Forums: Index > Watercooler > Encounter time frame

hello im new here and to being a dungeon master and i was wondering how long should the time frame be for a non boss battle encounter (ex: 30-60 min)? also how long would be ideal for a boss encounter?

sorry if i didnt sign correctly not really sure what im doing (if post signed correctly disregard -- 16:13, September 3, 2010 (UTC)

Ah, well, for real-world time for combat, it really matters how elaborate the combat setup is and how important it is to the plot and flow of the game. If it's just a little random encounter, keep the time short to prevent the players from getting distracted or forget what they were doing. If you can keep random encounters to about 10 minutes, you should be fine.
Plot important battles with NPC opponents who talk to the players are likely to run longer and involve more than "I attack" as the players manage strategies, tactics and resources. It's okay to keep these encounters a little longer, and longer still if it is a dire situation, since your players are going to be looking in rulebooks to glean every little bit of capability out of their characters to win. Thirty minutes to forty five minutes for a mid-session encounter is just fine.
Now, if you set up an elaborate, key encounter, feel free to drag it out longer, but keep in mind that players will get distracted and lose concentration after a while, so make sure you keep it fresh and not too cluttered, unless you're trying to establish a feeling of overwhelming chaos and confusion.
You can run a final session encounter for a while, taking proper care to add the appropriate feeling of importance and weight to the combat for difficulty. Campaign-ending encounters might last for more than an hour, with probably a whole session of smaller encounters leading up to it.
Ideally, you'll want to keep notes and judge what amount of time works best for certain kinds of encounters for your group's play style. I hope this was helpful for you. --Ganteka Future 19:54, September 3, 2010 (UTC)

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