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 Post subject: TPK's and published modules, what next?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:06 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2006 11:17 pm
Posts: 35
Since a TPK seems almost inevitable with Sailors, do you guys just roll up new 0-levels and try the same module as if it never happened or whatever is cleared out stays cleared out?

Do you intsead create more 0-level scenarios until a few PC's survive?

What I'm most worried about is that my players survive ( miraculously) and get a class level. ( yeah!) then I prep for their first 1-level adventre and they get TPK'ed in the first encounter, Now we have to go do the o-level funnel again. Will o-level gaming outlive its welcome. Right now my players are enjoying it.

If half my players lose their PC's at 1st or second level would you guys run funnel for yout PC-less players or just roll up 1st level characters? Are there rules for this?

Trying to figure out a way to run an extended campaign considering how extreme lethality is being touted as a main feature.

thanks for any advice,


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 Post subject: Re: TPK's and published modules, what next?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:56 pm 
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Cold-Blooded Diabolist

Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:36 am
Posts: 525
The way I have been working things.

First, the funnel - if people are dying left and right, and a TPK looms nigh... the immediate point at which the number of characters remaining alive is equal to the number of players at the table, they have reached level 1 - they roll their new hit points, record their increased saves and attack bonuses, and anything else automatic from their class, then initiative resumes.

Also, once the players have hit 1st level, I have them re-roll 1st level characters (not start the funnel over entirely) to continue the game... we have even agreed that the d4 extra hit points from 0-level is earned for a campaign (all characters made by a player present for the funnel gain it, until such a time as the campaign is declared over and another begins).

In general, I advise not being so terrified of TPKs... anecdotally speaking, you might be surprised at what the party actually survives; my party of 12 1st level characters wound up in a fight that took them all to 0 hp... and, because the baddies planned to take survivors prisoner and recovered the bodies, only one character actually died.

In other sessions I have had one or two characters hit 0 HP two or three times each and manage to live through it every time thanks to their body being recovered.

It is actually a lot harder to die, once you are 1st level, than it looks on paper.


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 Post subject: Re: TPK's and published modules, what next?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 11:01 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2006 1:26 am
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TheNobleDrake wrote:
the baddies planned to take survivors prisoner


This, right here? Gold. (Just don't use it every time or your players will begin to assume you'll never kill them.)

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 Post subject: Re: TPK's and published modules, what next?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 10:33 am 
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Deft-Handed Cutpurse
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Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:27 pm
Posts: 275
I've run Sailors three times, each with a slightly different party make up.

Session 1: 6 0-levels and a one 1st level (it was a solo crawl).

Session 2: 15 0-levels, each player running five each.

Session 3: 15 0-levels, each player running three each.

I only TPK'd one time, and it was during the second session. All of the blame rests on bad player decisions.

As far as 0-level gaming outstaying its welcome, I think it's certainly a possibility. I would put it to a vote in your group. If you make it to 1st level, but then get wiped in the next adventure, present the option: do the funnel again or just roll at level 1. The difference is that players who go through the funnel are likely to have some sort of magical/cool items not available to someone rolling at 1st level. At least in my games that is the difference; there is no purchasing magic items.

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 Post subject: Re: TPK's and published modules, what next?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:42 pm 
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Cold-Blooded Diabolist

Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:36 am
Posts: 525
Ogrepuppy wrote:
TheNobleDrake wrote:
the baddies planned to take survivors prisoner


This, right here? Gold. (Just don't use it every time or your players will begin to assume you'll never kill them.)


Yes absolutely, and I should have mentioned it myself.

You have to make sure being taken prisoner makes the right kind of sense for the situation - basically any time that being taken prisoner doesn't feel like a "safety net" so much as an "out of the frying pan, into the fire" sort of moment.

In my above example, the captors present the PCs with a simple decision: slave labor building the temple (that the PCs came to destroy in the name of one's god), or be fed live to the extremely large lizards kept as beasts of burden.


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 Post subject: Re: TPK's and published modules, what next?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 4:11 pm 
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How far through Sailors... did they get? There are a few opportunities to add more 0-level characters in Sailors. I'm realizing a good funnel should have those kinds of opportunities. I've ran Portal... & Sailors... twice. No TPKs, but it got close to a few slaughters. Portal... didn't have as many opportunities, but the players were smart. I did have a couple Total Player Character Kills, but other players tend to offer a zero or two (works really well.) I imagine some of the 0-level adventures being written have the funnel in mind, and a smaller number of actual characters by the time they reach the end, but even that should never be assumed.

Come to think of it, having other players share an extra zero or two is the best method.

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