dumb question

edited December 2015 in Trail of Cthulhu

This may sound like a dumb question, but what exactly does "stand-alone adventure" mean? When I first encountered the phrase, I thought it meant an adventure that was not part of a larger series of adventures. In other words, it has no sequels, but begins and ends in one adventure. Although now I am thinking it means an adventure played in a single (approx 4 hour) session.

Can someone please clarify this?


  • Your first assumption was correct. Although it is possible to play some stand-alone adventures in a single session, that has nothing to do with the term stand-alone. Stand-alone adventures are often used along with another term called a one-shot. Which simply informs the players that it isn't a campaign (which is a long series of inter-related or at least sequential adventures) but rather one single adventure using characters which will most likely never be seen again.

    Hope that helps.
  • Ah ok. Thanks for the clarification! I got confused because in Black Drop there's a section for running it as a one-shot adventure, where the author says "as Keeper you will have to ruthlessly edit and compress events if you are playing from start to finish in four hours." But that's just if one is forced to play it in a single sitting, I guess? 
  • Yeah, a one-shot isn't necessarily a single sitting, but it could be. It simply means a single adventure or story. That section of Black Drop is probably meant to tighten the time commitment to ensure it can be played in a four hour period which is often the allotment for conventions. Here is a use of all these terms to help make it clear.

    Player: I'm interested in playing this stand-alone adventure I heard about called Black Drop.
    Keeper: Ok, should I fit it in as part of our on-going campaign or should we play it as a one-shot?
    Player: A one-shot would probably be best since it's set during a different time period that our campaign.
    Keeper: (after reading the adventure) I'll need to edit this down to fit into one session so it doesn't disrupt our campaign too much.
  • Ahhh, perfect! Thank you so much! 
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