Burn after running?

So, here’s what this is. There are a lot of RPG blogs out here, and this one is focussed entirely on one thing: one-shot play. 

Time was, I used to play RPGs like everyone else did – I met up with mates once a week, and we played truly epic campaigns. Their epic status was undoubtably exaggerated in our youthful minds; truth be told, if we managed to run a game for 4 weeks with the same roster of players, or without the GM losing interest, we were doing well. We’d do that annoying false start thing that I’m sure many of you have done, where you get a game pitched, spend the first session making up characters, and then next week end up playing a board game, either due to player (or GM) absence or just because the enthusiasm has waned. I tried to continue this when I got back to gaming in my adult life, and had a similar issue to before, only now it was our actual adult lives that got in the way of it. Often, a Wednesday evening pretending to be elves was just a bit too much trouble, especially when the other lives of five or six other busy adults interfered with it,

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with playing like this, and I’m not saying that lots of gamers out there manage to run weekly campaigns more efficiently than any of the groups I used to play in. But I don’t game like that any more. I run, and play, one-shots. I run a monthly meet-up that’s exclusively for one-shot RPGs, and I go to lots of conventions. Sometimes, these get stretched, and end up being episodes in short campaigns, but that’s as often as not organic rather than planned; it’s been many years since I’ve planned a game session to last longer than 4-5 hours.

And I like it; it means I get to play, and run, lots of systems, and with the right approaches the one-shot games can be just as epic and meaningful as the lengthy campaigns I used to yearn to play. You just have to change your play style a bit. And I am now an active participant in a hobby that I (and I’m sure many other lapsed RPGers) used to think I didn’t have time for.

So, this blog will contain posts focussed on playing, running, and prepping one-shot tabletop RPG sessions. All systems, all tastes. There will be reviews, musings, after-action reports, and even actual game prep notes shared (I tend to be pretty minimalist in my prep style these days, but it’s always good to see what other people do to get ready). And other stuff – if there’s anything you’d like to see me write about, feel free to post in the comments below.

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