December 11, 2010

The Glory of a One Shot

Those of you who follow my twitter (d20sapphire, unsurprisingly) may know that while running RPG Chicago I have lobbied the idea of a One Shot Night in multiple locations in the area.  I know a lot of people love being in long standing campaigns.  You guys know that I love running one.  But the one-shot... it's a glory all on it's own.

The thing about a campaign is that everyone starts it knowing that it's an investment.  With each session you have to give enough to keep the players involved, but not every session has to be on point.  In fact, it's almost impossible to keep it on point, because every player is going to have goals that diverge from your main plot.  As a DM you become half story-teller, half manager.  It's still fun, but it's not the same as a one shot.

The one shot is a one-time chance to prove to the players that this story is awesome.  It is a one time chance to give them something sensational, and it has to hit immediately.  Slow story is not an option.

Players love it too.  For once they have a character that they don't have to fear about losing, they can just be reckless and take bigger chances.  It's time to shine, because this character only has once.

The glory of the one shot is exactly that: you have one shot to make an impression.  And it makes the difference in how people play.


  1. One shots are a lot of fun, especially when they are over the top craziness. Good luck!

  2. There was a time I hated one shots, but as I've gotten older I have come to appreciate how tighter control over many creative activities can be more rewarding and increase productivity. RPGs are about fun, and one shots can be a fun RPG experience without too much fuss and bother about campaign arcs and so forth.

  3. Some of the craziest games I've had were one shots. I fondly remembering a one-shot that turned into a full-blown campaign because the player 'dove right in and attacked the big bad'. One of the most fun one shots I've played was a convention game of Seven Seas in which I was the first mate. I had a parrot (of course) and a knack for being very much like Inigo. Hey, come to think of it we did a one-shot game at another con that WAS princess bride called 'The return of Humperdink' I played Wesley. It was a lot of fun. Guess what really happened with Buttercup and Count Rugian when Westley was gone?