Session Length


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On average, how long does everyone get to play, how often in a week, and how much of the "game night" is spent playing vs. BSing?

We play every Friday night, an average of 4 hours (dependant upon work schedules), and unfortunately probably BS about an hour away during game time. We BS about 1.5 to 2 hours before we start playing. Doesn't help that despite our best efforts, Friday night is the only night most of us see each other.

In that time, thus far we've managed one major encounter each night. Needless to say, some adventures take a loooooooooong time. We just wrapped up one that started two weeks before Thanksgiving. We failed to save the world. Time for a little behind the scenes Deus ex Machina.

my weekly game is on Monday evenings from about 6-6:30 until 10... I find that it actually works out surprisinly well.

on the other hand on the rare occasions that I decide to drive a hundred miles on a weekend to play with my older gaming group we have sessions that last 10+ hours sometimes... which can be fun as well (although they can be draining... I am not as young as I once was).


Shafeman, your game sounds identical to mine. We play every Friday night @ around 7:00. Yeah, there's a bit of bsing for the first little while and around 8:00 we really settle in to play. On average, a session lasts about 4-6 hours. About 2 AM is when I usually cut it since I'm starting to fade at that point.
There's plenty of time wasted with "Hey, have you guys seen..." and "Dude, did you see that SNL episode..."
Anyway, I'm trying to keep the guys in character as much as possible (without crushing their socializing). I've tried various strategies, but my latest is awarding a small amount of xp to the group based on how well they stayed in character for the night (no more than 10-50 xp each). Some of them are much better than others and it may help to give those that are not a little nudge from the rest of the group and try harder.
Point to this is that "in character = more gaming." The challenge is getting the players to do it. If you can, you're getting to get a lot more out of each session.
(More on how this is working next week... ;)

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The rare times my group plays, they keep me going until I either pass out from exhaustion or just can't think straight. This last session I was evidently DMing in my sleep. Seems they made it about three rooms further than I remember, including running into a trap.

They get to have all the fun.

We play every Saturday at noon. We usually play until 6:00 PM unless no one has plans. In that case, we may play until midnight or so.

My group gets together about every other Sunday. We "play" from about 1 to 8, and probably BS for about 2 hours of that, most of it at the beginning. One of my players joked that warming up for his weekly basketball game takes about half as long as warming up for D&D.

I find that it helps to have everything set up before everyone gets there (if I have time), to have the food already ordered, and to have left off with some kind of cliff-hanger from the last session. Two sessions ago, they had just finished a battle when gutteral battle cries erupted from a nearby passageway ... "but more on that next time." Last session, they finished the first part of the dungeon and gained a level ... "but it's getting late, so we'll do the levelling up next time."

We play roughly every other Saturday. Everyone shows up between noon and 1:00 and we usually play until 6:00ish (although we went until 10 this last weekend). BSing takes place throughout the session.

The regular weekly game I run for my husband and a five friends runs from 5-9 every week on Sundays... often this pushes til 10, but 2 of the players have to leave promptly at 9. Game play is frequently interrupted by the latest story for the week, much to my dismay. We manage only a few encounters each session, which makes progress slow.

It makes me glad I didn't attempt the adventure path with this group... we'd still be stuck on flood season, if not Life's Bazaar!

We also have a monthly game with my brother at his gaming store.... this usually involves a complete shorter adventure, typically pulled from the pages of Dungeon magazine. The game here is typically longer, running on one or both days of the weekend, frequently ending late on Saturday and continuing for several hours on Sunday. This, of course, means that the weekly game is cancelled once a month... though a few times we've made the three hour trip in time to have both games run.

- Ashavan

My current home game goes every other Sat from 2PM-8PM. If we are doing a an official playtest, we go from noon until we finish.

We usually spend the first hour doing administrative clean-up (leveling up, revisiting the last session as a reminder of what has transpired before) We probably lose a half hour over the session BSing.

I, as the DM, do my best to keep the BSing to a minimum and play to a Maximum. The problem I encounter the most is that the PCs rairly get as far as I expect them to in a session. Something like Sunless Citadel ran 3 sessions, Forge of Fury ran 5.

ASEO out

The Exchange

Me and my group play every other saturday from 17.00 - 23.00 (sometimes 24.00).BSing is a problem for me, since my players tend to give their characters an extremely humorous touch; Though it makes for some great character-role-playing, I'm often glad to bring them from one encounter to the next in a time other groups would have cleared the Dungeon. But since they seem to enjoy this style of play, I don't urge them to be true heroes. Only thing I try is to play the NSC in a more serious manner, just to make them the offer to play it the same way.
So we are rather slow ( I doubt that we can finish AP 1 before AP 5 begins ;) ), but we have fun nonetheless. And maybe, my players will eventually begin to play their characters in a manner better suited to a fantasy world, where the grim half-orc barbarian is not rolling on the floor laughing by each bad joke made by the halfling would-be wizard. :)

ASEO wrote:

I, as the DM, do my best to keep the BSing to a minimum and play to a Maximum. The problem I encounter the most is that the PCs rairly get as far as I expect them to in a session. Something like Sunless Citadel ran 3 sessions, Forge of Fury ran 5.

ASEO out

ASEO - You're making me feel better... It took my group 4 sessions to get through sunless citadel, but they were still adjusting to the 3.5 rule set (most hadn't played since 2e) so there were more rules discussions, and more time spent at the table reviewing specifics of new rules than there might have been otherwise.

My group adopted Meepo.... how weird is that.

- Ashavan

Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

Hi guys and gals,

I am one of the lucky few that has some free time.

I have a game thats on hiatus right now because some of my players are in a play. but that game usually goes saturdays from 6 til midnight. My general rule is get deep into the game by 7, 6-7 is spent bsing and levelingup/buying magic items. then we play till midnight. Then on sunday I dm a game from 2or 3 until 8 or 9. Then every once in a while my old gaming group gets together on fridays. I guess we're just DnD nuts.


Wow. I guess we're marathon gamers. We play about twice per month. Usually on Saturdays. From about 3pm to 2am.

Count a couple of hours total for non-game activities, but we cram a lot of encounters into a game session. It's not uncommon for us to level up after each game session. Sometimes two games sessions per level.

We started out like that Boredflak. I consistantly got off work at 5ish, so everyone would meet at my house and we'd start at 6. Then my girlfriend began getting scheduled until 8:30. Then I did once as well, and everyone took that to mean it was OK to work on game night, so now if we start at 9 we're lucky. :( It's hard not to get huffy over it, but when you consider the waiters in the group can make over $200 in tips on a Friday night, you can't blame them overly much.

We play every other monday from 6 PM to 10 PM. We usually start the session at exactly 6 PM, so most people show up around 5:30, since those who are late don't get XP for the period they miss. We also use e-mail to do a lot of roleplaying and stuff that aren't that dice intensive, so the actual session length is probably longer.

Scarab Sages

evilash wrote:
We also use e-mail to do a lot of roleplaying and stuff that aren't that dice intensive, so the actual session length is probably longer.

Yeah, internet supplimenting can be helpful. It has its drawbacks, but if you're having trouble with schedule pinches and are at a more interactive than reactive portion of the game, it can help keep the plot rolling a little bit better than a cold start at the next gaming session.

We play Fridays from 6:00 pm - 1:00 am usually. About 1 hour is taken up by banter out of the context of the game, and another hour is used arguing rules. We got about 2 big fights in per gaming session.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Our group plays every other Saturday. We start at 1:30 p.m. and usually wrap things up by about midnight or 1 a.m. (if an encounter runs late and we want to finish it). Then, everyone hangs around and chats about the game, past games, and future games, until about 2 or 3 a.m.

Now THAT is an ideal gaming day Mr. Hart.

I'm glad that you guys said how long you take. I was kind of nervous on my first meet because it felt like it took forever, but I suppose completing "The Forgotten Forge" in one session wasn't that bad

we usually start at around 10 am the morning of the gaming day, and we go until someone has to be somewhere(which could be a few days away), until we can't find a place to move the game because we've been kicked out of everywhere else, or until everyone generally decides that enough is enough and that some of us need sleep. Players come and go throughout the session, and DMs take turns. It helps that every member of my gaming group each has an area of their house or apartment that is set aside for gaming only(with a fully stocked fridge and cabinet full of sodas and Junk food within reaching distance).

Due to family, work, and other various obligations my gaming group of three meets once a Friday every month and we game from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. so I really cherish our short game time together. When the pizza disappears I would say our game time is probably 3 1/2 hours so we try to pack in as much gaming as we can. Our current campaign is in the Temple of Elemental Evil.

I play in two groups, one on Saturday night, and one on Sunday night. BSing will vary, depending on how strung out everyone is from the week (work, relationships, stress in general)...sometimes, we have more BSing than playing, but often we have good games in any case.

We game from around 4 to midnight...most of us could keep going, or would like to start earlier...but work keeps us from that.

I miss all nighters, and weekend benders...soooo fun...just not so great when everyone has work, or this or that.

And good luck with your behind the scenes action...hehe, sucks when the world ends. ;)


Yeah, party vote resulted in seperate DMs running seperate campaigns, both of which are starting at level 1. That way we've got the new game excitement going again.

Longest session I ever played was the summer before my last year of high school. We holed up in a house and played for a full 7 days straight. Naps were had when necessary, as were showers and meals, but the girlfriends came and went several times, failing each time to get us out of the house. If I remember right, our characters jumped from level 1 to level 14. *sigh* I miss the days before bills happened.

I run a game for my students after school. When we play varies, 2 - 6 times a month. We start at about 3:30 and run till 6:00. It took me a while to design encounters that fit into 2 1/2 hours. Shopping, RPing and investigating in town is now done online individually. Nothing can be more boring for a wizard wanting to buy that new scroll than sitting through a fighter buying a sword.

The game I run goes for about 6 hours on whichever weekend (Sat. or Sun.) that works for everyone. Although, I'm running the first AP series, and am only halfway through the 4th adventure. (Issue from Nov '03!) So I have WAY too much BS'ing going on, but we have fun.

Game one goes on from 5pm to 9pm with random amounts of BSing.
we've been playin for a few months, at times i don't think that im going to have enough prepared for them, and at other times i worry they might never see the next area.

Game two is about to see its third game, an every saturday, play if you make it game, just to teach my new brother in law the rules. (hes 10 and still has a problem with "forgeting" that hes already used up his limited use items) and as a word of advice, if a new player doesn't know what to do, human fighter, they learn about feats, and they dont have to deal with seeing in the dark or the range of a magic missile.

We play every Friday night til midnight. Note that I didn't have a starting time... We used to start at 6 but then everybody got all "responsible" and stuff. Lately, it's been lagging back to 7:30 or 8 before dice hit the table...

And there is some serious BSing lately (4 of us are in the same industry as competitors!)

The game that I play is every-other Sunday from 12:00 to whenever. It usually takes us 30min. to stop talking about jokes and funny things we've read. The BSing is all through the session at random times and somtimes lasts so long that our characters get hit by a lighting bolt.


My Thursday night game that I DM meets from 5-9 online. We usually get a good 3-4 hours of solid gaming in.

On Saturdays I DM as well, but it's more casual. Usually my friend comes over sometime in the afternoon and I DM him and my husband for a few hours.

On Wednesdays I play at Paizo, in Jason B's and Wes's games, usually from 7 - 11 or so. But there's lots of goofing off so we don't get 4 straight hours of gaming in...I want to say about 3 hours intermixed with goofing.

-Amber S.

Tuesdays, 7pm-11pm.

Tuesdays worked better than Fridays, as no one has obligations on Tuesdays most of the time... no gf's, no parties, no long weekends, no vacations, etc.

It's been my best game night so far.

- WC

Wednesdays, 7 pm - 11 pm;

There have been exceptions for near-finished encounters, holidays, etc., but I usually start right as the last person arrives - which has been as late as 7:45 pm.

With 12 or 13 players, my game actually rolls along pretty well, because as long as they keep it quiet, there are one or two side-conversations going on while I run the game; during encounters it's just me and the players, one at a time, while the others discuss tactics on the side.


We normally play on wed. at 7am until about 5pm, and sometimes thurs. but later in the afternoon (the weekend for us). We have odd work hrs. lol. Most of our time is bs'ing about the game we played last week. Our DM normally has to set everything up before the game because barely anything is planned, its only a thought of a battle plan for him, lol he likes to keep us and sometimes him on our toes. He says it makes him less impartial to us and the npc's. Okay now that I have written a "short story" lol (I'm actually waiting for my DM to get finished doing what he's doing lol) Take care all = )
Ps. It's so nice to read about other Female players !

Koldoon wrote:

My group adopted Meepo.... how weird is that.

- Ashavan

Mine did too. Although I changed the Kobolds to Rat Men from Creature Catalog. His name is Rat Boy, and he feels that he is safer with the PC than with his tribe as the Dragon keeper for a dragon that now has a breath weapon. (I played it that the dragon developed its breath weapon after the Goblins stole it).

Prior to Sunless Citadel, I ran Gryphon's Legacy and in it the PCs also adopted a Kobold that is now serving as the Necromancer's well as gaining PC classes (Expert1, Ranger 2). he was with the party that did Forge of Fury.

ASEO out

Koldoon wrote:
ASEO wrote:

My group adopted Meepo.... how weird is that.

The group I'm DMing for negotiated with Yusdrayl and were granted Meepo on loan...

The only problem was that he was standing next to the party's warmage when the scythe trap on the door to room 27 was sprung. By random selection, the lot fell to Meepo. It just so happened that the blade scored a critical. 1d8 x4 is more that the standard kobold can bear. Breathing a sigh of relief, and wiping the gore from his tunic, the warmage...

Thus ended a short-lived but comical opportunity for the DM to role play.

Game length? Never long enough. Monday nights, once every two weeks, 4-5 hours when possible, BSing generally kept to a minimum.

My group gets together about every three weeks. I generally set the games up for the weekends my wife is on ER call as she has no interest in the game. We get together around 5:00 pm, bs for about 30 minutes and then play until around 2:00 am. These games are most often on Saturdays as we have 3 teenagers playing in the group who have school and the players drive between 30 minutes to an hour to get to my house. I also have the table set, books out , DMscreen up and am ready to play when they arrive. As we often go 3 weeks between games, I usually give a brief recap from notes I have taken during the previous session just to get everyone up to speed. I ain't as young as I used to be (38) so I have laid off the Chimay during the game and stick to water, coffee, and sodas. It also makes a difference when running a game for up to 10 players who are often all talking at once.

DM Dave

My Tuesday night FR game runs from 6:30 to 11, with only very light off-topic conversation, since we're pressed for time.

The Thursday night Greyhawk RttToEE campaign runs 6-11 as well, again, next to no off-topic banter.

I'm running the Friday night game currently, Eberron's Schema cycle interspersed with Dungeon adventures and we roll from 7-1 on average, sometimes earlier or later. Off topic tends to take an hour to an hour and a half depending on whats going on.

I'd probably game more often, if it weren't for the 9-5 job, the (blessedly understanding) wife, and my two girls.

Everyone in our group has full time jobs, so we play our FR campaign every other Friday from 18:30 to 24:00ish, occasionally until 2:00. We try to keep the group at six or seven total including DM. We also are getting ready to run some RPGA events this summer, two players including myself are GM's. RPGA events in Idaho are almost non existent.

I guess my group's gaming schedule is pretty strict. We game every other Friday starting at 8:50 pm when I ask my players questions about the previous session (awarding a little XP for correct answers). That really encourages them to take notes, keep journals, and otherwise pay attention. Our session starts exactly at 9pm and we go until 2am with a 5 minute break at the end of every hour. With my players paying complete attention during the session and with a quick break every hour bsing during the game simply doesnt happen with us.

Noku wrote:
I guess my group's gaming schedule is pretty strict. We game every other Friday starting at 8:50 pm when I ask my players questions about the previous session (awarding a little XP for correct answers). That really encourages them to take notes, keep journals, and otherwise pay attention. Our session starts exactly at 9pm and we go until 2am with a 5 minute break at the end of every hour. With my players paying complete attention during the session and with a quick break every hour bsing during the game simply doesnt happen with us.

Wow. Are you in the military or something?

Player: "DM.....I was wondering if this ring stacked with my, um, cloak (flinches involuntarily)...."

DM: "What is your major malfunction?! Am I playing D&D with my brother's kids or something?! Roll the dice and shut up, skum sucker!"

AmazingShafeman wrote:
On average, how long does everyone get to play, how often in a week, and how much of the "game night" is spent playing vs. BSing?

Approximately every other Sunday, 12-6 PM. Very little out-of-game BSing, some in-game. Works out quite nicely actually. 6 hours seems about right in terms of holding people's attention, staying on track and such.

I have two gaming groups

the first group plays every two weeks and the schedule goes as follows
4pm social hour--5pm supper hour--6pm until 11pm gaming
We tend to stay fairly focused during the gaming, so any socializing isn't overly disruptive.

My other group is once a week from 8:30 til 11:30 and because of the short timeframe we are pretty much exclusively gaming.

I don't see the social (BS'ing) as a big deal as that is one of the primary benefits/goals of a gaming group. A bunch of like minded individuals getting together and sharing in a social activity. I harken DnD to the Bridge nights of the 50s.

I run my D&D game 1-2 times a month, Saturday nights from 5pm until 11pm usually. We've all known each other for decades and get the BSing done during lulls and breaks.

I play in a Star Trek RPG game that is run every 2 weeks from 4pm until 10pm or so, at which time the GM is usually too drunk to continue and passes out within minutes afterwards. We recently converted that game to a variant D20 modern/d20 future system and it's working out pretty well.

My group adopted Meepo.... how weird is that.
My group also did in a way. They allowed him to be their guide but then they found out he had a ruby ring (I changed the module to make it more interesting) that he had stolen from the party that had came before. They chopped off his head, stole his stuff, then used him as a human (kobold, sorry) shield and a test dummy for traps before he was eaten by a dire rat after the PCs left him behind when fleeing. I know, I know, a pretty barbaric pack (I think there actually might have been a barbarian in the group, but whatever) but you can't get mad at them for improvising! :P

We usually game once every week or two, depending on work schedules and we try to make it an all day even if we can. We usually start showing up at whoever is letting their house be overrun that day at about 9 A.M. and BS until about noon. After we eat lunch we game and we spend about 25% of the time BSing.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

I have 2 games, one where I am the DM and another where I play. They both happen on Sundays and start at noon, they typically last 6 hours and sometimes go into serious overtime => 8 hours.
On average I have two games per month, which is fine because DM prep time takes a whole lot of time ;>

There is ofcourse some socializing but we still get 90% gametime in I think.

We play two campaigns. I DM one 2ndED Planescape campaign. My buddy also DMs a 2ndED Greyhawk campaign. Last sat we played from about 5 pm to 4 am on Sun. We used to play longer than that before jobs came along. It was typical in our younger years to play from about Fri nite to Sat Nite once a month. Personally, I hate short games, since its time to quit just about when the getting gets good. We have some players, tho, that are less familiar with 2ndED rules, so it takes time. Of course, there is the BSing, also. We often use miniatures we have collected over the years, some of them pretty old, so sometimes a head or limb falls off, etc.

During the summer, we generally lpay from about 4 pm on sundays to about 10 pm or so. As for the BSing - well, we have found that it is unavoidable. Most of us have jobs and attend university and are otherwise occupied with a slew of other 'real world" projects which unfortunatley limit our gaming time. As well as the scope of our games. So, when we get together an game, often it is the only time we will see certain people for the during the last week or two, depending on how fortunate we have been at coordinating games.

So, given that the game is about the role-playing, but it's also about hanging out with your real world friends, in our group anyways, we still try to limit the BSing, but we are all forced to live with a certain level of it. Dependign on the game being run and the length of time since we have seen each other, the BSing likely takes up about an hour of game time in total, not all of it disruptive, though, as it tends to happen between uninvolved PCs.

Still, if I could cut it down to 30 minutes tops - that would be paradise!

AmazingShafeman wrote:

On average, how long does everyone get to play, how often in a week, and how much of the "game night" is spent playing vs. BSing?

We play every other week, usually monday or tuesday night. We plan to meet around 6 and usually BS for an hour, starting around 7. We usually go until about 11. So roughly 4 hours.

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