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Some systems have effect whose length is based on a number of sessions. For example:

  • Marvel Heroic Roleplaying has a Refresh of Plot Points at the beginning of every session
  • Fate Core has a refresh of Fate Points at the beginning of every session. Similarly, Moderate consequences recover at the next session after having been treated.
  • The Destiny Pool in Star Wars Edge of the Empire is built at the beginning of each session.

This is nice and all, but... what about play by post? Gaming is pretty much continuous in pbp, and there is no such clear way of sequencing the game.

Is there a standard/accepted way of deciding when to have those session-based effects when your game doesn't actually have sessions?

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up vote 13 down vote accepted

Treat plot-based milestones as the boundary points between "sessions".

Achieving a significant objective or winning a major battle, followed by an extended rest - that's a natural place to refresh everything in any case.

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My wife and I play one-on-one on a somewhat erratic schedule. Sometimes we do two "sessions" in a day, sometimes a "session" is a few scenes we squeeze in here and there over the course of three days.

Our solution is pretty simple: the boundary between "sessions" is determined by the fiction. A "session" is done when you've resolved whatever feels like a session's worth of stuff. In the case of a one-off thing like an immediate personal goal, it's pretty obvious when you're done. In the case of a complex ongoing situation, it's when the situation has changed dramatically.

Take a second to imagine your game as a TV show or a novel. Does it feel like you've covered about as much stuff as you'd expect to see in an episode or short-ish chapter? Bam, that's the end of a "session."

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One idea I've used is to set a standard number of scenes making up a session. Sometimes, given the long times of PbPs, giving out those points once per scene works even better, if there's no balancing issues to account for.

What constitutes a scene change is to be chosen by the partecipants, according to the game they're playing.

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