So if you read the post about my Thanksgiving game you may've noticed me trying to figure out how to turn a 4+ day dungeon into a one-shot.
Here's how I did it:
-I eliminated the wandering-monsters, and
-I put a crude-and-under-detailed-but-essentially-accurate map of the entire dungeon (with locations of major threats and exits indicated) on one of the monsters that the players would probably be killing during an early encounter.
(I would've jazzed it up, written it in some faux-foreign-language-looking rune font and thrown in some enigmatic labels on the minor dungeon features, but I was pressed for time.)(And drunk.)
So, put this way, the dungeon has several possible implied "objectives"--having the map allowed the players to decide which one they were going to try for, then head straight there. In effect, they pick the shape of their own one-shot.
This worked out extremely well. All these players--two who hadn't played in years, one who'd never played, (not to mention one who was the host's boyfriend and one who was the recent ex) and none of them had ever played together--got the map, drew a few conclusions, and sat around plotting strategy. Just like a team. Beautiful.
Anyway, I like this idea, and I think it has possibilities far beyond just using it to turn a sprawling dungeon into a one-shot. It's fun to drop a ton of info on the players all at once and watch them sort out how to roll with it. To be continued.