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D&D 3E
So I ran my first TPK today. Ended the campaign. Not on purpose, of… 
15th-Apr-2007 10:13 pm
chocobo
So I ran my first TPK today. Ended the campaign. Not on purpose, of course.

I'm not sure what I think about it.
Comments 
16th-Apr-2007 05:46 am (UTC)
Why'd you do it?
16th-Apr-2007 05:47 am (UTC)
I mean, you knew it was possible before you went in, right? If you knew it was possible, and you still went with it, it means you accepted it as a possible outcome and were cool with that.

Which means you should be pretty okay with that decision. Otherwise, why else would you have done it?
16th-Apr-2007 08:12 am (UTC)
If you find in time that you're really proud of it, hide that from your players. I've literally followed the PCs into Hell in order to reverse a TPK.
16th-Apr-2007 09:58 am (UTC) - I accidently did that a month or so ago.
It annoyed me. It was a good group of characters :P
16th-Apr-2007 01:21 pm (UTC) - Re: I accidently did that a month or so ago.
I don't think I'm actually THAT annoyed about it. I was running a home-brew campaign that was pretty restricted in order to test out some house-rules. I was becoming less enamored with the whole setup, and was getting ready to try something else.

We're all moving away during the summer, so the game was going to end soon anyway.

Of course, I had a couple neat events planned out in the story line. Shame the PCs won't be able to take part. But I promised I've give them a closing narrative so they know what happened (to an extent).
16th-Apr-2007 04:00 pm (UTC)
I had the same thing happen a few months back, but it was really the culmination of several game sessions that didn't go the PC's way that added to it.

I created the situation, knowing full well that the PC's should (and actually have in the past) deal with it with a moderate amount of difficulty. Unfortunately for them, they failed a number of important rolls.

I wasn't so much upset with myself for it, but I can say that I was disappointed.
16th-Apr-2007 06:02 pm (UTC)
That's it exactly. I don't think I did anything wrong (and neither do my players, since I talked it over with them). Maybe it is just disappointment.
16th-Apr-2007 04:18 pm (UTC)
TPK's can happen. The thing that gets me is the guy blaming you for it. The only way you could prevent it is if you hide all your dice rolls, and IMO all that does is give you an excuse to keep the party alive thru the story. Just the other day I almost killed the party rogue/beguiler because he got hit by all 8 darts from a poison dart spray and the damage/con damage almost did him in. The only thing that saved him was that death does not occur till the end of the round in my game and someone managed to stabilize him before then. Granted he was walking around with a max of like 18 HP's at 9th level for the rest of the dungeon, granted he stayed as invisible as possible.

It is going to happen, you can do your best to avoid setting it up overbalanced encounters, but at the same time a challenge is more fun to play. Keep the dice rolls visible in combat and go with the results, you can always find a way to bring them back if you have to.
16th-Apr-2007 06:03 pm (UTC)
I'm glad someone else agrees with me about that guy.
16th-Apr-2007 08:31 pm (UTC)
"That guy" never pointed any fingers of blame. All "that guy" said was that it should have been expected and understood from the beginning in a game in which it was even possible.

Please, folks, try reading the whole thing instead of picking and choosing a few choice bits and taking them out of context. That's how stupid falsehoods like Al Gore stating he invented the Internet get spread around.
16th-Apr-2007 11:26 pm (UTC)
I actually always hide my die rolls and stress a very strict standard of OOC knowledge and such anyway. One time I actually penalized someone 500 xp just for menioning offhand that there dexterity score was 16. Always thought stuff like that ruined a game. Broke the spell as it were. one way or another, I hide my die rolls not to change them, but because I dont like people getting so solid a picture of any individual situation just because they know one die rolls result.
as for TPK's. the point of D&D is risks of life and limb without a trip to the hospital. removing the chance for death or horrid dismemberment sucks the life out of it. if bad luck is present, I try to RP it off as ill-health, bad situations and the like, representing conditions that will hopefully, force the players into playing more conservatively with there characters lives. and if not, well then, they may die. Is it my responsibility? Partially, yes. but moreso, I think its there own. unless your railroading the storyline which is a whole other can o worms, the players always have a choice, as it were. players, moreso than the GM, should be prepared for a greataxe in the eye.
16th-Apr-2007 05:23 pm (UTC)
Coincidentally, I had a somewhat deliberate TPK recently in my game.

Long story short, the PCs (or at least one of them) taunted the wrong villain, and she lost her temper, levelling the group. The fight was unplanned, and the villain didn't even have STATS until I decided to have the fight.

The difference, I suppose, is that I run my games as interactive fiction/entertainment; a premature end to the campaign would wreck the story we're trying to create, so I always leave an out. (In this case, the group is carrying around a relic containing a fragment of the world's sole goddess, which kept them from dying - and drowning, as the battle was on a ship, and the ship sank as a result - until help arrived.)

My advice for the future is that for any given game, decide for yourself and/or discuss with your players which is more important to you: the survival of the plot, and by extension, the characters that make up the plot, or the vagaries of life and the ever-present possibility of permanent death. If you go with the former, you should always have a plot device handy to save the group's skins if they screw up. (I'm rather fond of the merciful villain, myself - rather than kill the party, they capture the group and imprison them, or send them back to civilization humiliated.)

That's not to say that they should learn that failure has no consequences. There are plenty of ways to humiliate, injure, main, torture, impoverish, or otherwise punish PCs for their mistakes... and not even death has to be permanent (if you don't want it to be).
16th-Apr-2007 06:10 pm (UTC)
That is very good advice. But for this game, I made a kind of executive decision that the campaign was over. The enemies they were fighting were all good guys, so would have probably saved and tried the PCs. But by failing in their mission, the PCs kind of derailed the plot I was working on. We could have kept going with the same characters, with them effectively starting back on square 1. So while the characters could have continued, the campaign was definately over--we'd be starting a new campaign either way.

Maybe I'll ask the players if they want to do that. I could probably continue running the characters (who they like), and maybe make it like 10 years in the future. I'm sure I could come up with something. But we do have another player who is running a game, so it might just be easier to let him run exclusively for the next few months until the group splits.

Thanks for your input though :) That was exactly the kind of thing I wanted to hear.
16th-Apr-2007 11:46 pm (UTC)
My advice for the future is that for any given game, decide for yourself and/or discuss with your players which is more important to you: the survival of the plot, and by extension, the characters that make up the plot, or the vagaries of life and the ever-present possibility of permanent death.

Huzzah to that. You worded it perfectly.
16th-Apr-2007 07:47 pm (UTC)
I don't really have any input, but I just wanted to say that there was som really good advice/feedback offered here.. this entry is a good read.



~Ray
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