Looking for info on actual play

Trying to collect some data on people who’ve actually played (or run) the RPG. If you have and can spare the time, answers to the following would be helpful:

  1. Are you primarily a player or a moderator? If you split your time between both roles, what percentage of time does each take up?
  2. How long have you been playing or running the game in calendar terms?
  3. How often do you play the game?
  4. How long is your average session?
  5. Do you play one-shot adventures?
  6. Short story arcs lasting 2-4 sessions?
  7. Longer campaigns, and if so, how long have they lasted?
  8. If you can estimate it, how many hours have you dedicated to actual play? If you run the game, how much extra time have you spent on session prep?
  9. Do you use the Sentinel Comics setting when playing? If not, do you use another published comics setting, or a homebrew of your own creation?

Thanks for any input you can give. Feel free to add any other comments you feel are relevant.

Priming the pump, my answers would be:

  1. Both run and play, split about 40-60, maybe 50-50 if I did a demo one-shot or have a spinoff story arc going.
  2. Been playing about three years now, with some added time spent with the Starter Kit back in 2017-18.
  3. At peak, I was doing three or four sessions a week. Currently none, aside from a pick-up one-shot the other day.
  4. Average session ran 3-4 hours of actual table time, allowing for extra time spent doing not-game stuff.
  5. Yes, often as demos.
  6. Yes, often as longer demos or side stories to a campaign.
  7. Yes, with them ranging from ~40 sessions over about eight months to just over 80 sessions in two years and some change. Been in a total of six campaigns, three as a player, three as mod or co-mod.
  8. No idea, but it’s quite a bit, more than any RPG I’ve been involved with in the last 30 years. When running my average session prep was probably an hour or so, including a fair bit of away-from-table private RP via email with individual players. It’s a shame TTRPGs don’t have Steam-style counters for “number of hours played” tracking. Maybe the world needs a gamer fitbit? :slight_smile:
  9. Homebrew only.
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  1. Are you primarily a player or a moderator? If you split your time between both roles, what percentage of time does each take up?

I’ve done both, but spent far more time as a moderator.

  1. How long have you been playing or running the game in calendar terms?

I’m not sure… I haven’t played in over a year now I think, before that it was maybe two years?

  1. How often do you play the game?

Right now, never. :frowning:

  1. How long is your average session?

Probably around 3 hours.

  1. Do you play one-shot adventures?


  1. Short story arcs lasting 2-4 sessions?

No, I usually do 6 issues for an arc, as suggested by the game.

  1. Longer campaigns, and if so, how long have they lasted?

I like stringing arcs together. I think the one I was running had hit… Well, actually, just one arc and a few issues. c_c Maybe it wasn’t two years.

  1. If you can estimate it, how many hours have you dedicated to actual play? If you run the game, how much extra time have you spent on session prep?

Usually session prep just requires me to come up with the idea and write up the villain, or boil down the issue to its most necessary information if using something pre-published.

  1. Do you use the Sentinel Comics setting when playing? If not, do you use another published comics setting, or a homebrew of your own creation?

My game has so far been set in Megalopolis, but the heroes have fought villains entirely of my own creation. Cleaning Crew represent!

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Oh right, I phrased that badly. Was more asking about whether your storylines were primarily one-shots, 2-5 issue arcs, or 6-session “writing for the trades” stories. No matter how I ran stuff, it was never more than one collection per six sessions, and in hindsight I think even that was too fast for sustained play.

Regrettably common problem. We can only hope the revised Starter Kit signal boosts the game some and gets more people into the community.

When you were running, how often were you averaging? Weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, something else?

Weekly for the most part, never more than that.

I started with homebrew stuff and then slowly transitioned into printed issues, followed by more homebrew (a rooftop fight in Dubai!) and then the starter kit, which is unfortunately where we left off. >_<

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Thanks, very helpful.

Alright, here’s what I’ve got:

  1. GM exclusively. I’ve built PC heroes, but never had a chance to play one, as I’ve never really run into another SCRPG GM.
  2. I think that I bought the game’s core book back in January 2022.
  3. Very infrequently. Over those 3 years, I believe that I’ve run precisely 6-8 sessions.
  4. Hmm. Probably 3ish hours? My small sample size means I don’t have a very good answer for this one.
  5. Yeah, I think most of the sessions I’ve run are pretty one-shoty, or at least ultra-tiny mini-arcs. I’ve run Conspiracy of Clone from the corebook, and a one-shot featuring Baron Blade, which I intended to jumpstart an ongoing game, but its reception was quite poor.
  6. Sure, I guess you could say that. I ran a “three-issue” arc centred on the insidious Doctor Shark and his titanic Sharkolossus. (The “three-issue” is in quotes because only the first and last sessions were actually about Dr. S.'s plot — the second one was an unrelated story where Drudge upstaged the Daniel Montgomery Memorial Science Fair for some reason.)
  7. Nope, I’ve not been that lucky. I’ll probably once again see if I can wrangle some folks into that at some indeterminable point in the future, after the current campaign I’m running in another system is completed.
  8. Gosh, uhm . . . like, 15 minutes for Conspiracy of Clones, practically nothing for the Doctor Shark Trilogy besides making up his villain sheet, and maybe, like, a few hours for everything else?
  9. For those few sessions I’ve run, yup. Conspiracy of Clones and the Blade one-shot are both obviously set in Sentinel Comics, and Doctor Shark was confronted by Absolute Zero and the Wraith in Megalopolis, and I ran a couple of other sessions that featured cameos from the Freedom Five, Daybreak, and Neighborhood Watch.
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Thanks! All info welcome.

~3 hours seems to be pretty much the norm, not just for the SCRPG but many RPGs. IME when you get to 4 hours people start talking about getting hungry and that’s when things fall apart. :slight_smile:

Glad to hear Doctor Shark and abomination at least got an outing. Rather liked that concept.

Drudge is a just a jerk, what’s he need from a science fair? :slight_smile:

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He was simply there to kidnap the band that was performing at it, so there’d be less competition for Helfyre in town. (Science fairs have bands, right?) For that session, since we didn’t have enough players to continue the main plot, I basically just asked those who were there if there was anybody who they wanted to go up against, and one of them expressed the desire to do some vampire-punching.

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Of course they do.

Thirteen years later and I’m still building a Utopian playland as best I can. :slight_smile:

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Moderator. One of my players has started working on an issue (or short arc, I’m not sure) which will allow me to be a player. So at some point I’ll get to play.

2 years.

VERY infrequently. My group started building our heroes ~2 years ago. We’ve played exactly 5 sessions.
There are 4 of us, and we live in 4 different cities. Two of my players each have two children under the age of 4, and one of those players is very bad a keeping track of the million things he always has happening. So scheduling for us is a bit of a challenge.

2.5-3 hours. (Last session went ~30min longer than usually because one of my players decided it would be fun to ride the legally-distinct definitely-not-Godzilla titan villain I had set up the group to fight, instead of, like, fighting it.)

Not so far. Though it’s a future possibility.

Currently everything I have planned (current arc plus the next 2) is 6-issue arcs.

The three 6-issue arcs I currently have planned out do tell one long story. At some point (probably years from now based on our current rate of ~3-4 sessions/year), that story campaign will end. But I suspect it could take a while.

5 sessions x 3 hours = 15 hours in the current campaign?
I have run through the Starter Set with these players, and I feel like the missions there took longer than the ones I’ve created, so there’s probably another 20-24 hours total?
Prep probably takes me 1-2 hours for every hour of actual play. But it’s hard to say because I rarely sit down to do it all at once. 30min during lunch here… creating a villain there… throwing together the environment 10min before the session starts (I find it very difficult to create environments, and therefore dislike doing so).

Sentinel Comics setting. It allows me to borrow villains/minions/environments when I want to. Plus I really like the setting, and I’m familiar with the lore.


Thanks, appreciate the info.

Usually moderator, but was lucky enough to have played in a campaign a couple years ago. So probably 75-80% moderator.

Oof. :confused: When did the starter kit first come out? I played it at con demoes before it was actually released (as part of playtesting), then started running it for GTG at cons after it came out.

Not often enough. :sob: Ran the starter set for some friends about a year ago and haven’t been able to play or run it since. Hoping to run some sessions for GTG at Gen Con this year.

I’ll usually run sessions of 3-5 hours, depending on the folks involved and everyone’s availability.

So far, I’ve only used the published material when I’ve run it (except one demo scenario). Sometimes it’s the one-shots, sometimes I’ll use the first Starter Set adventure as a one-shot. Sometimes it’s the entire Starter Set. There’s also two demo games for something really quick: The first encounter in the Starter Set and the “bus on a volcano” scenario.

The game I was playing in, though, was a longer, home-brewed campaign. We completed one 6-issue arc and were 1 issue away from completing the second.

Not sure I can answer this one. :thinking: One of the reasons I have only used published materials when I run it is because I don’t have a lot time for game prep. (Because I’m doing prep for my long, non-SCRPG campaigns. :grin:) So I haven’t spent much time doing prep.

When I’m playing, though, I spend a lot of time developing the character, writing and maintaining session notes, etc. :smiley:

Since I’ve only run published adventures, purely SC. :+1:t2:

The campaign I played in was also in SC, but was home-brewed material using villains that haven’t shown up in the published materials, yet.

Don’t know if any of that is useful, but it is what it is. :wink: Have a better one!


Very helpful, thanks.

IIRC the Starter Kit dropped in 2017, so seven years ago now. Time flies, yeah? :slight_smile:

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Been about a week now and I’ve got four responses so far. Anyone else out there currently playing, or having played in the past?

Hmmm… not sure this helps.

  1. At the moment I would say it’s 60:40 (player:GM) within a group that rotates between 3 different GMs.
    I used to be a player in an online group but that one fell apart after I believe 6 issues?
    I’ve also demoed the game at a convention of the German publisher Ulisses Spiele and might do so again at some point.
  2. We began roundabout 18 months ago with the Starter Kit, before transitioning to our own campaign a bit over a year ago.
  3. Once every other week as per schedule, however stuff tends to come up, so it’s a bit less than that.
  4. 3ish hours.
  5. Yes.
  6. Yes, we’ve had single and double-sized issues, plus the Starter Kit which took up 7 sessions (6 issues) I believe.
  7. None so far; I know my co-GMs and me have been toying with the idea of doing longer arcs in our heads, but so far we’ve been too busy for that.
  8. Not really, sorry. I do know that I put many many many hours into session prep when I GM because 1. I tend to overprepare and 2. it’s a ton of fun - apart from Environments, creating them is just tedious. Crafting villains is great, finding/creating art for the game is fun for me, coming up with stories kinda just happens naturally.
    For my first homecrafted adventure I made an actual illustrated adventure issue of 20ish pages, which took weeks, if not months - it was a ton of fun creative work, but I don’t have the time to do that for every game I run.
  9. Yes, we use the established setting with all of our PCs being part of Freedom Academy (teachers or students) somehow. For the demo games, I used the first Starter Kit adventure and a modified version of Urban Infestation after getting some helpful advice from @Rabit and other experienced demoers. :+1:

I have done that too (creating canon NPCs that we know will be in future books).
Couldn’t wait all the time for the Dark Watch Sourcebook before having my players face Dante Serpenta himself, after all! :snake:


It definitely does, thanks. Appreciate whatever input I can get as I try to figure out what “normal gameplay” is for people.

It’s kind of hilarious how many people say that or something like it. Very nearly a universal opinion IME.

My edit-fu is weak, so if this looks messy, my apologies.

Are you primarily a player or a moderator? If you split your time between both roles, what percentage of time does each take up?

100% moderator at the moment. I would happily be a player, but no one else in my friend group would GM this particular game (some GM other systems).

How long have you been playing or running the game in calendar terms?

Technically before it was even released. I was part of a brief playtest of the game in mid-2018. After I left that playtest, I received my copy of the rules from the Kickstarter, but didn’t get a chance to start playing until the beginning of 2022, when I started my current ongoing game. So in total, a little over 2 years.

How often do you play the game?

Weekly, though the usual RPG scheduling demons afflict us as they do every group.

How long is your average session?

We start around 7:30 or 8 PM (after everyone is home from work and has eaten dinner) and usually play until 10 or 11 PM, so 2.5 to 3 hours a session.

Do you play one-shot adventures?

I have used (or plan to use) almost all of the existing published one-shot adventures, but I tie them into the ongoing narrative of my campaign. I’ve never done a true one-shot, it’s all been part of the ongoing campaign.

Short story arcs lasting 2-4 sessions?

No, I prefer longer story arcs. The Starter Kit “arc” was the full 6 adventure issues, and my first main arc was originally also 6 adventure issues, but I ended up adding one mid-stream so it turned into 7.

Longer campaigns, and if so, how long have they lasted?

Still ongoing campaign since the beginning of 2022. We began with the Starter Kit, which I counted as the first plot arc, then everyone made their own characters and I started each PC with a Collection for having completed the Starter Kit. We just wrapped up the first big plot arc and all the PCs now have two Collections. If all goes according to plan, there are two more big plot arcs planned, so they would end the entire campaign with four Collections (though they would never get the use the 4th Collection in play).

If you can estimate it, how many hours have you dedicated to actual play? If you run the game, how much extra time have you spent on session prep?

Hard to say exactly, but if you say a roughly 2.5 hour session weekly, but with occasional missed sessions, so let’s say about 8 hours per month. and we’ve been going for roughly 25 months, so say 200 hours of play? As for prep, I am a prep-heavy GM by nature, but Sentinels is a pretty prep-light game. And I’m also lucky that we have a table dedicated to the RPG, so I don’t need to clean up our stuff every week. If I had to estimate, I’d say it takes around 1 hour of prep per 4 to 6 hours of game play? So about 40 hours to date?

Do you use the Sentinel Comics setting when playing? If not, do you use another published comics setting, or a homebrew of your own creation?

I use the default Sentinels setting post OblivAeon, with the PCs being sort of at the Freedom Academy (it’s complicated). But I frequently make my own bad guys and hero NPCs, and while I try to be fairly lore-accurate, I don’t let that get in the way of fun. And my (currently unrevealed) big bad is a custom villain that will absolutely be breaking some Sentinels setting lore, but it’s my game so I have no problem with it.

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Thanks, very helpful. You’ve actually got one of the longer-running campaigns out of the ones I have info on.

Sounds like you’re generally having an “issue” (for purposes of earning collections) last longer than a single play session. I’m guessing whenever you wrap up a single published adventure (most of which really don’t fit even a 4-6 hour session very well) or comparable homebrew story chunklet that’s an issue/one-sixth of a collection, then?

Ain’t that the truth? I count it as a good year if my weekly games manage 40 sessions where most of the players manage to show up. :slight_smile:

One of my few gripes with the Sentinels RPG is the terminology around “issues,” “adventure issues,” etc. I know they’re trying to match the comic book theming, but it just makes things confusing. So to be 100% clear using traditional RPG definitions, so far the first Collection was earned after the 6 adventures in the Starter Kit. The 2nd Collection was earned after 7 Adventures (originally planned to be 6, but I added an extra adventure mid-campaign). But two of the Adventures in the non-Starter Kit arc were pretty short, each having only a single Action Scene. I feel like my group plays slower than most; it can take 4 to 6 sessions to finish one adventure, minimum. Heck, a single Action Scene can take two sessions, even three if we start it late in one session, do most of it in the following session, then finish it in the third. I’m not complaining, to be clear, just pointing out things that might affect your data gathering.

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That is slower than the average of my data (which seems to be closer to 2-4 sessions, leaning slightly toward the high end) but your 2.5-3 hour sessions are shorter than the 4-6 average as well, so no surprise there.

Different GMs definitely have different ideas of what an “issue” is, so you’re in the norm there. I was pretty rigid about each session counting even when it was just a part of an adventure, which I came to regret as time went by and we started to pile up collections faster than was really good for a long-term campaign.