The Reasons One Shots Are Great Also Makes Them Hard
I’m not good at playing one-shot games.
Before anyone tries to make me feel better, let me explain why.
Often times, a one shot is a great way to try out a system for the first time, maybe test it out to see if you like it. It’s also great for fitting in a game when your schedule is otherwise hectic and you can’t commit to a regular campaign every week.
However, the same reasons I play one shots are the reasons I am bad at them. First, if the system is new to me, it takes me at least one or two games to start figuring out the mechanics of the system. I’m not listening to the story as much as I should be or like to be because I’m so focused on how the system actually works so I can “do it right” when I have to. I slow down the pace of the game because I need to have something clarified or explained. Again.
The challenge with not playing with a group regularly is that it’s hard to settle into a rhythm, both with your group and as a character. I don’t tend to roleplay much in a one shot, and my characters often end up being quiet and reserved, and don’t make confident decisions (or any decisions, really). When I settle into a group and a character, I have more opportunity to learn who they are as a character, and I think less about what they can do according to the rules, and more about how I can make the rules work for my character. I also tend to be more reserved as a player (see above about learning a system) with a new group each time. The more comfortable I am with the rules and the group, the more willing I am to push the limits of the game.
So, I’m not good at one-shots, but it has nothing to do with the GM, group, or system, and everything to do with my confidence in what I’m playing at any given time.
Do you struggle with one shots more than campaigns? What’s a challenge you have with them? Tell us in the comments!