I am faced with a challenge with creating a one shot session for a couple of friends. From experience I can see that it is difficult to indulge players into setting, plot, world, characters in a single session. Even putting this aside, there is a problem of information - with no background experience of the plot and no vision of continuing, it is difficult to compress something good into this tiny timeframe.
The question can be summarized into these two points:
- How to prepare a plot for such session, with things like handouts, maps, illustrations, prepared descriptions, where to get good inspiration for it, etc;
- How to run such it to make it most enjoyable for players, both veterans and newbies;
To precise: the campaign will only be a single session, plot heavy, battle light with 3-5 players. I don't know in what system we will play, but most likely it will be DnD 3.5, The Riddle of Steel (rules light) or, perhaps, freeplay if that is concern for anybody.