A friend of mine is going to run an RPG soon, for the first time as a GM (game master). He asked me for advice on a system and the following was my response:

Picking a system is always tricky. The two biggest considerations are theme and complexity. Then, there's decision of whether to use a pre-made module or make things up on the fly.

For a one-shot (stand alone session), I'd avoid a high complexity system as it takes too long for players to spin up on the rules.

When I started GMing (last December), I used pre-written modules as it reduced some of the creative burden. Since then I've run a bunch of sessions ad hoc, collaboratively creating the adventure on the fly. The ad hoc sessions are a lot of fun but lean heavily on the GMs improve abilities.

Let me know where you're leaning and I can send followup materials / resources. Here are some things to get you thinking:

I started with two beginner boxes (starter sets aimed for new GMs)

If you're into the Star Wars theme, there are two other beginner boxes, a Rebel one and a Jedi one. I haven't played them but I've heard good things.

After running those first few campaigns, I ran bunch of sessions using Dungeon World - the system you played. The first several times I used this excellent no-prep one-shot guide; there's definitely an art to pulling off a no-prep one-shot and I suggest building up your GMing skill a bit before trying it. I've also ran a few Dungeon World one-shots with modules, including the one we played together, Indigo Galleon. There are plenty more modules out there and I can point you toward some good ones.

Other things I've tried include:

  • Lasers and Feelings extremely rules-light no-prep space adventure
  • Lady Blackbird magical / steampunk one shot with bit of worldbuilding and story arc. I haven't played it but my friend ran a modified version as a 60's era super spy game.
  • Fiasco - GMless chaos that plays out like a Coen brothers movie