Who the One-Shot is For
The GM should be moderately familiar with Tri-Stat dX and able to quickly manage rolls for players. d6’s are appropriate.
My players were completely new to roleplaying, so I provided all dice and characters. I had 2 hours total to run the scenario.
I gave out the Player Presentation to the players several days before the campaign, but some people didn’t bother to read it. This cost us a half-hour. Future GMs should also watch the presentation to see the plot.
I just flow-charted this in a light-weight manner:
Entryway → Foyer → Banquet hall/ballroom → split to kitchen & stairs going up
Kitchen (has back door) → stairs down → cellar (kitchen supplies, food) → network of twisty passage, relics, furniture, guards (can fork and confuse as time allows) → children in cells (conditions up to GM) → stairs and door to side exit of house.
Stairs up → bedrooms, jewels, clothes. I let Emyth Emerald have a bedroom consisting of a large pallet/beanbag (treasure underneath, of course), which the players thought was cute.
NPCs and Challenge
Most people at the party should be an evil/devious/etc. friend of the major NPCs.
Guards/henchmen, hostile/suspicious people, and major NPCs can be sprinkled anywhere, as time permits for interaction and combat. I let the players spot most of the NPCs in the banquet hall/ballroom so they could approach them as desired.
Ways to push the pace on the plot:
- Let one of the major NPCs (e.g., Philadoña) intend to go downstairs for a snack in “just a few minutes”.
- Have Lady Daphne announce on stage that there’ll be an auction of some prime children in X minutes.
- Have the dragon be outside for a stretch when the children get out.
- Have the mind reader get suspicious and thicken security.
- Have some of the children be brought upstairs (for auction or some other nefarious purpose).
I had the house tackily full of high-value items to give the feel of an inordinate amount of money.