Advice on running o...
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Advice on running one-shots with new-ish players?

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Eminent Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 22
Topic starter  

So last year a gaming/comic store opened just a few miles from home (hurray!) with a big common play area and two smaller (quieter) rooms.  They have a lot of weekly games and periodic special events, focusing on MtG, Warhammer, and D&D primarily (and probably in that order).

I've dropped in on a number of D&D sessions there as a player and made connections with a few of the regulars, and have mentioned MP a few times and there's been some interest expressed.  Work and family obligations make it tough to dedicate to running another game on a regular schedule (and I'm currently in the midst of a months-long writers' block on planning my own home campaign, so we've been falling back on published D&D modules :p), but I've been considering offering to run a few loosely-connected one-shots at the store to add a little variety.

My main concern with this is that these sorts of events don't allow for the sort of prep time you can have when running a game for a group of friends.  MP strikes me as being somewhat "front-loaded" in terms of complexity as a trade-off for its tremendous flexibility, vs. the "pick a class and roll six stats" model most of the likely players would be familiar with.

Of course I could just pre-build a few example characters and let people choose between them, but I'd really prefer not to eliminate the creative side of character design.  On the other hand, you can't have 5 people building characters and still have time for an actual game session of any significance in a game-store one-shot environment.


Has anyone here tried this out?  Any suggestions on the character creation dilemma or about any other aspect of it?  I've never run a one-shot either (in any game) so I need to put some thought into timing, etc., after being used to just pausing to pick up next week where we left off.







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Estimable Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 112

I would build some very basic heroes for them to choose from. A Blaster (Power Blast, Heightened Expertise), Brawler (Natural Weaponry, Invulnerability), a Controller (non-violent character that uses Grapnel or Paralysis Ray to neutralize characters without hurting them, and Heightened Expertise to hit more reliably). I would follow the Standard Power character rules (150 CPs total, 80 for Abilities, 70 for Basic Characteristics), give them each 4 Abilities with 20 CPs each (again, keeping it simple). I recommend 1 to 2 offensive powers, 1 -2 defensive, and avoid Abilities that are overly complex or marginally useful.

Estimable Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 112


I re-read your post and thought of something you could do to add some player choice to the characters. You could have each one have a pool of powers to choose from. So for instance, the Blaster pre-made character could have:

  • Heightened Expertise
  • Armor or Heightened Defense
  • Sonic Blast or Disintegration Ray
  • Teleportation or Flight

The Brawler could have:

  • Natural Weaponry
  • Heightened Strength or Heightened Agility
  • Invulnerability or Armor
  • Super Leap or Speed

Have one play style defining Ability that is not optional so that their characters are effective in combat no matter what other Abilities they choose.

Trusted Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 26

My suggestion (based on personal experience once, 6-8 years ago, as a player, in a very similar circumstance) is to present pre-made characters for the 1st session and then, at the end of that 1st game session, offer to work via e-mail with any players who would like to create their own characters to use in any subsequent game session.

Jeff Dee reacted
Estimable Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 90

Great suggestions from @Grackleflint and @dan2448.

I would only add that you not allow modifiers -- make the characters as basic as possible.

Good luck with this and I would love to hear how the sessions go!

Estimable Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 134

Excellent advice so far.  Another option that would take a ton of the prep work out of the equation would be to set up a simple battle between the Crusaders and the Crushers.  All of them have been converted to MP already (saving you a ton of work on the front end), and are pretty basic, not super complex characters that would help teach the game.

V&V GM and player since 1982, my current campaign is 29 years old