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  1. - Top - End - #31
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    I've almost had one, the party was rolling terribly and my dice were hot. I roll combat in the open so I can't fudge, not that my players would want me to. They don't want me to dumb down behavior or softball encounters, they like mean combat.

    I've had some deaths, 2 of my players are Dead is Dead and both have bought the others time to escape.
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  2. - Top - End - #32
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    ClericGirl

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    Quote Originally Posted by ad_hoc View Post
    There is a lot of advice given on this board. I find most of it weird because at my table the characters need to work together to survive. Most of the advice here is about having an individual character gain more spotlight time because the group is going to succeed anyway.
    Indeed.
    Quote Originally Posted by ad_hoc View Post
    Victory is a cause for celebration and the characters all work together to survive. For example, there is no concept of splitting up the loot evenly, the only thought is who will best use it to enable survival.
    That's our usual approach.
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  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Ignimortis's Avatar

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    So far I've played in two 5e campaigns, each lasting for almost a year. We've had an almost TPK at the climactic boss fight at the first "act's" end (7 PCs entered, 3 left, of whom 2 got trapped in a side-fight and could've died just as well in the main one, and the last one survived by an insanely good DEX save), a complete TPK by dragon (which ended the campaign), and a fight which would've been a TPK if the last PC not at death's door had not rolled a crit with a dagger (that was me and it was kind of a weird situation, since I fired off a cantrip and then declared that I attack with a dagger as an off-hand attack, which is kinda rules-illegal). There were also fights where PCs just died (a surprise roper attack, for instance). So yes, TPKs do happen at our table.
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  4. - Top - End - #34
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    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    TPKs are extremely rare at my table, and have been universally attributed to player stupidity. the way I see it, character death happens and that's fine. but a tpk can easily spell the end of a campaign. so if the player's aren't being idiots, and a tpk happens, that's MY fault as a DM. If my group is playing smart, and a tpk still happens, then I obviously grossly miscalculated the balance of the encounter.
    Rule 0: What the DM says goes.
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  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Daemon

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gryndle View Post
    TPKs are extremely rare at my table, and have been universally attributed to player stupidity. the way I see it, character death happens and that's fine. but a tpk can easily spell the end of a campaign. so if the player's aren't being idiots, and a tpk happens, that's MY fault as a DM. If my group is playing smart, and a tpk still happens, then I obviously grossly miscalculated the balance of the encounter.
    I very much agree. For me, the fun is the continuing adventures. I'm not playing it as a competition or as a "see how high we can make the difficulty" thing. So TPKs are completely a negative (especially if they kill a promising campaign). Player deaths? Sure, especially if they did something stupid like go wake up a sleeping Dire Yeti and yell in its ear for a while. At level 2. After being warned repeatedly and the rest of the group NOPE-ing out.
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  6. - Top - End - #36
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    huttj509's Avatar

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    TPK? Not so much in my groups.

    On the other hand, "Why are you running?" "It's round 2, the barbarian's mind controlled, you're down, the priest and I cannot handle this, I'm at the wrong side of the room from the door, and my strength is 4 and ticking down from poison, I'm OUT." Yeah, that's happened.

    For my groups to be a TPK it needs to be an unexpectedly rough fight, which means either bad luck or bad planning (either in character or out), AND retreat must not be an option.

    I've had the rogue and mage piling a couple bodies on the mule to take them back to town.
    I've had a round 1 double NPC surprise round sneak attack roll max damage dropping the wizard who happened to be in the wrong place.
    I've had my character cleaved in 2 by the paladin trying to save me from the cloaker eating me, and then he crit (I was yelling at him to take the shot).

    Character death isn't exactly common, but is definitely no stranger at the tables I play at, but for it to be a TPK soooooooooooo much needs to go wrong all at once, it's rare.

  7. - Top - End - #37
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    Davrix's Avatar

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    This is always a fun topic.

    A TPK is really something the party should always earn or to put it in another way. The party's action dictate if a TPK happens not the DM ever.

    If you have made an encounter with monsters that are kicking the party's ass when you didn't intend for it to be that hard. You don't wipe the floor with them, you adjust and go about your day. As someone said earlier, the party decided to rest during a timed event. That was their choice and thus got themselves killed because of it.

    TPK are always best when the party thinks its either being smart or simply cant fathom they can loose and do very stupid things.

    The best TPK i've ever had was when they were fighting what I lovingly call a cross between a dracolich and Kathulu or what I named him. Drakulu (yes you may groan)

    It was camping out over an extra-dimensional rift on a hovering island powered by some sort of energy crystal deep within this old ruined elf city. The fun part was it only had about 30 HP left and I was going to let the next attack kill it whatever the damage roll was and our rouge of the day thought of the brilliant idea to use one of the homemade bombs he had created earlier in the game out of fireworks. Now you have to understand that the rest of the party unfortunately at this time had all been knocked prone to the ground after the bosses last attack, two of them alive and two unconscious, I was pretty pleased with myself. It was a good tense fight and they were going to make it out and I wasn't going to have to actually kill anyone because I was afraid of it going that way a few times though to their credit they pulled off some fancy **** and kept on going. So the rogue had been off the island the whole time making ranged attacks and for the most part doing quite well in annoying the hell out of the boss. So there i am getting ready to declare he makes some cool trick shot and shoots Drakulu in the eye when he instead declares. "I throw several bombs at he crystal under the floating island. My reaction and the entire table in unison say, "you do what?" He repeats his words. I fully expect the rest of the table to say something, to yell out advice but sometimes I forget that I have very very dedicated role-players in my group and not a single person said anything after that point though i could tell a few knew this wasn't going to end well. So being a good little DM I ask. "are you sure you want to do that?" He nods his affirmative and I quote. "Yea I'm gonna blow that thing sky high sense its right beneath the crystals. ( I should point out that I had set this up during the trek in. The crystals were an old Elvin power source that tapped into another dimension and were highly unstable when hit with enough force. What I never had mentioned because one I thought it rather obvious but no one had bothered to experiment or ask about it so it never had come up, was that the platform over the rift was being held up by said crystal. In my head in like oh **** this is bad so I even ask one more time. "you really sure man?" Once again I was told yes and so well I let him roll and of coarse he rolls a 20 (Not making that up either)

    So from here its just a slow motion action movie moment. The bomb sails end over end in the air. The opera music starts playing and the fat women begins to sing. The crystal blows up, taking half the island and Drakulu with it and the reaming damage knocks the last 2 party members out. There not dead but all 4 now are having to make death saving throws. (I even was taking pity at this point giving them a bonus to doge the damage because i knew both of them were very low on HP but god the dice in that moment though it was a 1 and 2's party. So we wave goodby to our adventurers as they fall dazed and confused into a endless abyss of dimensional energy and are torn apart and the resulting explosion of energy sets off all the nearby Elvin crystals in a chain reaction and nukes half of the ruins and our would be mad bomber rogue. Now some could say I could of saved the party but I had made things very clear that the crystals were unstable and did explode. The party chose not to learn more about it and when you throw a bomb at a thing like that and commit to the action. Well you just don't pull the punches at that point. On the plus side they did manage to collapse the rift and brought peace to the land that had been suffering madness for several centuries.

  8. - Top - End - #38
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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    At my table we play a style of tough is fun.

    There has been a progressive escalation in difficulty as we progress. The big risks are more at the strategic level - the need to progress towards ending threats whilst keeping the Doom Clock from running out.

    There have been no TPKs - some close, some fleeing, some being hunted down, some time where the party hat to use nearly every consumable resource they have had.

    Now they are in the middle of a fight and it is tough. I don't know that they know how tough. Lack of research, little preparation, a spot of bad luck, poor knowledge rolls and a really, really tough fight are putting them in a tough position.

    I am planning to let the battle play out but this might kill them. Letting people die because their characters don't know how to win feels so heartless. I did say from the start that skills are important, that they will have combat as well as non combat implications. To have an effect only when it makes no difference to the outcome of a fight seems a little low key. I feel that I did make the fight tough but, to my mind, fair.

    Fighting a fire sorcerer without reading his research to know more about the custom spells he has researched, not looking at the alchemy bench to pick up the potions of fire resistance he had been using to protect himself from his environment, not interrogating the bound devil that had enabled the sorcerer to deflect damage into statues... they would have some issues. Add to this that there are no teleportation effects (or similar) at all allowed in the area and normal retreat options might be out of luck.

    And now the players are fighting fire elementals - being ignited is forcing skipped actions or concentration spells every turn. They are down to about 2/3rds hitpoints and haven't really inflicted any damage. Lair effects are building up. I wouldn't say it is grim yet but there are some serious risks.

    The thing is that the difference between a fair and relatively balanced fight and a potential TPK (in this case) is very much information. The players were not as circumspect as they usually are and now they are in a tough spot. I am faced with trying to pass through higher level spells that might seem to be kicking the PCs whilst they are down. Trying to not pull punches and to run the fight as i have statted it is tough, especially tough as the PCs never found the abilities this guy has to know he isn't using them.

  9. - Top - End - #39
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    In the decade of playing d&d on and off with the same group a TPK has only happened twice. Characters deaths for sure and close calls, but only 2 TPK.

    First one was a miscalculation on my part as DM playing 3.5. Introduced a new enemy type that was to become recurring that blew up upon death. Party was thinking strategically and chokepointed them. However they didn't know they exploded and I did not realize how much damage the explosions could do if multiple enemies died and exploded at once. The whole party died in one turn.

    Felt bad and talked it over with the group. Decided to pull the "instead of dying you wake up captured" routine. Haha but the players made damn sure to give that enemy a wide berth the rest of the campaign

    Second was at the end of red hand of doom. All the party ended up dying during the defense of Brindol. However the had scored enough victory points and killed most of the assaulting army, so we deemed it epic enough to be satisfying. Had a small epilogue and started another campaign

    I'm in the boat that a TPK should be extremely rare and be due to a failed challenge that the players knew they were getting into, not a screw job
    Last edited by Bubzors; 2018-01-03 at 08:17 PM.

  10. - Top - End - #40
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    The important thing here is that advice given by someone who plays in a game where TPKs are very rare and seen as a mistake by the DM, will be much different than a game where the world is as it is and a TPK may be a natural consequence of that.

    In the former, advice is typically about how to stand out as a more powerful character than others in a game where the party can't fail so teamwork is less important.

    The latter is focused on party survival and success.

    A common example of this is ignoring AC, especially for ranged characters. I've seen people both imply and state explicitly that AC doesn't matter for ranged characters. They play in a very different game than I do.

    Personally I much prefer a game where TPKs can happen. In our last session the characters were poking around in an orc cave when an ogre with a dire wolf confronted them. They responded to this by jumping into a chasm and casting Feather Fall. They didn't know what was down there but figured it was probably better than what they were faced with. In a game where TPKs can't happen, I'm sure they would have just taken the fight. Instead they did something unexpected.

    Allowing failure gave them agency to impact the story.

  11. - Top - End - #41
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    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    Quote Originally Posted by ad_hoc View Post
    The important thing here is that advice given by someone who plays in a game where TPKs are very rare and seen as a mistake by the DM, will be much different than a game where the world is as it is and a TPK may be a natural consequence of that.

    In the former, advice is typically about how to stand out as a more powerful character than others in a game where the party can't fail so teamwork is less important.

    The latter is focused on party survival and success.

    A common example of this is ignoring AC, especially for ranged characters. I've seen people both imply and state explicitly that AC doesn't matter for ranged characters. They play in a very different game than I do.

    Personally I much prefer a game where TPKs can happen. In our last session the characters were poking around in an orc cave when an ogre with a dire wolf confronted them. They responded to this by jumping into a chasm and casting Feather Fall. They didn't know what was down there but figured it was probably better than what they were faced with. In a game where TPKs can't happen, I'm sure they would have just taken the fight. Instead they did something unexpected.

    Allowing failure gave them agency to impact the story.
    As normal, I disagree with you. Failure of teamwork is one of the few instances where a tpk can happen without me feeling guilty. Not working together as team in a hazardous situation is something that I define as extremely idiotic, which if you look at my post you will see that I specifically call out as one of the few good reasons for a tpk. Nothing about what I posted indicates anything about making characters stand out as more powerful than others, nor did I indicate that they cannot fail.

    I tend to build the majority of my planned encounters with following assumptions; the PCs will have to work together, they will have to spend significant resources, they will take a beating, and someone might die. Beyond even that, the majority of my encounters have a success/fail option that may be completely unrelated to the survival of the PCs.

    Now sometimes they outsmart the encounter completely, good for them. I revel in their ingenuity with them. If on the other hand they completely dead-brain it, then any/all deaths are on them.

    My "sweet spot" for encounter design is that at least half the party will hit single-digit HP or have to make death saves, and at least half the party will spend 40% of their resources. I count on the players to use their teamwork and brains to mitigate that as much as possible. Dice rolls can swing it one way or another, player participation has the most affect. If one or two die, well, violence sucks.

    BUT if they all die I have to ask 2 questions: Did I overplan? If yes, then my fault. OR did the players have a case of the stupids and get what they deserve? If yes, then their fault.

    My opinion is that pointless tpks threaten the continuity of a campaign. Its my job as DM to run a game that is enjoyable AND challenging to play. having to remake an entire party of characters and start over every few sessions doesn't fit that description for my players or me. Therefore it falls on me to plan better, and falls on them to play smarter, which requires them working together and precludes anyone from falling into special snowflake mode.
    Rule 0: What the DM says goes.
    Rule 0.5: What the DM says goes. And if the DM says enough dumb **** the players go too.

  12. - Top - End - #42
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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    Quote Originally Posted by ad_hoc View Post
    The important thing here is that advice given by someone who plays in a game where TPKs are very rare and seen as a mistake by the DM, will be much different than a game where the world is as it is and a TPK may be a natural consequence of that.

    In the former, advice is typically about how to stand out as a more powerful character than others in a game where the party can't fail so teamwork is less important.

    The latter is focused on party survival and success.

    A common example of this is ignoring AC, especially for ranged characters. I've seen people both imply and state explicitly that AC doesn't matter for ranged characters. They play in a very different game than I do.

    Personally I much prefer a game where TPKs can happen. In our last session the characters were poking around in an orc cave when an ogre with a dire wolf confronted them. They responded to this by jumping into a chasm and casting Feather Fall. They didn't know what was down there but figured it was probably better than what they were faced with. In a game where TPKs can't happen, I'm sure they would have just taken the fight. Instead they did something unexpected.

    Allowing failure gave them agency to impact the story.
    If player only thinks about himself then a TPK will surely happen. If the player is a Real Jerk he wants everyone else to die while he alone survives to prove his superiority. When TPKs can happen as a matter of course players could start thinking survival mode. They make sure their character lives. If it means running away from battle that's going badly letting another character die instead of joining the fray and help turn the tide so be it. It is where TPKs are rare to non-existent that proves the teamwork of the players because it is that teamwork that prevents the TPK. If the party has to retreat they all retreat. No one is left behind save for the occasional player who chooses to remain so that the others may live.
    Quote Originally Posted by Erit View Post
    "The DM is the world, the gods, the trees and the bees. But no matter what covenant is struck or words exchanged, the DM is not the PCs."

  13. - Top - End - #43
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    Flumph

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gryndle View Post
    My "sweet spot" for encounter design is that at least half the party will hit single-digit HP or have to make death saves, and at least half the party will spend 40% of their resources.
    How can you have more than 1 encounter in a day?

    What is the point of hit point loss, resource loss, etc. if they can't TPK?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    It is where TPKs are rare to non-existent that proves the teamwork of the players because it is that teamwork that prevents the TPK.
    This is a variant on the 'but we're just so good at the game that we avoid TPKs by being awesome'.

    Really, they're avoided by having a low difficulty.

    Also, 95% of the advice about characters on this board ignore how they will be helping/relying (eg. hindering) the party.

  14. - Top - End - #44
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    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    I've probably DMed more then 1 000 combats. It happened about 10 years ago, I was 14-15 yo and I slain a whole table of 4 friends with Wraiths.

    It has never happened up to this day. Which I'm proud of. I've killed numerous characters, but never again the whole party.

    I was willing to kill them in Dungeons Dragons Miniature though. There lied the other side of the RPG (the wargame).

  15. - Top - End - #45
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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    No TPKs yet but highest character is 5th... so maybe no ďopportunityĒ yet?

    My usual DM does revel in the occassional character death and states that the higher the level, the better the risk of a TPK...
    I play AL games only nowdays.

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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    Things being lethal is one thing and some people dying is normal in a harder fight or campaign.

    TPK's however are not typically normal (unless the campaign is geared for high risk specifically).

    The big question to ask yourself as a DM:

    Are the players ignoring or unaware of the threat involved?

    e.g. even a child would know that a dragon is immensely strong, so if your lvl 2 players want to charge it you should be reminding them that their characters are well aware this to be suicide. (Phandelver dragon wipes groups so often because they all just go and confront it when in reality that should be an irrational action, which the DM should be reminding them of).

    Or possible that the threat was hidden from them. That Balor disguised as a goblin gets attacked because the party thinks it's just a goblin and they missed your clues telling them it's really a Balor. Less exaggerated the party may not realize that those guards are higher level, because they thought your description was style and didn't realize it indicated better strength. So now they are fighting a large group of higher level guards, not because they wanted to try something risky, but because they thought they weren't risking anything.

    The players can always choose to try anyway, but I find more often then not when they do something suicidal they didn't realize it was that suicidal.

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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    5e seems way too easy for a TPK to happen.

    We've only ever even lost characters to individual incorrect play, like running off or charging ahead. I can't imagine an on-level encounter that would wipe us.
    Last edited by UrielAwakened; 2018-01-04 at 01:40 PM.

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    Quote Originally Posted by ad_hoc View Post
    How can you have more than 1 encounter in a day?

    What is the point of hit point loss, resource loss, etc. if they can't TPK?



    This is a variant on the 'but we're just so good at the game that we avoid TPKs by being awesome'.

    Really, they're avoided by having a low difficulty.

    Also, 95% of the advice about characters on this board ignore how they will be helping/relying (eg. hindering) the party.
    In other words, those who don't experience the game like you are doing it wrong.
    Last edited by Pex; 2018-01-04 at 01:57 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Erit View Post
    "The DM is the world, the gods, the trees and the bees. But no matter what covenant is struck or words exchanged, the DM is not the PCs."

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    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    In other words, those who don't experience the game like you are doing it wrong.
    that's pretty much what I get from him every time I interact with him on here.
    Rule 0: What the DM says goes.
    Rule 0.5: What the DM says goes. And if the DM says enough dumb **** the players go too.

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    Flumph

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    In other words, those who don't experience the game like you are doing it wrong.
    I didn't say it was wrong, I said it was a different playstyle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    In my opinion TPKs should be rare.

    To be blunt, I object to the premise of this thread.
    You said it was wrong.

    You and others also made the implication that not having TPKs is the result of good teamwork (and thus the inverse, TPKs happen due to a lack of teamwork) and that TPKs only happen in tables full of idiots.

    In other words, you can play a game without TPKs, just don't pretend that you are.
    Last edited by ad_hoc; 2018-01-04 at 05:00 PM.

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    Quote Originally Posted by ad_hoc View Post
    I didn't say it was wrong, I said it was a different playstyle.



    You said it was wrong.

    You and others also made the implication that not having TPKs is the result of good teamwork (and thus the inverse, TPKs happen due to a lack of teamwork) and that TPKs only happen in tables full of idiots.

    In other words, you can play a game without TPKs, just don't pretend that you are.
    No, I did not say TPKs were wrong. What I said was that you shouldn't use TPKs that happen as a validation of how well the DM is running the game, which is what you are doing. Perhaps I'm looking at this wrong. The rest of us really are that awesome to avoid numerous TPKs. Maybe it is your group who isn't playing well to have TPKs be a worry every game session. Need lessons?
    Quote Originally Posted by Erit View Post
    "The DM is the world, the gods, the trees and the bees. But no matter what covenant is struck or words exchanged, the DM is not the PCs."

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    Quote Originally Posted by ad_hoc View Post
    ...

    Really, they're avoided by having a low difficulty.

    ...
    If you are saying the player's actions don't factor in to how deadly an encounter is, you couldn't be further away from the truth.

  23. - Top - End - #53
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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    All the Time.

    Death to the Characters!


    I'm a Killer DM and run a lethal game.

    I find the threat of character death to make the game more fun and engaging. Players pay attention a lot more when they are worried their character might die.

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    Flumph

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    Quote Originally Posted by Demonslayer666 View Post
    If you are saying the player's actions don't factor in to how deadly an encounter is, you couldn't be further away from the truth.
    If an encounter is not allowed to be deadly, then the player's actions don't factor.

    Surely you can't be arguing that not allowing TPKs doesn't lower the difficulty.
    Last edited by ad_hoc; 2018-01-04 at 06:22 PM.

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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    I find it is a very fine line between one character death and a TPK.

    Where players stabilise and heal downed characters there isn't so much that will kill a player whilst others stand.

    Where there are higher level spells or limited use items or other resources than can turn the tide of a battle they will be used... unless the whole party are low on resources.

    The circumstances where a player can die whilst others live are pretty narrow. Monster effects that directly cause death are the major risks - gibbering mouthers, mind-flayers, shadows...

  26. - Top - End - #56
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    Tanarii's Avatar

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    When I first started running my own campaign, TPKs were about once a week or so. Despite the players being warned it was a combat-as-war and potentially highly lethal game.
    Now that most of them are on their toes, it's about once every 3-4 weeks.
    (Both of those are very rough estimates, not actually referencing my campaign notes.)

    I always let it happen. In fact, I'm trying to kill the players, within the bounds of what the enemies would try to do and the rules of the system. It's actually pretty hard, between my not being a tactical genius, forgetting about creature's powers in the rush of combat, and the way 5e is balanced. Although the first 2 apply to the players too. Regardless, that means it's usually because the players have pushed too far in an adventuring day against reasonable challenges, or bitten off a bigger challenge than they can handle for a single encounter.

    Tier 1 characters are usually written off when it happens. 500 gp is too much to get them back, and they're effectively nobody important at that level.

    In Tier 2, players always have a backup plan to mount a rescue operation to recover the bodies for Raise/Resurrection, if they fail to return and check in with someone or other. In fact, it's one of the primary things henchmen are for, at least for Tier 2 characters. They're the ones that hire other PCs (typically needed for necessary power), and organize the rescue run.

    Edit: Oh yeah, I always laugh on the inside when it happens. Like any proper Evil, Tyrannical & Bad DM does.
    Last edited by Tanarii; 2018-01-04 at 07:18 PM.

  27. - Top - End - #57
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    Quote Originally Posted by ad_hoc View Post
    If an encounter is not allowed to be deadly, then the player's actions don't factor.

    Surely you can't be arguing that not allowing TPKs doesn't lower the difficulty.
    You made the claim that a DM isn't challenging them enough if they can overcome a challenge by their actions (removing the likely hood of a TPK). I am saying that's not true at all.

    The chance of something isn't eliminated if it could be overcome. It's only eliminated when it can always be overcome.

    If a TPK can always be overcome, then yes, I'll agree that it needs to be more challenging.

  28. - Top - End - #58
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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    When the players were still at 1st level there was almost a TPK when they assaulted an orc outpost without help. Other than that there haven't been a whole lot of near TPK situations.

    In my opinion as long as the party is given an opportunity to avoid combat, escape, parley or surrender it is usually fair to have a TPK. I disagree with the "waking up without stuff" concept. In my opinion if the party is defeated unless there is a logical explanation for why they would not be killed they are either taken prisoner or slain.

  29. - Top - End - #59
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    Flumph

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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    I generally think of TPKs as the result of something having gone wrong with the game, whether that be the DM or the players. Of course it is also possible to err on the side of not being challenging enough, but there isnít something as obvious as a TPK to show that this is the case.
    I had 2 TPKs way back in 2e (so around 20 years ago now), both of them were my fault and should have been avoided.
    One was as a DM, the players decided to attack a bartender because they saw a rat running through the bar. The result of that was the town guards came and arrested the PCs and they were hung. This was done by DM fiat, they didnít even get to roll for the fight itself. What I should have done differently is realize they were murderhobos that werenít interested in even a little bit of roleplaying and sent them straight into the action. Or, stat out the guards in the town so they could at least roll some dice while they were dying.
    One of them was as a player. I was a gnome illusionist and a mummy was attacking us. I threw greek fire and had a really good die roll. Somehow this meant everyone died but my character, and the DM made me reroll a character because everyone else was. I still donít know why this was the result of my characters actions, but I do remember everyone telling me it was a really bad idea but I did it anyways.
    More recently, I was involved in a near TPK in a PbP game. Two of us escaped from a party of 5 first level characters. One or two of the PCs didnít really know what they were doing, but more than that the DM was terrible at communicating things and had a fairly unrealistic final battle. If all the players knew what they were doing, we could have avoided it. If the DM had done a better job of communicating the situation, we could have avoided it. But the combination of the two meant several of us were going to die. This same DM has had several other disastrous campaigns, and Iím probably going to avoid his games from now on. Iím not averse to deadly campaigns: I once played in a game where we had about 100% turnover in the first day (not everyone had a character die, but some had more than one character die during that time), but it was great because the DM did an awesome job of making it come alive for us.

  30. - Top - End - #60
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    Default Re: Do TPKs happen at your table?

    Not a lot, but regularly enough that the players realize it's an option I'm totally fine with happening. Or, if they haven't experienced it, they've been told by older players in the group that I am dedicated to carrying it out if the dice go that way. I don't fudge dice for any reason, so it happens.

    As a player (like the whole 2 campaigns I've played and not ran in 20 years) there was only one real opportunity for it, but I convinced half the party to run away before it happened.

    Well... by convinced I mean my Mobile rogue dashed away and left everyone in his dust. Kind of forced the retreat there. Lost 2 guys though.

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