View Full Version : The TPK: Players Perspective

Xaels Greyshadow
12-28-2007, 06:30 PM
Some ways that I can tell a DM is pretty much against the party and not leading a campaign:

1. None of the other players seem to be having fun.
2. Each encounter begins seeming beyond the total party level.
3. Combat drags on and on almost never ending and I am wondering if all the monsters can be dealt with.
4. More than the DMG percentage of encounters are deadly.
5. DM is overly secretive and or controlling with rolls or information.

Some things can be laid down purely to a fledgling DM that doesn't know how to adjust his game to the level of PC's and/or players, and when approached on the subject is willing to listen in the "AAR" or After Action Review. This is something I like to do at the end of a session to get feedback from players as to how they think the game went. If players want to find lot's of treasure and magic items and such, I'm fairly content to meet their needs in the name of having fun and being a "True Fantasy Hero."

I have played in games where we have been being killed off slowly one at a time and wondered amongst ourselves during the breaks if we wanted to venture down the next dark hallway or open a door for fear that the DM had some diabolical sinister way devised to kill off another PC and simply laid it off on us as not being able to find the weakness of a monster/demon/devil and exploit it to win/survive an encounter. Thats purely a load of smelly dung. If I were in a large room of bloody chains swinging from the ceiling, and unknown to me the creature that I am locked in mortal combat with is a Chain Kyton, yes my father forgot to tell me about them and most importantly, how to defeat/destroy one, I would probably die since I already know that running away would be futile as some other horror is lurking nearby waiting to rend the flesh from my low level body.

Each game should contain encounters that heroes can and do successfully survive, a little dented and dinged, scratched and cut for the most part, but all baddies dispatched with a flourish. A couple of dangerous encounters that may knock a PC down and out, but not kill. And the dreaded, way over your head and I want to see if your smart enough to just run away and live to fight another day. As a DM, I take no pleasure killing those PC's that look at each other and you hear the "Come on man, we can take him." I try to avoid killing them if after a round or so they really think they can do it, but should they decide not to heed the signs of the gods, I normally kill them very slowly in some horrible and sick fashion and then tell them, or sometimes show them the DMG and say "That was the encounter you were supposed to be smart enough to avoid. It's right here in the book, and the creature played no part in the overall adventure/campaign, he was just there to make things really really dangerous."

DM's don't cheat. They have power and control issues, but don't cheat. DM cheating is something that I have had some minor experience with, but can't really say for certain because I just stopped playing with their group. As a player, you should be able to quickly tell the difference between a DM making a mistake, and seeming to always be making mistakes that sway favor or balance away from the party. As a DM, I prefer to and prefer that my DM make my Spot, Listen, Open Lock, Disable Device and a couple of other checks, as outlined in the Core Books. If I have to roll a die as a player, then I know something is up, if the DM tells me I hear something, then I heard it. If I miss a die roll, then I know there was something to hear, but didn't, Follow me ? If there is something about the DM that makes me feel uncomfortable with the way they are conducting their game, I may be being cheated. Follow me again ?

At 39, D&D is my outlet. No psychological issues that I am going to publicly declare, hehehehe, but when I play or DM, I get to be a hero. Xaels Greyshadow, master rogue, shadow of the night, thief of fair maidens hearts and killer of all that is evil and foul. As DM, I get to tell a story that players interact with. I get to use my imagination. I can add, subtract, multiply or divide any published campaign or adventure. It's no fun when the DM is constantly going on about what's next to challenge me, insert word "Kill" there. That's overtly a DM telling his party he is out to make things as difficult for them as possible and if they survive it will be a miracle. There is nothing better than a few hours of fun that I actually enjoy comming home and recanting my tales to my kids and girlfriend while they look at me googly eyed and say I'm crazy.

12-28-2007, 07:01 PM
The DM who is confrontational and sees the game as 'Me against them'. I have played with killer DM's. One of my first DM's was like this. We would go through several characters a day sometimes. When He got bored or the players started to get 'too powerful', TPK time. Later, when I experienced a good DM, I couldn't believe all that we had endured and continued playing despite of it.

The DM who believes 'It is all about Me'. I have played with the cheater DM. The one who rolls just for the sound of it, but knows if it will succeed or fail before the die hits the table. They tend to have a story or world that is more important than the players. The last would rule zero every time he was caught bending the rules past breaking. One of the last games I joined was like this. The DM was only concerned with his fun, and changed rules on whims only to change them again later when it best suited his desires.

The power trip DM who believes 'Everything is Me'. I have even experienced this type of DM for short periods. One was a bad Warhammer player who decided he could DM a D&D game. He could never get out of the wargame and was just too thrilled to be in the driver seat. Anything went depending on his moods and when he decided to 'win'.

When I DM, I try to never make the 'run away or die encounters'. On the rare occasion I cheat, it is in the players favor because things are going bad despite their best effort.

12-28-2007, 08:31 PM
Wow I just asked about this yesterday and this wonderful thread popped up. Anybody else have any stories? I can't get enough of this kind of these "actually friggin happened!" stories :D

Xaels Greyshadow
12-29-2007, 12:51 AM
Ask, and ye shall receive. Seek, and ye shall find. Knock and doors will open for you. When all else fails, find a Bard and A Rogue. While the bard sings and woo's the dragon with his song and praise, the rogue willl steal all the treasure.

12-29-2007, 01:20 AM
... I do tend to kill players who are not used to my style...

Not because I'm on a power trip, but I find that some players just always expect to win no matter what. They won't negotiate, they kill NPC's because they can, and all that jazz...

All my normal players know that I work hard to give them what they come for, and that's a challenge where they get to pit their wits and skill against the encounter. Let me say that again for clarity, they're not playing against me, they're playing against the scenario.

I love battle mats, and my combat scenarios tend to be tactics heavy and if you run around willie-nillie, generating AoO's, you'll probably come out on the bad end. I've often had to fudge to benefit the PC's because I went a bit far in my design, but I'm always willing to work with them to reward their effort, and if I have a hot dice day, I won't kill them for that.

On the other hand, if they walk into the dragon's lair w/o prep or scouting, and expect to just walk out with their fabulous gifts and prizes, they will catch an "L".

I tend to start out newbies with humanoid opponents, and get increasingly complex with their tactics. At 1st level, you'll have some warriors rushing pell-mell into combat, @ 2nd maybe they form up in ranks @ 3rd they start using reach weapons, and flanking, and so on... by the time you're 6th level you best to believe I'll have the henchmen flank you and aid another while fighting defensively so one of them has a +4 to hit you and the other one essentially takes a shot in a dark to try to hit your AC with massive penalties.

All my regulars do fine, and excel in other DM's games. It's just that transition from the video-RPG "it's handed to you on a platter" mindset to the "you perform dangerous, life threatening jobs for fame, fortune and glory" mindset that involves the lion's share of character fatalities.

P.S. yes sometimes the dice are against you, and I can't not kill you repeatedly, but I do reward heroic/unavoidable deaths with bonuses in character generation (stat/equipment/feat bonuses,etc...) Even as a player, sometimes you know you're doomed, and I tend to opt for the 'blaze of glory'. I find it dramatic, satisfying and memorable.

Grinnen Baeritt
12-29-2007, 04:54 AM
Sometimes this sort of stuff happens, a lot of the time in spaceships...

Anyway, my perspective on this is that is often better to be part of a TPK than not being the subject of DM favortism which is FAR worse.

As part of a TPK the only resentment might be against the DM (and if he is adversarial he will be expecting it..;)). Resentment of another player because of favortism (percieved or otherwise) will flow over into RL.

12-29-2007, 08:00 AM
As a dm I only had a TPK once. My PCs were dead set on hunting down and killing this blue dragon who was clearly over their heads. They had a brilliant plan, but dragons are every clever. The battle was horrendous. When the end came, it was the party mage/thief (2nd edition rules played by my brother) and the dragon as the last men standing. Both were horribly wounded. They rolled initiative, the mage/thief went first. He was toe to toe with the dragon so he smashed his almost fully charged staff of power. He died, the dragon died, and that was the end of the game.
Also, I like to use run away or die once in a while. Usually it's only good with experienced pcs though.

12-31-2007, 07:38 AM
I try not to TPK, but I also have encounters that the players can run into that are beyond their abilities. I don't place those kinds of encounters in the direction(s) that the party is supposed to go, but I try to make my campaign world as real as possible, and that means that there will be things that are beyond their current capabilities.

All of the players who have played with me for a while know this, and they inform any new players of this as we game.

So far, I've never had a TPK during a normal campaign. It has happened when I've run games at conventions, but those are campaign games and sometimes, parties just don't know enough not to break down that extremely strong door, that has a lock so strong that the thief can't possibly pick it!;)

12-31-2007, 09:45 AM
I have yet to personally have a TPK, thought I have had multiple encounteres where it was very close. Mostly those encounters were actually well balanced final encounters coupled with a little bad luck on the players side.

Just the other day, what was supposed to be a roleplaying acounter turning into a fight with 4 skeletal dire Rats turned into a Near TPK because the players tried to subdue the bone wizard (3rd level) by force. The kobold sorcerer was sent negative when he charged through the threatened zone, after getting wounded from earlier charging into melee. The generally non-combatant NPC Archivist killed all the skeletal dire rats because the Skarn Warblade has piercing and slashing weapons, but not bashing, which the archivist had. He didn't think of picking up a chair from the dining table he was fighting next to.

My other close ancounters included an older white dragon the characters were warned about, but that avoided a TPK thanks to the self sacrifice of the Dwarven Paladin.

I think mosty I've been plessed in avoiding TPK's because I've been so far blessed with players who know how to shout the phrase, "RUN AWAY!!!!"

12-31-2007, 12:19 PM
I do my best to keep the challenge ratings in my games in line with what the players should be facing. However, I make it clear in my games that if the characters go off the beaten path, I'm not responsible for how difficult or deadly things may get. I'm more than happy to let players go their own direction in the world. But, if they decide to go into a dangerous area that is populated by mean and vicious nasties that are way above their level, I'm not going to tone it back just so they can survive.

12-31-2007, 04:58 PM
But, if they decide to go into a dangerous area that is populated by mean and vicious nasties that are way above their level, I'm not going to tone it back just so they can survive.Well said. I'm all for players taking the initiative to flesh out the campaign as they see fit but in the case that they decide to go into dangerous territory, I'm not going to make it less dangerous while they pass through it.

01-01-2008, 01:22 AM
I don't think I have ever had a true TPK. I have killed many player characters and come close. Usually one somehow escapes to tall the tale. There was one occasion where everyone who showed up was killed. That might count, but two of the six players didn't show that night. The others wouldn't heed my warnings, and continued the foolishness despite my best efforts to let them escape. :confused:

One of the last groups seemed to constantly be running close to extinction. It was transparent to me, that one player was intentionally maneuvering to be the most powerful in the group. His wizard would suggest really bad plans which the group would act upon, only to have the wizard flee/teleport away when they really needed him. The wizard would also stand around buffing himself instead of helping, then oops accidentally catch a PC in his area of effect. ETC.

01-01-2008, 01:27 AM
His wizard would suggest really bad plans which the group would act upon, only to have the wizard flee/teleport away when they really needed him. The wizard would also stand around buffing himself instead of helping, then oops accidentally catch a PC in his area of effect. ETC.I think I would find it hard to be patient with somebody who posed as a team player but left his party in the lurch when his plan started to fail. Just wrong. I'd probably go out of my way to punish him bwahahahaha! Well maybe...

01-01-2008, 05:16 AM
Yeah, that is just wrong. I'm surprised the other PCs didn't kill him in his sleep.

That kind of activity will destroy the fun of the game real quick.

Digital Arcanist
01-01-2008, 12:31 PM
We had a player in one of my recent groups who played a very powerful monk but took the Vow of Peace. He pretty much stood around and "watched our backs" while we worked through encounters. He then had the nerve to demand his share of the loot to donate to his temple. We got so sick of his behavior we ended up giving him the boot from the group. The only time he ever threw a punch was at our half-orc rogue, who engaged him in a philosophical debate concerning the similarities between humans and orcs.

01-01-2008, 03:36 PM
For you DM's who have had to ask a player or demanded a player leave the group, does that ever go over well? Do they just get up and leave peacefully or is it a scene out of a daytime soap opera?

Digital Arcanist
01-01-2008, 09:24 PM
The player in question was a bully and a big child. He called us names and spread lies about us. Fortunately for us, the player had no credibility and as far as I know he is a persona non grata in the gaming community here.

01-02-2008, 06:16 AM
I've had players leave the group in a big stink, they weren't kicked out, just got mad and left all pissy. I've also been in groups where we've kicked players as a group decision. We don't ever take that kind of decision lightly, and try to work out our differences before the big kick, but they usually go pretty well.

But so far, we haven't had too much trouble with kicking someone out of the group, it's just those who get mad and leave the group that we've had trouble with!:D

01-02-2008, 09:59 AM
Skunkape: under what conditions have people gotten mad and left? PC death or they just didn't like the way the story was going or?

01-02-2008, 08:03 PM
I only once had to physically remove a player. He was as irritating as they come. When I told him he was no longer wanted, he seemed fine. He then started asking the rest of the players what they thought. One by one they all told him they were sick of his B.S., even his friend who he had initially brought to the game. Then the whining and complaining started. After a few minutes, I told him it would be best for him to just leave. My friend Dave then warned him, "You better not Make him angry!" Sure enough, he snatched up his character sheet and ripped a page of my pristine Fiend Folio. The blood rage took me then...

We once had a player leave with his pants around his feet as we snapped him with wet towels. For some reason he did start getting rather angry. He couldn't get enough and returned the next day, and played for years after that. That was more hazing than asking to leave, good times...

01-03-2008, 12:59 AM
My books are like my children. Two years after owning one, if it doesn't look as good the day I brought it home then I've done it wrong. I would have gone ape #*$& if somebody ripped one of my books. Must remind myself to have a dog before I start hosting local games. If somebody gets out of hand I can always pull the old "nutcracker" routine from the movie K9 :D

01-03-2008, 10:46 AM
Skunkape: under what conditions have people gotten mad and left? PC death or they just didn't like the way the story was going or?

Both actually!:D

That's not to say that I'm an adversarial DM, trust me, I run the game for both my players and myself to have fun, you just can't please everyone all of the time, so if someone gets so mad they don't want to play, sorry, but I'd rather have them leave than have me make them leave.

I have had and continue to have players complain about how I handle something, but mostly, the complaints have always been unfounded in my opinion. For instance, I might get a complaint like, hey, he shouldn't be able to do that, that's not following his alignment. I've told my players again and again, I really don't like the DnD alignment system, so although you've selected alignment 'A', that won't penalize you as much as not following your god's dogma.

I've tried to give the players enough information on the available gods so that they'll know what will be allowed and what won't. So that's what I'm more interested in than a particular alignment, plus, I found a website where someone compared the Paladium alignment system to the DnD one, and the Paladium alignment system I think is a little better explained, so I follow that one a lot more closely that the straight DnD one.

01-03-2008, 11:41 AM
Any chance you have a link to the comparison between the Paladium and D&D alignment systems? Sounds like very good reading.

01-03-2008, 02:19 PM
I don't know where the original link is at, but I took what was written and posted it on my site.

DnD/Paladium Alignments (http://www.johnprime.com/wizard_quest/characters/index.php?invoke=Alignments)

I really need to take a moment to find the link and post it on that page, but I do referrence the authors of the system.

01-03-2008, 03:57 PM
I've been on both sides of TPK's... and hated both sides equally.

It sucks when a party wants to do a good deed, but just makes stupid decisions and the poop hits the fan.

I like realism in my games. If an adventuring party walks into town and guts the bartender, then guts the guy at the smithy, then guts an acolyte at the local temple, the officials are going to be quite ticked off by all the deaths. Is it really a surprise when there is a price on your head, and a cup of ale costs 150gp... if you get served at all?

And if you KNOW there are shadows in a chamber, doesn't it just seem prudent to use some buffs prior to blinking down to engage them?? (I hated jumping in on that one... my pride took a bigger beating than my character!)

01-03-2008, 05:06 PM
After reading a great deal of the threads posted to this board in the last couple of months I can't help but feel extremely wary of who I game with. I'm wondering if I should do interviews before I get into any adventure too big. I can't stand the thought of playing a mystery scenario or adventure full of puzzles and riddles with people who never pay attention to what you've said. Many stories posted seem like the players are generally mindless, thoughtless, or completely selfish. I couldn't imagine being in the middle of a massive campaign and constantly feeling like I wanted to ring the neck of a player or two that just didn't care much about the game. I would think anybody coming to a game would be excited about the experience and really put their heart into it. However, from what I've read in the last couple of months, it would seem that a great deal of people just show up to play and put very little heart for effort into making the experience enjoyable for anybody but themselves. This I find quite disheartening.

01-03-2008, 06:37 PM
I've never TPK'd in almost 30 years. Don't believe in it, takes the fun away from the game. If players are being stupid I'll just turn their arms into snakes, polymorph them into chickens, teleport them naked somewhere. Stupidity rarely lasts more than one gaming session.

I have played with killer DM's, rarely more than once. One guy ran a party of 4 1st level, one 2nd level, and one 5th level characters against and 11th level sorcerer and his flesh golem servant. We never had a chance. I lasted all of 5 minutes. Took a lightning bolt square in the chest. At first level. Really fair. We all got up and went to a party members' house and played a real game.

01-03-2008, 06:47 PM
One add on to my other post

As a DM, you have to know your players. Just like a good performer knows his audience. If your players don't like puzzles, don't give them puzzles. If it's a kick-in-the-door-and-charge kinda party, then give them lots of doors to smash and hordes of kobolds to hack.
My friend Jeff loved the Great Cleave feat, so I made sure every adventure had at least one encounter where he could put his enchanted greataxe to good use. My friend John likes a good puzzle, so I give him riddles to solve, tricky traps to disarm, etc. I'm not a big role player, don't really enjoy a huge amount of dialogue in my game. My friend Jim DM's ALOT of dialogue, so I usually pass when he runs a game. I just get bored. And bored players act stupid.

If a player or party comes up with a great plan, plays intelligently, but seems to only be able roll 2's and 3's, I will let them slide a little. Lady Luck can be a real, well, she can be difficult some nights. Basically, don't deliberately set out to smoke PC's. There are other, sometimes worse, things you can do to straighten out a player who is acting like an idiot. I've kicked people off of my game before, always with the blessing of the group.

01-03-2008, 08:18 PM
If a player or party comes up with a great plan, plays intelligently, but seems to only be able roll 2's and 3's, I will let them slide a little. Lady Luck can be a real, well, she can be difficult some nights. Basically, don't deliberately set out to smoke PC's.I think most who responded to this thread said they give their players some head room on nights where they're having a bad time with the dice. I think there is a big difference between maintaining a realistic setting and being a rules lawyer. I think a really good DM knows when to fudge rolls and let things slide and when a player needs a sound wake up call. If the DM's first reaction to a player acting out is death, then find a new game to play in. Well I would anyway :D

01-04-2008, 05:54 AM
After reading a great deal of the threads posted to this board in the last couple of months I can't help but feel extremely wary of who I game with.

When it comes down to it, D&D is a social game. In order to have fun it requires work from all people involved.

Combine that with the fact that many players are of the variety that isn't socially adept, it can make for interesting situations. I liked the Shrek 3 reference to the "gamer" type in the High School parody land... "They are busy trying not to fit in."

All that said, there are just as many times where D&D gives you situations you would never find in any other style of game. When somebody tries a crazy stunt to bring a chandelier crashing on the big villian making a dominating speach and succeeds, you and your players will always remember it. Or for that matter, the player fails and falls with the chandelier right in front of the villian.

The point is, that yes sometimes you run into personalities that don't mesh, and you have to be ready to deal with it. Personally I wouldn't directly confront them in front of a group... I'd talk privately with them. Most people want to have fun, and if they know they are out of line and you approach them humbly but firmly, they just might shape up. As a DM, you have to take charge, and you have to do it in a way that people enjoy the experience.

Shoot, now I'm ranting too much, better watch out for that chandelier myself.

01-04-2008, 03:33 PM
That actually makes a lot of sense. Unless a player was going out of their way to disrupt the entire group I would wait until I had a moment alone with them to talk about the behavior. I think I would much rather have to deal with some unpleasant situations than save myself the trouble and not experience any face-to-face gaming at all. I think I've played alone long enough :rolleyes:

01-05-2008, 12:51 AM
While I haven't had to give anyone the boot for awhile, the last guy just got an email. Nice and easy. You know,
"Dear John, Your ignorance of the game, ridiculous power-gaming ways, constant complaining, and the way you make such disgusting sounds snacking at the game table has put a wedge between us. I am afraid you are no longer welcome at my game. P.S. Your character is dead Hahahahahahahahahahah!!!!"

Well, when you go
Don't ever think I'll make you try to stay
And maybe when you get back
I'll be off to find another way

And after all this time that you still owe
You're still the good-for-nothing I don't know
So take your gloves and get out
Better get out
While you can

When you go
Would you even turn to say
"I don't love you
Like I did

Sometimes I cry so hard from pleading
So sick and tired of all the needless beating
But baby when they knock you
Down and out
It's where you oughta stay

And after all the blood that you still owe
Another dollar's just another blow
So fix your eyes and get up
Better get up
While you can
Whoa, whooa

When you go
Would you even turn to say
"I don't love you
Like I did

Well come on, come on

When you go
Would you have the guts to say
"I don't love you
Like I loved you

01-05-2008, 12:56 AM
After the email was it done or did he come to the next game or at least reply with lots of horrible things to say about your DM skills?

01-05-2008, 10:15 AM
He never replied to my email or showed up at the game. He did send an email to a player who he thought might be sympathetic. It was quite the opposite though, as the players had repeatedly complained to me and made fun of him behind his back, especially that player. I will not tolerate bullying and mean spirited teasing at the game table. My protection had actually saved him from really knowing how much he was disliked. After the email we were shown, several of the players sent 'twitchy' very direct no-holds-barred emails to sink the point home.

01-05-2008, 10:34 AM
He never replied to my email or showed up at the game. He did send an email to a player who he thought might be sympathetic. It was quite the opposite though, as the players had repeatedly complained to me and made fun of him behind his back, especially that player. I will not tolerate bullying and mean spirited teasing at the game table. My protection had actually saved him from really knowing how much he was disliked. After the email we were shown, several of the players sent 'twitchy' very direct no-holds-barred emails to sink the point home.

Do you know if this event has ever been posted elsewhere on the net? Reason I ask is it sounds very much like an event I read elsewhere. Don't remember which forum I read it on, but the thread was talking about problem players.

01-05-2008, 11:35 AM
I have posted this story twice before, to my recollection, so it is possible. It is hard to say for sure if it was mine.

I have posted many of my stories many times. Probably the most posted (about 10 times to my remembering) is,

I ran into many players like 'Sam' over the years. My worst was in 2e, lets call him Clay (mainly because that was his name, screw protecting peoples identities). I had just taken over DMing my brothers Saturday group. My brother had found a posting on a bulletin board at the local game shop from a person claiming to be 'highly experienced, mature, and a serious roleplayer'. When Clay returned my brothers call on Saturday morning, I agreed to meet with him in a few hours before we were to play.

Clay showed up at my house in a gold colored 1960 chevy under a cloud of blue smoke. He waddled to his trunk and retrieved several folders out of a blue plastic tote. He bounced to the door avoiding several puddles in the yard to shake my hand. Clay was quickly approaching 50, 350 lbs, bald except for a ring of greasy 2 foot hair which ran from ear to ear, and smelled of rancid babypowder.

We sat at the kitchen table and I offered some coffee. Clay declined as he only would put tea into the temple that was his body ?! As I sipped at my hot coffee, Clay lovingly opened his folders to reveal his characters. The calligraphy was quite beautiful, but the glitter sequins and childish looking character sketches detracted from the overall presentation. As he explained how his last DM had tried to wrongfully take away his achievements, I looked them over more thoroughly.

The lowest ability score on the three characters was a 20. Each character had a double sided page listing all his magical items and equipment. The pages of accomplishments were even more unbelievable. He said he would agree to play one of his characters in my campaign, if I would agree to several stipulations. I nearly spit my coffee across the table.

I must agree to change the pantheon of gods to reflect those he had killed. I was to not allow anyone to play an evil character or allow infighting. His items could not be stripped and his accomplishments were not to be taken lightly! Nobody could order out for chinese food during the game.?! As the demands continued, the rest of the group had started to arrive.

I tried to explain that we played a more realistic game and the snickers started. I explained he could play a real game with a new character and us, or go role play away his days waiting for another Jim (the DM who gave him this stuff) to come along. He began to get very red and agitated. I then said the group was all evil and Chinese was on the menu. He grabbed his characters and stormed out the door as the laughter followed him to his car.

01-05-2008, 03:08 PM
That is both scary and hilarious. If he had stayed I would hate to be the player who had to sit next to this guy. What shocks me is that people like this actually exist and think their "holier than than thou" persona is not only acceptable but should be nurtured and catered to by strangers. I'm glad he was humiliated a little on his way out.

01-06-2008, 01:45 AM
Yes, every once in a while, there are players who you would like to torture. Maybe, repeatedly kill their character just to find their breaking point. I guess it just isn't good karma to torture people a little different than ourselves. Its not really in my nature. ;)

In the end, most players are decent folk just looking for fun. It is never fun to give players the boot, but may have to be done for the greater good. Killing off characters is not the mission of a good DM, but sometimes it is also for the greater good.

01-06-2008, 01:52 AM
I've never had a TPK outside of a convention game. I don't like them in the rare cases it does happen. As the DM I have the most fun when the players are having fun. Fun is the sole reason I am doing it. You need the threat of character death. It's a spice that quickens the blood if you will. PC deaths keep people on their toes. Frankly, get off your toes and I will flatten your PCs faster than you can find a d20. "I" am never out to get the PCs. My circumstances or NPCs certainly can be out to get the PCs and I will play them to that end.

Fun, that is why I'm here. When fun is had, I have fun.

01-06-2008, 01:57 AM
That was fracking hilarious!!! Thanks for the good laugh, I needed it. :D

I wish I would run into a Clay myself. Adjust the game world for the gods his characters killed- oh man, that kills me! No stat under 20? :rolleyes:

01-06-2008, 03:14 AM
Holy crap I just got the "no stat under 20" bit. WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? So this guy had played these characters forever and wanted you to allow him to continue or he had created them and another DM had allowed them or? Didn't quite follow that. Couldn't stop thinking about the smell of baby powder. That bit just freaked me out.

01-06-2008, 11:13 AM
The ring of two foot greasy hair didn't help either ;). No chinese food? WTH is that about anyway?

That reminds me of some guys I knew but never played with way back in the early 80's. They told me about their games luckily, and after hearing about the games I declined to play with them.

They were definition of 'Monty Hall' style of play. One of the guys had a +50 sword. Someone made a Arrow of God Slaying. They literally had a Deities and Demigods book where the crossed out the god that was slain by this magic item. I was shown the book and which gods were slain.

There was a list of other insane magic items they had, and their exploits in gaming. But those two have stuck in my mind over the years.

01-06-2008, 11:56 AM
Clay played these characters with his original DM. While I tried to explain how ridiculously overpowered his characters were, he continued to insist that he earned these characters with the greatest DM of all time (his friend Jim). I pointed out that if he looked at the rules, there was no way his characters could have killed all these gods. I spelled out the fact that these human characters would have died of old age before accumulating tens of millions of experience points. I made it very plain, so as not to confuse him, that even with that strength his character could not even carry all that equipment and magic items. Nothing seemed to sink home...

I met several other players who played in very unrealistic/ rules breaking games over the years. There were power gaming, rules lawyering, foolish weasels with the very inception of the game. Some, just didn't know any better.

So, while I hate to repost stories over again and bore people, here is another that kind of fits in with the whole TPK aspect of this thread...

In a recent group I DMed for, we had a rather horrible moment. The campaign started in a D&D world, progressed into the modern world, then returned to the home brew D&D world. The story was about an evil wizard who had developed a spell that warped time. The wizard was bringing modern items back to his own time in an attempt at world domination. The low level party had no chance against this wizard and were stuck in a dark future. After many adventures adapting and becoming shadow chasers in the future, the group found a way to return to the past. The group consisted of six characters who were really screwed up due to the sudden mixing of D&D classes with Modern classes. They were all about 15 total levels each, very powerful, and armed to the teeth with tricked out modern weaponry. After one quick battle upon their return, they found a room of portals. Without any experimentation or investigation, they walked into a portal. One by one they followed the leader into the vacuum of space. Since it was time to end for the night, I decided to leave them hanging as I tried to decide on how to rescue the game. One of the two newest players, both brothers in their 20's, started to cry and quickly left. They never returned...

Digital Arcanist
01-06-2008, 01:12 PM
Let me tell you the tale of a Drow Duskblade who sought fame and fortune in the surface only to be snuffed out by a pompous ass.

A group of close friends and I started a nice little group led my a DM named Tim who actually thought of himself as beautiful.

Our characters played traveled across the main continent fighting evil and finally helping to defeat a reincarnated half-fiend warlord bent on conquering the known world.

Throughout our escapades my character often broke from the party to scout around and do roguish things. I came across a cursed Kingdom where the oncoming forces were camped. I snuck around for a few days in the castle looking for clues and stealing items. I found the vault one evening and exhausted all my spells to break into it. I was rewarded for my ingenuity and stealth with a Ring of Three Wishes, a Deck of Many Things, and a Frostbrand a;ong with some jewels and coins. Now the ring and sword I took from the cursed king's person and the deck and jewles were from the coffers in the vault. I also stole plans for an aqueduct and some geological surveys of the surrounding land.

I traveled back to the party and from there we rode to the southern kingdom where our employer, the king, was. I gave him my information about the advancing army. On the side I sold him the plans for the aqueduct and the surveys. He paid me handsomely and I invested in a play house and college.

I used a huge portion of the money to divine the nature of the ring, sword, and deck. The DM told me exactly what they were and gave me the pages in the DMG to look at. I also asked if any of the items were cursed. He told me they were fine. Well the rest of the players overheard that I got some treasure they didn't and threw a fit. The DM stood up for me and said that I took the most dangerous job and brought back the information needed to save the kingdom.

To make matters worse, I felled the warlord and saved the kingdom by using my Frostbrand to put out fires. Everyone praised my name but of course the players were pissed because two of them died. They were of course resurrected for free.

We then traveled to another continent at the behest of the cleric's deity. We actually got there on a massive ship, I bought as well. On this new continent we found a strange race of beings besieged by evil forces. We followed some clues to a dungeon that was apparently a prison for this super-powered vampire thing. It bespelled us and we were sent back to the main continent to take it over. To get there, we had to travel back through the strange settlements. While there, these beings discovered we were evil now and fought us. They killed the cleric, knight, and the rogue in the first round. I used my ring to whisk myself, the wizard, and fighter away.

It is important to note that while adventuring on this new continent, the DM has been play-testing decks for a new CCG he liked instead of paying attention to us. Earlier on this final day of play, the DM came to me and said that he had to take back my Deck of Many Things and my Frostbrand because the other players were complaining too much. I was pissed but I said that was fine it means we can get along again.

Now upon wishing my "friends" away, the DM says the ring I was allowed to keep is actually cursed and we end up in the throne room of a lich. I carefully word my next wish and I wind up on the deck of my ship, but the ship is underwater and sinking because it was attacked by the strange beings on the new continent. I use my Silent Spell ability and cast Expeditious Retreat to swim through the wreckage and to the surface. I make it with one round to spare but am fatigued. I swim back to shore and spend a few hours resting.

Now I have to make it back home in hostile territory and all of my companions are dead and I have no gear. I dodge patrols for three days before being cornered by 20 of these beings and what was described to me as a hovering tank. I use a Missile Storm spell and chain lightning in the same round due to some feats and Duskblade abilities. I was able to kill or incapacitate 19 of the 20 guards and damage the tank minimally.

Now it being the enemies turn to attack, the remaining guard misses me but the tank fires an energy blast at me and I use my dodge ability to take only half-damage which is a lot but I'm still fighting. I use the last of my powerful spells to kill the guard and nearly destroy the tank. During this final round I am hit again by the tank and fall to 0 health. The DM says I lose my turn because I'm at zero but I have a periapt of health which is supposed to give me back half my points when I hit zero. The DM gets mad but lets me have it anyway. I get back into the fray again and destroy the tank but am caught in the resulting "nuclear" blast and get disintegrated.

At this point everyone but the DM is cheering me on. Even some passersby come to watch me and cheer me on. I get PISSED at his attitude and behavior. I ask him why my slaying spells didn't work on the beings and he replies that they are not alive. I ask why my shatter spells didn't work on them. He replies that they are not constructs, plants, or undead. We all ask what they are and he replies that they are advanced androids. I ask him how my ring became cursed and he said he just made it that way. We all got mad then and asked him why he killed everyone and he replied that he was getting bored and it seemed fun to do a TPK.

Since then, no one will game with him and those of us in the last campaign won't even speak to him.

So I think you all can see my stance on TPK's.:mad::(

01-06-2008, 01:36 PM
He needed to be shot in the face with a hammer-gun.


01-06-2008, 01:51 PM
Yeah, that's totally lame. What a bunch cry-babies! So what that you picked up a few extra magic items? What's even lamer is that he took them back because of the cry-babies.

01-06-2008, 10:38 PM
After one quick battle upon their return, they found a room of portals. Without any experimentation or investigation, they walked into a portal. One by one they followed the leader into the vacuum of space. Since it was time to end for the night, I decided to leave them hanging as I tried to decide on how to rescue the game. One of the two newest players, both brothers in their 20's, started to cry and quickly left. They never returned...Why did they start to cry? The way this sounds the game was just ending normally. Did they think the game was over or that they're characters were dead?

01-06-2008, 10:47 PM
Everything You SaidI can't believe that he took the items back, decided to change the ring to cursed because he felt like it, and killed everybody because he was bored. TPK isn't necessarily to blame here. DM's that are out to "win" or are only concerned with them having fun have no business being DM's at all. What a jerk.

01-07-2008, 07:26 AM
I have played with guys who weren't very good at 'winging it'. They don't really have anything prepared, but think they can handle flying by the seat of their pants for a session or two. They then run into problems because they lack a good foundation in the rules or can't see how far fetched things are getting.

This one did seem to be planning on screwing everyone over, which makes it that much worse. He could have at least made a short power scenario in which the PC's become super powerful and ride off into the sunset or at least die valiantly changing the world for the better.

01-07-2008, 08:50 AM
Seriously. If he was bored with a setting he could have shaken things up or ended it on a high note. Who uses a TPK because they're bored? I would think anybody could say such a choice wouldn't go over well. Either he didn't care about DM'ing that much or the guy was seriously dense.