[RPG] How to slow down sessions


Now this may seem like the opposite of a problem at first but bear with me.

I've been DMing for my group for the past 6 months and so far it's been an absolute blast — all of us have been loving it! However, I'm a little worried we're burning through all my story really quickly. I'd like the campaign to last a fair while and it feels like we're just tearing through chunks of the story. This isn't exactly a bad thing and everyone is really enjoying it, but I'm just wondering if there are any ways to slow sessions down a little bit?

Our sessions are generally 4 to 5 hours long and in that time, the party gets through a whole heap of stuff that really I would like to have spread out over a couple of sessions instead.

Campaign Details

As it's been requested, here are some details on the campaign I'm running:

  • Open World with a main story in the background
  • Players generally follow the story plus their backstory arcs when the time comes
  • Of the 3 pillars, they mostly seem to enjoy combat but interaction and socialising is a close second
  • In each session plan, I have anywhere between 2 and 5 combat encounters, as well as several places they can visit, NPCs to talk to, etc

Best Answer

More combat.

A combat encounter is generally much slower than a role playing or exploration encounter. More doesn't necessarily mean more in quantity - more complex encounters with more enemies (of lower individual power) and more tactical options due to environmental effects are good too.

More story

Make your story bigger.

  1. Deeper in the sense that there is more background exposition: so long as this involves player interaction - there is nothing more boring than being read at by your DM.
  2. Broader in the sense that the story has multiple threads, some of which are red herrings or dead ends but several of which are parallel paths - of course, this does mean preparing stuff the players won't see. That is, in this campaign: store it in your good ideas folder for future use.
  3. Longer in the sense of, well, longer. There is just more stuff between the beginning and the end. Be careful with managing the tempo so this doesn't just turn into a grind.

Less story

Yep, less. Insert adventures/encounters that have nothing to do with the main story but develop the world and/or the characters. Good fiction is rarely linear: why should the fiction you and your players create be?

More campaigns

Just finish this one and start another. A campaign that actually reaches a conclusion is better than one that peters out due to lack of interest or real world interference.