View Full Version : I've got three hours to Design a One-Shot

Lord Loss
2010-12-22, 09:21 AM
I've been given the A-Okay to run a one shot by my players, which I intend to possibly turn into a campaign if they enjoy it. This was spawned by a discussion with my friend D. That went something like this:

Me: '' So, do you want to start a new campaign''
Him: ''Sure. But what about D&D''
Me: ''I'm getting kind of sick of it to be honest''
Him: ''How so''
Me: ''too comabtative"
Him: "Aern't all RPGs focused around combat?"

With that in mind, I'm trying to design a horrific/creepy (Sci-fi works as well) one-shot that doesn't just focus on combat. All settings are good, but I'd like something out of the ordinary. Also, I need a system with which to run it, either some Quickstart rules, something free or something amongst: UnderWorld, D&D 3.5, D&D 4e or CoC. I'll also give free games a look, but I might not be able to buy them until right before I G2G, so I won't have much time to look at them. Don't rest your head seems inteteresting.

So, to summarise, my questions are:

1) What system should I use
2) What setting should I use (feel free to make up your own)
3) What should the plot/storyline be (feel free to make up your own)
4) How can I make this quirky and memorable?
5) Any tips for running horror on short notice?
6) How do I keep the focus of the fighting and on the plot?

2010-12-22, 09:28 AM
Horror one-shot with 'not-much' combat? You want Dread.

2010-12-22, 09:36 AM
Call of Cuthulu came to my mind - One Shotty - Horror - lots of quirky characters etc.

Plot? Murder mystery (always remember the three clue rule), have them go from place to place (after the combat has already happened) seeing more and more destructive power/horrific scences.

When they are fully on edge ( and there's just time for a combat) the reveal the BBEG - the kill or be killed. Job done.

2010-12-22, 09:36 AM
If you do d&d 3.5 I suggest you focus on rogues and traps that starts like a normal dungeon delve until it gets creepy with whatever flavor you want. A tip to keep things creepy is to find appropriate music that includes wordless chanting. The music adds a whole new level to things

Lord Loss
2010-12-22, 09:53 AM
Dread seems good to me. I don't actually have it, but I know how the mechanics works (correct me if I'm wrong):

Set up Jenga.

Pre-pull: 3(-x+5) dice, where x is the number of players.

Players pull a block to take an action that has a chance of failing, if the tower falls, they die. If the tower is intentionally pushed over, the action succeeds, but the character dies.

I'm not sure how character creation works, though.

2010-12-22, 01:46 PM
Sounds like you should look up Risus. Free system with only 6 pages of rules. Combat works the same as any other opposed conflict, and it sucks for even the winner, so there's an incentive to find non-combat solutions. Also, it's overall a goofy/lighthearted system.

2010-12-22, 02:01 PM
I'm not sure how character creation works, though.

Dread quickstart rules (http://www.tiltingatwindmills.net/dread/dread_quickstart_letter.pdf) (pdf format)

Last page has some details on how the questionnaire could be done.

Worth noting that the above pdf is hosted on the official site, thus, legal.