I'm new to RPGs and I'm part of a group with more experienced players. My challenge right now is to create a short adventure as a one-shot (and that's why I'm asking here and not them). We use AD&D2, but I'm interested in testing GURPS on this story.

My question is about endings. The players will try to achieve a goal, or refuse to do it. If they try to achieve the goal, completing all steps and pushing the final button, I'm planning to make an open final roll to determine the ultimate success or failure of the mission, with the odds of success based on the time spent, number of safety measures achieved, right tools, etc., but no way to ensure a 100% chance of success on this final roll.

To make it simple, just imagine they will try to defuse a bomb at the end, so the outcome may be "everybody died" or "we saved everyone", with the odds of success depending on what they did leading up to that point.

Can that kind of ending work for a one-shot, or does it just create frustration if they did well and just got unlucky at the end?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the only answers to this question that fit the site's format will be from either GMs who've run similar scenarios or players who have played in similar scenarios. All other answer will be relying on speculation or opinion. (That's not a vote to close the question, by the way, but more of a head-up to those considering answering.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 20:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I agree completely. I kind of wish I'd run something like this. My gut reaction is that its a bad idea, but for a one-shot... it could be different than my experience. I'm sure its been done before, lets see if someone comes forth with some insight. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 20:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie - I wasn't sure that my experience was necessarily relevant enough to be an answer on this, because I don't and haven't done either AD&D2 or GURPS - though admittedly there's some similarities between GURPS and Traveller. I'll copy it to an answer, noting that it was suggested that I do so. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 20:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JeffZeitlin There's nothing about one-shots, human nature, or the emotions that culminate in frustration or satisfaction that's particular to system, so that's fine. (Note that the question isn't tagged with any system either, and correctly so.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 20:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Imagine you were instead playing a co-operative boardgame. Everything has been going very well until you hit some turning point at the end where some incredible bad luck in the last turn or two results in the loss of the game. Was it still fun? The answer depends on your players - I know people who would still consider that an evening well spent and I know people who would be incredibly frustrated to have managed to snatch failure from the jaws of victory. My own reaction would vary depending on my mood. Whether or not this kind of ending works depends entirely on your players. \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 18:04

1 Answer 1


I'd originally written this as a comment, but another commenter suggested that I post it as an answer...

I had a similar kind of situation playing Traveller at a con last year. We ended up with some massive bad luck, TPK, and converting sure successes at two-thirds of the defined mission objectives to complete failures. There was a lot of Charlie-Brown-Like "AAAUGGHH!"-ing, but there was no frustration at the bad luck, because the rest of it had been well managed, and we'd all had fun playing. If the "final roll" doesn't seem like it's for arbitrary reasons, and is handled reasonably with respect to skills/feats/etc., there shouldn't be a problem.


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