The Classic type is the fill-in game. Sometimes only a few of the normal party can meet to play. Many times, you might try to fill in the party with NPCs or just run the adventure with the players at hand. Sometimes however, this just is not right. In these cases if you have a one-shot game you can play, then at the very least your players and you can have a fun session without affecting the adventure you have had written nor the players that could not attend. That’s the big thing about a one-shot, it normally has little effect beyond the one-shot.
A more useful one-shot, is rules testing. This can be either seeing if some rules changes you have in mind for you game are going to work or playing a game system you have never played before. In either case, the idea is too see if the rules work. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun, it just means that your primary objective is the rules. One of the things about testing a new game is that sometimes what you think will be a one-shot the players may want to make a longer game. Depending on your wants, this can be good thing. After all you will have player interested in playing a new system. If they want to continue playing it then you something that really hit a nerve. The only down side? You may not have enough material to transition from one-shot to full campaign.
Another good use of the one-shot is to allow everyone to take a break. It might even allow you to be a player if someone else wants to be a Game Master for a one-shot. As a matter of fact, one-shots are useful here because they can be used as a proving ground for new game masters. I don’t think I know many game masters that only like to game master. Most of them love to play. As a matter of fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say that most game masters do it because they can’t find anyone else the wants to do the job.
Finally, there is the convention game. This is likely the most common place your going to find a one-shot game. After all you going to get a group of players together that most likely have never meet before. They are going to play a session which is going to end and it’s unlikely that they will ever play those character again.
As you can see, there are many reasons you may want to actually run a one-shot. In future articles, we will discuss how you can create a one-shot.
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