Dungeons & Dragons Online

I got my first PK last night…

So I am a relatively new DM. My first campaign flopped after about 4 or 5 sessions. People just stopped showing up. This is my second campaign DM technically, but I consider it my first. It has been going strong for about 6 months now. I'm getting in the rhythm of making my own subtle stuff like shopkeepers and stuff like that. Well we have 6 people in the party playing Storm King's Thunder (Don't worry I won't spoil anything) and last night one of our players couldn't make it to the session. Things were supposed to pick up at this point, but I didn't want to leave her out so I decided to make my own single-session dungeon for them to do while her PC was "away on business" for a couple in-game days.

They took a job in Neverwinter to clear out a nearby cave of a Goblin infestation that has been terrorizing locals. (Keep in mind, 1 PC was missing so I specifically planned the cave and all the encounters for a party of FIVE PEOPLE) The party of 5 entered the cave and one of them chickened out and went back to Neverwinter because he didn't think it was worth it. So only FOUR people entered the cave. They searched around and found that the cave was actually infested by Ghouls, not Goblins.

It was relatively simple for a party of level 6's, but at one point the cave had a steep descent that they decided to go down. It wasn't difficult to climb down, but was difficult to climb up. At one point they decided to leave the cave (w/o clearing it) and only 2 PC's were able to scale back up the descent they came down. One of them thought it was smart to toss all his gear up (including his armor) and have the 2 PC's up top take it. The other 2 were rolling awful on their ability checks and decided to find another way around since a majority of the cave was still unexplored. The 2 that made it up decided to leave the cave and take a long rest (it was well past midnight and the players didn't want to suffer exhaustion) and left the other 2 stuck in the cave. The 2 left in a cave were a halfling arcane rogue and a dragonborn lore bard. The bard had no equipment at all except 2 potions, his sword, his shield, and his panflute. He didn't even have armor on.

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They progressed further down and down and down into this maze of a cave I made. (I wanted them to get lost and have trouble getting out. The way out was supposed to be harder than the actual fights down here) They eventually came upon the treasure hoard of the fiend down here. It was a Barbed Devil and 2 Ghasts. The devil was using the blessings of Orcus to create a colony of ghouls and ghasts to attack locals and eventually Neverwinter. Remember, at this point, a party originally of FIVE was now TWO. I expected them to turn back, grab help and come back, but no. They did not. They didn't even think twice. The bard ran in with a sword and shield and started attacking while the rogue took cover behind rocks and debris scoring sneak attacks whenever possible. The bard knew the ghasts had a paralysis poison on their claw attacks and drank his potion of poison resistance.

I don't entirely know how, but they managed to kill both ghasts and drop the devil to under 30 health, but it wasn't enough. The barbed devil dropped the bard first and I expected the rogue to flee, to try to get help to save her friend, but no. She didn't. She stayed and ran circles around this barbed devil as it struck at her and threw fire at her until she, too, dropped. It wasn't supposed to be hard at all. It was supposed to be somewhat of a challenge because a lot of my party is melee focused and the ghasts and ghouls could paralyze them, but no one was supposed to die. Meanwhile, the other 3 PC's were asleep in the tavern. It was my first kill and my first double kill. I felt so bad. I didn't know what to do.

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The 3 living PC's woke up and realized their companions weren't back yet so they went into the cave. The 3 living PC's were a ranger, a barbarian, and a cleric. They cleaned out the cave like it was nothing (like it was supposed to be) and held a funeral for their fallen comrades…

TL;DR: A party of FIVE entered a dungeon designed for a party of FIVE. ONE chickened out early, TWO chickened out later and went to sleep. Leaving only TWO party members to fight a "boss" designed for a party of FIVE, which inevitably led to their demise (and my first 2 PK's as a DM)

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