View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:42 am



Reply to topic  [ 16 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
How long will running a published adventure take? 
Author Message
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 1:39 pm
Posts: 171
Post How long will running a published adventure take?
We've got an RPG mini-con coming up in June (Father's Day Weekend) at our FLGS and they are looking for GMs to put on events for it. I thought that I would volunteer to run something.

But real life is a little crazy right now. Normally I tend to write my own adventures and this makes it a little easier to gauge how long of a time slot I would need for the particular game. This time around, I will be using a published adventure since I lack the time right now to write my own.

Does anyone have any ideas for how to determine what kind of time slot you would need to complete an adventure? Sure, there are variances to be had depending on the players, but what would be a good guideline for say an adventure using the d20 system (Star Wars Saga Ed.)?

I'm having a hard time "guestimating" the overall time requirement. If anyone has any helpful ideas, I'd sure be glad to hear them. The only thing I can think of is to sort of plot out a time estimate for each part of the adventure and then try to keep things moving along that path, perhaps eliminating a "travel" type of encounter that has nothing to do with the main events should the group be "behind schedule."

Thanks!


Wed May 23, 2012 4:44 pm
Profile E-mail
User avatar

Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2012 8:57 pm
Posts: 299
Post Re: How long will running a published adventure take?
It depends on the supplement but most can be run in 2 to 3 hours. Some can go as long as 4, depending on what the character does (IE do they check every area they are in or just hurry through). I think for a con, a published adventure is a good way to go


Wed May 23, 2012 5:17 pm
Profile E-mail

Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:04 pm
Posts: 133
Post Re: How long will running a published adventure take?
TheRPGInformer wrote:
It depends on the supplement but most can be run in 2 to 3 hours. Some can go as long as 4, depending on what the character does (IE do they check every area they are in or just hurry through). I think for a con, a published adventure is a good way to go

This is true, in my experience of cons. I'll just add that experienced GMs often cut-scene or 'downtime' their way through portions of a game when they're faced with severe time constraints. One of the GMs at my club does this a lot, but somehow manages to make it seem like we've actually role-played the scene rather than been rushed through it.

_________________
Currently promoting Sci-Fi Beta Kappa (published November 2013) and working on several other games: visit the indyhippo design lab for details.


Wed May 23, 2012 5:29 pm
Profile E-mail

Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 9:05 pm
Posts: 137
Post Re: How long will running a published adventure take?
Think "three fights." That's about the most you can ever get in in a con slot. And by fights I mean relatively complex encounters. Assume any prolonged non-combat routine (running around a city picking up clues, for instance) counts as one of these three.

Since published modules are all over the place in length, detail, etc. the only way to answer the question is to know what you can accomplish in the time frame given your own pace of running a game and the size of the group. The above answer works for me.


Thu May 24, 2012 7:44 am
Profile E-mail
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:20 pm
Posts: 429
Location: Peeking from your closet
Post Re: How long will running a published adventure take?
What Doomfistmonk said. Maybe one climactic scene and one or two complications along the way. If you don't need to explain the rules to the group, you might get another scene in there.

Published adventures are definitly all over the place. Most of those that I own would take much longer than a single session to run.

Where you might find adventures of the right length (i.e. usually things explicitly written for a one-shot) are:
1. Demos used for showing off the game at cons - which often get released as free PDFs after the game is released.
2. Adventures included in the core book tend to be short and designed to make wide use of the rules.
3. Free RPG Day adventures seem to usually be on the short side, which is what you need.
4. Adventures included in collections/anthologies (such as BRP Adventures for BRP)
5. Adventures published in magazines, such as Mongoose's Signs and Portents, also tend to be short.

_________________
THE 13 WIVES OF MAHOUMIK: A 3rd Ed. RuneQuest Campaign.


Thu May 24, 2012 8:10 am
Profile E-mail

Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 9:05 pm
Posts: 137
Post Re: How long will running a published adventure take?
Good list.

Also, one option for shortening a published module is to start in the middle of the first fight and work in the explanation as you go. This can be challenging as many (the worst) modules have a LOT of explication up front. You can really get things moving with a line like "You are in the Caves of Calamity following a lead on the Lost Eyeball of Cevna when goblins slide down from the darkened recesses of the cave ceiling on ropes! Roll initiative!"


Thu May 24, 2012 11:51 am
Profile E-mail
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 1:39 pm
Posts: 171
Post Re: How long will running a published adventure take?
Good food for thought guys.

Thank You.


Thu May 24, 2012 2:34 pm
Profile E-mail
User avatar

Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2012 8:57 pm
Posts: 299
Post Re: How long will running a published adventure take?
doomfistmonk wrote:
Think "three fights." That's about the most you can ever get in in a con slot. And by fights I mean relatively complex encounters. Assume any prolonged non-combat routine (running around a city picking up clues, for instance) counts as one of these three.

Since published modules are all over the place in length, detail, etc. the only way to answer the question is to know what you can accomplish in the time frame given your own pace of running a game and the size of the group. The above answer works for me.


When you are running a con, you really only want an adventure to last 3 or 4 hours because that's the time they alot for game play. Of course you can always go over (if you are at a physical con you can move somewhere else and play) if the group agrees t do so.

I agree, however the detail and length of the module can change how long the adventure is


Mon May 28, 2012 4:24 pm
Profile E-mail

Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 9:05 pm
Posts: 137
Post Re: How long will running a published adventure take?
TheRPGInformer wrote:
Of course you can always go over (if you are at a physical con you can move somewhere else and play) if the group agrees t do so.


I'm not a fan of counting on this. I have been at cons where the game ran over and I had another event, but the rest of the group played on. In general, I think it is very unsatisfying for a game not to resolve in its scheduled slot. Here is my advice for getting it to do so.

1. Trim as much of the explication out as you can. Anything non-essential or too fussy must go! Despite what you may think, nobody likes to sit and listen to you explain the world, the scenario, or have a dialogue with yourself in-character(s). This means you have to jettison some subtlety in favor of communicating clearly what the plot hooks are. Don't waste time asking questions like "Do you accept the quest?" Just state it "As servants of the king, you have accepted this quest." See my above advice along the same lines, why start at the tavern when you can start at the dungeon door, or even in the first "room?"

2. Include an optional encounter. This encounter can be switched out for reasons of time or because the party is too banged up to endure it without compromising their chance to "win" the scenario. Make the scenario some kind of fun puzzle or fight scene on unique terrain (or with monsters that have unusual tactics). This will make it memorable, should you use it. (It shouldn't feel like filler.) At the same time, make sure it fits in with your theme but doesn't contain anything necessary, or at least not anything you can't deliver in another way. For instance, the princess has a key that the party needs. In the optional scene she is imprisoned in a tower guarded by a small group of flying harpies with befouled talons. (They are disgusting things that fling poo and their scratches cause disease. They attack from above, darting in and out.) If you don't have time for this scene, have them simply find the princess/key by some other means at the end of the previous encounter. Or better yet, make the key non-essential. It locks a door to great treasure, but the door can also be defeated by cutting off the evil sorcerer's hand and turning the knob with it (or somehow forcing him to turn the knob with his own hand).

3. Pacing! Watch your time. Don't let players get caught up in lengthy planning sessions. Put out a sand-timer if you must and tell them they have to act when the timer runs out. If I'm at a house con, I will sometimes just say "I'm going to the bathroom to take a piss. When I get back you have to have an action ready." If you have a three-fight scenario, make sure you have an hour or more to do the final battle. If you can leave 10 minutes at the end you should. People love to sit around and debrief a little after the game. It makes for a better overall experience.

One more word on pacing. It's better to rush the group early in the game than at the end or to not finish on time! So start managing your clock right away. Don't "saunter" to the mid-point and then check the clock and shift gears. BURN RUBBER BABY!


Tue May 29, 2012 9:28 am
Profile E-mail
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:20 pm
Posts: 429
Location: Peeking from your closet
Post Re: How long will running a published adventure take?
doomfistmonk wrote:
3. Pacing! Watch your time. Don't let players get caught up in lengthy planning sessions. Put out a sand-timer if you must and tell them they have to act when the timer runs out. If I'm at a house con, I will sometimes just say "I'm going to the bathroom to take a piss. When I get back you have to have an action ready." If you have a three-fight scenario, make sure you have an hour or more to do the final battle. If you can leave 10 minutes at the end you should. People love to sit around and debrief a little after the game. It makes for a better overall experience.


I have actually seen doomfistmonk ply the GM of a session he was in with can after can of Red Bull before the game as a tactic to earn the players more time to think and plan during the game! True story!

_________________
THE 13 WIVES OF MAHOUMIK: A 3rd Ed. RuneQuest Campaign.


Last edited by Thalaba on Tue May 29, 2012 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Tue May 29, 2012 11:14 am
Profile E-mail
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 16 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 11 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by STSoftware.