How long does a typical Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) game last?

A single session of Dungeons & Dragons can last anywhere between three hours to an entire day, as it’s almost implausible to get a reasonable amount of roleplaying done in less than a few hours. If you’re playing a one-shot, then you can expect things to be wrapped up in a single session.

Why Do Most D&D Campaigns Stop By Level 10?

Game Session Length

So why did some of my players want to keep playing? I think the mentality is similar to how some people are able to watch an entire season of a serial video program on Netflix over the weekend. Or even several seasons over the weekend. So how much of a good thing is too much?

The game is generally open ended and continues from session to session, starting over where the last game ended. But there are some groups that enjoy playing One Shots each time they meet. One shots are games that will end after the first session. They can be nice to play, and good introduction to the rules and the group for new players. A lot of players don’t like one shots, especially after spending time putting together their characters. They want to see more of the world through their character’s eyes and a one shot doesn’t cut it for them.

I think a good rule of thumb is about 4 hours. That is the general guide that most convention events will set aside for role playing game sessions. Too short of a session, and sometimes the game can feel very rushed. Too long and people start to lose focus and this can actually slow down the game, so that less is accomplished.

Make sure to end your games at the set time. Don’t try to find a good place to stop, just stop. Cliffhangers are good, and I think players like to think about what will come up next session. As an added bonus, the game master will receive questions and thoughts up until the next game session that can help make for a better game. Players could by accident inspire the Game Master in changing or tweaking the game, and creating an awesome scenario that he wouldn’t have thought about if it was not for the player’s ideas.

A typical game session will usually run anywhere between 3 to 6 hours (often depending on just how often the players meet…weekly sessions will tend to be shorter, monthly ones longer.) I have had sessions where we only played for an hour. On the other hand, it is entirely possible to have day-long sessions if the group has the free time and endurance for it. Which I have found that I do not.

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