RPG events (One Shot) advice


I have wound up my long campaign, and don’t have the time to start a new one. Instead what I will do is to run a few one shots over a few evenings.

Anyone got any tips for this kind of game?

I am guessing that there should generally be less player choice compared to a campaign. More of a sandboxed ‘situation’ or set mission?


Yes, they need to be a bit more linear, but have one big dilemma in them if you can. Eg. Save the children or destroy the WOMD. Remember, the real choice for PCs is HOW the PCs complete it. Hanks adventures are generally well designed for that.

I would look at the adventure in the ICRPG books and pdfs Hank put on Patreon. Also Xenonorph is a great option.

You can also combine them with the Warpshell concept. A ship that takes you to situations that need solving! Could adapt it to fantasy as a literal ship, or wizards portal room or whatever. That way you can do one shots but players can keep the same characters. Also leaves the


There are a couple of routes to go, and if your group is open to it…try a few.

I would drop them into a situation, as opposed to letting them explore their way into it.

Last night I made the mistake of playing a one shot as a typical first session for me. First sessions are about getting to know the world. One shots should be Like a 90 minute action flick. Short on characters not who are in diffract conflict with the protagonists.

That said, many of the adventures in the books are pretty interesting, and have the right tempo for one shots.

But also remember, you may accidentally make your one shot into a campaign. In fact that is how I think most campaigns begin. “Hey let’s try this, oh this was different…and my character was fun, lets keep on playing.


I agree with dropping them immediately into a situation and even directly into action/combat. It helps keep the players on task which is critical in a one-shot. It helps to establish the urgency of the session and really grabs people’s attention. Have a list of tasks/encounters you want the group to overcome, maybe some clues/information to guide then towards the big fight of the night and be flexible in how everything unfolds. Keep it moving towards that final encounter.

I’ve found if I give my players opportunity to meet in a town or tavern, they tend to do a lot of unrelated (potentially time wasting) activities and it doesn’t advance the story. It drags on and it just really sucks the energy out of the room.

Definitely look at the ICRPG core book on LOG in the game mastery section. Like it was mentioned before, Hanks adventures also work well in outlining your own adventure.


This. :point_up:

Just think in terms of a short plot arc. I start with the climax of the night and work backwards. So, let’s say that’s the moment the skeleton king rises up in the tomb below town and reveals his dark magic. That means I’ll need an antechamber and maybe a trapped corridor, plus the wine cellar with the entrance. Then, I’ll flesh out the encounters for each of those rooms. One might be a moment where piles of rags and bones animate and rise up.

On the night of play, I’ll narrate the conversation with the distressed innkeeper, hand wave them to the cellar, where they’ll arrive in time to see the miller’s boy being dragged through a hole in the stonework by bony hands as numbers of the skeleton horde pour out! Roll initiative, roll a timer, and you’re off for a fun night of play.


Not that I have a ton of experience running one-shots (I plan on doing a lot more) but I think the key is to be concise and to know the beginning, middle, and definite end. Railroading is ok because it is only one session and the character’s have to achieve a goal (or at least attempt to achieve it). Character’s should be put immediately into the story, go right to the action!

Hank has done a great job of breaking this down helpful elements for one shots in the books. I would also suggest watching https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bX8KalBVZ_g for inspiration with one-shot construction.


I am stealing this. Great idea for a 1-shot night of play which I needed for this weekend. Thanks @Alex.


What the others have said is very good advice. There are a couple of other things that come out of 1-shots. First, it gives players a chance to play characters that they might not ever try in a longer campaign. Maybe someone has never played a caster. A 1-shot is the perfect time to try. It also gives the group a chance to play different rules or genres. Personally, I have not played a lot of superhero games. I have played a few 1-shots in that genre this year though. That has helped expand my repertoire of RPGing.


This is actually the exact reason I am switching from a campaign to a series of one shot, longer, events. So I can pay with some different settings sand/or systems, without the obligation of a full campaign