So, I think I fucked up. So backstory is that after receiving a message from a celestial from his god, the paladin of the party discovered that something lies on some islands off of the main continent that would help him for his journey. Eventually, they managed to get an airship and got to the island. They discovered that this island seemingly lies in the Shadowfell and as they went to the island they got teleported through filled with monsters. They found an elf on the island covered in dried bloodied rags with weapons underneath who was once of the same faith as the paladin but abandoned it and now rejects all of the gods. He then led them to a massive archway/gate blocked by darkness and told the party that the truth was behind the gate and that to discover the truth, they would need to pass through it. Essentially as they all passed it they saw visions from their past and twisted actions they could take if they wanted (e.g. the paladin could kill hundreds of innocents to get to those he swore revenge on, the cleric could torture the man that tortured his dad, the artificer could blow up the leaders of the city that were blocking what he considered scientific progress e.t.c.) My intention was for this to show twisted evil actions they could accomplish to achieve their goals. As I expected, they all rejected this action and were thrust out of the gate. It is also important to note that there were Wisdom saving throws that upon failure led to forms of madness.
Now after that the Cleric cast Commune and asked a question. I forget the exact wording of it but it was something along the lines of "Is the answer we are looking for lie beyond this gate" to which the god answered 'Yes'. Now that is the truth, however I had planned for alternative ways to get through it. However at this point they figured they could pass through the gate by doing the dark deeds. They announced this plan and passed through and I told them that this was a dark path they would walk down and it was not one they could walk back from. This was something that would change them forever. It was my intention to imply this was a bad decision that would change their characters but it didn't work and they passed through and committed the evil acts. This is where I ended the session.
Now my intention was for those that passed through to became Neutral Evil and lose control of their characters as they turned to a dark path. However it is heavily implied that the party are upset that they may have lost characters they have played for a while and I know the Cleric feels that this was done because I messed up the Commune Spell. I feel as if I've messed up and am not sure what to do. It doesn’t help that I advised them to make new characters for next session but changed my mind once I thought I got a read of the room. I need some advice please because based on the reaction from some of the players, I feel I may have just ruined a good campaign.
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