What is the Average time to run a senario?


Pathfinder Society

Grand Lodge

I'm curious how long it takes others to run a scenario. The games I'm in usually run 4.5 to 5 hrs long. We tend to get bogged down with knowledge checks and looking up rules, and sometimes we even get slowed down by role playing, I know right. I'm not sure how we can really speed things up without instant recall on rules...

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Alaska—Anchorage aka Dragnmoon

Tumatan44 wrote:
The games I'm in usually run 4.5 to 5 hrs long.

That is about Average.

Dark Archive 5/5

Depending on the scenario, 3-5 hrs. Things that can increase speed are:
1) Better rules knowledge.
2) Not playing out the ends of combat, when it is obvious the PCs are going to kill/capture the NPCs within the next round.
3) GM prep to know what things can be moved more quickly.
4) Organization between players and GM to keep turns moving quickly, e.g.
GM pre-drawing maps.
Having a player collect the initiative order, while the GM sets up the encounter.
Players planning their turns ahead of time/pre-rolling dice, if possible.

5) Skipping optional encounters.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

The scenarios are designed to run in 4-5 hours, with certain higher level scenarios in later seasons occasionally breaking that limit.

So this is just about expected.

Scarab Sages 5/5 Venture-Agent, United Kingdom—England—Thames Valley aka chris manning

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I try to keep to 4 hours, this is helped by extra GM prep such as

1) drawing or printing maps ahead of time
2) sorting out minis ahead of time
3) skipping optional encounters
4) calling fights when its obvious the PC's have won
5) running the initiative myself
6) keeping players focussed, pushing them along if necessary
7) make notes on ANY unusual or complicated rules, mechanics etc
8) make player handouts and trackers for mechanics
9) use average HP (5.5) for CLW wands out of combat
10) partly prefilled chronicles

Grr - ninja'd

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

5 people marked this as a favorite.

15 more minutes than however long you scheduel it for

Sovereign Court

Speed up combat, reduce meta gaming, focus on story.

1. All players roll 6 init, 6 perception, 6 sense motive prior to game start. Sometimes 6 fort or will saves. Record On a 3x5 card w init modifier, name, and AC

Use results to remove rolling delays and init tracking delays.

Depending on scenario I track what monsters see when viewing character, attitude, diseases/affictions on the reverse.

2. Prior to game start - what broken non core things do you do. (Pfs) do you have the reference and additional resources notes on that thing you do.

Especially good to avoid discussions mid game.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Some people hate it, but group the mooks on initiative. Dragnorath the bloody and Veknalar of Osirion get their own initiative even if they're in the same fight. But if your narrative roles are dwarf number 1, dwarf number 2, and dwarf number 3 you can share init.

1/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Some people hate it, but group the mooks on initiative. Dragnorath the bloody and Veknalar of Osirion get their own initiative even if they're in the same fight. But if your narrative roles are dwarf number 1, dwarf number 2, and dwarf number 3 you can share init.

Also known as 'Dwarf of the First Finger, Dwarf of the Second Finger, Dwarf of the Hangnail'...

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Some people hate it, but group the mooks on initiative. Dragnorath the bloody and Veknalar of Osirion get their own initiative even if they're in the same fight. But if your narrative roles are dwarf number 1, dwarf number 2, and dwarf number 3 you can share init.
Also known as 'Dwarf of the First Finger, Dwarf of the Second Finger, Dwarf of the Hangnail'...

Dwarf of the middle finger will curse you for this approach.


Tumatan44 wrote:
I'm curious how long it takes others to run a scenario. The games I'm in usually run 4.5 to 5 hrs long. We tend to get bogged down with knowledge checks and looking up rules, and sometimes we even get slowed down by role playing, I know right. I'm not sure how we can really speed things up without instant recall on rules...

Conventions limit you to four hour slots.

The Exchange 5/5

Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Tumatan44 wrote:
I'm curious how long it takes others to run a scenario. The games I'm in usually run 4.5 to 5 hrs long. We tend to get bogged down with knowledge checks and looking up rules, and sometimes we even get slowed down by role playing, I know right. I'm not sure how we can really speed things up without instant recall on rules...
Conventions limit you to four hour slots.

Some run 5 hours... Or give an hour brake between (for food, etc)..

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
BigNorseWolf wrote:
15 more minutes than however long you scheduel it for

I read the title of the thread.

Then I came here to deliver that exact line.

Curse you, cousin canid!

__________________

There is a lot of good advice in this thread.

I want to reiterate the suggestion to have a player run the initiative board instead of the GM, including collecting the initiative results from everyone. It is remarkable how much of a difference this makes.

Something else that helps—and I'm taking this from my recent experience with Play-by-Post games—when two or more players suggest a course of action, go with that, unless there is a serious objection. Just keep the game moving.

Remember that roleplay is important too, so don't stress out that you are spending time doing that. Just make sure that the roleplaying you are doing is moving the story forward. Roleplaying the purchase and consumption of beers at the tavern is rarely the kind that moves the story forward. (Though, I do recall a certain drinking contest that was instrumental in the success of the scenario.)

Grand Lodge 5/5

Either 1 hour less than other GMs at my Venue, or 2 hours more... my last run of Waking Rune was a hot mess.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Starfinder Superscriber
The Fox wrote:
I want to reiterate the suggestion to have a player run the initiative board instead of the GM, including collecting the initiative results from everyone. It is remarkable how much of a difference this makes.

I've done this a few times. I should go back to doing it more often. Of course, you have to make sure you've chosen a with-it payer to do it....

The Fox wrote:
Something else that helps—and I'm taking this from my recent experience with Play-by-Post games—when two or more players suggest a course of action, go with that, unless there is a serious objection. Just keep the game moving.

Absolutely with PbPs! If you wait for a majority to chime in, the game can die. Some people will not post because they agree, some will not post because they didn't post. You will get the occasional player who's sad that they didn't get a chance to weigh in before the game moved on, but take that hit over the hit of games slowing down too much; it's the lesser evil. The only exceptions are the major game-changing decisions (e.g. things that might affect what boons show up on the sheets at the end).

For in-person games, you can get a sense of the table by seeing who's nodding and/or not paying attention to know if the two-player suggestion is something to immediately act on.

The Fox wrote:
Remember that roleplay is important too, so don't stress out that you are spending time doing that. Just make sure that the roleplaying you are doing is moving the story forward. Roleplaying the purchase and consumption of beers at the tavern is rarely the kind that moves the story forward. (Though, I do recall a certain drinking contest that was instrumental in the success of the scenario.)

Yeah, the roleplay is part of the fun. I like to keep the combats moving along so we have time for the roleplay. Avoid table talk during combats, and if people are really dithering before choosing their move, just put them on delay and move on.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

DrParty06 wrote:


Players planning their turns ahead of time/pre-rolling dice, if possible.

We have a pair of players who bring dice cups, and one more d20 than they need for full attacks.

While everyone else is taking their turn The dice (d20 + damage) for whatever they plan on doing go into the cup, and the cup gets flipped over upside down. If they have to roll saves, those get rolled with the extra d20. When their turn comes up, they describe what they are doing and they lift the cup.

The Exchange 5/5

For speeding game play:

As a player, I just take 10 on most things outside of combat.

and my (passive) Perception bonus and Sense Motive bonus are on my PCs table tent - so the judge can tell at a glance when my PC notices things, and doesn't have to stop the flow of the narrative to ask me for a roll/number.

I do burn up this time savings with more RP though, so ...it's kind of a wash.

Silver Crusade

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I never understood the bit about having a player run init for you. If you have a good system, it should be fast enough.

My problem is with GMs who spend too much time setting up their init system, whether it's cards, the dry erase boards that Paizo sells, etc. I have a simple system that uses the same piece of notebook paper and pencil for everything, and it keeps things moving along quickly.

5/5 ⦵⦵

chris manning wrote:

I try to keep to 4 hours, this is helped by extra GM prep such as

1) drawing or printing maps ahead of time
2) sorting out minis ahead of time
3) skipping optional encounters
4) calling fights when its obvious the PC's have won
5) running the initiative myself
6) keeping players focussed, pushing them along if necessary
7) make notes on ANY unusual or complicated rules, mechanics etc
8) make player handouts and trackers for mechanics
9) use average HP (5.5) for CLW wands out of combat
10) partly prefilled chronicles

Grr - ninja'd

This is a real good list, most games that I see run long is due to the GM not keeping the game moving by allowing lots of side conversations when the game should be played, I personally really hate it when the GM leads these conversations about some tv show or other such crap and then we run out of time to finish the scenario.

I would add for me I don't review NPC stat blocks when it's my turn in combat I already know what they are going to do, and this is done because besides reading stat blocks ahead of time I also multi-task I read the tactics, while other players are taking their turn, if they are fumbling through what they are going to do I spend the time reviewing stat blocks and tactics.

Silver Crusade

Fromper wrote:
I never understood the bit about having a player run init for you. If you have a good system, it should be fast enough.

YMMV

It's something that works for me quite well. I use that time getting minis set up, opening up bestiaries and the scenario to the stat blocks I need, etc.

If you have a system that works better for you, that's awesome. Do that.


That depends on whether or not your group can play an entire encounter without having to discuss something unrelated.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Goddity wrote:
That depends on whether or not your group can play an entire encounter without having to discuss something unrelated.

They can't. Thats a given. Advanced Dungeons and Dragons is not the only ADD at the table. Multitask :)

1/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've found that at conventions, the 'side chatter' starts up when there's someone trying to figure out what they're doing. If the players are all 'on task', though, there's no real time to 'side-chat', because players will be coming up with their next actions and it all flows reasonably well.

Running the tactics as written in the scenario is also kind of important. I've seen a few tables bog down because there is some horrific opponent (that's been nerfed to make it livable in the scenario write-up) but the GM didn't read that, and is going for broke...

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

Forget tactics, it's the morale blocks that will kill you. There will be some opponent with 1000 hp, but the morale block will say "He is only there to protect his friends, and if they go down, he picks them up and runs away." And if the GM misses that bit, you can be there all night long...

2/5

Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
chris manning wrote:


<snip>

4) calling fights when its obvious the PC's have won
<snip>
6) keeping players focussed, pushing them along if necessary

<snip>

I like the calling fights part but from a player perspective I'm a bit wary of the 'pushing the players along if necessary' - can be frustrating as a player if it happens too quick.

I've been on a few tables where the ref is very keen to tell the party what it needs to do next or explain the mystery for the sake of keeping it moving towards the next fight, in some cases when its the first time all day that there's a real reason to role-play or think through something.

If nothing else, having the party come to the wrong conclusion can lead to failure in ways that are a lot funnier than just 'the boss rolled five natural 20s in a row'

Julian

Scarab Sages 5/5 Venture-Agent, United Kingdom—England—Thames Valley aka chris manning

JulianW wrote:
chris manning wrote:


6) keeping players focussed, pushing them along if necessary

I'm a bit wary of the 'pushing the players along if necessary' - can be frustrating as a player if it happens too quick.

I've been on a few tables where the ref is very keen to tell the party what it needs to do next or explain the mystery for the sake of keeping it moving towards the next fight

Julian

usually i do this for two reasons

a) the party is hung up focussing on a trivial detail for far too long

b) the PC's really seem to have wandered off the plot to the detriment of all (or cant seem to progress) - in this case i usually summarise the things they already know in the hope that will bump starts them

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