Tuesday, March 5, 2013

To TPK Or Not

I read on forums all the time about some folks want to make an adventure a Total Party Kill or not.  Some seem to revel in.  Others are a bit averse.

Myself, especially as a DM/GM for kids, I don't hold the TPK very highly.  I think that first off, this is a game.  Games are meant to have fun and be a bit of escapism.There are plenty of things in realty that show us the grim reality of life.  TV news, First Person Shooter type games, and so on. 

I happen to think the game I run is more fun because it appeals to the "Hero" inside of us.  Sometimes even the "Arch-Villain" inside of us. It's an outlet to put one's imagination into action.

I don't write the adventures I have my kids play in with the intention of "me vs them" or even geared to outright attack the PC's from the moment the game starts.    I start with a mission.  Almost like writing a story or an outline of a story really, Then I leave a lot of room for random encounters.  It's the random encounters that really make it a challenge.  But random encounters don't necessarily have to be rolled out on the tables. 

This is where the DM's creativity gets to shine.  Perhaps a thief that was allowed to escape earlier gets a chance to follow them and try to pick off the party's goods in the night?  Maybe an unplanned ally is introduced. 

My position is to always give the party/PC an out.  Maybe they don't take it, but it's there.  Then they have no one to blame but themselves if someone dies.  The point is, I'd rather give them a chance to succeed instead of ensuring they all die. 

So, is it possible for a TPK in my games?  Well, yes, but,  I always leave an out and I try to make sure they have a chance to succeed.  I'm not above throwing in a little Deux Ex Machina if it helps the overall game.

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