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Fredde72

Length of HotOE?

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Fredde72

Hello.

 

I am planning to start HotOE after New Year for my players, but I am wondering how long it will take us to finish.

 

We are rather slow and meet only about twice every other month, due to RL obligations.

 

Do you think that most of the locations would be possible to finish in two five-six hours sittings?

 

If so, I think it will be more ok to wait two months for the next possibility to play.

 

    / Best regards, Fredrik

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PoC

Which edition are you planning to run?

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Fredde72

The new boxed one.

 

    / Fredrik

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PoC

Every group's speed of play is different, so there's not going to be a definitive answer. Our group took anywhere from 8-15 hours for a location for example.

 

What I might suggest given the length of gaps between play, would be to cull the extraneous scenarios/red herrings and focus on the core plot to help keep some kind of focus and momentum.

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boulash

It's certainly possible to finish every chapter in one or two sessions, and the new edition's additional ones are optional, so I guess it could technically work.

 

On the other hand, I think HotOE's charm comes from the atmosphere and the immersion, I consider the adventure design itself rather dull and raildroady (pun intended, but still true), so rushing through it kind of beats the point if you ask me. Taking time to mingle in the train just feels so right...

 

If you know the Youtube channel "Into the darkness", they're at the end and needed 78 2-hour sessions to get there, knowing that they're experienced players and play quite fast (although online play is usually slower).

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James1977

I posted a similar question a little while back about page length vs. game time. The consensus seemed to be that 10 to 12 pages equals roughly 4 hours of gaming (give or take, of course).

 

I'm also in the prep stage for starting HotOE with my group (we meet once a month), and a quick survey of the core scenario page lengths shows that under this model, you should be able to tackle each location in 2 sessions with your stated game time goals. That's what I'm shooting for too.

 

I'd be curious to hear how it goes once you get started.

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mvincent

Do you think that most of the locations would be possible to finish in two five-six hours sittings?

 

Certainly. That should be plenty of time, but even for slow groups: the railroadiness of the adventure (and the need to be absolutely on-time to board the train) can allow the GM to set the pace. You can make almost any timeline if you keep an eye on the clock. At worst they miss some stuff in a hurried effort to make it to the train on time.

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Mad7eo

My players have done the London chapter in 3 (3 hours) sessions

(doom train included)

 

 

The french chapter in 4 sessions

(avoiding the Sanitarium, completing the Girl in the Snow 6th edition italian HOTOE side quest)

 

 

Now they are in Lausanne :)

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Harndon

I cut out all but two of the additional scenarios. Some of them looked terribly long and to not add very much.

 

 

The Vinkovci scenario is good although it has one non-puzzle that's kind of annoying (the birdbath). The Dreamlands one, I don't know if I'd use it again, although one player loved it. The Gaslight scenario looks like it could take 2-3 sessions potentially, and the Crusader one looked like far too much repetitive combat. Ditto the Roman. I left out the Dream-Zagreb one because it seemed like a sequence of riddles with nothing for the players to do but solve riddles and lose SAN. The modern-day one seems kind of an anticlimax.

 

 

Running the whole thing took 16 sessions, usually 3-4 hours each, although I went with a version of the short ending. The longer ending could take another 2 sessions.

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Mad7eo

I cut out all but two of the additional scenarios. Some of them looked terribly long and to not add very much.

 

 

The Vinkovci scenario is good although it has one non-puzzle that's kind of annoying (the birdbath). The Dreamlands one, I don't know if I'd use it again, although one player loved it. The Gaslight scenario looks like it could take 2-3 sessions potentially, and the Crusader one looked like far too much repetitive combat. Ditto the Roman. I left out the Dream-Zagreb one because it seemed like a sequence of riddles with nothing for the players to do but solve riddles and lose SAN. The modern-day one seems kind of an anticlimax.

 

 

Running the whole thing took 16 sessions, usually 3-4 hours each, although I went with a version of the short ending. The longer ending could take another 2 sessions.

16? Wow! Your players are FAST!

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Harndon

16? Wow! Your players are FAST!

 

Well, this was 3-4 hour sessions; I think a lot of people play 2-3 hours. Some of them might have been longer, too. Looking back at my campaign diary:

 

 

 

Session 1: London, including Doom Train (I think they missed some stuff)

Session 2: Paris, etc.

Session 3: Dreamlands I

Session 4: Lausanne

Session 5: Milan

Session 6: Venice

Sessions 7 and 8: Trieste and Postumia

Session 9: Dreamlands II, brief sidetrip to Zagreb (players seemed to think Zagreb was important and wanted to buy illegal arms so I threw together some stuff and gave them some clues for later)

Sessions 10 and 11: Vinkovci

Session 12: Belgrade, Orasac (this one ended up shorter than I expected because they just left after things got real, instead of hanging around like the book seems to assume)

Session 13: Sofia

Session 14: Dreamlands III, Fenalik's attack

Sessions 15 and 16: Constantinople (this was where I diverged heavily from the campaign as written; I thought the Constantinople chapter as written involved a whole lot of no-nos* and ended it roughly halfway between the short ending and long ending - Makryat had duped them, but they ended it in Constantinople with an assault on the cult)

 

*as written, the chapter includes far too much stuff that would require railroading. A helpful NPC who's the bad guy in disguise, not one but two instances of PC capture (most players would rather their PCs die than get captured, and requiring that it happen usually means railroading), the assumption that one way or another the bad guys get the McGuffin (thus eliminating any ability for player choice to matter), red-herring type stuff that as written it seems assumed your PCs won't pursue (the campaign as a whole includes some bad examples of this - never include anything you're not 100% prepared to run with if the PCs decide it is vitally important and must be pursued at all costs)... Anything where something has to happen for the scenario to work means railroading, in my experience. I suppose it's ironic that the bulk of the railroading in the campaign happens after they leave the train.

 

The chapters after are also not so great for this. The "across Europe" scenario seemed like it would be a lot of trouble - "who is the hidden bad guy?" scenarios very easily turn into confused, frustrating messes, or the PCs solve them quickly and then there's nothing to do, and the whole "the scrolls are in a secret compartment the PCs can never discover" is cheesy. The London finale is also bad - it seems to assume the PCs will take a certain course of action, and the whole "haha you have fallen into my clever plan!" thing gets old really quickly. Makryat's plan also doesn't add up - he's gone to all this trouble to get the statue so he can... use the magical abilities he already had before he had the statue to take over England? Huh?

 

 

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SJE

For the Kickstarter reward, we did the whole original campaign in 3.5 days, but we did have 3 top US GM’s rotating shifts to keep us going.

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MarkMorrison

Good luck; it's a long campaign. My suggestion would be to run the Gaslight scenario, it's huge fun, and self contained - almost a mini-campaign.

 

Best,

Mark

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