How long are your seasons?

I’ve GMd two seasons of Blades so far, and our games have lasted 16 and 18 episodes. What’s been happening is that I at some point decide we need to cut because I’m running out of enthusiasm and/or material for whatever arc we’re on, and then we do a few episodes more to wrap things up nicely.

We’re 4 episodes into a Glow campaign, and I’m still just starting up all the trouble, so no worries so far.

How do your games end, and when?

1 Like

My seasons typically end when the initial conflict is somehow resolved. I mean: when it is clear who won and who lost and, more than that, most or all of my questions about the story have an answer. However, my first season lasted 8 sessions, my second season lasted 13 sessions, and my third campaign lasted 13 sessions.


Related question - how long are your sessions? We play to a pretty tight window of 2 hours each session, so I tend to alternate one session for a score and one session for downtime/freeplay (occasionally doing both in one session if it’s a small score). I would say 8 scores feels about right to me for a season (which is 16 sessions for us!)

1 Like

It very much depends. I’ve finished 3 seasons with session counts 11, 16, and 9. I’m also in two ongoing seasons that are at 3 and 9 sessions and both feel about half over, plus a third ongoing season that’s 5 sessions in but feels like we just barely started. All my games typically play 2.5-3hr sessions.

I don’t plan out long term story at all (just factions’s current goals), so we wrap up seasons whenever feels right. Typically that means not 100% of things have been wrapped up, but most main things have been more or less back-burnered. I had a season end with the crew still at war with the Red Sashes and with a full 4 wanted stars + more than max heat, but the main conflict with Scurlock and the Crows had been wrapped up, so we called it.

End of season montages ala The Wire can really help with situations like this, and you can wrap up a ton of loose ends. In the above season’s closing montage, we had a PC and a major ally NPC go to jail, the crew’s primary cohort disbanded / was taken over by a crew contact turned nemesis, they lost two pieces of turf, and a PC from a different game in the same shared Doskvol got added to the crew. Big stuff! Those wanted stars had better count for something.

When it comes to predicting or prescribing a season ending, if I feel like momentum seems to be building to something, I’ll try and nudge things towards that. Like if the PCs have established one main rival, I’ll plant a flag on “when you have a final confrontation with that rival, the season is over regardless of what else is going on.” For example, had a season where the PCs really didn’t like Lord Strangford (he was the Spider’s dad), and they knew he was throwing a Unity Day gala in a week. They’d already done a bunch, and it became clear to everyone at a certain point that whatever went down at that gala, it was definitely going to be the season finale.

I also played in a game of A Nocturne where we just said ahead of time “this campaign will be a session 0 + 4 sessions of game play.” That worked out well! Everyone knew how deep they could expect to get, and they knew that any plot lines they wanted to introduce or explore should get wrapped up within the given amount of time. If you can feel yourself burning out, I think there’s no shame in doing what you’ve been doing and setting an end date of “3 sessions out, regardless of what’s happening then.”

Could also experiment with a longer but still pre-set amount of time. If you’re consistently getting bored around session 12, just tell people ahead of time “this game will run 12 sessions with an option to extend 2 more by unanimous consent. Plan accordingly.”

Interesting points from everyone.

As far as session length we usually go from 20:00 and aim for midnight, so around 4 hours. These days we do downtime with entanglements first, and then I try to pace the score to be more or less complex depending on how long we spent on the entanglements.
We used to do score then downtime, but I’m trying this to give the roleplaying a bit more space. Missions are generally very focused and result-oriented after all.

NOT LONG ENOUGH. (lol) Sessions are a tight 8:30pm to 11pm, since we all have day jobs and play during the week. I’d love to be able to play for an extra hour and a half, to get full cycles or deeper RP during free play.

First season lasted 13-16 sessions pretty naturally: there were two racing 12tick clocks that culminated with our Whisper getting into a romantic relationship with a leviathan, who came to Duskvol for a date and ended up smashing all of White Crown and half each Bright Stone and the Docks.

Second season, different characters, lasted about 10 sessions, and saw the crew licking their wounds from wars on two fronts.

My group typically gets together on a Saturday, sometimes Sunday, and plays for 6 or 7 hours. This could come in the form of three short heists, two medium length, or one extra complex one.

Our seasons tended to coincide with Tier and/or crew upgrades. As we got more powerful, it tended to get easier to crush our current main rivals and move to a new one.