My First, Actual TPK

They. All. Died.

Not only did they all die, but it ended the campaign. I’ve killed players before, but never the whole group, so it was a bit of a surprise when it happened. Let me give you some background.

I’ve faced this situation before. All of my players were new to the game, and we had been playing for a few months. One of the players made a bad decision which led to the decimation of the party at the hands of some very angry hobgoblins. I contrived a way to have them all survive that wasn’t too much like GM ex Machina, and we went on.

This time, it was different. This time, it happened in The Tomb of Horrors. (ALERT: SPOILERS!)

I knew all about the devil’s mouth at the end of the first hallway. I knew that countless players had lost their characters to the oblivion hidden inside of that fiendish maw. I even thought I might lose a character to it. I didn’t expect to have the majority of the party jump into the mouth, thinking it was the only way forward. But that’s exactly what happened.

The cleric went down at the hands of the four-armed gargoyle, and it looked like the stone beast was going to do for the rest of the party. They knew that the misty archway led either to a pit trap, or back to the entrance if the right buttons were pushed. They also knew that this gargoyle must have been some kind of terrible to have taken down the super-strong cleric. What they didn’t know was what the mouth contained, and I can’t say I blame them for the decision they made.

They all held their actions and decided to crawl into the mouth one right after the other. Sphere of Annihilation-style deaths commenced.

Maybe I didn’t do a good enough job explaining what happened to the items they tossed into the mouth (a light-spelled gold coin and a javelin, respectively), or maybe that devil-mouth is just a cheap kill. One thing’s for sure: we’re starting a new campaign soon.

[tags]rpg, Gming, gaming[/tags]

8 thoughts on “My First, Actual TPK

Add yours

  1. You didn’t have any obligation to maintain the module’s plan. You very easily could have had them teleport to a different location or enter a room that was magically darkened. There’s no reason to stick with an un-fun plan.


  2. Re: Keith

    If we weren’t having fun, I definitely would have changed things up.

    I’ve got the audio of the session posted here:
    [audio src="" /]

    Check it out, and see what you think.


  3. I remember the Tomb of Horrors. I went through it as a player when I was in middle school. My party fled and never went back to finish the job.

    I picked it up used at a yard sale a few years later, just for the read. Not a nice module and way too arbitrary. S2 White Plume Mountains was way better. G1-G3 Against the Giants was more fun.


  4. It actually makes me sad that I haven’t yet had any opportunities even close to this yet. At least the desert of no group is ending, I’m joining a D&D 4th edition group next weekend.


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