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5e One-Shot Version 2

Having gone through the extraordinarily unusual step of actually play-testing a home-brew, I now present a second iteration of 5e One-Shot.

(printer friendly!)

(quick reference!)

  • I dropped the nicknames, which weren't as character-clarifying as I'd hoped, and slowed down chargen a smidge.
  • The die rolls are divided to prevent people from lining 5 dice up in numerical sequence, which led to similar results.
  • A unified full-page character sheet means I can hand each player a copy of the packet, and they can fill the sheet out as we work through the process.
  • The names-list has been shortened to minimize choice-paralysis and focus on the shorter, simpler names that will be easier to grapple in a single session.
  • I also eliminated most of the names that are still extant, figuring anybody who wants to play a Guy can think up the name "Guy" on their own.
  • The characters can now advance to second level!
  • Errata was fixed, but a typo that I missed was just mentioned in the comments of the original post, so I guess there needs to be a version 3?
  • A few other minor changes that I thought would streamline first session play, like ditching the Fighter's shield and going with a two-handed sword, so as to avoid discussing weapon versatility.
If you get a chance to do anything with this document, I'd love to hear about!


  1. Hello!

    First of all, I really like how you've distilled the essence of the game within 6 pages along with such a great layout, and all.
    Although, a few points to raise:

    * Characters have AC, Companions have AC, but I haven't found any explanation on how AC is used in combat. You can extrapolate that the opponent must roll over the AC, but I think it'd nice to have a little note about how to handle combat, especially for new GMs.
    * There's a "Spell Save" for Wizard but no explanation on how to "use" this score.
    * I know that space isn't cheap, but maybe you could squeeze a small example of action resolution, that'd be great to explain how things work together.

    1. Bruno, These are excellent points. I didn't really think of this as a comprehensive document that a new reader could pick up and learn the game from—more of a tool that an experienced referee could hand out to new players and use to get the game going, quickly. But I should take a look at it and see how much work it would take to make it more comprehensive.

  2. Thanks for this! And thanks for your essays on play-by-post!

    I'm curious if you have rules, plans, or ideas for "transitioning" a character from this system into a fullblown 5e character?

    I've been exploring simplified 5e systems and "O5R" systems like yours (and Five Torches Deep and 5e Hardcore Mode) for use in play-by-post, and I like the idea of simplified characters like you have here that "expand" (FTD kinds does this with archetypes) into more stats, abilities, and subclass options as they level up -- mostly to get the ball rolling quickly in PBP and tangentially to lower attachment in the early levels in high-lethality OSR-esque games.

    Curious to hear your thoughts. Thanks again!

    1. Spencer, it's a good question. I've only used the system for one-shots, and haven't needed to translate any of these characters to 3rd level. But, of course, I've thought about it.

      I think the key would be to think of it as an act of interpretation rather than conversion. Basically, just make a 3rd Level character that *feels* in line with the character you played for the last two levels. If you played a character named Red who was very strong and fought with a mace, this character should have STR as their highest attribute, have proficiency with a mace, and be named Red. But if you want to make Red a Barbarian or a Hexblade instead of a Fighter, feel free!

      Lots of classes get significant bumps or sub-classes at Level 3. It's not too unusual to have the party's vanilla fighter suddenly declare that they're an Eldritch Knight, and retcon in an interest in dark arts.

      As a goofy aside: I recently made a PC based on Jeeves from the P.G. Wodehouse stories. I went with a bard, because I liked the idea of this character giving inspiration by making sure everyone's clothes were neat and proper, and healing with a soothing cup of tea or a bracing cocktail, as the situation demanded. But I could just as easily made Jeeves as a Mastermind Rogue or a Cleric of Knowledge. These various adaptations into the medium of D&D would have had at-table consequences, but the character I'm imaging playing wouldn't change.

      That's how I'd do it.


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