Dungeons & Dragons Online

Party had a (pretty-much) TPK last night…consequences?

Content of the article: "Party had a (pretty-much) TPK last night…consequences?"

The campaign has been running for a while now – four players started at level 1 and are now level 4. Two are long veterans that I've played with for a long time (Bard and Monk), one has been playing with us for about a year now (Fighter), and the last is brand new (Sorc). Everyone is great and enjoying themselves. They've gotten into a decent chunk of the plot, and several of their backstories are tied into the main plot through factions and etc.

Quick Backstory –

  • The party's nemesis and BBEG is a wizard of considerable power who has allied himself with a nation of pirates, so that he can use them for smuggling purposes, and they get to have his backup in re-taking what they believe to be their rightful homeland. The party has been hired to investigate these pirates, and kill the leader if possible.

  • They are in possession of some documents that they know the BBEG wants desperately, and are critically important to whatever his main scheme is.

  • The Fighter PC's mother is a member of these pirates. She was abducted many years ago during a raid, and then became a pirate herself (think Dread Pirate Roberts). He is angry at her for leaving (and somewhat emotionally stunted) so when he found out that she was part of the pirates, he told the party that she was actually the person who killed his mother.

Last Night's Session –

They elected to masquerade as merchant ships in order to be captured by the pirates and taken to their floating fortress, a la FO4's Libertalia, or Mieville's Armada. As they enter the fortress, they are shown that there are MANY pirates, numbering in the hundreds, with spellcasters, archers, fighters, etc. Their weapons are stripped and they are chained up in the dungeon room. The Mother NPC, hearing that her son has been taken prisoner, comes to rescue them. She gives them a few weapons that she could carry – a cutlass, dagger, and crossbow with 10 bolts – and tells them that she knows where their gear is and that they need to proceed carefully to get it. They cautiously agree to follow her since she can get their gear, and everyone but the Fighter NPC is very confused by her actions. The party and Mother NPC are able to sneak out a few rooms, but then they come across a room with three guards.

The Mother NPC is able to distract one of the guards, and separate him from the other two so that they can sneak past. At this point, the Fighter NPC does his best Leeroy Jenkins impersonation and charges the two other guards, yelling. I honestly think he thought it would be like Skyrim where rooms/stealth are disconnected from everything else. Of course the guards scream for back up and the fortress goes on red alert. They fight valiantly until a wizard casts Stinking Cloud into the room, and they are overwhelmed. All but one of them pass the death saves, and they are taken hostage again, unconscious. Of course, it's the brand new player who failed.

My original plan before and regardless of the TPK, was to have the Pirate King try to ransom the party off to the BBEG, which is why I had him capture them again rather than just kill them outright. The BBEG is known for having a horrible temper, and so I was going to have him wreak havoc on the floating city with spells and etc., revealing himself to be a much bigger threat than what the party has believed him to be, as up to now they simply think he's just a leader in the pirate nation. This chaos would allow them to be able to run and escape.

Consequences –

I'm not sure where the line is that turns from consequence to punishing the characters for trying to take on an entire fortress with minimal gear and no escape plan. My initial thought is to have the Pirate King tell them who Mother NPC really is, and then behead her in front of them for her treachery, which would be a pretty big plot consequence for Fighter NPC. They will also have lost the documents to the BBEG, who surely would have taken them the instant he arrives at the fortress.

What I didn't know, is if the pirates should have taken their gold and some of their magical items as well, as they're very fond of both. Any thoughts would be helpful.

TL;DR – party did something stupid, got one of their members killed, and the rest were knocked unconscious and captured. Are plot consequences enough, or should items/gold be taken as well?

Source: reddit.com

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