Thursday, June 15, 2017

One-shots, a new fangled idea from 1979

Over the last few years, I have spent a lot of time looking at role playing games that are designed to either facilitate one shots or just be one shots. That is, games that are designed to be over and done in one sitting.

But there are times when I just have to sit back and think about how this is a real change in the way that we think about role playing games.

Not that it was totally unheard of a couple decades back. Every game of Toon I was ever in was intended as a one shot. (Further proof of how Toon was so ahead of its time) I was in a couple of Call of Cthulhu games with pegenerated characters where we knew that everyone would be dead or insane by the end of the night.

Still, in my experience, most 'one shots' were D&D sessions where we never ended up playing those characters ever again.

Actually, now that I think about it, tournament modules are one shots and they've been around since, what, 1979? Really, events at conventions, where the same adventure gets run over and over again, that is the definition of one shot.

So, it has happened again. I start out with the thesis the end, as examiner, find that it is actually completely false. One shots have been a part of role-playing game history for pretty much the length of it. The fact that there has been a greater focus over the last decade or so is refinement, not innovation.

And I love it when this happens. I love looking at something and finding that my whole idea turns upside down. It is also fascinating for me, when it comes to role-playing games, to see how many seeds were planted so early.

Still, I would say that one shots have really come along as an idea. They were something that you would do on special occasions back in the day. These days, I can easily see having a monthly Fiasco group, for instance.

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