As I’ve explored RPGs over the past year, one of the hardest parts of being a GM is having a great story. This is especially true for one-shot sessions as there isn’t a deeper world to explore or past adventure to build on.

There are some good guides to running a session with zero preparation and creating the story by asking players questions. I’ve had a lot of fun with this method but it doesn’t always yield great stories. For campaigns, there are some phenomenal adventure books that have hundreds of pages full of story material and guidance. There is a scarcity of story material for one-shots.

Some notable one-shot stories I’ve played include Lady Blackbird and Indigo Galleon (for Dungeon World). Indigo Galleon is particularly impressive because it fits on one page, double sided, and contains maps, a cast of characters and details for multiple factions scheming in the world.

What’s great about both of those is that a GM can run a great, story driven session with less than an hour of prep work. I’m shocked there isn’t more material like them. Maybe it’s because story writing is hard or because it’s tough to streamline but I think it can be done at a much larger scale.

There is a ton of one-shot material for Pathfinder, but it tends to have weak story as a pretense for combat - the same goes for most old school RPG modules. There are a bunch of Dungeon World starters but they don’t have the richness of Indigo Galleon.

Any thoughts as to why there isn’t more great one-shot material out there?