I'm considering running the Rise of Tiamat module, but I'm not sure what kind of time commitment I would be asking of the players.

I expect to run sessions of 3-4 hours on weekday evenings. There is the possibility of a longer weekend session, but it turns out to be hard to schedule regular social meetings for several adults.

The module has nine 'Episodes' and six optional 'Additional Encounters' listed in the introduction. I'm confident any group I put together will end up off the expected track at least once (the book even agrees), but for the purposes here let's assume we do all nine Episodes and three of the optional encounters. I'm just not sure how long each Episode is expected to take. If each is 1-3 sessions, then I'd be looking at 9-27 sessions, rounding to a high of ~30 with the extra encounters.

Yes, this module is based on Milestone advancement. However, an XP-basded comparison approach seems in order. DMG 84 indicates an Adventuring Day is 6-8 medium or Hard encounters per day. Doing some envelope math, it seems that getting from level 8 to level 15 requires about 18 full Adventuring Days. This works out to ~120 medium or hard encounters. Assuming one per hour, that's 30-40 sessions.

Am I really looking at ~30 three to four hour sessions to complete the module?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, just RoT. The tag and the level range of 8-15 are accurate. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 4:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ You haven't said anything about your players’ gaming style. Are they chatty jokesters who chew on every subplot ponderously, and who open the PH every time their turn in combat starts? \$\endgroup\$
    – Tim Grant
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 12:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TimGrant I haven't said anything in large part because there's a pool of about a dozen possible players. This will be pared down by interest and availability, the latter of which led directly to this question. I figure any variance between my group and answerer's groups can be made up for by editing content. I'm certainly open to being wrong on that point. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 0:07

2 Answers 2


21 x 2 hour sessions

Well, that's how long it took us anyway. These were all online voice only sessions which tend to keep you more focused than FtF and some may have gone up to 3 hours when it wasn't a school night for my son. 4 players plus the DM (me).


Like you said, it all really depends if you use milestones or XP-based leveling, but yeah, you can expect 25-40 three to four hours sessions to complete the module.

I am using the XP-Based variant and my party went through Hoard of the Dragon queen in about 100 hours of gameplay.

Now we are in Rise of Tiamat and after 30 hours, they just finished the 1st two episodes (the 1st Council and the Sea of Moving Ice). I usually build adventure days of 3-4 medium to deadly encounters.

As a side note, the group is made of 5 seasoned players, who like to goof around a bit, but not exceedingly. They tend to spend a lot of time thinking about strategies, but once in combat, they usually play their turn in less than a minute.

So yes, if you're using XP, you can expect a total of 100-120 total hours of play, and maybe half of that amount (50-60 hours) if you're using milestones.

One thing I learned from using XP-based leveling in a scenario build with milestones in mind, though, is you can expect much more work, as a DM, tweaking encounters, adding a lot of them, alloting XP's for goals, quests, puzzles and traps, etc.


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