Thursday, November 7, 2013


So we're back, after a ridiculously long hiatus. Let's clear out cobwebs and liven this place up again.

I'll be brief. I want to talk about one-shots.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, one-shots refer to roleplaying game scenarios that take only one session to complete. They usually, but not always, have an entirely self-contained story. Published examples of this type of game include Pathfinder Society Scenarios or D&D Dungeon Delves. Other RPG Systems, like Dread or Mythender are pretty much entirely built around the idea of a one-shot.


- Brevity. Obviously, one-shots are short. They can be begun and finished in the amount of time it would take for a few boardgames. Players can be left with a sense of closure or completion at the end of the session, instead of needing to wait weeks or potentially months for a campaign's story arc to end.

- No commitment. One-shots require very little commitment from players compared to an extended campaign. You don't need to worry about scheduling addition sessions beyond the first.

- Spontaneity. Because of the brief nature of the game, one-shots don't usually require much work before the beginning of the session. So players can start and end a game with a minimum amount of prep.


- Brevity. The lack of an over arching storyline can leave you feeling unfulfilled if you're  itching for a grand heroic adventure.

- Lack of Attachment. Because of their brief nature, there's less time to cultivate interest in a storyline or NPC background in a one-shot. It can lead to a lack of attachment to said storyline and give the entire session more of a crunchy-grindy feel that harkens to the halcyon days of MMORPG raids.

- Too long. Sometimes you haven't set aside enough time, for whatever reason, to fit all the adventure material you'd like into your single session. So your would-be-one-shot turns into a two-part adventure that's separated by a week (or more).

I personally enjoy one-shots as a sometimes food. 90% of my RPG gaming comes from ongoing campaigns and I like it that way. The remaining 10% are pickup games that happen from time to time. Too many one-shots in my schedule and I start to feel like I'm less roleplaying my characters and more that I'm piloting statblocks. If I wanted to do that I'd be playing MMO's.