Total Party Kill

Total Party Kill (TPK), the bane of every D&D group. A situation where the characters get into a situation they cannot get out of or they make a bad choice and the entire party dies a horrible screaming death.Tonight that is just what happened in my game. This is only the second TPK to occur in this group in the last 15 years. I know it is a bummer when you loose a character, I have lost more than my fair share over the years and a TPK is magnified by the fact that everyone in game is bummed. There is almost always some passive aggressive “I blame the DM!” stuff going on and I totally understand that, because at the end of the day, I could have let them win, although I always point out, I never present PC’s with unwinnable fights, in fact just the opposite, I generally rig fights in their favor.

In this case they made an error in judgement, they assumed that destroying a Dracolich’s phylactery would destroy the Dracolich, when in fact it does not, doing so just keeps it from coming back later. They also assumed the phylactery would be unprotected, all the signs were there, but they charged in anyway. Between the blasting wards and the Dracolich recovering his breath weapon, the already wounded party was overwhelmed.

Fortunately for my players, we had adopted the Protege system from HackMaster, where the players could have a secondary character who is related to the primary PC in someway. The Mentor PC can transfer up to 25% of their experience points to the Protege PC. They can also provide the Proteges with gold, equipment and even magic items. The purpose of this is so if the players character dies, and they do not have access to Raise Dead, the player does not have to start over from 1st level, they have an established Protege who can step in with ease. They all decided to activate their Protege’s, I suspect it will be interesting later down the road when they come back to seek revenge on the Dracolich for the deaths of their Mentors.

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