PDA

View Full Version : T-P-K - has it happened to you?



Stormwolf
2007-04-28, 07:29 AM
Total Party Kill... this reminded me of a few unfortunate incidents in my long D&D 'career'... so has it happened to you too? Was it the fault of an over-zealous or just plain evil DM, (were you that DM?) the players or just plain bad luck?

In one of my earliest games of 1st Ed. AD&D we had a DM who was simply out to wipe out the party by any means. Inescapable 'gotcha' (aka "WTF was that?" traps)... 15HD monsters in a 3rd level dungeon... safe to say nobody made it out alive. My 2nd level magic user was squashed by a descending ceiling block in a cage that appeared from nowhere without warning while the rest of the party looked on helplessly. Pretty shortly afterwards the rest of the party were attacked by about 200 stirges and then a purple worm ate what was left. Unsurprisingly we refused that guy's offers to DM again, but it was an important lesson for me on game balance that I always remembered when I was running campaigns later.

However despite all 'precautions' as a DM it's still possible for the players to get themselves into a mess that they can't extract themselves from without a deus ex machina exit. One of my best-written adventures that I devoted 3 months to designing and (solo) playtesting was almost entirely wasted as the party stumbled into a nest of giant spiders.

One of them got an unlucky (critical) fail on their poison save and then the rest of the party died (albeit heroically) one after the other trying to recover the body / bodies. Sometimes you just can't fudge things for them, as much as you want to... I really don't like telling my players what they should do and they just didn't have the experience (or just general meta-gaming knowledge) to simply torch the whole nest. The rest of the dungeon of which I was incredibly proud went unexplored :(

Hinton
2007-04-28, 07:57 AM
I designed an adventure where the sole intention was to kill everyone in the party. It was designed for very high level characters to make it extremely challenging, but once in a while I'd come across "That Guy" (you know the type), so I would run him through this little adventure. It would either humble him (making gaming easier and more fun) or just make him mad (making him go away and swear to never return).

Stormwolf
2007-04-28, 08:15 AM
I designed an adventure where the sole intention was to kill everyone in the party. It was designed for very high level characters to make it extremely challenging, but once in a while I'd come across "That Guy" (you know the type), so I would run him through this little adventure. It would either humble him (making gaming easier and more fun) or just make him mad (making him go away and swear to never return).

Funny you should mention that... I did the same thing once. We had a couple of guys joined our group on the understanding that they could bring their own characters to the table. I then discovered that they were a 29/30th level fighter/magic-user and a 30/30 fighter/cleric with between them about ever useful magic item in the original DMG in their Bags of Holding. They insisted that these were 'legitimate' characters but couldn't provide any references (i.e. another DM I could contact and find out what sort of Monty Haul campaign they'd been playing). I found out later that they'd been generating encounters for themselves.

"oh the encounter table says we find a sleeping ancient red dragon"
" I cut it's head off with my vorpal sword"
"yay treasure!"

These were the worst sort of D&D brats and they needed a lesson in humility. Anyway, I designed a fiendish dungeon that made the Tomb of Horrors look like a Sunday afternoon walk in the park. It made extensive use of many of the most deadly traps I'd ever devised and a few more from the Grimtooth's Traps books ...I'd recommend them to anyone :) Neither of them made it out.

Aotrs Commander
2007-04-28, 08:29 AM
Only twice in 17 years. Both in 2nd Ed AD&D (heavily modified), and both under the same DM and not too far temporarily apart (and about, oh, 15-16 years ago).
The first was at low-level (first I think, actually) and we had a run of bad luck and got annhilated in an encounter (apparently, we just picked worst route to take).

The second was at slightly higher level (maybe abut 5-6th); it may even have been the second party in that campaign, actually, and we got into a fight with some trolls (random encounter). The DM genuinely believed we could take the encounter, but we actually couldn't and were wiped out.

Neither was done with any vitriole, just bad luck. Actually, it was so long ago that I was still young and inexperienced, but thinking on it now, I wonder how much DMing practise the DM had had. (He moved to Norway some years ago, so I've not seen him since.) It might be that he hadn't done a lot; or at least hadn't used his house-rules as much, I can't really say.

Still, his games were jolly fun while they lasted. Only time I've ever played a game of cricket with Kobolds...

CDR Grendelwulf
2007-04-28, 08:33 AM
Yes...I was that evil DM...

...but it furthered the point of the greater story-arc.

A minor dark lord from his own demi-plain needed to be removed so as not to interfere with a greater dark lord's plans. The greater dark lord steered the adventurers into finding the minor dark lord. The minor dark lord was a 'harvester-of-souls' type (although the adventurers didn't know this). Most were slain in the confrontation with their souls being drawn into this demi-plain which had its own horrors for the spirit-adventurers to face as well as important pieces of information to discover. The ones who didn't die actually had their own parts to play, realizing which dark lord was the greater threat, keeping the soul-prison-demiplane-key containing their departed friends' souls away from said darker lord until finding a way to release them, getting the bodies resurrected (as best they could---they couldn't find a cleric--instead a druid---hilarity ensued for many games afterwards), etc...

My players realized that day that death is never the end in my games...only the beginning of a really exciting campaign...

Bwah-hah-ha!

Ciao,
CDR Grendelwulf

TheAlmightyOne
2007-04-28, 08:48 AM
my mate is never allowed to DM again. He did once and placed some impossible to find traps in a 1st level dungeon killing 3/4s of the party before leaving the rest to be finished off by 20 kobolds and goblins. Later at level 4 we had to battle our way out of a group of 8 level 20 mages, albeit we did have 2 level 20 NPCs in the group with us for no reason.

Threeshades
2007-04-28, 08:55 AM
Our DM killed almost the whole party with this Cards of destiny game thingie (where you draw a card andwhatever it says comes true). The Barbarian lost his soul, the wizard was caged but got 20.000 XP, my rogue changed his alignment to the opposite and tried to avenge the victims of our parties and got killed by the soulless barbarian who then tried to attack the guy who had us draw the cards and got killed and then the bard lost all her stuff, ran away and was killed by a Troll.
Only the wizard survived, gained a few levels and started with a new party from the next prison.

Lord
2007-04-28, 09:02 AM
I had the exact opposite of the problem. My DM gave one of the party a Weapon of legacy at 4th level with no strings attached, and what did we use it for, to kill orcs. Not hard orcs minds you but utterly weak generic orcs. Not to mention the only possibly hard encounter was fighting about 16 orcs in ambush, but we were told ahead of time by some random npc dragon. I hated that game my character was always being made fun of by the other character with their ovepowered stats. We hardly even took a hit.

UltimaGabe
2007-04-28, 09:04 AM
I've never been part of a TPK. In all honesty, none of the people I've played with (which really isn't that many) would have the heart to pull one off, since my group and those we play with tend to invest so much of ourselves into every character we make that we all see a TPK as such a waste. In the end, either the PCs pull through with a bit of luck and hints from the DM, and when that doesn't work, if absolutely necessary, there's occasionally a Deus Ex Machine in there somewhere.

...That being said, I don't want you to get the impression that our games are easy, or that there's a lack of danger. Let me put it this way: There have been a few games where, basically, a TPK happened- except instead of the party dying, something far, far worse happened.

One prime example- not quite a TPK, but a perfect example of how a couple of the DMs I know work things into their favor. Long story short, I was playing in a solo adventure with my human Barbarian Ichi, and an elven man came and pleaded with me to save some of his brethren who had been taken prisoner by some brigands who had taken over his home. I went in, bluffed my way around (with the help of a potion of Glibness), and found out that these guys were in league with a bunch of demons and whatnot. I managed to kill them all, and was cleaning up the loot when I noticed a hatch on the floor. I opened it, climbed down, and failed a Will Save.

Next thing I knew, the elven man who had hired me was dead, seemingly by my hands, and the two neighboring nations (one of which, that "elven man" was a prince) were at war, and I was on trial for regicide.

....I kinda would have taken a TPK over that.

Stormwolf
2007-04-28, 09:20 AM
Our DM killed almost the whole party with this Cards of destiny game thingie (where you draw a card andwhatever it says comes true). The Barbarian lost his soul, the wizard was caged but got 20.000 XP, my rogue changed his alignment to the opposite and tried to avenge the victims of our parties and got killed by the soulless barbarian who then tried to attack the guy who had us draw the cards and got killed and then the bard lost all her stuff, ran away and was killed by a Troll.
Only the wizard survived, gained a few levels and started with a new party from the next prison.

Ahh the old 'Deck of Many Things' - those things should come with a Government Health Warning sticker :) Remember folks, if anyone draws a good card before you that shifts the odds that you'll get a bad one.

Geilan
2007-04-28, 09:36 AM
We're actually in the middle of one now. Our druid was picked off by five mummies while I was trying to save them. Our rogue was taken out by a half-black dragon (We're in the middle of an assault on the fort/exploration of the fort belowground) I'm being attacked by waves of 1HD orcs, in groups of 3-4, both of our rangers are SURROUNDED by orcs, the other star elf is fighting guards and a sorcerer who is a little too fond of his touch spells, both monks are incapacitated by said sorcerer.

We've got a few players playing 2 characters.

EDIT: All of us are level 5

Ralfarius
2007-04-28, 10:59 AM
Not any TPK in recent memory... Though when 3rd ed had just come out, we had a DM who had a thing for Ravenloft, and so was adapting an old sourcebook to make a Ravenloft campaign. He also had a thing for railroad plots to show us how spooooky he could write.

For instance, we were supposed to be like, staying at some abandoned (re: haunted) house overnight or something. Well, the group was looking for clues, and were getting nothing of use - he had a penchant for giving clues that had no meaning until the villain revealed itself - so two of us decided to go look somewhere else for something of importance.

A five-minute walk into the woods had us suddenly surrounded - and I mean suddenly, without any listen/spot checks - by a pack of wolves. Looking back, those wolves were much more powerful than they should have been, even in Ravenloft... Anyhow! First round of combat, my dwarf barbarian has his throat ripped out on some sort of nonsense critical strike. The bard is set upon and savaged, but not killed. No, instead he simply has one of his hands gnawed off, in true wolf fashion.

The replacement character for that campaign was some paladin. Of course, I wasn't quite appreciative of how Ravenloft worked. The other character in the group, a necromancer, casts sleep on the paladin (Note, it doesn't affect the rest of the party despite being sleep) who is already dozing on this raft we were forced to get on for some reason. Needless to say, the paladin took a nap on the bottom of the swamp, that night.

Getting fed up, there was a replacement that was simply an elf rogue who was quite aloof and not particularly passionate about anything. After that session, the DM phoned me up to - I kid you not - basically asked that I not return to his campaign because I wasn't developing my characters, or some nonsense.

Not a TPK, but a very bad formative experience for a new system. That guy didn't get to play in our group much longer, let alone DM for it.

Threeshades
2007-04-28, 11:15 AM
Ahh the old 'Deck of Many Things' - those things should come with a Government Health Warning sticker :) Remember folks, if anyone draws a good card before you that shifts the odds that you'll get a bad one.

We're probably going to draw cards again soon. And i will take 4 i think. Just for the heck of it (if I lose my character it isnt all that hard i still have a couple of ideas to make new ones ^^)

BardicLasher
2007-04-28, 11:17 AM
I've been in two games that the DM tried to end with TPK, and both times she failed. The game ended anyway, but I survived.

The first time, she sent our 20th level characters against a level 30 wizard. Our Wizard and Druid died before we reachd him, leaving me (Bard10/lasher10), the Cleric, and the Fighter to face the level 30 wizard alone.

The Cleric got turned to stone via a Prismatic effect. I started whipping out scrolls and playing mage. The epic wizard kept trying damaging spells, and we had stupid high resistance to, well, everything, so it was taking a while. In the end, the whole building was destroyed, theoretically killing everyone... Or it would've been if I hadn't a readied action to use a scroll of Time Stop at that time. Time froze, I grabbed the cleric-statue and planeshifted out (or rather, readied to do so as Timestop wore off). Fighter died, evil wizard did, but hey, I and the cleric's army of incorporeal undead got out safe!



The second time, the same DM got fed up with a group of level 11 characters and sent a party of level 20s run not by her, but by a friend of hers who knew how to run them.

Fun fact about party balance: A level 11 group with enough gold can purchase viable threats for a level 20 group, and we were filthy stinking rich. Our wizard started putting together an army of constructs while our bard created more than a few illusionary defenses... Long story short, here's a run of what happens...


A 20th level party sees a group of displacer beasts. Psion starts using mind powers at them... And none of them hit. Barbarian swings wildly at them, fails to hit, keeps getting hit back from a few feet away... Not that they'r surprised. Displacer beasts are annoying like that.

Psion uses a true seeing effect to find the displacer beasts. Barbarian still can't hit any, and the psion starts targeting them with hold monster... Aaaand it doesn't work. Psion drops power after power, nothing works. Barbarian continues to swing and miss... There was a rogue in there, too, I believe, not very effective at hitting...

They were too frustrated to give up, continually trying failing tactics...

Long story short, army of invisible constructs + illusions of said constructs + viable excuse for attacks hitting the illusions to miss= awesome. Of course, they WERE more powerful than standard displacer beasts, so in the end, the level 20s retreated to find a better tactic...

After that, my party did the intelligent thing... We just up and left. We took the legendary artifact that the level 20s wanted off-plane, as well as much of the money we saved up, and we retired into a life of luxury.

True, we were stopped by taking over the world, but any fight that you can walk away from is a good one.

Highlight of the game: Psion hits me with an augmented death urge. I have no capacity to kill myself. (Can't effectively penetrate own SR, don't have a method of doing physical damage to self due to abysmal strength, energy resistance vs all my spells, and though airborne, I had a constant featherfall effect)

jindra34
2007-04-28, 11:21 AM
I've been in two games that the DM tried to end with TPK, and both times she failed. The game ended anyway, but I survived.

The first time, she sent our 20th level characters against a level 30 wizard. Our Wizard and Druid died before we reachd him, leaving me (Bard10/lasher10), the Cleric, and the Fighter to face the level 30 wizard alone.

The Cleric got turned to stone via a Prismatic effect. I started whipping out scrolls and playing mage. The epic wizard kept trying damaging spells, and we had stupid high resistance to, well, everything, so it was taking a while. In the end, the whole building was destroyed, theoretically killing everyone... Or it would've been if I hadn't a readied action to use a scroll of Time Stop at that time. Time froze, I grabbed the cleric-statue and planeshifted out (or rather, readied to do so as Timestop wore off). Fighter died, evil wizard did, but hey, I and the cleric's army of incorporeal undead got out safe!



The second time, the same DM got fed up with a group of level 11 characters and sent a party of level 20s run not by her, but by a friend of hers who knew how to run them.

Fun fact about party balance: A level 11 group with enough gold can purchase viable threats for a level 20 group, and we were filthy stinking rich. Our wizard started putting together an army of constructs while our bard created more than a few illusionary defenses... Long story short, here's a run of what happens...


A 20th level party sees a group of displacer beasts. Psion starts using mind powers at them... And none of them hit. Barbarian swings wildly at them, fails to hit, keeps getting hit back from a few feet away... Not that they'r surprised. Displacer beasts are annoying like that.

Psion uses a true seeing effect to find the displacer beasts. Barbarian still can't hit any, and the psion starts targeting them with hold monster... Aaaand it doesn't work. Psion drops power after power, nothing works. Barbarian continues to swing and miss... There was a rogue in there, too, I believe, not very effective at hitting...

They were too frustrated to give up, continually trying failing tactics...

Long story short, army of invisible constructs + illusions of said constructs + viable excuse for attacks hitting the illusions to miss= awesome. Of course, they WERE more powerful than standard displacer beasts, so in the end, the level 20s retreated to find a better tactic...

After that, my party did the intelligent thing... We just up and left. We took the legendary artifact that the level 20s wanted off-plane, as well as much of the money we saved up, and we retired into a life of luxury.

True, we were stopped by taking over the world, but any fight that you can walk away from is a good one.

Highlight of the game: Psion hits me with an augmented death urge. I have no capacity to kill myself. (Can't effectively penetrate own SR, don't have a method of doing physical damage to self due to abysmal strength, energy resistance vs all my spells, and though airborne, I had a constant featherfall effect)

The displacer beasty illusion idea thing rocks....

Cywar
2007-04-28, 11:23 AM
Yep, it has happened to me. T-P-K. Fortunately not by an over-zealous GM, but by ... well lets call it... stupidity... yes, Stupidity is an appropriate word i guess.

First time in Shadowrun. My char had a Cortex Bomb in his head and should betray the group, or otherwise...
Accidently i found out that the ones implanting it could actually hear what my char said, but not see what he saw.
So he wrote down a note on a piece of paper "Cortexbomb... But pssst, be quiet"
Handed it over to the street Sam.
My char even tipped his Lips with his indexfinger, to make sure the Street sam wouldn't accidently ask stupid questions.
The Street Sam unfolded the paper.
"CORTEXBOMB?????"
BOOM
EOP(End of Party)

second time, Fantasy setting. The Group accidently got ahold of a white powder that was able to blast several tons of rock away, in case it became wet. Several gram were sufficient. So they transported it in dry pig bladders, to protect it from getting wet.
Now we were in a swamp near a river. Attacked by some sort of Crocodile. We remember: A few gram of the stuff were sufficient to bust several cubic meters of solid rock.

Mr. Clever: I throw the pig bladder into the crocodiles mouth, that should do the job
GM: Wide eyes
Rest of Party: Wide eyes.
GM: Are you sure
Mr Clever: Yep
GM: Everyone, make a new Char.

Kreistor
2007-04-28, 11:25 AM
As a DM, it is easier to TPK a party than some think. Blind obedience to the CR vs. EL recommendation for one. Some parties just don't have anything that can hurt particular monsters, despite the supposed CR equivalency.

I like to challenge the PC's, but sometimes a little detail will get away from me and I'll overlook a possible problem. Most of the time I can change things on the fly, but sometimes the enemy is already introduced and its too late.

I stopped an unintentional TPK once, when I saw it coming. I'd created a Huge Grell with fighter levels (Lords of Madness). Whoops. 10 attacks with high BAB, weapon spec, Amulet of Mighty Fists.... Grells are smart, so they fight smart, and this one could single round kill everyone in the party. I just hadn't sanity checked it closely enough. So, I had to just poof it.

Querzis
2007-04-28, 11:30 AM
Thats funny, it never happened before but it could happen in our next game. The last time, we fought a succubus and a fiend caster (I dont remember how he is called) and our ranger (willendorf) died while our two-weapon fighter (Enialis) is charmed by the succubus so things are looking grim for us, especially since Enialis is pretty much our main damage dealer (he got two flaming scimitar with improved critical, greater weapons focus, improved two-weapons fighting and weapons specialization, he could one shot our wizard).

The only way we are getting out of this is if our cleric manage to dispell the charm. I'm going to tell you wednesday if we survived or not.

Edit: Oh yeah I forgot, I was actually in a T-P-K about three years ago but I dont know if that even count. We were all level one, we just barely decided the name, class and alignement of our character (I dont even remember what I was). I'm pretty sure we were all evil (or neutral leaning toward evil). So anyway, on our first game, we meet in a tavern and we decided to form a bandit group. Then, what looked like a merchant came into the tavern. So we decided to kill him and take his gold...and we were all killed by his fireball.

Then we decided to do good guys instead of bad guys cause its kinda hard to do evil when you are weak. Thats how I created Olaf, one of my favorite character ever.

jindra34
2007-04-28, 11:31 AM
Fantasy setting. The Group accidently got ahold of a white powder that was able to blast several tons of rock away, in case it became wet. Several gram were sufficient. So they transported it in dry pig bladders, to protect it from getting wet.
Now we were in a swamp near a river. Attacked by some sort of Crocodile. We remember: A few gram of the stuff were sufficient to bust several cubic meters of solid rock.

Mr. Clever: I throw the pig bladder into the crocodiles mouth, that should do the job
GM: Wide eyes
Rest of Party: Wide eyes.
GM: Are you sure
Mr Clever: Yep
GM: Everyone, make a new Char.

Dude Mr. Clever should be Senoir Dumbass...

Kreistor
2007-04-28, 11:33 AM
Psion uses a true seeing effect to find the displacer beasts. Barbarian still can't hit any, and the psion starts targeting them with hold monster... Aaaand it doesn't work.

I think you must be misremembering something here. True Seeing sees through Illusions. The Displacer Beasts can be safely ignored from that point, so if this happened, there was a bad ruling or it didn't happen in this order.

Cywar
2007-04-28, 11:33 AM
Yep, it has happened to me. T-P-K. Fortunately not by an over-zealous GM, but by ... well lets call it... stupidity... yes, Stupidity is an appropriate word i guess.

First time in Shadowrun. My char had a Cortex Bomb in his head and should betray the group, or otherwise...
Accidently i found out that the ones implanting it could actually hear what my char said, but not see what he saw.
So he wrote down a note on a piece "Cortexbomb... But pssst, be quiet"
Handed it over to the street Sam.
My char even tipped his Lips with his indexfinger, to make sure the Street sam wouldn't accidently ask stupid questions.
The Street Sam unfolded the paper.
"CORTEXBOMB?????"
BOOM
EOP(End of Party)

second time, Fantasy setting. The Group accidently got ahold of a white powder that was able to blast several tons of rock away, in case it became wet. Several gram were sufficient. So they transported it in dry pig bladders, to protect it from getting wet.
Now we were in a swamp near a river. Attacked by some sort of Crocodile. We remember: A few gram of the stuff were sufficient to bust several cubic meters of solid rock.

Mr. Clever: I throw the pig bladder into the crocodiles mouth, that should do the job
GM: Wide eyes
Rest of Party: Wide eyes.
GM: Are you sure
Mr Clever: Yep
GM: Everyone, make a new Char.

Threeshades
2007-04-28, 11:40 AM
Yep, it has happened to me. T-P-K. Fortunately not by an over-zealous GM, but by ... well lets call it... stupidity... yes, Stupidity is an appropriate word i guess.

First time in Shadowrun. My char had a Cortex Bomb in his head and should betray the group, or otherwise...
Accidently i found out that the ones implanting it could actually hear what my char said, but not see what he saw.
So he wrote down a note on a piece "Cortexbomb... But pssst, be quiet"
Handed it over to the street Sam.
My char even tipped his Lips with his indexfinger, to make sure the Street sam wouldn't accidently ask stupid questions.
The Street Sam unfolded the paper.
"CORTEXBOMB?????"
BOOM
EOP(End of Party)

second time, Fantasy setting. The Group accidently got ahold of a white powder that was able to blast several tons of rock away, in case it became wet. Several gram were sufficient. So they transported it in dry pig bladders, to protect it from getting wet.
Now we were in a swamp near a river. Attacked by some sort of Crocodile. We remember: A few gram of the stuff were sufficient to bust several cubic meters of solid rock.

Mr. Clever: I throw the pig bladder into the crocodiles mouth, that should do the job
GM: Wide eyes
Rest of Party: Wide eyes.
GM: Are you sure
Mr Clever: Yep
GM: Everyone, make a new Char.

That's the first 10 minutes belated double post i ever saw in my life.

Can you teach me how to do that?

jindra34
2007-04-28, 11:46 AM
I think you must be misremembering something here. True Seeing sees through Illusions. The Displacer Beasts can be safely ignored from that point, so if this happened, there was a bad ruling or it didn't happen in this order.

They had constructs built to look like displacer beasts... i think...

Midnight Lurker
2007-04-28, 12:16 PM
Halfway through our eight-year-long Champions campaign, the GM had us going after a cosmic artifact called the Stargem. We'd been told, over and over, that the thing had a mind of its own and would take over whoever touched it.

When we finally found the thing, it broadcast a message: "who wants ultimate power?" or something.

Turns out our sorceress hadn't been paying any attention at all to the warnings. Instant Dark Phoenix, destruction of the UNIVERSE, and the campaign rebooted. :smallannoyed:

JohnnyPsycho
2007-04-28, 12:32 PM
Nearly happened to me a couple of times in the same campaign. I've been playing Hackmaster for about 2 or 3 years now, and though there have been a few additions and subtractions from our party, the core line-up has not changed since I started: a human cleric, a pixie-fairy magic-user, and a human fighter (my character). In one of our earlier quests, when everyone was around 3rd or 4th level maybe, our party had stumbled into a large room that turned out to be inhabited by Harpies. Every single one of us failed our saves vs. the Harpies' hypnotic song. Our GM tried all sorts of things to let us survive, since if we were all hypnotized by the Harpies we would have become dead meat for sure. He allowed our cleric to sacrifice his Honor points to gain an automatic save, and he managed to grab our mage (the pixie-fairy) and stuff her into a bag so she wouldn't fly up to the Harpies and get herself killed. Then he started getting attacked, and apparently these particular Harpies had a similar mind-altering effect to their claw attacks, but he managed to throw the bag (with the still hynotized pixie-fairy mage still in it) out of the room before he and my fighter succumbed to the Harpies and fell unconscious.
Fortunately, it turned out that that particular room of Harpies was put in this adventure not to kill off PCs, but to capture them. Our characters (except for the pixie-fairy) woke up in a prison cell in the dungeon, stripped of our belongings. Luckily, our mage woke up in the bag and found that she had been put with all of our equipment. To this day, I'm not really sure if that had really been written in the adventure that way, or if our GM was just being very, very charitable.
Of course, next week it could all change. We are on the verge of cleaning out an abandoned elven city of a sizable invasion force of drow. By next Tuesday, I may in fact be writing up a new character for that game...

Dragonus45
2007-04-28, 12:34 PM
Im running a wartime campaign setting and the party is about 4th lvl. So of the course the elf rouge who thinks he is a fighter runs out of the heavlily fortified defenses and charges the attacking army. Then the elan psion charges out to save him. The fighter and the paladin pool their efforts and manage to get the bodies back, then they realize that without there help the front line got overun. And that they were surounded by the enemy army in a moderetly fortified part of the base. Long story short the paladin hoped onto his horse and rolled a crap load of 20s and somehow got away leaving the fighter to die. Then he got executed for abondoning his post and got kicked out of his order.

Blood
2007-04-28, 12:43 PM
Never truly happened to me. We were playing a game where we had to rescue a girl from a red dragon. We had all sorts of protection from fire and stuff, and one cast of Change Breath Weapon pretty much killed half the party. Me, the Cleric/Fighter, was only alive with like 10 hit points, and the Warmage that had been out of the blast with 60. He pulled off like 100 damage with some 7th level spells, but we still TPK'd. It was tons of fun, though. Our barbarian had to hold his sword to the girl's neck to get the dragon to not kill us, but our barbarian unfortunately had a WIS of about 5 and ended up accidentally decapitating the girl. :smalleek:

Quel Technoh
2007-04-28, 12:55 PM
Twice has this happened to my characters.
In the first occasion, my idiot fighter 'accidently' fumbled his sword into the paladin's chest and his shield into the mage casting fireball. After a failed concentration check, Mrs. Mage prepared some BBQ heroes for the approaching ghouls.
Second occasion involved a deck of many things. The paladin chose, reveresed alignment. I pull out a mirror of Opposition, and the ex-paladin is given a sound beating by his double. My idiot fighter then looked at the mirror because back then I didn't understand the mechanics of it. My double exposed the mage to the mirror.
Damn fireball hurts.

Gaelbert
2007-04-28, 01:46 PM
I've DMed aTPK, through no fault of my own. My players weren't very smart. I had a very deep pit trap, that was pretty easy to find. Well, they didn't find it, and one person sprung it but was able to get out of the way in time. However, another person shoved the first back into the pit. While he was falling, he grabbed the shover, and, both first level wizards with very little hp, fell into a spiked pit and died. The other two in the party were on the other side of the room when some monsters came in. The surviving members used fire, and managed to scare off the monsters but catch the room on fire. Suffice to say, they died a few minutes later because of a combination of the building collapsing and the fire. I've never DMed another game for them since.

Krimm_Blackleaf
2007-04-28, 01:53 PM
I was once the one who lasted the longest in a TPK. I make characters for fun, and there were a few people over so I just broke out a few characters for everyone. I was a CE cleric/rogue/thrall of demogorgon, a LE cleric/disciple of asmodeus (we hadn't thought alot of the blood war at the time), a CN psychic warrior and a LN fighter/samurai. We were going to a temple for some reason, and one room was just a nearly broken chair that I kicked over (flawless trap-checking method) and nothing happened, so a bit disappointed we walked out of the room and into the one right across the hall from it. Inside we found 12 shadows who had heard the chair falling over... I did NOT expect a group of level 10's to be taken down by 10 shadows. It was just a vicious slaughter. But I never laughed as hard in my life.

Grumpy_Frenchman
2007-04-28, 02:38 PM
I was in one - although it hardly counts because it was in a Call of Cthullhu game! :smallbiggrin: My character was the first one to be possessed and mutated into a nasty monster, and the GM let me keep control of it - I got to kill the rest of the party one by one!

As a GM, I also presided over one - albeit an unfortunate one. I was a member of a gaming association, and while we usually had a few cores of players/games, occasionally new people would come in and try some games/groups out, or some would migrate to a new game for a while.
So that day, I'm GM of a home-made adventure in a home-made game. The setting is sci-fi, in a world that's a mix between Blade Runner and Aliens, and all characters are Marines in a veteran squad. They've been investigating a distress call from a remote mining community on a small planet not too far from the Solar System, and of course because of the setting everyone is expecting shiny, giant-bug like aliens with big teeth and acid blood - so instead I dump a rogue unit of Combat Replicants and the corporate hit squad charged with taking them down right on top of my investigating marines.

Things go BOOM very quickly, a few of the NPC squad members suffer a tragic, narratively convenient death, and most of the players are wounded, when they decide that since there aren't any survivors among the civvies, they might as well get out of dodge, let the others duke it out, and nuke the survivors from orbit. Cue dramatic music, call for shuttle extraction, serious anguish for anyone who's seen 'Aliens', rush into the cargo compartment and emergency lift off with the rear ramp still half down. Everyone is just about ready to breathe again, the sarge has gone towards the pilot compartment to talk to the crew...

... when a corporate merc in exo-armour jumps into the shuttle, all damaged and weapons empty, but still looking pretty badass. He backhands a character into unconsciousness, grabs the NPC LT and chucks him out of the dropship (to a general cheer from my players), and then one of them, that day's new guy who'd grafted himself to the group, says: "There's still ammo in Chris' rocket launcher; he may be tough, but not that tough! I grab it and fire!".

Anguished silence from the players. Most characters are unconscious or too busy, his character is not saying anything, just shooting. The only one who could do something is the sarge, but he's botched his balance check and fallen into the cockpit and is trying to get up. I force the new guy to make an armoury check, which he promptly fails; I try to stall, encourage other players and spectators to cough and whistle pointedly - nothing for it, he doesn't take the hint. So, I'm forced to let him take the shot...

Well, he hits the guy straight in the torso and the rocket goes through him and bodily pushes him out of the dropship. "See? he says. I knew it wouldn't explode, 'cause we were too close, you know?". And then before he starts celebrating too much, I explain that the 3 meters long backwash from the rocket's ignition has gone straight through the cockpit's open door, cooking the pilots and the sarge, setting fire to everything, and that the shuttle is losing control and going to stall just about... now! :smallamused:

Splat. :smalleek:

The next week, the same guy tried to join our group for another game. He had just finished introducing a character that sounded suspiciously like the previous one when one of my players shot him (the character, of course) through the head and then pleaded insanity. The jury bought his defense. I know, I rolled for it - behind my screen! :smallcool:

Geilan
2007-04-28, 03:32 PM
And THAT is how a good DM handles idiots.

Obsidian Blade
2007-04-28, 04:42 PM
God, I really hate TPK's. My party generally spends so much time on character development as well as plot that it's absolute agony to have a character you like die.
In a campaign that just finished about two weeks ago we ended with a TPK.
Consider this. We had seven people in the party, a group of eighteen guards, three high-level centaurs (don't ask) with us, and no one survived at all. Our mission was to scout out this huge orc camp. The orcs were the only things we could see from our vantage point, so we planned an ambush. At night, the party shot a bunch of flaming arrows onto their tents and then snuck in and tried to steal some battle plans while they were all running around in confusion. When we got in, we found out there were more then just orcs. There were twenty hill giants, five wyverns, ten ogres, god knows how many goblins and about sixteen bugbears. Five of the party got killed right there, while the two remaining (me, a ranger, and this guy who was a really dumb fighter) ran out, gathered the guards, and were in the process of running away as all the wyverns and giants came out of the camp and captured us.
My character was sacrificed to their god, and the warrior was forced into slavery. Happy ending, eh?

belril
2007-04-28, 05:13 PM
Well, Now that you mention it... I have been in one scenario. First campaign I was ever in, and after having to crawl from the wreckage of a prison (which we were encased in) and having lost our horses to a huge raiding party, we then have a very happy reunion with the horses that were taken so unkindly by the aforementioned raiding party. And then our hopes were dashed, when we discovered that in our absence, our horses had acquired magical horsehoes that must have been intelligent or something, because right when we got close... we were 8d8 breath weapon'd. Yep. 8d8 breath cone, complete T.P.K., and since the DM needed to save face, he concocted some sort of DC 20 saving throw that we needed to break through to the Astral Plane. So, it was a temporary TPK, after the DM rezzed us. And then there was the other time when he hit us all with blue ice, (and nearly TPK'd us)

So there you go.

Jefepato
2007-04-28, 05:42 PM
Last night. We fought Karsus. It ended shamefully.

wowy319
2007-04-28, 05:58 PM
happened once in a LARP I was in. We had waaaaaaaay too many people NPCing. the stats would have been nice and balanced if there were only a few people playing the villainous roles, but since there were so many... I was the first one to res on the battlefield, and it was a scary sight.

NeonRonin
2007-04-28, 06:07 PM
I can't say I've ever been the victim of a TPK, but I did wind up putting my players in a situation like that once. The adventure I was running was set up so the party would wind up in the prison of a warlord- who just happened to be a Beholder, mind you. Problem was, I was still a novice GM and didn't take into account the reactions of certain PCs to the idea of imprisonment. It was going to be temporary- another prisoner leads them to a labyrinth out of the citadel- but instead, one PC tries to make a deal with the Beholder and join the Dark Side.

Anyhoo, the Beholder asks for a token of good faith from this PC and orders him to slay the party paladin- who was gearing up to fight the Beholder anyway. Long story short, the party turned on the traitorous PC and the Beholder... TPK. If I hadn't tried to railroad them into prison, none of this would have happened. Rookie GMing mistake.

NeonRonin
2007-04-28, 06:12 PM
There was also another campaign I was a part of where it COULD have been a TPK, and all because of two PCs being stupid. We tracked down a wizard that had a bounty on his head from the Assassin's Guild; found him, and then three of our PCs dragged him to the end of an alley to interrogate him. My character and another stood guard at the end of the alley... and then two of the interrogators picked up the wizard and shoved him into their Bag of Holding.

Only thing is, they didn't take into account the wizard was carrying a Handy Haversack. Put that inside a Bag of Holding... boom, we had an instant Black Hole that sucked two of the three PCs into oblivion(the third made her Reflex save). And I'm just sitting there, shaking my head and saying, 'you IDIOTS!'

PCs are indeed their own worst enemy. :smallsigh:

blue_hitchhiker
2007-04-28, 06:23 PM
My friends had a game they told me about. I don't know the details (I'm convinced that what went down was actually illegal, but I cant say for sure)

The party had been traveling in a forest for some days and they hadn't eaten in a long time when they come across a "vat of rice"
Needless to say the party is crazy suspicious as this DM tends to pull these sort of tricks. The check to see if it's poisoned, evil, magical, not rice ect. The DM says it's "totally edible rice" So they eat.
The DM asks them a very suspicious question "do you eat until your stomachs are full?" The party replies "well...yeah I suppose so."
The DM laughs manically and tells them they have just eaten raw rice, (As they didn't specifically check to see if it's cooked rice) and now the rice is absorbing water and expanding in their stomachs and soon all their stomach rupture and they all die.

This is what happens when only one person in your group knows enough about D&D to DM.

jindra34
2007-04-28, 06:25 PM
My friends had a game they told me about. I don't know the details (I'm convinced that what went down was actually illegal, but I cant say for sure)

The party had been traveling in a forest for some days and they hadn't eaten in a long time when they come across a "vat of rice"
Needless to say the party is crazy suspicious as this DM tends to pull these sort of tricks. The check to see if it's poisoned, evil, magical, not rice ect. The DM says it's "totally edible rice" So they eat.
The DM asks them a very suspicious question "do you eat until your stomachs are full?" The party replies "well...yeah I suppose so."
The DM laughs manically and tells them they have just eaten raw rice, (As they didn't specifically check to see if it's cooked rice) and now the rice is absorbing water and expanding in their stomachs and soon all their stomach rupture and they all die.

This is what happens when only one person in your group knows enough about D&D to DM.
You should get a fortitude save against that but otherwise... it's legal...

Demented
2007-04-28, 06:30 PM
Which just goes to show that if someone asks you "Do you eat until your stomachs are full?" your reply should be "Well, how does it taste?"

jindra34
2007-04-28, 06:34 PM
Which just goes to show that if someone asks you "Do you eat until your stomachs are full?" your reply should be "Well, how does it taste?"
Or cook any food you find...

Sage in the Playground
2007-04-28, 06:53 PM
My friends had a game they told me about. I don't know the details (I'm convinced that what went down was actually illegal, but I cant say for sure)

The party had been traveling in a forest for some days and they hadn't eaten in a long time when they come across a "vat of rice"
Needless to say the party is crazy suspicious as this DM tends to pull these sort of tricks. The check to see if it's poisoned, evil, magical, not rice ect. The DM says it's "totally edible rice" So they eat.
The DM asks them a very suspicious question "do you eat until your stomachs are full?" The party replies "well...yeah I suppose so."
The DM laughs manically and tells them they have just eaten raw rice, (As they didn't specifically check to see if it's cooked rice) and now the rice is absorbing water and expanding in their stomachs and soon all their stomach rupture and they all die.

This is what happens when only one person in your group knows enough about D&D to DM.

You forgot the bit where 2 of them held the DM's hands behind his back and the rest started laying ito him with their fists.

Livewire90210
2007-04-28, 07:25 PM
Had one in Mechwarrior where one of us took some machine gun fire to the stomach and fell unconcious a few minutes later due to bleeding.

Turned into a TPK when our resident medic, in his brilliance, decided to put down his weapons and attempt surgery on the dying character.

So far so good, not the brightest idea to be performing open belly surgery in the middle of a fire fight, but ok, I can live with it. I did my best to kill the sniper in the tower before he decided that the medic was a perfect shot (did ok in getting his attention at the very least).

Brilliance moment: every remaining character besides me decides to gather around our comrade and give out suppressing fire.

Every. Remaining. Character.


I can take care of a sniper, but I can't take care of most of the enemy army deciding that this tight grouping of enemy soldiers looks like a bullseye for a rocket launcher. :smalleek:

Long story short the fallen character gets his status upgraded from dying to "pink mist," and I get shot in the head by the same sniper I tried to kill because I failed to aim properly, but he didn't.



Most of us still play with that DM though; for the most part, we set ourselves up for that particular incident. In all fairness though the DM didn't really have any choice but to take the shot. You can't just have the entire army decide to fire on one lone soldier just because theres a medic within three feet of everyone else :smallsmile:

Plus a few of the players were morons and needed to be brought back to Earth; you don't just walk into the enemy complex and begin SHOOTING KEYPADS to open the doors (but thats another TPK for another time; I'm guessing you can use your imagination for what happened)...

jindra34
2007-04-28, 07:29 PM
I have played one session where i suspect if it were not for GM kindness and pattern recognition we would have been TPKed thrice.
The first time the GM drop 50 goblins on 5 lv 1 charecters
then he dropped 12 orcs on said charecters
finally we ran into a monster... we did not ask for a desrcription... we just ran... haven't played with that GM since

Bluelantern
2007-04-28, 07:43 PM
Not exactly a T-P-K, but a guy from a group was just the worst DM ever.

example 1) in a campaign where we rotate DMs, essencially the guy put was in a cage hanging from the cealing, without weapons, tools, spells and with guards possesed by alien-like parasites guarding us all the time.
example 2) I din't see this, thanks god. But anyway. the DM put the players in a very poor town, and they have trouble with people of the milicia, anyway one of the milicia guy attacks the group with a sword, the monk disarms him, a crossbow pops up from nowhere in the hand of the guard, he loses that too, THE GUARD ATTACKS WITH A FIREBALL! everybody is unconscious
they wake up in a cell, with force field instead of bars, and a cleric chanting a anti-magic spell all the time.
they find out why the city was poor ;)

SirEdward
2007-04-28, 08:11 PM
I haven't been in a TPK, if only by some freak mixture of bad and good luck.

My party was given a task to capture some artifact before it fell into the hands of a demon-cult. The artifact, when used, infected any and all humanoid magic-users with a wasting disease and was contagious. The only thing that could save someone infected was an elixir produced by a second artifact, and the effect was only temporary. Worse, the demon-cult already had the other artifact, and intended on using them for world domination, only to be defeated by the group in an epic quest.

The DM did suggest that we weren't necessarily meant to win this battle, and the summoned demon-lord did give us the Xykon "come back in eight levels" speech. Four of the party members had agreed to surrender, the fifth decided to betray the party and join the demon-cult, and the sixth (me) who was mentally unstable CN, sneak-attacked one of the cultists after failing a wisdom check. The party, recognizing that surrender was no longer viable, killed the traitor and tried valiantly to fight their way out through the main entrance. They didn't make it. My character found a secret passage at the beginning of battle (and failed to tell anyone), kicked the demon-lord in the head (for humiliation, as I couldn't damage him), and jumped for the exit (held action and first initiative). Since the rest of the party was TPK'ed, I took all the party's funding, spent it all on myself, laid low for two years, and started the campaign up again with everyone's new characters in a much darker world.

Rigel Cyrosea
2007-04-28, 08:33 PM
I DMed a TPK once.
One of our players had become a werewolf several monthes before, and had failed his will save and changed to chaotic evil. This happened without the other party members finding out. (both characters and players) So this werewolf pc stayed with the party, working against them behind their backs for quite some time.
Things started to get bad while they were stuck in the middle of an evil inn inspired by "The Shining". The inn was designed to seperate the PCs through illusion and misleading circumstances. The werewolf PC engineered the deaths of each of the other party members. He shoved the Wizard into the tentacles of a soul-devouring horror. He cornered the rogue (the party leader) in the pitch black attic and cut him to peices, using the advantage of his darkvision. He ambushed and deafeated the permanently enlarge personed mummy fighter. (with the help of a weak raging lunatic controlled by the inn)
I took each of the players out into a seperate room to run the encounter in which their teamate turned on them, so that each would be suprised individually. The looks on their faces were priceless.

I orginally intended for the werewolf PC to lose against the mummy, but things didn't really turn out as planned. It ended up okay though, because the rogue was found and ressurected, (he and the rest of the party were pretty important in the military) but the rest of the players had to make new characters, as the Wizard's soul was gone, and undead can't be ressurected. The werewolf PC's player also made a new character, and now the werewolf PC is the campaign's BBEG.

The best thing is that the werewolf PC was a Bard, and he still managed to effectivly slaughter each of the other characters. (who were quite optimized, especially the mummy)

jindra34
2007-04-28, 08:36 PM
I DMed a TPK once.
One of our players had become a werewolf several monthes before, and had failed his will save and changed to chaotic evil. This happened without the other party members finding out. (both characters and players) So this werewolf pc stayed with the party, working against them behind their backs for quite some time.
Things started to get bad while they were stuck in the middle of an evil inn inspired by "The Shining". The inn was designed to seperate the PCs through illusion and misleading circumstances. The werewolf PC engineered the deaths of each of the other party members. He shoved the Wizard into the tentacles of a soul-devouring horror. He cornered the rogue (the party leader) in the pitch black attic and cut him to peices, using the advantage of his darkvision. He ambushed and deafeated the permanently enlarge personed mummy fighter. (with the help of a weak raging lunatic controlled by the inn)
I took each of the players out into a seperate room to run the encounter in which their teamate turned on them, so that each would be suprised individually. The looks on their faces were priceless.

I orginally intended for the werewolf PC to lose against the mummy, but things didn't really turn out as planned. It ended up okay though, because the rogue was found and ressurected, (he and the rest of the party were pretty important in the military) but the rest of the players had to make new characters, as the Wizard's soul was gone, and undead can't be ressurected. The werewolf PC's player also made a new character, and now the werewolf PC is the campaign's BBEG.

The best thing is that the werewolf PC was a Bard, and he still managed to effectivly slaughter each of the other characters. (who were quite optimized, especially the mummy)

Tooo comical...

DreadSpoon
2007-04-28, 08:37 PM
One of the best single-session campaigns I ever ran:

The players created their characters and went a-hunting undead for the local town. Lo and behold a powerful vampire was at cause, and he wiped the floor with the party. Before they had a chance to throw out the character sheets, I took them, modified them, and handed them back their "new" characters - vampiric versions of the characters they rolled.

The party was entirely good, and the variation of vampire I used started with them retaining their goodness, but having few special powers. As the story progressed, they gained new powers, but found a need for inflicting suffering and drinking blood to retain life.

An outsider (aka demon) awoke them after the first TPK and, after toying with them, let slip that there is a single cure for vampirism, which will uncurse their souls, but only if used before the complete onset of vampirism. They were able to use their new powers to kill the original vampire, but in this variation, that did not release them from the curse. The outside laid clues on how to find the cure, then disappeared.

The session was very long (12+ hours), and there was a lot of information gathering, questing, red herrings, moral dilemmas, and so on that they went through, all while dealing with the aforementioned outsider making their quest slightly more difficult (and interesting).

Finally, they find the cure, a holy font deep underground in a sunken church. Of the five party members, only three made it through the final dungeon. Two of them took up the silver goblets in the room and drank of the font. They fell immediately, dropping the silver goblets and falling dead to the floor. The outsider then appeared, telling the final player, "That is the only cure - to die before the curse has fully corrupted your soul, so that it might find its way to its rightful place in the afterlife."

The sole remaining player, a tear literally in her eye, weakly said, "I pick up one of the goblets... and drink."

Two TPKs in one session, and the players freakin' loved it. :)

Tolkien_Freak
2007-04-28, 08:59 PM
One of the best single-session campaigns I ever ran:

The players created their characters and went a-hunting undead for the local town. Lo and behold a powerful vampire was at cause, and he wiped the floor with the party. Before they had a chance to throw out the character sheets, I took them, modified them, and handed them back their "new" characters - vampiric versions of the characters they rolled.

The party was entirely good, and the variation of vampire I used started with them retaining their goodness, but having few special powers. As the story progressed, they gained new powers, but found a need for inflicting suffering and drinking blood to retain life.

An outsider (aka demon) awoke them after the first TPK and, after toying with them, let slip that there is a single cure for vampirism, which will uncurse their souls, but only if used before the complete onset of vampirism. They were able to use their new powers to kill the original vampire, but in this variation, that did not release them from the curse. The outside laid clues on how to find the cure, then disappeared.

The session was very long (12+ hours), and there was a lot of information gathering, questing, red herrings, moral dilemmas, and so on that they went through, all while dealing with the aforementioned outsider making their quest slightly more difficult (and interesting).

Finally, they find the cure, a holy font deep underground in a sunken church. Of the five party members, only three made it through the final dungeon. Two of them took up the silver goblets in the room and drank of the font. They fell immediately, dropping the silver goblets and falling dead to the floor. The outsider then appeared, telling the final player, "That is the only cure - to die before the curse has fully corrupted your soul, so that it might find its way to its rightful place in the afterlife."

The sole remaining player, a tear literally in her eye, weakly said, "I pick up one of the goblets... and drink."

Two TPKs in one session, and the players freakin' loved it. :)

O_o

That is freaking BRILLIANT! If I played D&D, I'd steal your idea.

Flubadubdub
2007-04-28, 09:29 PM
We had several very close encounters, but its yet to happen to us. Prior to me playing, several of my friends were playing a module, and the thief of the party stumbled across a gem inside a statue. Not aware that the local dervishes worshiped the god the statue was of, he climbed up, stole the gem, and the party was chased by crap loads of dervishes. Only one party member survived, rest died.

The same magic user that survived that encounter, started up a new party, and off they went. As they were venturing around, probably around level 3-4, with the magic user being about 5, they stumbled across a seemingly friendly humanoid. The thief of the party (funny that) was told of treasure awaiting him, and he followed the humanoid, only to be killed by dopplegangers. One of them then assumed the thieves roll, while another played the humanoid. Go figure, they ambush the party. Battle ensues, and only 2 players are left, the magic user who lived the previous adventure and a dwarf fighter I believe. The battle is going horribly, the magic user being down to one last spell, fireball, and the fighter low on hit points. Doppleganger was still fine, so the fighter said "blast it, blast it, blast it". Boom, only the magic user survives again.

New characters, I am now the dm, the party consisted of (and yes, this is going to sound really stupid)

A paladin
An assassin
A cleric
3 other characters I can no longer remember

I allowed it because the player really wanted to play an assassin, since he had played most other characters, but another player really wanted to be a paladin. So I allowed his initial scan of party members to register them as non evil, and as long as the party members didn't do anything evil in front of him, he'd have no reason to scan them again.

So they are going along, and they see a bunch of giant ants. Not realizing how dangerous they are to a party of level 1's, everyone hits at least negatives except for the assassin (funny enough, he played the magic user I was talking about earlier). He ran around, saved as many of the other players as he could of, binding wounds etc.

This was my first day playing a dm, if it had happened now, I would of realized the giant ants actually move faster than him, and everyone would of died.

they come back to complete the module, good on em, etc etc. They then have to raid a sahuagin fortress thing. At this time, I now play the part of an npc they discovered on a ship. He's a fighter/thief sea elf. Anyways, much of the module takes place under water, so only 4 people can go, not including a few npc's. They were the water elf, a cleric I had controlled, the paladin, and one other character, a fighter of some sort I believe. Anyways, they go into the breeding area. Bad mistake, the barracks empty when word gets out. Massive battle occurs, eventually the water elf bolts when at 2 hp. Everyone is dead at this point except for the paladin and a stronger than normal sahuagin. Miss by the paladin, hit by the sea devil, battle is over. No one else can go back under water, and the parties only cleric died in the battle, so healing the water elf is out. Module was a failure, and most magic items are lost in the battle.

But technically, I think someone has always survived

Malnourished
2007-04-29, 01:20 AM
An uncle once told me of a near-TPK a party of his which nobody would have expected. They were fairly high level and ran into a pack of wolves. Due to a lot of poor dice rolls most of them died and only two or three were left standing at the end of the battle.

As he's checking the fallen party members to see if any can be saved he notices the thief is just barely clinging to life. Funny thing though, nobody really liked the thief. He looks around, nobody's watching...

BAM BAM BAM

"Oh look, the thief has suddenly died."

Thief's player: "What?!"

And then there were two.

Yeril
2007-04-29, 06:38 AM
I had one TPK sorta by accident, I meant to basicly "herd" the party of three (level 3) because they ended up just genericly wandering around a forest to find the bandit leader.


anyway I had them wake up to six (cr 4) rouge gnolls, who had managed to take their weapons and preety much left them with no other choice than surrender.

sadly the ranger still had a handaxe, a shortsword, and two daggers left which she wielded and threw the axe and sword to the barbarian while the gnolls were tying the wu jen up.

ive NEVER seen a party go down that quickly,

1st shot, critical hit, ranger down to 1 hit point from max.
2nd shot, hits barbarian, fails his save and falls unconsoius.

the end.

they woke up tied and being dragged/carried/lead for the forest

the wu jen was annoyed at them for resisting

the ranger was mostly dead and in fury

the barbarian was screaming at the top of his lungs at the gnoll.

kerberos
2007-04-29, 09:07 AM
I have only ever experienced on TPK. Of cause I have only ever played one AD&D campaign. It was a group of which only one player had tried playing AD&D before. That player decided to play an insane evil monk/priest type character (I don't recall exactly). Apparently the GM hadn't considered using party alignments.

When we discover he is evil we tell him to leave, he does but tries to take the party's money with him. When I stand in his way he attacks me. With the other 3 characters present, did I mention he was insane? The result is predictable and we leave the city in order to avoid the guards inquiries as to his death. Outside the city we encounter some giant snakes which leave everyone in the party dead or unconscious. At this point the insane evil monk/priest who has somehow been resurrected turns up and kills us. GG!

On a related note at one earlier point of this campaign we were left in rather bad shape after another fight. The GM tells us that we see some smoke rising from somewhere in the woods, not forests fire smoke, just from a house or campfire. We look at each other and say we go the other way, to which the GM replies "no you don't". Is it to much to ask that a GM is at least slightly subtle in his railroading?

BardicLasher
2007-04-29, 09:45 AM
I think you must be misremembering something here. True Seeing sees through Illusions. The Displacer Beasts can be safely ignored from that point, so if this happened, there was a bad ruling or it didn't happen in this order.


Yes, true seeing DID see through the illusions. True seeing spotted displacer beasts. Unfortunatly, true seeing does NOT see through mundane disguises, so true seeing did NOT realize that the displacer beasts weren't displacer beasts at all, but SUPER POWERED CONSTRUCTS DESIGNED ONLY TO KILL.

They could not be safely ignored.

jindra34
2007-04-29, 09:48 AM
Yes, true seeing DID see through the illusions. True seeing spotted displacer beasts. Unfortunatly, true seeing does NOT see through mundane disguises, so true seeing did NOT realize that the displacer beasts weren't displacer beasts at all, but SUPER POWERED CONSTRUCTS DESIGNED ONLY TO KILL.

They could not be safely ignored.
Thought so... your PCs were EVIL to the N+1th degree...

BardicLasher
2007-04-29, 09:54 AM
Thought so... your PCs were EVIL to the N+1th degree...

No. We were evil to like... the second degree. The displacer beasts were something we had since day one, sort of. Back when the bard first learned Silent Image, he almost always used it to make a Displacer Beast named "D.B." and had an Unseen Servant act for it. As levels grew on, he insisted D.B. was real, and his illusion magic kept getting better. After a point, making a construct became the natural conclusion... And then we just kept making more, and then we just kept enhancing the constructs. It's not like we were sending these things on innocent people. We sent them out against a group we knew was plotting to kill us.

We actually managed to avoid killing most innocent people. My character was out for world domination, so people were given the "follow me or die" choice. Our party had good enough charisma (between my sorcerer/cleric, a bard, and the rogue) that people tended to say okay.

Bisected8
2007-04-29, 09:59 AM
I was in one - although it hardly counts because it was in a Call of Cthullhu game! :smallbiggrin: My character was the first one to be possessed and mutated into a nasty monster, and the GM let me keep control of it - I got to kill the rest of the party one by one!

As a GM, I also presided over one - albeit an unfortunate one. I was a member of a gaming association, and while we usually had a few cores of players/games, occasionally new people would come in and try some games/groups out, or some would migrate to a new game for a while.
So that day, I'm GM of a home-made adventure in a home-made game. The setting is sci-fi, in a world that's a mix between Blade Runner and Aliens, and all characters are Marines in a veteran squad. They've been investigating a distress call from a remote mining community on a small planet not too far from the Solar System, and of course because of the setting everyone is expecting shiny, giant-bug like aliens with big teeth and acid blood - so instead I dump a rogue unit of Combat Replicants and the corporate hit squad charged with taking them down right on top of my investigating marines.

Things go BOOM very quickly, a few of the NPC squad members suffer a tragic, narratively convenient death, and most of the players are wounded, when they decide that since there aren't any survivors among the civvies, they might as well get out of dodge, let the others duke it out, and nuke the survivors from orbit. Cue dramatic music, call for shuttle extraction, serious anguish for anyone who's seen 'Aliens', rush into the cargo compartment and emergency lift off with the rear ramp still half down. Everyone is just about ready to breathe again, the sarge has gone towards the pilot compartment to talk to the crew...

... when a corporate merc in exo-armour jumps into the shuttle, all damaged and weapons empty, but still looking pretty badass. He backhands a character into unconsciousness, grabs the NPC LT and chucks him out of the dropship (to a general cheer from my players), and then one of them, that day's new guy who'd grafted himself to the group, says: "There's still ammo in Chris' rocket launcher; he may be tough, but not that tough! I grab it and fire!".

Anguished silence from the players. Most characters are unconscious or too busy, his character is not saying anything, just shooting. The only one who could do something is the sarge, but he's botched his balance check and fallen into the cockpit and is trying to get up. I force the new guy to make an armoury check, which he promptly fails; I try to stall, encourage other players and spectators to cough and whistle pointedly - nothing for it, he doesn't take the hint. So, I'm forced to let him take the shot...

Well, he hits the guy straight in the torso and the rocket goes through him and bodily pushes him out of the dropship. "See? he says. I knew it wouldn't explode, 'cause we were too close, you know?". And then before he starts celebrating too much, I explain that the 3 meters long backwash from the rocket's ignition has gone straight through the cockpit's open door, cooking the pilots and the sarge, setting fire to everything, and that the shuttle is losing control and going to stall just about... now! :smallamused:

Splat. :smalleek:

The next week, the same guy tried to join our group for another game. He had just finished introducing a character that sounded suspiciously like the previous one when one of my players shot him (the character, of course) through the head and then pleaded insanity. The jury bought his defense. I know, I rolled for it - behind my screen! :smallcool:

Haha, well done. That post made my day.

Jarelk
2007-04-29, 10:31 AM
When I was just beginning DND, and it was my first game with my bro and me, we(he) did something stupid. My brother is the kind of player that likes to do heroic stuff. We're in a dungeon with a dragon (We're first level. The dragon was something we normally could take.), and we entered a room. Woa, the dragon's room! Since we didn't have the necessary equipment yet to fight him, I wanted to go. But my brother...

He wanted to fight him. Short story shorter, a well placed acid breath attack massacred us.

skreweded
2007-04-29, 11:28 AM
We had a TPK a while back. I won't go into game detail, but it was warranted. We take turns DMing, and the next DM up was consistently whining about how "I would have done it better" and "lets hurry up this meet, maybe we can finish the story!" when we had barley started. The DM then decided to kill him, and it turned into a TPK. It's actually a funny story. That guy DMed (The annoying one) once. Everyone all of a sudden had plans all the time.


We actually havn't had meets in months, now that i think about it.

Lavidor
2007-04-29, 12:21 PM
Once, we met a Copper dragon. I and one other player bowed deeply to show respect, but for some reason the other four players attacked it (:eek:)!
Well, the other guy who bowed, a fighter survived (:smallmad: lucky), but everyone else (including me) died. The DM was nice enough to let him get the dragon ressurect us, but since then he was the one who represented us (I had low Carisma anyway).:smallfrown:

Tobimaro
2007-04-29, 12:50 PM
Well, I was part of a near TPK. Let me tell you my tail.

This event was a slot-zero for a convention, and before the table formed, one of the players was pulled out to help out another slot-zero table. This left us as a rather weak party (our most combat-capable PC was our cleric).

In the midst of our mission, we found a local noble who claimed to have been missing for some time, but in actuality had been replaced some years ago. At that point we found out that the imposter was going to marry the lady who had hired us to conduct an investigation.

When the final battle started, we were supposed to have interrupted the ceremony. In our case, the final battle started in a large room, and our party was swarmed by the imposter's guards. Outnumbered, we fell one by one, with my bard being the only one to almost escape, but even he fell. Afterwards, the DM talked to someone else, and he ruled that we had been rescued by the noble. It turns out that we should not have started in the middle of the enemy, but in a hallway just outside of there.

Our other problem was that some of us should have escaped when we felt that our situation was hopeless, but we were caught up in the moment of being heroic instead of being smart. I've kept that situation in mind since then.

jng2058
2007-04-29, 02:37 PM
In my very first Basic D&D game, as played by a group of third and fourth graders, I made a thief and a friend made a fighter. Here's how it went:

DM: You're in a hallway.

Me: We are? Okay. Ummm, is there anything in the hallway?

DM: <flips through rulebook> Yeah...there's a troll.

Fighter: Is that bad? I kill it with my sword.

DM: Roll to hit.

Fighter: 6.

DM: You miss. The troll attacks the thief....

Me: What'd I do?

DM: The troll hits you. It does 8 points of damage. How many hit points did you have?

Me: Umm....3.

DM: Okay, you're dead.

Not surprisingly, my friend's Fighter dropped dead immediately thereafter. All things considered, its a miracle I kept on playing the game after that. There may be something to do with childish optimism involved there.

Another time at a con, I wanna say it was maybe Gencon XX but it might have been a Winter Fantasy or a local con, I don't really remember, I was in a Cyberpunk (2013) game. We got our characters and were told to infiltrate a corporate HQ. We sneak in, silence a couple of guards, then get in an elevator to to the top floor. The elevator door opens up and we walk into a meat grinder. A dozen heavily armed and armored guards, some auto-turrets, major firepower. The whole party's dead in two rounds, and we're like fifteen minutes into a four hour event.

GM: <hands out new characters as he's talking> Your boss flips off the monitor. "That's what happened to the last team we sent in. Let's hope you do better...."

And then the event REALLY started.

Frankly, I though it was brilliant...albeit the kind of thing you can only get away with in a one shot situation, such as at a con event.

This was proved to be the case when the DM of a long standing AD&D2 game decided to assassinate the party and ended up killing the game instead. At its peak, this game had seven players plus the DM, all in high school. By the time of the event we're talking about here, we were down to just three players still toughing it out. It was my first long term game, and one where I'd managed to take a Gnome Fighter from lvl 1 to lvl 9, my greatest AD&D accomplishment to that point. It was a game that I attended faithfully each and every week, come hell or high water (or, in my case, come hell or a father who was convinced that D&D was "evil"). We'd indulged the DM's Spelljammer phase when he got that boxed set, and now that he'd gotten the Menzoberranzan boxed set, we indulged him again, selling our tricked out Hammerhead class 'Jammer, returning to our native Faerun (the Forgotten Realms), and taking a job to try and save a town of Deep Gnomes from a Drow attack.

Now you've gotta understand that the DM's best friend was playing the game. This best friend had, when his original rolled up Elf Fighter/Mage had died, been allowed to create his new character using some point system buy that ended up with his Human Fighter having an 18/00 Str, 18s in Dex and Con, and 8s in Int, Wis, and Cha. Of course, he soon "discovered" a Ring of Human Influence that gave him a 18 Cha too. Needless to say, the rest of us were a little annoyed at the blatant favoritism, especially when the next character to join the part was forced to roll his stats, and ended up with an incredibly mediocre set of stats that the DM made him play. But, we rationalized, Deltar was on our side, so that was okay.

Back to the Drow and the Gnomes. We figure out what's going on, that the Drow are using some big lava demon to try and awaken a volcano to destroy the town. We track them down and get into a big fight. It looks rough. There's a Balron, a high level Drow priestess, the giant lava demon, a bunch of lesser demons, and some support Drow. Looks tough, but we're a reasonably well equipped band of 9th and 10th level characters, and we should be able to pull it out, right?

First thing that happens, though, is that the priestess waves her hand, and Deltar falls into a crevasse. We're like, okay, no problem, Deltar's got the Boots of Flying. No, the DM says, he can't fly out. Okay, say we, we toss him a rope. No again, the DM says, you can't rescue him. At all.

What the ****?

We press on, and realize we're totally out-matched, and indeed, might have been out-matched even if our heaviest hitter hadn't been removed from the fight by DM fiat. Well, there'd been a long standing house rule in the campaign that once per character, you could make a Divine Intervention roll. You had a % chance equal to your level, and it had to be in a cause that helps the god you worship, and you can only try the roll once over the life of your character. I'm a gnome who worships the gnome god of war while defending a city of gnomes...if there was ever a time I could make the roll, it was now, so I go for it. The dice are kind, I get a 06, and I'm like "Yeah, we're saved!!"

After all, when Deltar succeeded in HIS D.I. roll a few months back, he'd gotten turned into a Divine Champion, giving him the equivalent of a Potion of Invulnerability, A Potion of Haste, an a Potion of Super-Heroism all at once, turning an already badass fighter into a killing machine.

Okay, says the DM, you feel protected by your god. You get a free parry every round for the next six rounds.

What the ****?

Surprisingly enough, six free parries don't turn the tide, and in short order everyone's dead but Deltar, who's trapped in the crevasse. The DM says that we can come back next week to find out what happens next.

So next week we show up, figuring that maybe the DM and Deltar were running a Deltar solo session during the week, highlighting Deltar's stunning escape, and we'll come back and our loyal buddy will find a way to get us raised and we can do the "you got us last time, but now we're back!" storyline and all will be well.

Not exactly...it turns out that what the DM wants to run is for us to make new characters to be Deltar's supporting cast as he does a "mess around in Menzo" storyline. Our long running characters, one of which had been in the game longer than Deltar, who had traveled with the guy for YEARS? Nah, they're dead and gone. Get over it.

**** THAT.

Needless to say, the campaign broke up shortly thereafter.

Gilligan
2007-04-29, 02:59 PM
It's only happened with me when our DM just wanted to end the campaign and didn't really want to think of another way how. Like he had us ambush a political meeting between some mind flayers and drow who were going to start fighting anyway. It was actually quite close with only two mind flayers left standing.

Iranon
2007-04-29, 03:11 PM
To me, doing a TPK as a DM would be a sign of failure, and I've wiggled out of it without resorting to cheesy Dei ex Machina so far. As a player, there were 2 cases where I killed the rest of the party (obnoxious jerks playing blatantly illegitimate characters in both cases).

Once when I played a relic from my munchkining days (heavily optimised caster with enough magical safeguards and permanent enhancements to make Detect Magic burn your eyes out) in an unassuming manner until enough was enough ('I cast a magic missile... by that I mean I throw the mage at them. He sucks anyway').

Another time, my humble halfling rogue got fed up with being patronised by characters 10 levels higher. Spellbooks somehow got lost, healing potions were replaced with rather potent poison, weapons snapped without good reason, traps thought to be disabled were suddenly armed again, and the lich whose abode we were invading seemd to be extremely well informed about our doings.

Edit: The funniest bit was where my fellow players kept raging against the DM for 'stacking things against them'. That would have been my hard work... don't mess with the lowbies.



The only true TPK I faced was at the supposed start of a Krynn campagin. Pitting 1st-level characters against Draconians under circumstances where retreat is impossible is... not nice.

brant167
2007-04-29, 07:30 PM
Yes, it has happened in one of my games. The party had managed to work their way up from 5-23ish and this was one of the final battles against an invading abyssal army infused with a psionic hive mind which was controlled by a far realm being of near demigod status. Anyway I had 6 pc’s that each had control of part of the army the assembled. There was a barbarian, rogue, ninja, Samaria, favored soul, and a wu-jen.
The Wu-jen was the Samaria’s lord.
Anyway, the party manages to device a great strategy so they will be able to flank the fortified position of the heavy artillery while the army causes a distraction. However they didn’t take into consideration (which I gave like 10 hints for) that the battle ground had been warded against teleportation. Basically the demi-god had used a spell to cause teleportation and summoning spells and powers to divert characters randomly on the battlefield.
The Wu-Jen summons a fire elemental monolith during a time stop as well as 3 delayed meteor-storms against the catapults while the favored soul used prismatic wall to keep the back up from coming. The fire elemental appeared on the opposite side of the battle field and held up a good bit of the army.
While all this was going on the ninja, the rogue, the Samaria and the Barbarian were making their way to the demi-god. There was a great deal of trouble getting towards the demigod which severely weekend the pc; seeing this the Wu-jen dimension doored to help the party. However because of the wild magic field he was thrown into the prismatic wall, which killed him.
The barbarian was the first to reach the demigod and used pounce to take out a good bit of the demigod’s health. However because the barbarians health was so low he was taken out by the demigod the next round. The favored soul started to fly over their as the ninja and the rogue team up on the demigod. When the favored soul got there he saw that the army was advancing on their position. So he flew down and cast an enlarged prismatic sphere separating the army from the 4 remaining pcs and the demigod.
The demigod used divine blast in the closed proximity and took the remaining heath out of the ninja and the rogue leaving the Samaria and the favored soul. The favored soul healed the Samaria but was killed the next round by the demigod. The Samaria being the last one left rolled extremely lucky and was able to kill off the demigod. As the prismatic sphere ran out of time the Samaria saw their army overwhelming the enemies. However he also saw his lord laying dead and needed to do the honorable thing as the reaming enemy army was destroyed.

Thorin
2007-04-29, 07:59 PM
TPK happenes to me; not exactly in d&d, but in a similar game

We where 6 pc at the beggining; and only 3 of us managed to stay alive long enough. a Berserker, a mounted archer and a shaman (in this game is a full-buffer. but i learn a lot of spells so i coud face most situations).

We defeated an archvillian that was ruling the land; and we started a boat trip to look for some rare materials to restore the town portals (think in a train station, but instead or rails you bend the multiverse to get from one portal to other).
As the trip was suposse to last 4 month (booooo), the dm make us role a d6 dice to make things faster. We roled 1 and a bunch of pirates (and i mean a really big army of them) surrounded us in the middle of the trip. We didn´t get the cahnce of fight, we simply died (in a rain of big heavy cannon ammo)

Keledrath
2007-04-29, 08:10 PM
It would have, but it was a two person group, with cousin1 asthe DM and cousin2 as the other player. We were level 4 full combos (like multiclass, except it's class fusion. Hey, we were the only players, and we each only got one character. Cousin2 was a divine warrior [fighter-cleric] and I was an arcane monk [wizard-monk]) and we were fighting a lot of undead. Cousin1 decides it's time for a challenge. He gives us an ogre zombie. This is the first game my cousin and I had ever played. My cousin had just gotten +1 full plate. So, after three rounds of my opening the door, cousin2's spirtual weapon attacking and failing to hit, and the zombie closing the door, my cousin gets impatient and runs in, attacks, rolls a 3, misses, moves out of the way so that I can step in and start using Flurry of Blows, AOO, ogre zombie rolls a naturaul 20, confirms crit, and kills cousin2's chracter in one hit. My character then goes insane and runs away, screaming like a little girl for comedy purposes. And no, he couldn't be rezed, because the whole plot was "The chuch just fell into a giant hole from nowhere! The curch just fell into a giant hole from nowhere!"

Pakka
2007-04-29, 11:33 PM
T-P-K's happen some times.

I had a game where I was running and on ether the first adventure or the second, a party of 6 Level 1 players were attacked by 8 kobolds. It was figured to be a tough fight but it shouldn't have been deadly.

I think the Highest roll the 5 players made was a 15, and the Lowest I rolled was like a 12. With some 6 20's in the battle. I couldn't do anything really, it just was all over so fast, and they were gone :(

The good news was the next morning their (3rd level) characters woke from a really nasty dream. I don't think I've started a group at 1st level since. I like to keep the players on their toe's and so long as they don't make mistakes I'll do my part not to kill them. Now if your stupid, your going to die. But at 1st level its a situation where "Your fault, My fault, No ones fault you can and will die".

Been on the other side several times, but generally it was because we were trying something we shouldn't have, or it was a designated NOT REAL Adventure :) .

6 Level 12 players Vs. a Small Town of 200 Level 1 NPCs, and then Various Specialty NPCs up through the Blacksmith who was a retired 9th level Warrior.

We had a ball, and if you have 6 people a round swinging at you, even if they need a 20 to hit, your going to get chipped away at until you drop. Especially when a few of them are willing to die for the cause :)

It was a great adventure, and broke up a very long and tedious adventure we were having in the city. The Mayor was being unreasonable, and being the good guys we just couldn't kill everyone and do it our way. (or could we) :)

Good Luck & Good Hunting
Pakka

Liliedhe
2007-04-30, 01:39 AM
In my very early D&D days - back in the 80s ;) - I supervised two TPKs. One came from bad judgement on my part (too many enemies) and the general sentiment that the campaign sucked and we wanted to start a new one. The second was planned, because I had an 'afterlife campaign' that I wanted to try out. Ok, I didn't kill the characters on purpose, they just managed to split up in the dungeon and stumbled across things that were too big for only one of them. But since it wasn't the end I didn't warn them as much as I could have. The campaign afterwards worked fine and I have been recycling that one every time when a party got themselves killed...

Weiser_Cain
2007-04-30, 02:13 AM
No because if someone did that to me I'd make him eat the DM guide.

Keledrath
2007-04-30, 06:23 AM
I have noticed that T-P-K has a habit of occuring in your first game.

Gitman00
2007-04-30, 10:09 AM
Not quite TPK'ed, but darn close. I was playing a half-elf sorcerer, and the others in the group included a cleric, a ranger, and a druid, all elves. I think we were about 5th level. We had fought our way through a dungeon full of dire rats and wererats, and we were surprised by a couple of gargoyles. In two or three rounds, everyone was down except my sorcerer and one gargoyle. I fire my last magic missile at the gargoyle, but it's still coming, and it slashes me down to 2 hp.
I whip out my... wand of missiles!
I missile the gargoyle, finally taking it down.
I look around, seeing my entire party bleeding out around me. Digging through the cleric's things, I find his last potion of Cure Light Wounds, which I pour down his throat, bringing him to 1 hp. He then proceeds to stabilize the rest of the party with Cure Minor Wounds.

chibibar
2007-04-30, 01:44 PM
I DM many games at conventions and my own personal gaming group. At conventions you usually get some people who "tweak" their character for game play, they optimize everything and becomes "uber" in their eyes. :) I always have a trick or two/story up my sleeve for such a case and lay the smackdown.

I only killed a whole party once... that was back in 1st edition where we roll our first level HP. Most of the party had 4 the highest (that was the fighter) and they didn't get out of the way of the cart and got ran over for 2d10 damage....

oops.

jindra34
2007-04-30, 01:48 PM
I DM many games at conventions and my own personal gaming group. At conventions you usually get some people who "tweak" their character for game play, they optimize everything and becomes "uber" in their eyes. :) I always have a trick or two/story up my sleeve for such a case and lay the smackdown.

I only killed a whole party once... that was back in 1st edition where we roll our first level HP. Most of the party had 4 the highest (that was the fighter) and they didn't get out of the way of the cart and got ran over for 2d10 damage....

oops.
Even now a cart could still kill a team of level 1s but not very likely... carts are dangerous though...

TheLogman
2007-04-30, 08:09 PM
I had a few of those back when I played 1st edition. There were about 4 fighters, a cleric with a low wisdom score, and 2 wizards. It was a large party, but it suffered from a lack of good bonuses, and almost no hp on anyone, including the fighters. Needless to say, we didn't get very far at all. About 7-10 rooms into the published adventure, the party comes across a room with a dirty floor *Hint* *Hint* Giant Vermin. After a grueling battle with said vermin (I think a few of the NPC fighters we brought died), we found some coffins. Because we liked treasure, and we were naive 1st level characters on our first dungeon, we decided to open the coffins, even if it meant using out terrible strength scores. DM rolls some dice, we roll strength checks, coffins still stuck, DM rolls more dice, more vermin come. Vermin kill everyone still alive, basically the weak remaining fighter and the magic users, now unprotected. Theres a T-P-K, but not by a spell, or an epic-magic user, a fiendish trap, or some clever kobolds, we got killed by Rats.

Tobimaro
2007-04-30, 08:54 PM
I have noticed that T-P-K has a habit of occuring in your first game.

A lot of times it has to do with the players (and the DM) being inexperienced with the game and its mechanics. But even experienced players can get into a TPK situation when they try to act heroic and forget about their survival instinct.

I can remember that my first PC died in his first combat ever. I was just starting out in playing D&D (box set), and after coming up with a poor fighter-type, he died in his first combat before having a chance to attack.

That was not one of the better groups that I was a part of, and it ended like it began. We were on a dungeon crawl and had just finished off a bunch of fire beetles. We ran into a red dragon in the next chamber. The DM told us later that only his NPCs survived that encounter. Needless to say that I never played with that DM after that.

gadren
2007-05-01, 12:42 AM
I've TPKed a few times as a DM. THe one that stands out was when the players got themselves killed by being incredibly greedy. The party was provided with tons of warnings in game that a BBEG was going to come after them if they didn't leave soon, but they decided to try and completely empty a treasure room instead.
I then told them to roll up new characters, and then set the campaign 5 years down the road in a post-apocolyptic world where the BBEG had "won" without the fated heroes to stop him.

Wyrd
2007-05-01, 01:10 AM
I am quite a careful player because I like creating elaborate backgrounds for my characters and thus dislike losing them easily. My chars then tend to have a wide array of skills to allow them to get out various lethal situation and a good reason to carry a weapon. For example in Cthulu I play rather the private detective who knows a bit how to sneak, think, talk, drive and shoot a gun rather than the specialist who knows only one thing and gets killed by the first danger outside his domain of expertise.

Because of that I often am the last man standing during near-TPKs.

The first near TPK was during my first campaign a few years ago : AD&D. Our DM was far from tender and after a particularly nasty string of events there were only my NPC clutch-mate and I, a thri-kreen fighter left standing out of a group of 6 PCs and 3 NPCs. We had no money, no cleric, nothing ... but a deck of these awful magical cards (the one with half good / half bad effects).

I am not sure if he was using the official version of these cards but ours worked like this : you chose a number and drew this many cards and the effect on these cards happened to you in the order you drew them. The bad effects included, among others niceties, destruction of your soul and the good ones included a card with three wishes or something like that. Once you drew your number of card the whole card game disappeared.

The only solution to revive my fallen team was to get the card that grants you the three wishes ... so I said I would draw them all. I had 50% of drawing the wishes before my soul was destroyed and I got lucky. I wished my teammates to be alive once again (with all the proper wording altough the DM managed to find one loophole to make them reappear without their equipement) and I wished all the bad effects of the cards to be redirected to our worst enemies (we had tons of them at the time, usually 20-25 levels over our own lvl 7-8).

I got also the "Plot-TPK" where we all go slaughtered but reincarnated in another plane... nothing to do about this one.

I actually lost three characters in my whole RPG career and never could roll a dice to avoid it, twice I was assassinated by the GM as it being part of the plot (gotta love those ...) and once it was by a traitor in the group who revealed himself by backstabbing my char with the local equivalent of a silent lightsaber.

As a DM I never killed an entire party. The players who get killed usually do extremely stupid things "The next round, the guy will have retreated on the catwalk where his 12 friends with bows can cover him, you sure you pursue him ? - Yeah !" "They shoot at you with a ballista ! You see the sharpened tree trunk flying towards you at great speed ! For your defense, do you parry or dodge ? - I parry !". I usually plan for failures other than death when I make a scenario so it doesnt looks like I am "saving the party"

Edna
2007-05-04, 03:06 PM
A near-TPK (I think some of us survived--it happened around 15 years ago and I don't remember all the details). Definitely the fault of a player.

Wand of Fireballs in a small room...

Edna

warlock
2007-06-03, 12:24 AM
this thread just reaffirms my belief that most TPKs are the GMs fault. (excluding anencephalic player failures like the rpg-in-a-shuttle or the cluster up around the medic)

Dentarg
2007-06-03, 12:55 AM
As a DM i've only had to experience one TPK, and it was completely in the player's fault in this case.

A NG fighter and a CN wizard got attacked by Assassins during a return from a dungeon crawl. After they dispatched the assassins, they ran into someone further down the road (I meant for this to be a dialogue later on), the CN wizard Lightning Bolts the NPC, and after the NPC warns him to cease his attacks, he's Fireballed a moment later by the wizard again, forcing the NPC to defend himself. The NPC was a level 20 NE Rogue while the NG fighter was 10 and the CN wizard was 9. The Rogue killed the wizard in 3 turns (His dagger was vorpal and he criticalled the wizard on the 3rd turn) and then proceeded to kill the fighter when he intervened.

Initially the rogue was there to merely be a bit of a spin doctor in the case of the assassin attack, to attempt to veer the adventurers off onto a false run against another assassin group rather than his own group which attacked the players. The rogue wasn't even dressed like the other assassins, but before I could even get that far out, the previous events happened.

- Dentarg

Gavin Sage
2007-06-03, 01:14 AM
I've had a single TPK. We'd been playing for maybe 10 minute and run into our first encounter. I think this was around level 7 or so but anyways it was a bunch of spiders and assorted vermin. Should have been no sweat but then things started going terribly wrong. I swear there must have been three Nat 1s and hardly anything above ten. While the monsters of course rolled wonderfully. Three rounds later I'm down, the Fighter is sacked with ability damage, the mage is surrounded, and the rest were the most unoptimized lot you've ever seen.

When we were all dead the DM kinda looked at us and said he really hadn't prepared for that. Gave us all like -9 hitpoints and had the enemies get bored and leave because like hell was he going to have his hours of work wasted by us getting boinked off in the first fight of the night in the middle of the campaign.

CorganHetfield
2007-06-03, 02:20 AM
My first campaign ended with a TPK in our first encounter. We were fighting a couple of dire wolves and a 5th level druid. It should have been an easy victory, but 10 rounds later, none of us had managed to make the DC 15 spot check to find the druid.

"Doesn't anybody have any ranks in spot!?!?!?"

Breaon
2007-06-03, 02:33 AM
Hasn't happened in 15+ years, since my days at University. We played some 1st Ed. AD&D (GM refused to accept 2nd Ed, and eventually moved us to Dangerous Journies instead), and it was a common occurance to have multiple-PC deaths, with occasionl TPKs. This was before I discovered groups that actually tried to cooperate to solve problems. Thankfully, nothing since then has been so bad.

wackodraco
2007-06-03, 04:47 PM
Just the other night, actually.

Us:

Half-Umbragen Warlock 5/Urban Druid 2 (Me!)
Half Elf Duskblade 5
Human Paladin 7
Human Favored Soul of Anubis 6

against

Uttar Rakzir, Dwarven Monk 12

He DANCED. ON. MY. HEAD.
For 50 points of damage.

TPK from hell.

Gavin Sage
2007-06-03, 11:43 PM
My first campaign ended with a TPK in our first encounter. We were fighting a couple of dire wolves and a 5th level druid. It should have been an easy victory, but 10 rounds later, none of us had managed to make the DC 15 spot check to find the druid.

"Doesn't anybody have any ranks in spot!?!?!?"

You know that blow mine out of the water I think.

Sage in the Playground
2007-06-03, 11:44 PM
I decided to post a WoW TPK or "wipe".


"Aggro the murlocs."

RedNec
2008-03-09, 05:04 AM
the ultimate legend of TPK.

I did not see this personally, only heard the story, but there is no doubt in my mind that it - like the gazebo - is real. - because you cant make stuff like this up. it may be exagerated, but there is some truth in it.
either way, i'm telling it as i heard it.

setup:
1 DM, 2 competing parties.
the games ran alternating weeks, and the two parties were constantly trying to place stumbling blocks in each other's way.
Then party A gets a stupid idea that would only work if your compeditors are roleplayers.....

party A delves into a dungeon and kills a mummy. they then build a pedistal upon which they place the mummified head. they reset all the traps, repopulate the dungeon with creatures, add a few spells and traps of their own and then leave.
At the nearest town, and every town they visit, they tell tales of an artifact in the dungeon. The Legendary:

"Head Of Vecna"

(by now some people should be giggling. if not, go through your DMG and read about the hand and eye of Vecna before continueing. - trust me.)

skip forward 2 weeks. still Group A. the party's rogue, missing in action last session, shows up for game. The GM rules that he needs to find the others and forbid's the players from speaking.
Rogue rolls gather information - 25!
GM looks at his notes and there it is.Tells him about these rumors about the Head Of Vecna.
To the party's horror, their rogue desides to find the artifact on his own so he doesn't have to share it. goes into dungeon, sneaks to the last room with the pedistal. Sees the mummified head, walks forward.
The players are horrified when the rogue draws his shortsword and...

....attempts to chop off his own head.....!


*****
"well at least we know it works..."


*****

Forward a few weeks. Group B arrives in a fated town and gathers information....

Delving into the dungeon, Party B is surprised to find that most of the traps have already been disarmed. some of the creatures have been killed by weapons. They get paranoid.

In the final room, they find the pedistal, the Legendary head, and a body on the ground. on closer inspection, it is obvious that the man killed himself with a chop to the neck, from his shortsword. They get more paranoid.

they search for traps. nothing.
They scan for magic. nothing. (.............NOTHING)

they reason that whatever magic killed the rogue, must have been a one time effect.

"so....who wants to wear the head?"
All six players raise their hands.
they argue about who gets it and eventually deside by means of rock-paper-scissors.

Cleric steps up. the party holds him up. rogue CHOPS off his head, picks up the Head Of Vecna, PLOPS it to the stump and watches as the (headless) body THUDS to the ground........

"maybe we didn't do it fast enough!"
"ranger, kneel."

CHOP-PLOP........Thud! now they have 2 bodies.

"I know! Vecna was an arcane caster! Wizzard, kneel."

CHOP, PLOP .........thud.

"what are we missing guys?"
"Vecna was Evil, maybe it only works for evil people."
"do we have any Evil partymembers?"
"i'm Neutral."
"close enough, kneel."

CHOP, PLOP .........thud.

"Um........How about we try..."

CHOP, PLOP .........thud.


Rogue is left holding the head. all other partymembers dead. He takes a look at the situation, desides "F--- that", drops the head and leaves.

then he comes back, loots the party's corpses, and leaves.


they didn't even check how many eyes the head had!

-- "no plan is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool"

teratorn
2008-03-09, 05:30 AM
"Undead" Belkar started an epidemic in the forum. Two threads brought from the dead and counting.

Regneva
2008-03-09, 06:55 AM
This almost happens every time when the DM mistakes the game for something else, and thinks that he is supposed to play against the players, since the players are playing against him...

Regneva
2008-03-09, 07:48 AM
the ultimate legend of TPK.

I did not see this personally, only heard the story, but there is no doubt in my mind that it - like the gazebo - is real. - because you cant make stuff like this up. it may be exagerated, but there is some truth in it.
either way, i'm telling it as i heard it.

The Legendary:

"Head Of Vecna"



The version I've heard is here:
http://www.blindpanic.com/humor/vecna.htm

†Seer†
2008-03-09, 08:01 AM
Oh aye...only once so far, and this is not an epic tale, nor is it very flattering. Myself, the rogue, and some friends, a cleric, mage, and fighter.

It was a hombrew campaign, and all I know about it is we were hired to save someone. That's literally it. We were at a cabin in the woods when we were surrounded by brigands. (DM thought it'd be fun to set us [all new to D&D] up against brigands with x-bows on a flat field with nowhere to hide.
I had an inkling of what I was doing so I tried to sneak out, but got hit. Unconscious, so the fighter makes a daring rush and suceeds in pulling me inside without getting hit himself. As the cleric was about to heal me... she gets called in to work irl. Soo we're down a cleric, surrounded by brigands, with the rogue heading towards the great beyond.

At this point, our mage, who had been quietly looking over his spells, says to the DM, "I'm going to cast Burning Hands." DM: "At what?" Mage: "The window I guess, it'll go through and hit one of them."

.....

The window wasn't open or broken. The mage cast his spell, the cabin was then set on fire. The mage was instantly consumed, our quest-giver died trying to save him, and our fighter was crushed by a burning falling log trying to pull me out.

As to the cleric...we just assumed she died too :P

Surfing HalfOrc
2008-03-09, 08:13 AM
I almost TPKed TWO parties on the same encounter while DMing "The Savage Tide" Adventure Path.

The Savage Raptor (CR4) in the second chapter of the saga just seemed to get a string of Natural 20's, and took down BOTH parties primary meatshields on his initial attacks/ambush, then began to shred the remaining party members before they were able to make their escape.

The Savage Phaeton(sp?) also CR4, OTOH, seemed to have no luck whatsoever, as both parties rolled Nat 20 while shooting at him as he flew overhead. Pincushioned...

technoextreme
2008-03-09, 09:16 AM
My friends had a game they told me about. I don't know the details (I'm convinced that what went down was actually illegal, but I cant say for sure)

The party had been traveling in a forest for some days and they hadn't eaten in a long time when they come across a "vat of rice"
Needless to say the party is crazy suspicious as this DM tends to pull these sort of tricks. The check to see if it's poisoned, evil, magical, not rice ect. The DM says it's "totally edible rice" So they eat.
The DM asks them a very suspicious question "do you eat until your stomachs are full?" The party replies "well...yeah I suppose so."
The DM laughs manically and tells them they have just eaten raw rice, (As they didn't specifically check to see if it's cooked rice) and now the rice is absorbing water and expanding in their stomachs and soon all their stomach rupture and they all die.

This is what happens when only one person in your group knows enough about D&D to DM.
There is just so much wrong with that.
A) You don't notice that it's raw????
B) Your stomach won't rupture. It's actually designed specifically to expand large amounts.
C) You won't really die if it ruptures.

Goofy
2008-03-09, 10:27 AM
I have been in two TPKs.

The more recent one was simply the last session of the campaign before people had to go away and we were all done with the first major story arc (as in about 10 sessions) so we just kept pressing deeper into the dungeon without stopping until we died. We had just turned level 10 in a campaign designed to run from 3-14 or so.

The more annoying one was the DM being a conductor. He wouldn't let the blaster lightning bolt through the door when it was answered. He wouldn't let us leave and forced us to enter. He misread or misapplied the rules which led to (effectively) equating flanking to flat-footed, applying the secondary damage of poison on the second application of poison rather than an hour later, ignoring concealment while having a wall of Shadows grope someone, and using approximately 300k in gold worth of items and two CR 15 creatures (alongside a normal ECL 15 encounter) against a level 12 party of five in order to ensure our deaths. This was all so he could have us resurrected later in an attempt at a "jailbreak" storyline.

The same DM did wonderful things like snare five people in a single snare trap without a save then Plane Shift us all "as per the spell" without allowing a save, ruling that our feet in contact in the snare counted as "up to eight willing creatures joining hands".

Quorothorn
2008-03-09, 10:37 PM
My first campaign ended with a TPK in our first encounter. We were fighting a couple of dire wolves and a 5th level druid. It should have been an easy victory, but 10 rounds later, none of us had managed to make the DC 15 spot check to find the druid.

"Doesn't anybody have any ranks in spot!?!?!?"

Apparently your party was taking its cues from Belkar a bit too much...and also not enough.

Drglenn
2008-03-09, 11:00 PM
A level 1 goblin party consisting of a Barbarian, a Ranger, a Cleric and my Wizard was TPk'd by... 4 Kobolds and a Weasel (it may or may not have been dire)

Also in my scion game we are roundtable GMing, last week was my turn and i made the enemies slightly overpowered/got lucky on the dice and... only my PC survived

brant167
2008-03-09, 11:43 PM
My game TPK'ed last week, which is very rare when I dm. The PC's, level 9, recently found a hint of a noble house run by vampires in a city of Sharn game. Anyway the hint they had lead them to a mansion in the Platinum Heights(very well to do part of town.) The rogue went to sneak and stealth the house out...rolled a 1 on his move silently and hide check...security was alerted and she didn't make it out of their in time.
She had become a vampire spawn and after a bunch of questioning and planning on the noble houses part she was let out with detailed schematics of the vampires hide out as well as a few anti-divination spells that would make her seem to still be part of the living. With her bluff check she lured the pc's into a trap, where after many heroic actions none of them made it out. My players hate when I give them a break. So next week we are continuing the game however it will have more of a vampiric feel to it.

RedNec
2008-03-10, 04:24 AM
The version I've heard is here:
http://www.blindpanic.com/humor/vecna.htm

cool - now i know where the story started. hehehe

chormin
2008-03-11, 08:05 PM
The greatest TPK I was part of was at a Larp. There is one guy who is a legit OOG blacksmith, long distance runner, and fencer. Also he is a top notch role-player. He was cursed by a demonlord to become a vicious werewolf type thing for an hour, and there were only 3 silver weapons in town. He managed to kill each and every player, some twice, and one of them three times. [there is basically a .5 hour wait to come back to life, and one was killed immediately, when he came back, and right before the bloodbath was over]

Despite being killed on a cold and wet night, it made me proud to know this guy.

vivi
2008-03-11, 08:52 PM
Almost every campaign I've played in ended in a TPK.

Heres one:

We were going to kill a giant beetle, when our moron of a bard came up with a brilliant idea, he rigged the caves with fire traps and explosives. You can guess what happened next.

There were no survivers

zyphyr
2008-03-12, 04:29 AM
I am a former Paranoia player. TPKs are a way of life in that game, frequently from the party deciding to kill each other off. Of course, that is why they give each character 6 lives.

Laurentio
2008-03-12, 06:28 AM
TPKed only once - and to be honest, my character survived long enough to be blames for everyone else dead, and got a life sentence. But I learned the lesson: if you happen to be present when the MOST BAD-ASS demon ever is going to be back stabbed in front of you by his fellow ALMOST AS-BAD demon visir using the ONLY WEAPON that can kill him, when suddenly THE SECOND BAD-ASS demon rush in to steal the weapon because he wants to do the killing himself... sit down and watch!
Trying to kill them all resulted in a carnage, where my character survived because... he sat down and enjoyed the show.

But I witnessed some very interesting TPK of the best type: players fault all-around. Yes, I like to watch people playing. I'll try to be short.

TWILIGHT 2000 (real war RPG): Siberian setting. The party receive a mission in the tundra, with a reasonable budget. They spend it ALL in weapons, ammos, and some gear. No vehicles, no heavy coats, no heat generators, no blankets. Went Missing In Action during night, without meeting any enemy.

CALL OF CHTULHU. After successfully completing a campaign, killing the evil warlock, and almost every single monster, a player feels that there must be something left to do. The GM tried to have them move over without giving out-of-game advices, but the player was to stubborn to take the hint. After a one hour lag, the GM allow him to find a tunnel that, probably, brings to the near cimitery (thus giving a good reason for the warlock's house to be full of ghouls...).
The whole group is convinced to explore the tunnel (half a meter wide, a meter tall, four miles long and without any light. It's a ghoul tunnel, I mean). The GM gave some hint of the danger of being assaulted in such a dead trap, and went ignored. Minutes after, some ghoul show up and start hissing at the first of the line (the stubborn player, obviously).
Called end: he decided that the most effective weapon in an hobbit-cave is six dynamite rolls. And it was right. Goodbye ghouls, welcome sudden death for all. The last of the line has been blast-shotted out of the tunnel and splatted into the basement wall. Don't piss the GM.

TWILIGHT 2000 (same GM, different party): sabotage task. Players have to sabotage a Nazi munition factory, without having heavy weapons or large numbers. They decided to try an infiltration: after studying the factory activities, sorted that a VAN was used to bring materials and food every two days. They ambush the VAN, kill crew (and three nazi soldiers) with clubs and naked hands to leave the uniforms untainted, hide the few explosive in their possession into the cargo, and manage to reach the factory at the expected time for the regular time table.
And that is the moment they just remember that NO ONE OF THEM speaks german.

Laurentio

Niknokitueu
2008-03-12, 08:34 AM
Outside of Paranoia, no full TPKs.

A couple of close calls, though, one of which killed a campaign (Save vs death. What do you mean half of you failed?...)

Mind you, I play HackMaster. A game system designed to simultaneously force you to invest time and effort into designing each character, whilst also having monsters so lethal that PC deaths are an everyday event.

"What do you mean, 25% chance of decapitation? It is a ****ing beaver!"

Have Fun!
Niknokitueu

Forealms
2008-03-12, 09:28 AM
I believe my first experience with D&D ended up with a TPK. We were a arty of 6-7 level 1 characters (1 paladin, 2 clerics, 1 wizard, 1 rogue, 1 fighter, maybe something else). We were in a dungeon (surprise, surprise) and we had found a room full of valuable rocks (emeralds and sapphires, mostly). Earlier in the dungeon, we had found a room full of pickaxes. Our party leader decided to just send one person back to get a few for us. (I was a halfling rogue, so I wasn't given much voice in the decision). The fighter goes back and, several hours later, doesn't return. So, we drew straws and (lucky me) I am chosen to go back and find him. Due to some bad rolls when I made the character I had a constitution of 5. I go back to the room of picks and...

(I'll finish this story later, I have to go)

EDIT: Sorry, I was in class and my teacher was walking by :smallbiggrin:. Anyway...

I find the companion had decided to eat some, and i quote, "mysterious-looking green mushrooms", according to the DM, and he was now dead on the floor. Surrounded by four zombies. And a vampire. So. I had the surprise, so I managed to hold a zombie off for a round before I was torn apart.

While I was rolling a new character, I listened in on the rest of the group.

Person 1: He's been gone a while.
Person 2: All in favor of using my axe to hit the stuff?
Group: Aye

:smallfurious:

They spend a while doing that, while the noise attracts the previously-mentioned zombies + vampire. The cleric is the first to notice and he casts Turn Undead, causing only the vampire to run (And, let me tell you, he was quite the cheeky bastard). So, four zombies remained in a room full of level 1 adventurers. Not entirely favorable odds, but not bad nonetheless. The wizard (since we kept him at the back of the group coming in and is now closest to the door) casts magic missile with minor results and is torn to pieces along with the cleric. The paladin tried splashing the zombies with water, to little effect (Notice, I did not say holy water, just water). Here the DM, sensing TPK is afoot, allows them one more chance by hacing the zombies laugh at them for a round. Cleric does turn undead and fails, paladin swings and misses. The zombies laugh again. Cleric swings a mace, paladin swings again, both miss. Zombies laugh again (Why wasn't I so lucky?). The two remaining members decide enough is enough and retreat out of the room...

Right into a spiked pit trap. I have a really good feeling you did not see that coming, and I can guarantee they didn't, either.

gnomas
2008-03-12, 09:57 PM
dam you forealms! now i have to check back to know the rest of the story! of all the places to leave it hanging

Forealms
2008-03-13, 11:12 PM
There, I posted the rest. I meant to finish the story, I just didn't have the chance. And, on a completely unrelated note, I would like to mention how the paladin joined us.

He arrived at the DM's house a bit late, so he rolled up a character as our group went through. The DM had originally planned for us to go through a door we came upon to see him in a sacrificial chamber chained to the wall and obviously beaten, surrounded by half a dozen skeletons. Unfortunately, our group decided not to go through that door and went to the next one, which was a room full of barrels. We opened a barrel of beans and found a sleeping paladin inside :smallbiggrin:

JSchunx
2008-03-14, 12:58 AM
I've DM'd a few times, my brother usually does it, he's better at making stories. The first time I played God :smalltongue: I set the party of 2 against what I thought was a fair fight, turns out an equal level bugbear/fighter and two more bugbears was too much for the group... It was all good though, they started more characters the next day, and we retried, and they won. (They had to leave in a hurry, though, one bugbear escaped and grabbed the attention of the nearby goblin camp.)

::Edit:: Y'know, Forealms, in a different D&D session, my brother joined in a similar fashion to your paladin. Or rather, he SHOULD have. I wanted him to be a prisoner of the goblins in the cave my group was exploring, but he wouldn't have it. He claimed that I couldn't decide the circumstances of his appearance in the game, eventually it all worked out (in his favor; he is older and stronger than me :smalleek: )

Kai Maera
2008-03-14, 03:06 PM
First 5 minutes of a level 5 dungeon. Most of the party, of course, used the races with level adjustments. Immediately after entering the dungeon, there is a box. We back away as a friend (with a pixie character) opens the box, triggering a poison gas trap (30 foot radius, instant death to anyone with 2 or fewer hit die) and we all died.

And that was a level-appropriate, official dungeon from a Dragon magazine.

mroozee
2008-03-14, 03:19 PM
I've been involved in somewhere around a dozen TPK's (from both sides). The only common chain of events that I've seen is:

Game starts out normally.
DM handles things pretty casually.
Party starts to get more powerful.
DM is still casual, but gives bigger challenges.
Party gets into a"standard approach" rut but dominates.
Everyone gets a little bored.
Party decides to up the ante and go after bigger game.
DM decides to really plan out the next challenge.
Party goes for the "standard approach" again.
DM has prepared specific counter-measures.
The discrepancy between previous encounters and this encounter is substantial and the party is TPK'd.

Castamir
2008-03-14, 04:49 PM
There, I posted the rest. I meant to finish the story, I just didn't have the chance. And, on a completely unrelated note, I would like to mention how the paladin joined us.

He arrived at the DM's house a bit late, so he rolled up a character as our group went through. The DM had originally planned for us to go through a door we came upon to see him in a sacrificial chamber chained to the wall and obviously beaten, surrounded by half a dozen skeletons. Unfortunately, our group decided not to go through that door and went to the next one, which was a room full of barrels. We opened a barrel of beans and found a sleeping paladin inside :smallbiggrin:

I really hope this is completely OOT. This thread is titled "TPK", and ... the beans ...

Alex Warlorn
2008-03-14, 08:20 PM
"And THAT is how a good DM handles idiots."

I don't think what the guy did was idiotic. I mean, how COULD they have dealt with an fully armored opponent in a closed in space? It sounds like all he did wrong was forget to get a slightly different angle for the rocket launcher. I'd have done the same thing in that situation. If you've got a chance to take out an enemy hard and fast, TAKE IT!

"My character was sacrificed to their god, and the warrior was forced into slavery. Happy ending, eh?"

Fighter still alive. Meaning that he could escape and get his buddies bodies back.

"If I hadn't tried to railroad them into prison, none of this would have happened. Rookie GMing mistake."

What exactly was the rail roading?

"and now the rice is absorbing water and expanding in their stomachs and soon all their stomach rupture and they all die."

I'm not sure but I don't think that's what happens with rice.

"and begin SHOOTING KEYPADS to open the doors (but thats another TPK for another time; I'm guessing you can use your imagination for what happened)..."

But come ON! That's a sci-fi classic!


"The sole remaining player, a tear literally in her eye, weakly said, "I pick up one of the goblets... and drink."

Two TPKs in one session, and the players freakin' loved it. :)"

Fool should have charmed the local cleric to resurrect his two now dead buddies, and then have him drink the goblet and then have THEM resurrect him.


"This was my first day playing a dm, if it had happened now, I would of realized the giant ants actually move faster than him, and everyone would of died."

So those OTHER two adventures happened in the same day?

"to which the GM replies "no you don't". Is it to much to ask that a GM is at least slightly subtle in his railroading?"

Hey. Either be totally honest about it. Or be sneaky about it. I'd have the smoke rise out of the woods in the opposite direction as soon as it was out of sight.

"However he also saw his lord laying dead and needed to do the honorable thing as the reaming enemy army was destroyed."

Should have gotten his master raised, then committed sovoku.

"
As the trip was suposse to last 4 month (booooo), the dm make us role a d6 dice to make things faster. We roled 1 and a bunch of pirates (and i mean a really big army of them) surrounded us in the middle of the trip. We didn´t get the cahnce of fight, we simply died (in a rain of big heavy cannon ammo)"

None of you thought to jump ship or to hang onto wreckage?

"My character then goes insane and runs away, screaming like a little girl for comedy purposes. "

No will save?

"(GM refused to accept 2nd Ed, "
Good for him.

""they didn't even check how many eyes the head had!

-- "no plan is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool"""

I have heard a similar styled story but with different elements. In particular where a druid had his dire ape chop his head off and put the head on.

Pie Guy
2008-03-14, 09:42 PM
No TPK, but once one of the players pushed another into magma. The DM, not wanting another session being spent making a character, said his irish twin came down the elevator that brought us where we were.

We also have a no PvP rule, otherwise the pusher would be dead or we would.

Most likely the pusher.

Aristeidis
2008-03-15, 02:10 PM
It has happened to me and my party 3 times in a row on the SAME freaking adventure!!!! I am sure you have heard the City of the Spider Queen adventure.

1st try (our characters' level was higher than indicated):
Walk in the dungeon. First door: a slay living trap kills the rogue (natural 1).
The rest of the party dies from a stupid statue, after a lot of bad luck and lack of team work.

2nd try(different characters-prepared for the trap and statue):
Won the door and statue encounter. Party killed by a ropper that dropped everyone's stats to 0. (streak of bad luck and mistakes)

3rd try (yet again):
Passed the door, statue encounter, blasted the roper and then a stupid little demon won with "flawless victory"! (FEARed the spellcaster and the rogue (they must have reached Italy on foot by now), HOLDed the fighter while my druid hit thin air trying to protect the fighter by the invisible creature.

We stopped playing Dnd! hahaha (for a long time)

Another DM we had was as full of his DMing abilities as ignorant of basic rules. He always destroyed the party and then rescued us by "Divine Intervention"! (this must be listed as a fetish). The first adventure with this guy will be remembered forever. We were about 13 people in game (7 players 2nd level, familiars, animal companions and npc's) against a 5th lvl psion goblin and his small army of orcs and goblinoids. The last man standing (the fallen include all animals and my familiar hawk who almost killed 2 orcs(!@#)) was my wizard, barely standing that managed to save the whole party who was bleeding rapidly to death!

We're talking about a maniac DM, who also managed to become my friend for many years since!

CasESenSITItiVE
2008-03-15, 03:17 PM
why is this thread in the order of the stick section?

Greg
2008-03-15, 08:09 PM
"The sole remaining player, a tear literally in her eye, weakly said, "I pick up one of the goblets... and drink."

Two TPKs in one session, and the players freakin' loved it. :)"

Fool should have charmed the local cleric to resurrect his two now dead buddies, and then have him drink the goblet and then have THEM resurrect him.
Can't raise the undead.

Alex Warlorn
2008-03-16, 04:19 AM
Can't raise the undead.

They weren't true undead yet.

Niknokitueu
2008-03-16, 05:33 AM
The world moves fast, doesn't it?

Just last week I posted "No TPKs yet", then on the Friday night, I participated in my first TPK!

Fairly simple setup: The paladin in our group had been cursed to become a homicidal maniac, and we discovered that he could be cured if we retrieved an artifact from a nearby descecrated temple.

We knew that the temple would be a tough nut to crack, because the item it contained was powerful, and the land had other heroes... (ergo if it was well known enough and had lasted a while, it was hard enough to withstand a standard hero attack).

We got inside with no losses, found a series of quite lethal traps (and bypassed them, again for no casualties, but the paladin was down below half HP by now - only he could actually bypass the traps that the theif found, as he was a paladin of the religeon that the temple was originally made for).

We eventually worked our way into a long curving corridor, where the two meat shields quickly killed a gnoll guard, but not before he got a warning off. More gnolls quickly arrived from two side doors, each meat shield choosing to block one of them.

As a note, about half the party was third level, most of the rest were second, and there were two first level as well. Total 8 characters.

Have I mentioned how lethal the crit system is in HackMaster? Well, the GM was running hot that night.

Managed to take the paladin down in one hit (hard hit to the head, but would not have been lethal if we won the combat), whilst two other gnolls took down a dwarf fighter (crit took off an arm, failed a save, dwarf unconcious and bleeding - again not lethal if we had won the combat). That is two '20's out of four rolls, and high rolls on the crit effects too.

One doorway no longer defended, the gnolls in that room piled out to be met with a druid, two thieves, a mage and a cleric. Next round the cleric got critted, cut his leg off at the shin. He made his save, so could heal himself up to stop the bleeding.

The next round, another crit. This time to the face of the druid, instantly killing her.

Two rounds later, another crit. This time to the mage (yes, he was fighting in the front line by now), cutting his arm off at the shoulder. Made his save, so carried on fighting and bleeding.

This was on top of normal hits, that took one theif down and would have killed the other theif several times if not for a stream of healing from the cleric (only PC within range of the prone hero).

Eventually one meat shield finished all the gnolls he was fighting, and came to our rescue (with HP in single figures), killing the last gnoll just as reinforcements shot off a few arrows. End of that meat shield.

Ended in a last stand by a theif (again nearly full HP) and the one-legged cleric (hopping on nearly full HP), fighting three gnolls. The theif got taken down in one round, the cleric falling in the next.

TPK, and the end of another campaign. All on what was actually a side adventure that the GM cobbled together after the paladin got cursed (at a tourney). All died in a combat that should not have been that lethal (just the GM rolled excessively well all night).

This is HackMaster - you live or die by the roll of the dice (and no fudging allowed). Most fun I had in several weeks - I was the cleric, last man standing in a TPK, with no way to defeat my enemies. Priceless.

Have Fun!
Niknokitueu

Forealms
2008-03-16, 10:09 AM
I really hope this is completely OOT. This thread is titled "TPK", and ... the beans ...

Well, in some ways, it is on topic. Our friend is a DC 50 Gas trap, so it was a close call :smallamused:

keybounce
2009-03-26, 05:02 PM
Bump
Should we mention Erfworld here?

===

I had an (almost) TPK on a first encounter due to some really odd die rolls, and unfamiliarity with the (new) system (and forgetting some player abilities in that system). I just rampped the difficulty up to unbelievable level, let the survivors "disbelieve", told the players that they woke up and decided to never have chili pizza before bed again. Then toned that encounter down when they went through for real :-).

dps
2009-03-28, 02:45 AM
This is embarrassing. It was a very long time ago, and I don't remember the details, but it was a new campaign with a group of 1st level characters--I think there were 6 of us, and only a couple of us had ever played a RPG before. I'm not sure the DM had ever DM'ed before either, though what happened wasn't his fault. Anyway, we heard a rumor of a dungeon that might contain treasure, and started out for it. On the road, the DM rolled a random encounter, and we got attacked by a pack of wolves. Not werewolves or anything like that, just a small pack of like 5 regular wolves. Again, I don't remember the details, but the combination of most party members not really knowing what they were doing and some really bad luck with rolls lead to our being wiped out. I don't even think we managed to take a single wolf with us.

Aken0008
2009-09-04, 08:37 AM
Near T-P-Ksaved by a nice DM
just started, 3 sessions into a campaign, as newbies, were investigating a village attacked by orcs, when me, the ranger,went ON MY OWN to find the camp. got ambushed by 4 orcs, killed two, and got kidnapped by the rest.
Orcs then followed my trail to our camp, beat watch (a mage) in one turn. they then surprised the rest of the party whilst they were sleeping. woke up prisoners in the orc camp, saved by friendly ghost and escaped, but not before we coup de graced 2 orcs

David Argall
2009-09-04, 02:01 PM
Died several times this way. Most recently, the DM didn't bother to tell us an optional tough encounter was at all optional. Of course we made it easier to die by first finding one of the better strategies, and then abandoning it.

Drevius
2009-09-04, 02:23 PM
I have one campaign that I thoroughly enjoyed, with essentially tpks, 3 of them to be exact where my joke character a halfling factotum with a napoleon complex and a sadistic streak would end up surviving each tpk through sheer luck, the purchase of contingency spells as well as WELL hidden items for breaking free of capture and jail. This was also an evil campaign so we had a few rules that were kinda quickly developed:

1. We knew this was a thoroughly evil campaign and pvp was bound to occur and did alot so no one should get too attached to a character or complain when they were cheap shotted when sleeping, rings of sustenance were a must usually.

2. Rarely did we have a cleric or heal bot and were working with crit rules and limb/organ damage rules etc, so we also said "weak and injured get left behind and only the healthy move on".

3. If someone requested healing in a rare occasion they were promptly introduced to a Russian medic, or headshot with a great crossbow for those of you not in the know.

There were other "rules" our lawless savage crazy party lived by but all in all it was hilarious how many characters were generated in that game and died especially the ones that were introduced as captured by opponents we were supposed to dispatch, we tended to snipe those characters and carry on travelling, while the character creator just laughed and said "just had to make my character from Thay". Apparently we were supposed to buy him or something lol.

And nobody threw a fit when a character died or were backstabbed or wanted revenge etc, etc.

donkyhotay
2009-09-04, 03:23 PM
I once had the enemies perform an almost complete TPK themselves. I was DM'ing just a few nights ago when the heroes encountered 3 enemy guards armed with swords. It's a sci-fi campaign with modified GURPS rules and the enemy managed to get the drop on the PC's so they went first. I rolled so badly as the DM that the battle went something like this:

"The first guard rushes up and swings with his sword"
<roll>
"He's a little unbalanced and swings wide, you don't even need to try to dodge it. The second guard rushes up and attacks as well with his sword"
<roll>
Umm...
<roll again>
"The second guard swings with his sword, it completely slips out of his hands and hits the third guard"
<roll>
<double & triple check my notes>
"It manages to hit in a vital spot and the third guard drops to his knees bleeding and..."
<roll>
<sigh>
"...he collapses entirely, unconcious and bleeding heavily"

With one of the guards essentially dead and the other disarmed before any of the PC's even took their first turn my challenging combat scenario turned into a walk in the park for them.

casper
2009-09-04, 03:31 PM
You can find it really strange, but for 5 years of playing D&D I can't remember a game, that DIDN"T end with TPK (ok, apart from modules that were given up in the middle for some reasons). Only twice it was done by main villains themselves, mostly it were random encounters or just usial fight with ordinary enemies.
We play, so to say, realistic D&D. Adventurers have a chance to succed, but it's extremely low. So if you choose the dangerous live of adventurer, prepare to be happy that you just survive another day.
Besides, you know, TPK is an only logical conclusion of adventure, because otherwise adventurers would never stop - there is always someone to fight left...

Again, I understand, it sounds strange. But we play so...

casper
2009-09-04, 03:45 PM
Oh, just remember one game with happy ending. But it was not D&D, just roleplaying. And whole module took hardly two hours. And most of us were drunk. And there was a party of orc with a greatsword and boomerangs, loving yoghurts, grenade launcher man hating and blowing up all McDonalds buildings, mage with spells from "Harry Potter" and necromancer with a spell "Idontcareatall" (funnier in my language version), granting total invulnerability. So I doubt this game counts :-)

Roland St. Jude
2009-09-04, 05:54 PM
Sheriff of Moddingham: This thread's been necromantized enough. Locked. Please see the rules on thread necromancy.