I can already picture my players as they’re reading this! Relax, I don’t intend to wipe out my party and I don’t suggest that anyone should plan to kill all the PCs in their game. But…
If I’m going to kill a PC I might as well do it right
And if I’m wiping out a party I’ll definitely make sure I make it memorable – maybe even fun! There aren’t many reasons to do this – becoming a nun, leaving to climb Mt. Everest without a guide, or taking a vacation in the Gaza strip could be reason enough to think the game will never be played again. Or maybe your players are incorrigible – even after you’ve thrown dice at them. In these rare cases you might need…
5 ways to wipe out a Dungeons & Dragons party
- Make it heroic
- The players might not mind as much if they feel like they chose to die for some greater cause – saving the world, getting a kitten off a tree, whatever.
- Make it a superhuman feat
- Killing a thousand orcs on the field of battle before being overrun by another thousand of them should leave the players with a feeling of satisfaction. If you don’t think 1000 orcs is impressive enough to make your party feel good just make it 2000.
- Use the why won’t you die technique
- Find a reason for the PCs to be able to absorb an incredible amount of damage before they die – a la Faromir in the LOTR. I think having an NPC – ideally an interesting NPC – scream “Why won’t they die?” will have a positive and lasting effect on party members – even after they get wiped out.
- Make it gory
- Vivid description of the scene is the key here. Nasty wounds on the battlefield. Torture. Being eaten by an undead. You name it. I would hope that if the scene is impressive enough, the players would remember it fondly even though their characters died in it.
- Go apocalyptic
- If everyone else dies with their characters, the players shouldn’t hold it against you.
Have you ever been happy your character died?
Let me know if you have any ideas about this. What kind of death is acceptable for a PC?