How long does it take for a campaign to get to level 20?


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modicasolis wrote:
Two years to get to 20 seems like an awfully long time. Even a year and a half. Half the progression, and gaining a level less than once a month seems crazy long to me and a little boring. But I am used to the more incremental gains of things like White Wolf games or indie RPGs that rely less on stats to begin with.

Honestly, to me the play's the thing so to speak. If its a good campaign and a good group, then levels really become a non-issue. A good group and campaign means that you're having fun, regardless of it takes a week, a month, or several months to gain a level. Every group; of course, is different though.


modicasolis wrote:

1 through 4: One long weekly session (6-8 hours) per level

5 through 9: Two long weekly sessions per level
10 through 15: Three long weekly sessions per level
16 through 20: Four to five weekly sessions per level, depending on the story and circumstances.

Two years to get to 20 seems like an awfully long time. Even a year and a half. Half the progression, and gaining a level less than once a month seems crazy long to me and a little boring. But I am used to the more incremental gains of things like White Wolf games or indie RPGs that rely less on stats to begin with.

Everything but the final sentence.


Daenar wrote:
Or are you saying the rules ACTUALLY shut off xp for encounters lower than APL-x?

The rules do. In Pathfinder, creatures of CR 10 lower than APL grant no experience (in 3.5, the same was true for creatures of CR 8 lower than APL):

PRD, Awarding Experience wrote:
Each monster, trap, and obstacle awards a set amount of XP, as determined by its CR, regardless of the level of the party in relation to the challenge, although you should never bother awarding XP for challenges that have a CR of 10 or more lower than the APL.

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

In my experience it was about 275-325 hours of gaming.

I haven't actually done it yet, either as a GM or a player, but I have come close enough to be able to estimate the time needed.

For me, that is about 140-165 sessions.


I've never played a character in D&D* or Pathfinder higher than level 18. That is in large part because I believe the game becomes much less fun at those levels. If I want to play superheroes, there are, I believe, better game systems for that level of power.

The vast majority of my gaming has been at levels between 3 and 12.

Having said that, the campaign where I went from level 1 to level 18 took two years of steady gaming, playing at least once a week.

(*caveat - I have played D&D 4e from level 8 up to level 26, but I don't consider the games to be similar enough for the comparison to be that meaningful. That also took about two years.)


Are wrote:
Daenar wrote:
Or are you saying the rules ACTUALLY shut off xp for encounters lower than APL-x?

The rules do. In Pathfinder, creatures of CR 10 lower than APL grant no experience (in 3.5, the same was true for creatures of CR 8 lower than APL):

PRD, Awarding Experience wrote:
Each monster, trap, and obstacle awards a set amount of XP, as determined by its CR, regardless of the level of the party in relation to the challenge, although you should never bother awarding XP for challenges that have a CR of 10 or more lower than the APL.

I knew the 8 lower than rule for 3.5 , thank you for the latter though.


My group did Age of Worms in 10 months. That was 10 months of 1-2 sessions a week and 6 hours per session.


Based on all these posts my group,is crawling up the levels then. In a campaign that has been going on for 2.5 years now, we just made 12th level 2 weeks ago. And that was after a HUGE battle of sorts where we were level 10 about 3 sessions prior, and we leveled two times, during the spread out battles. This was on the GM discretion to speed up leveling, for an overall larger campaign arc.

Problem for our group is, there is A LOT of chit chat, and we try to mitigate it when the GM goes out for a smoke break, but everyone has to for some reason have a lengthy story or a joke to tell, even if it's not game related. Also, many times discussions and communication overall breaks down between players due to ruling conflicts, late thinking (when it's your turn, your just starting to figure out what to do, versus having it planned out.. We do 4 hour sessions, but by the 3rd hour things start to break down and pushing other players to not pack up their dice till later is difficult.

..Age of Worms seems to be a very long adventure to get through.


We get off track at times also. My 6 to 8 hour sessions had an hour of not actually gaming.

It was actually Age of Worms that I ran to completion. Well that was the 2nd game I ran to 20, but both took about a year.


Grizzly the Archer wrote:

Based on all these posts my group,is crawling up the levels then. In a campaign that has been going on for 2.5 years now, we just made 12th level 2 weeks ago. And that was after a HUGE battle of sorts where we were level 10 about 3 sessions prior, and we leveled two times, during the spread out battles. This was on the GM discretion to speed up leveling, for an overall larger campaign arc.

Problem for our group is, there is A LOT of chit chat, and we try to mitigate it when the GM goes out for a smoke break, but everyone has to for some reason have a lengthy story or a joke to tell, even if it's not game related. Also, many times discussions and communication overall breaks down between players due to ruling conflicts, late thinking (when it's your turn, your just starting to figure out what to do, versus having it planned out.. We do 4 hour sessions, but by the 3rd hour things start to break down and pushing other players to not pack up their dice till later is difficult.

..Age of Worms seems to be a very long adventure to get through.

Don't get me wrong, we've had a lot of distracting conversations, and we try to get better at knowing our turns in advance of it actually being our turn. Thing is, we have so many games and character ideas that we push ourselves to finish games because rolling up a new character is always on the horizon.

Yeah, Age of Worms was our longest adventure so far. Most Paizo APs take us 5 months to complete, if we complete them (not the APs fault, we have house rules that determine when a game is dead because we have 3 GMs on rotation, myself included).


We are currently playing Second Darkness. We are on the Medium XP Progression and we play 3-4 hours on Friday nights (mostly 3 hours). It has taken us 18 months just to get to 12th level and that's assuming all the players show up for each game. Since I live in the Rust Belt, not every day is a game day in the Winter. We are getting towards the end of the game. It's possible we could finish the game by August or September as the GM has been talking about the next game.


we used to play at least 6+ hours...
we start at 7pm and end almos 2 or 4 am usualy 2am ... thats a lot of time indeed

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