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Optimal Session Length: Players Need Rest Too

When I was much younger and dinosaurs still roamed the Earth, we would have marathon roleplaying sessions. Things would kick off on Friday after dinner, and continue until late Sunday afternoon. Everyone would sleep over, because high school, but if we were all awake we were playing. Somehow we managed to function on ridiculously little rest.

In college I had a different group, but everyone has slowed down. Anything over around 6 hours began to fall apart. People got punchy, too tired to focus, and it stopped being fun. We had to set a specific end point for session, because we knew it wasn’t worth pushing on past a certain point.

By my late twenties, the people in my group only wanted to meet on weekend afternoons. In after lunch, out before dinner. Nights weren’t even part of the discussion. During the week we all had to go to work. Even on weekends, there was other stuff to do. We couldn’t use up all of our energy on tabletop roleplaying.

Somewhere between youthful exuberance and the decrepitude of late middle age, there is an optimal session length. That amount of time that lets you get in a fair amount of encounters and storytelling before you need to rest. Just enough time put in to be satisfying, before the law of diminishing returns sets in.

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Optimal Session Length: Players Need Rest Too

RPGaDay is an annual event held each August. It asks tabletop gamers to use provided daily prompts to express something fun, interesting, and positive about the hobby. David F. Chapman (Autocratik), the award-winning game designer, created it.

About Dancing Lights Press

Dancing Lights Press is a lo-fi publisher of tabletop roleplaying systems and system-agnostic creative aids, including the best selling Building series, the DoubleZero action thriller system, and Hippogryph, a fantasy story game system with traditional  roots. Our products embrace a minimalist aesthetic in design and presentation because roleplaying is an activity, not a collection of expensive rulebooks.