Today was the kind of challenge that I really enjoy: Introducing mostly new players to roleplaying games! In this case, I was running a couple of one shot scenarios for a local gaming club I visit called Hunt of the Silver Moon (5th Edition) and Desert Raiders (Trail of Cthulhu). In both games I had a couple of people who had played with me before or that had extensive experience with the system, while mostly entirely new players to either roleplaying or the system being played.
Of the two games, I think my one shot for 5th Edition worked pretty well with the suitably dramatic showdown with the lycanthrope master and minions working exactly as I hoped it would. Unfortunately, I started the Trail of Cthulhu game later than I hoped and had to cut about an hour from the middle. This made the scenario feel a lot less organic and a bit more rushed than I intended, but it still worked well and everyone had fun. One of the players was clearly very Cthulhu savvy and had a great deal of interest in how Trail worked versus Call of Cthulhu (a debate for another time here…).
One thing that is always very important when running one shots is managing time well and getting through story beats in an efficient manner – without feeling like you’re excessively railroading the characters. I think actually the DnD game, by virtue of being written first (I had a week to do things) did slightly better at this, but again shortening the Trail of Cthulhu scenario was not ideal for its pacing (it sadly lost a bit of the creepier, slower horror build up in the center so I could have the underground finale in decent time).
In the end though I feel everything went well and everyone at least had fun! After I modify how these scenarios play a bit and clean up the overall text, I intend to post both of them up here on the blog for anyone to enjoy. These will be modified and adapted specifically to help anyone who is new to DMing get ideas on how to roleplay, describe encounters and adjudicate different situations that might come up (my players tonight provided me with some great ideas already!). Hopefully have them both edited and added to the blog within the next week or so!