The time that comes to mind was after the great blizzard of 1996 in Victoria, British Columbia.
Now, although that’s in Canada you should understand that Victoria’s weather is actually the mildest of in the country. Typically the city gets maybe a day or two of snow, sometimes nothing more than a dusting here and there. On those days, mayhem ensues as people unused and unprepared to drive in snow hit the streets. We’re not used to snow in Victoria, let alone a lot of snow.
As it so happens, my partner at the time and I had just hosted a party the night before and we had several friends who decided by the time it was that hour to return home, that they wouldn’t risk the roads (already covered by a good amount of snow) and instead hunker down for the night. I seem to recall about six to eight friends, something like that in our one bedroom apartment.
The next morning we all awoke (somewhat hung over) to the astounding five feet of snow. The city had shut down completely, nothing was running and the streets were blanketed in a thick white coat. We figured out breakfast and laughed about how this was crazy, but we decided to make the best of it and so I decided to organize a game. I can’t quite remember what I ran, but around that time I was running a very long pirate campaign, so it might well have been that.
In any case, we kept playing figuring that they’d clear the roads soon and finish when it was safe for the friends to go home. I just kept figuring out stuff to keep the game going.
But, the streets weren’t cleared that night. It was just too much for the city’s one snow plough.
So, we played some more, drank some more and then settled in for the night, expecting to wake up to clear roads.
But, of course there were no clear roads the next day. So, we played some more. By afternoon a couple of friends were getting cabin fever and decided to walk home. They headed out, trudging through the high snow drifts. They made it home, but it took them a couple hours each to reach their homes.
The rest of us played for another night and it was only the next morning that the roads were cleared enough that we cleaned off their cars and they escaped our tiny apartment prison of role-playing. It was fun and we all remember it fondly, but as far as role-playing marathons go, the ones that aren’t forced I think are just a bit better.