Content of the article: "Did I accidentally kill my party?"
I am a DM for a 5e group of 5. They are all level 7. We've been playing somewhat regularly for around a year, I think. I am not sure why I'm saying this because it isn't particularly relevant, but I am concerned I accidentally killed my whole party.
They had this group of bad guys that they finally managed to track down into some caves and tunnels underneath a large city. I had been hinting at the possibility of cave-ins as they were exploring just as a bit of a looming shadow for their exploration of these caves. They have the fight with the baddies. It's a long drawn out fight. One of the baddies makes an escape and gets away. My party makes a tiny hut in the cave and goes to bed down.
I knew that we'd be off for a few weeks because of some personal things and the holidays. Sometimes when I present a problem to my group, I have a few ways in mind that they can work through it. Other times, I simply give it to them and see what they come up with, not having much of a solution. This is the latter.
At the end of this last session, after they went for a rest, I mentioned a monster they had previously snuck past roaring and stomping around. I mentioned some small rocks falling in the dark of the cave, plinking off of the tiny hut. And then the whole cave fell on top of them, completely covering the Tiny Hut. Then we ended for the night.
That was a few weeks ago and having talked to my players off and on since then, they genuinely have no clue how to get out of their current situation. The realistic end of this is that after the Tiny Hut falls from duration, the rocks and boulders fall in, crushing them.
My question is this: What do I do?
I have considered a few storylines that basically deus ex machina an escape for them, ranging from an actual god saving them to the party being lucky. But as much as that is an option, I feel like it removes some of the player agency and some of the genuine risk of the situation. I also feel like the accomplishment of them getting out on their own is not something I want to remove.
But at the same time, I have in mind that failure to get out is death for the party. They essentially had half a city dropped on them and there isn't really a way that you survive that if you're underneath it.
TL;DR – I dropped half a city on my party's tiny hut at the end of our last session. They seem to have no idea how to get out. I don't know what to do to not kill them.
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