Way back when, in days of myth and legend and undergrad, I served as president of my college’s sci-fi/fantasy club. That mostly amounted to hosting a board game night once a month. There in the dark of a New York winter, as the snows of Lake Cayuga mounted higher, and as the boxes of leftover pizza coagulated on common room tables, and as the distant tinny sounds of the Super Smash Bros. Melee OST wafted from the one shitty speaker that still worked, I was the guy shouting, “One more game!” at two in the morning.

A lot has changed since those halcyon days. It’s been 1.5 D&D editions since I’ve had that kind of energy. My copies of Munchkin and Betrayal at House on the Hill haven’t seen use in years. Gaming has become a strictly regimented affair. Blocks of time are now carefully calibrated to fit in half a dozen grownups’ schedules. In the bleak wasteland of adulthood, fantasy and adventure are rationed out like the Campus ID Preloaded Snack Bucks of yesteryear.

As of this writing, the author of this here Handbook of Heroes is in Semester #8 of grad school. And folks? I feel that manticore’s disgruntlement in my very soul. Making it through to the end of a full four-hour session has become something of a rarity of late. After half an hour of “hey, how was your week?” and twenty minutes of “what happened last time?” and a couple hours of actual play, I’ll often find myself glancing at the clock and looking for a good stopping time.

As the East Coast guy in an interstate VTT game, I like to think that geography has something to do with this sad state of affairs. Gaming from 7-11 on a New York worknight is one hell of a lot different than gaming from 4-8 pm in California. (Of course, it may also be a sign of my impending decrepitude.) But regardless of the reason, when your GM says, “Let’s pick it up here next week,” you probably want to take the hint. Because I will hurl you from my game room like a neckbearded Uncle Phil.

How about the rest of you guys? Do you ever find yourselves calling a session early due to exhaustion? Is this just a case of COVID-times sapping the ol’ energy reserves, or is changing gamer habits a part of growing up? And if you happen to play with a GM who runs half-assed, two hour long, why-did-we-even-bother-to-game-this-week sessions, when is it fair to call them out on it? Tell us all about your own abbreviated sessions (and possible solutions for ’em) down in the comments!


GET YOUR SCHWAG ON! Want a piece of Handbook-World to hang on you wall? Then you’ll want to check out the “Hero” reward tier on the The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. Each monthly treasure haul will bring you prints, decals, buttons, bookmarks and more! There’s even talk of a few Handbook-themed mini-dungeons on the horizon. So hit the link, open up that treasure chest, and see what loot awaits!