How to Survive a Marathon D&D Game

I was excited to see the amount of response to the event as planned. As I took questions, and looked towards the future of the event, it occurred to me how many people think something like this isn’t possible. So here I am, taking a break from studying for my exam… to bring you some tips on how to make it to the other side.

Dear Mr. Elminster, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole downtime day in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us – in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a wizard… and a warrior… and a warlock… a sorceress… and a rogue. Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, The Heroes of Phlan.

Rest and Sleep

The body is meant to get a varying amount of sleep. But it is meant to get sleep. So definitely go to bed early the night before we start. Get to the event on time, but there is no need to be up earlier than intended to get there on time.

Food and Drink

While you might think it natural to go straight for the caffeine and sugar to help stay awake, there is a case of diminishing returns. The crash from those can be hard. So, while it seems counter-intuitive, don’t load up on coffee all night. You have access to a secret weapon – Water! Your body is made up mostly of the stuff, so don’t underestimate the effect drinking it can have on you. Specifically, it can help clear your head. And it will definitely help to keep you from losing your voice. (Which is more for your DMs than for the players.)

You can also consider Gatorade, or a similar type of drink. Be aware of the amount of sugar in it, but those drinks will have the other things your body needs to avoid dehydration.

Medicine and Health

Know your body. Most people with uncommon health issues know their bodies and the signs of an issue coming on. Don’t forget to listen to those signs. Maybe bring some Advil or the like.

For example, I can tell when I have a migraine coming on. If you ever wondered why I will put my sunglasses on inside during game days, now you know. Well, that and they are my prescription glasses that I need to see distances. I also keep Advil liquigels with me so if I feel a migraine starting (as is prone to during marathon events such as this), I know to take a couple with a cup of coffee. It may go against the tips above, but it also highlights the current one – I know my body, and in that situation that is what I need.


My plan is to run sections in about 4 hour blocks. At each 4 hour interval, the table will take a 15-30 minute break for drinks, restrooms, leveling up, etc. Definitely relax during those times, but get up and stretch out. Movement will keep blood flowing and get oxygen through the body. Maybe a late night dance break will be done.

Some people can nap for 10-15 minutes and pop up refreshed. In this type of a situation, most cannot. If you nod off and cannot be woken, that would be the “Standing Eight Count™” and could end your run in the marathon.

Keep Active

I have spoken of this at the various cons I attend to play and not DM anything. I personally find it more difficult to play for 10 hours than to DM for 24 hours. If you do not keep your mind engaged in the narrative, you will start to nod off. Don’t talk over people, but remain present and engaged in the event and you will have an easier time staying focused.

Travel Plans

If you have not done an event like this before, I suggest you have someone drop you off at the store. Definitely arrange for a ride home the next day. 24-28 hours awake takes a lot out of you, and we don’t need anyone nodding off on the drive home. This is really the most important advice of the whole post.

More to Come…

In the coming weeks, I will post some more advice on the event for those attending. This will include my advice on how to survive the module (without giving away spoilers) from my read through on it. Party makeup, character development, etc.


We have 14 players signed up and 1 waitlist at the time of this writing. I will let the waitlist go a little deeper before sending out the links to donate and lock in your seat. In the event the waitlist goes really deep, I may look into finding another DM up for the challenge to run a third table. Keep your eyes on the Meetup.

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