member, 172 posts
Mon 6 Mar 2023
at 04:03
GM Advice: How do you translate 'sessions' to PBP-length?
So, basic question: Sometimes, campaign-planning books say "This should last 2-4 sessions" or "The campaign ends after 10 sessions", or something.

If you bother with this at all, how do you personally 'translate' this into PBP campaigns?
 member, 80 posts
Mon 6 Mar 2023
at 04:38
GM Advice: How do you translate 'sessions' to PBP-length?
In reply to Smoot (msg # 1):

Tough to equate PBP time to live sessions and I think it would depend on the game system.  For many fantasy RPGs, a 3-4 hour session might include 3 significant in-game events (combat encounters, social encounters, overcoming a significant trap, etc.).  So for PBP, once the characters have accomplished about the same degree of content, you might consider them to have completed the equivalent of 1 session.
 member, 14 posts
Mon 6 Mar 2023
at 04:44
GM Advice: How do you translate 'sessions' to PBP-length?
For me a 'session' ends when the characters have achieved a significant event that I've defined at the start of the session. This could be the accumulation of knowledge, the defeat of a BBEG, or anything that moves the 'campaign' forward and into the next series of events.

At this point I award CP (or XP for those systems that use it) to the characters.
 member, 93 posts
 I like monkeys
Mon 6 Mar 2023
at 05:08
GM Advice: How do you translate 'sessions' to PBP-length?
I'm not sure I understand the question, but back in my table-top days, a session would run anywhere from four to twelve hours, so "2-4 sessions" could mean 8-48 hours, and "10 sessions" could mean 40-120 hours.

In PBP terms, in my experience, it might take a week or two to accomplish what could be done in one hour by table top. (Obviously this varies widely from game to game, depending on posting requirements/expectations.) But on average, doing the basic math...

2-4 sessions could take anywhere from two months to two years on PBP, and 10 sessions could take anywhere from 10 months to five years.
 member, 7445 posts
 Gaming for over 40
 years, and counting!
Mon 6 Mar 2023
at 06:06
GM Advice: How do you translate 'sessions' to PBP-length?
I don't bother with it, and here's why--

In any given group I played with, how much we accomplished in a session depended largely on who was there and how much we felt like socializing and editorializing on each others' actions.  I got into role-playing for the same reasons a lot of people used to play was a good excuse to sit down with friends and enjoy each others' company for a few hours.

So, on some nights, we might get really swept up into the game, make some lucky choices that short-circuited some of the adventure-as-written (our GM was a firm believer that if you were smart enough to find gaps in the writers' plot, you should see the benefits of that...but he also found ways to attach downsides to it, later).  In other gaming sessions, we might get maybe an hour of actual gaming fit in amongst two hours of socializing and storytelling, making bad jokes, etc.

It is, perhaps, easier to consider PBP adventures in 'chapters', similar to what BlessedOracle mentioned...pick out milestones, the kinds of places you'd regard as natural breaking points in the story (either for the cliffhanger effect, or because it was just a solid point of transition where the party had done what they needed to do and it was time to move on to somewhere else...something like that).  Use those as your 'session' markers...
 member, 1901 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
Mon 6 Mar 2023
at 08:59
GM Advice: How do you translate 'sessions' to PBP-length?
I know this really isn't a good answer, but it takes as long as it takes.   The thing about PBP is that it frees you from the clock; and it actually allows more character depth than sitting at a table might.

As the GM, you pick about what you want the characters to accomplish in that particular "session".  It might be nothing more than a level in a dungeon, or trying to talk your way out of town without further harm when the rogue proves to be a bit too sticky fingered for the party's good.
 member, 1891 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Mon 6 Mar 2023
at 17:22
GM Advice: How do you translate 'sessions' to PBP-length?
I equate a "session" to a milestone that moves the game forward. Beating the boss, clearing a dungeon, resolving a critical negotiation.

A lot of time in pbp can be just completing a single battle against random scrub guards or players debating whether to turn left or right. That isn't noteworthy enough for me to be a session.

One thing that does help when playing a pbp game IS to think in terms of sessions. I've been part of many games (and run many games) that have a meandering aimless feel to them. Things move so slow that it is easy to lose track of the bigger picture and you can tell when players don't have a clear idea of what to do next. By thinking in terms of sessions it can help restore that focus. Each session is a mini story that has a beginning, a middle, and a blow off climax.

So for example instead of just randomly having bandits ambush the players in a tavern build up to it. Have them enter the tavern, have them kick their boots off and have some locals buy them drinks to hear stories of adventure. Have them see a group of shady looking men glance over at them and then leave to build that rising tension. Have them pack their gear and go to bed. Have the encounter and then deal with the aftermath: who sent them, are there more?

A typical session in my mind is 4 hours of good solid RP. Check out convention games that typically fit that 2-4 hour timeslot and while they are a bit breezy at times it's enough time to set up problem, have 1-4 "encounters" of a mix of fights and puzzles/interactions and then the big pay off conclusion boss fight or equivalent.
Davy Jones
 member, 119 posts
 Consulting Theologian
Mon 6 Mar 2023
at 20:45
GM Advice: How do you translate 'sessions' to PBP-length?
If a game mechanic is something that occurs every "x sessions," I usually equate "session" to 2-3 scenes or encounters. It usually fits about the same. If, like with the old TSR Boot Hill game, you have something that grants you a benefit every "hour of gameplay,' I'd have that equate to a single scene or encounter.

If there's no mechanic to worry about, I'd ignore the concept of sessions entirely.
 member, 2799 posts
Mon 6 Mar 2023
at 20:54
GM Advice: How do you translate 'sessions' to PBP-length?
    i will say this . there isn't a game  you can come up with, homebrew or  published, that  you won't find players for. everyone likes  something.

 now. sessions or episodes. They aren't   good  unless you  straight up   game playing and not RPing. Episodes and Sessions  means there is a beginning and end to that  currant  time. and  may take away from RP for folks who decide  to to  NPCs... have interactions with each other.

 PBP has to be  fluid, to allow folks who can't be there all the  time to get their   RP, rolls  ect, in.

  the best advice, throw out the Boundaries  of the  sessions or episodes, and  let the players  help drive the time , needed to play.