag to me. Though yes there are likely things the GM is doing that makes it slow too. Just don’t have those details.

I know some folks love large groups but they have never worked out for me.

I'm an inbetween case; I've never much enjoyed running for seven or eight players, but I don't really like running for less than five either. Most of my gaming career I've had six, and that's what I'm most comfortable with.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Even in face to face...

As you increase the handling time for any given action, the increase in players lowers face time each, and thus ability to move the plot from any given player's inputs, because the player of need either has been shut down by spotlight hogs, or has a smaller share than they would in a smaller group. The smaller the time share, the less one gets done. And with more vying for attention, everyone has fewer turns to get things done.

This, however, makes the assumption that moving a campaign along requires extensive time given to each individual player. That's true of some types of campaign, but not all (and even for some that are it assumes all of that handling has to be done during the normal game time.)
 

Li Shenron

Legend
Is this normal? Do your homebrew campaigns end up being random encounter and random combat centered? If they aren’t, what do you do to create pace and momentum in your game so your players feel like they are getting shiz done.

Well I have no idea about what is your DM's plan for this campaign. To be honest, I have grown very detached from the current concept of 'campaigns' as I think most people are really only running individual big adventures with very fast level-up and calling them 'campaigns', which is not the same I have in mind.

So it can be that your DM does in fact have a reasonable story planned, but then thought he had to stretch it over 10 or more levels because everyone else does that or at least that's WotC standard, and added a lot of filler just to level you up.
 

Do your homebrew campaigns end up being random encounter and random combat centered?
No.
If they aren’t, what do you do to create pace and momentum in your game so your players feel like they are getting shiz done.
I generally use what I call a "mission framework." The characters work for some organisation, which gives them missions to do. It does not tell them how to do the missions, or supervise them closely, it just points them at problems to solve. This gives the players plenty of scope for creativity and improvisation, while giving them something to focus on. It does not require me to have the whole answer ready before I start, just enough of it to let me improvise events, and find patterns in them.

The frequency with which I hand out missions varies with the campaign. For detective or investigative campaigns, a "case" is a few sessions, sometimes only one. The extreme case was a world-hopping campaign, where the second mission ("Find out why the universe is like this") ended up lasting over a decade of play. There were many returns home and consultations with the organisation during that, but the objective remained clear the whole time, although many different approaches to it were used.
 

TiQuinn

Registered User
This might just be the problem with journey-style adventures. It isn’t a sandbox - where we are free to play where we like.

How do people like to add pace into their campaigns?

So with a journey campaign, what I’ve found helps is having either a ticking clock - you MUST get to point B before the clock ends or something really bad happens - or you have an enemy who is working against you, making it a race or a pursuit. Sometimes both work, too. This accomplishes two things: the party has to be picky about side quests, and particularly if you choose the second option, there’s an occasional reminder that the party has an opponent trying to prevent them from advancing, and that keeps the reason for the journey fresh in their mind.

Also, recaps help. If you watched a show like Quantum Leap, they always explained a the beginning that the reason the guy is jumping thru time is because he’s hoping the next jump is the jump…home. Remind the players what their big goal is, before getting to the smaller goal that may be in front of them.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
A few thoughts re the OP's specific situation:

Is it possible the DM is running these seemingly-random encounters just to a) sort the wheat from the chaff in terms of which characters survive and which don't and b) get the party levelled up (and-or treasured up) to where you can handle what he's really got in mind?

Or - is it possible these seemingly-random encounters aren't always so random, and that there's a connecting thread between some of them that you/your group have thus far missed, maybe due to the DM thinking he's making things far more obvious than they're coming across as?

Or - is it possible the DM is waiting for you-the-players to start inventing connections between these encounters so he can build on whatever you come up with? Example: "Guys, we were attacked by hyenas yesterday; and these Goblins we just killed are covered in pet hair that could be from those same hyenas. Those hyenas weren't just hunting, they were sent out to get us!" Some DMs love players who come up with that sort of thing and help build the plot, while others don't; you'll find out fast enough if yours does if-when those elements do or do not become worked into the ongong story.

As for the bigger question of pacing, I let it set itself. If they're having fun doing nothing, then nothing gets done and the plot doesn't advance. If they're at a loose end, I'll find a way to remind them what they're in theory supposed to be doing and thus (I hope) get them back on mission*. And if it seems they want to get on with things, then on with things I'll get.

* - in-party NPCs are really really useful for this!
 

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