|Not quite what I meant ..|
Real time: About 13 months
Play time: About 35 roughly 4-hour sessions
Game time: About 3 months
Leveling time: Near or at Level 5
While I think the ratio of play to leveling time under my 52 Pages rules is just about right, and the ratio of play to real time is about as good as we can make it, game time is progressing awfully fast. Spring has barely turned to summer in the game world. But in the space of 3 months the party has visited 6 adventure sites, had two extended wilderness treks, dealt with business and pleasure in 5 different towns and cities, and gone from zeroes to heroes.
AD&D did a better job, as I recall, of pacing out the action in game-time. My characters only have to train one day per level they're gaining. AD&D had a system which nobody ever followed strictly, in which players got graded on a 1 (best)-4 (worst) scale for how they'd played their characters, and then had to take that amount of weeks times their level to train up, paying a brutal 1500 gp a week. The costs may have been impossible, but leaving them aside, the long passage of time between adventures lent a certain grace to the campaign. Also, the different experience amounts to advance meant it was rare that two characters trained at the same time, so that's more time waiting, visiting home villages while your companions level up and so on. In the high school campaign I played in, long travel times also advanced the calendar, especially combined with the requirement to visit fixed sites for training or plot reasons.
It is possible to just arbitrarily key time to adventures, as in some of the suggestions on this thread - take a year in between scenarios, and so on, making sure all the level advancement happens when adventures are not on. I'm not entirely happy with this, for the same reason I prefer experience points to session-based leveling. I like players to have an in-world reason their characters are passing time, rather than just enforcing artificial time-outs.
Perhaps a good compromise is to have players get their hit points as soon as they level - representing the development of their instinct - but get other level-related stuff only after training. I could also stand to examine some of the other features of the system, such as prophets being able to heal up a seriously injured character who doesn't get a terrible death and dismemberment roll at zero hit points or less. Maybe those seriously injured guys need to spend some time in bed, prophet or no prophet. The "Pow! Healed! Walk again!" does get a little disconcerting when a character, by all rights and rules, ought to be spending some time in the penalty box, if not outright dead.
Any other thoughts on how to handle the long-term passage of time?