D&D 5E You've just TPK'd in the final fight. What do?

Fauchard1520

Explorer
Suppose your party TPK’d in the final fight. Would you reset and try again? Would you accept defeat? Or would you expect your GM to fudge the dice just enough to keep the BAD ENDING from ruining a good campaign? What's your philosophy of failure when it comes to the campaign finale?

(Comic for illustrative purposes.)
 

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Start a new campaign. If the failure has long reaching effects on my game, then the next campaign will have those in effect. I once had a massive orc invasion in the forgotten realms, from the same area that Obould(sp) came from. This was before that story, so neener neener. Anyway, the party had been prophesized to be the only one that could stop it. They failed. The next campaign had much of the area below the Anouroch occupied by the orcs. The new group had to deal with that reality during their campaign.
 


thullgrim

Adventurer
Apply consequences. If there’s not failure state you don’t really have an tension.

Failing to stop the meteor means the meteors slams in planet fantasy. Narrate outcomes. Show players the consequences and then time jump for the new campaign into the new starting position where they can recognize what happens.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
No reason for death to be the end. Resurrection. Raise dead. Animate dead. Have the party come back a decade later and fix their screw up. Bring them back as undead and have them fight to regain control of themselves…then go fix their screw up. Have them wake in the afterlife and have to fight and/or convince their way back to the mortal realm to fix their mistake.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I can understand a group feeling disappointed with this outcome in a campaign where that final boss fight was the main goal throughout and failing it means big picture failure and a sense of "having done it all for nothing."
In a campaign with a variety of large and small, related and unrelated goals and/or goals determined by players that fit their character it'd be less of an an overall disappointment because your group could have accomplished plenty of other significant goals satisfactorily.

That said, I like the idea of starting a new campaign that begins with the consequences of that failure upon the world and looking for new ways and goals to overcome it.
 

Reynard

Legend
While the TPK would stand, if everyone wanted to try it again to "see how it might have gone otherwise" assuming it ended too quickly. I would do the same if the bad guy went down in a quick, unsatisfying way: consequences stand, but let's see how it might have gone.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
No reason for death to be the end. Resurrection. Raise dead. Animate dead. Have the party come back a decade later and fix their screw up. Bring them back as undead and have them fight to regain control of themselves…then go fix their screw up. Have them wake in the afterlife and have to fight and/or convince their way back to the mortal realm to fix their mistake.
I did something like the last one, once. The PCs had access to rez magic and to time magic, and the ear of a mostly benevolent trickster god (basically Sehanine with some stuff added), and I kind of hinted at there being options, narrated the afterlife a bit, and they bit and started coming up with ideas, which I ran with.

In the end, they got a top-down view of their own past showing what they failed to do that would have made the battle easier, and got a set of epic boons, and got air dropped at the BBEG’s secondary base, and destroyed her forces in an Age of Ultron style sweep.

Then they hunted down the BBEG again, and fixed their mistake. And then they died, as their renewed life had been a loan, not a gift.
 





DND_Reborn

Legend
Suppose your party TPK’d in the final fight. Would you reset and try again? Would you accept defeat? Or would you expect your GM to fudge the dice just enough to keep the BAD ENDING from ruining a good campaign? What's your philosophy of failure when it comes to the campaign finale?
I would jump up and cheer, crying out:

HA! I GOT YOU, I got you all SOOO good! You all thought your characters were invincible, huh? Right? Well, yeah, now you know. Now you see that they weren't such "hot stuff", huh? HA! MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! :devilish:

Then I would run around the gaming table, hollering and skipping in mirthful glee. Finally, exhausted from celebrating, I will fall back into my chair, let out a big sigh, and merrily ask the players, "So, everyone ready to return to 1st level? Let's roll up some new PCs!"

:D
 


Vaalingrade

Legend
Replace the DM if they try to rub it in by montaging how we've screwed up the world or telling us maybe our next three years of investment will pay off and somehow that will be meaningful because this one wasn't.
 

Rabbitbait

Adventurer
I would jump up and cheer, crying out:

HA! I GOT YOU, I got you all SOOO good! You all thought your characters were invincible, huh? Right? Well, yeah, now you know. Now you see that they weren't such "hot stuff", huh? HA! MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! :devilish:

Then I would run around the gaming table, hollering and skipping in mirthful glee. Finally, exhausted from celebrating, I will fall back into my chair, let out a big sigh, and merrily ask the players, "So, everyone ready to return to 1st level? Let's roll up some new PCs!"

:D
You let them get past first level? Soft.
 

I would (and have) put forth the option A- Do we start new characters next time? B- Do you wake up in a cell?

Interestingly for me, it has been about 4:1 over the past few years or so. The higher the level of character the more interest in starting a new campaign, strangely.
 
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aco175

Legend
If it is the last night of play in that campaign, I may let it stand. The players now have a reason to hate the BBEG and I just place him in the next campaign. Maybe ask if the new PCs are related or know the old PCs.
 

CreamCloud0

Adventurer
A mini-arc of the group fighting/bargaining/sneaking or otherwise earning their way out of the afterlife, if they manage to achieve exiting they resurrect in the living world again with any new experience or boons they aquired, for maximum story drama they rez right in the same exact time and positions they died in no time having passed in the living world to continue the final battle right where they left off but fully healed
 

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