Fastest PC death after start of adventure / campaign


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The fastest I've seen was in Mummy's Mask. First book, very first tomb, very first trap, crit was rolled, and 1st level PC cleric takes 21HP damage... Dead.

Others?


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I made a human sorcerer in 3.5 to join a group already in progress. I wrote up a backstory where he murdered his father accidentally, then ran away to an elvin village. He was taken in and ended up killing there too and ran away. He was NE, but I intended on shifting his alignment through the course of the campaign.
When the game started, they were in a town in the underdark and a drow child stole an apple. My character ran after because he was intrigued by the natural invisibility. The party barbarian also ran after. He caught up to me and thought I was going to kill the child. He threatened me, I threatened him to stay away and I backed up. One thing led to another and he attacked and crit me. Instant kill. The player felt soooo bad. I said it was okay because it was all in character and it was a natural progression of events. He felt really bad when I showed him my written up backstory at the end of the night. LOL


Iron Gods, first chapter of the first book. We were in the first cavern and there was a cliff that we had to get past to continue. The barbarian took the halfling rogue and tossed him up. Big mistake. He was immediately surrounded by kobalds and killed.


I'm running a homebrew game on the boards. The PC's were tasked with finding out who was trespassing in a closed factory as their first task after meeting. They found a criminal group working the machines. They had guards. Initiative was rolled.

Guard #1 goes, crits a tiefling PC. "Threatening, but this is why I started at level 3"

Tiefling PC goes, casts daze on Guard #1. He has a bad will save. This is good. He passes.

Guard goes, confirms against same PC, PC is dead. Guard is now Crits "Alfred" McGee.


One of my first 3.5 Adventures; 1st enemy was an Orc forward recon with a greataxe. x3 critical on a d8 factotum flattened him.

Literally just let him get right back up after the encounter was done; he was really excited to play him. Suffice to say I now switch to broken greataxes instead of greataxes where thematically appropriate, verisimilitude be damned!

Shadow Lodge

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Way back in 2e one of the party members died and then was reincarnated as a nearby enemy, a gold draconian known for spellcasting.

So he wakes up and goes "Hey guys it's me, your party member" while waving his arms around.

Dm "it sounds more like Hassghaabd Harraaagh toooth"

So the druid with the scimitar of speed goes "He's casting a spell! HACK!"

Shortest duration character possible :)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Reign of Winter, book 1. First fight was a TPK.


Homebrew campaign, we were first level. I was playing a brawler (snakebite striker archetype) and we surprise-attacked a group of slavers. Out of all of us, I rolled highest initiative and only one opponent rolled a high enough perception check. I sneak attacked him, rolling a nat 20 (didn't confirm though), max damage, max sneak attack damage. He goes down, so needless to say, I'm feeling pretty confident.

Until the next round when another guy with a club hits for decent damage.

And then a greatsword-wielder decapitates me. There was a houserule where if you nat 20'd your attack roll and your confirmation, then got another 20 on a third d20 roll, it was an instant kill.

First round, first battle.


First time we played MERP. First thing we did, hidden orc shoots at a dwarf pc. Through both lungs and dead. Made us all quite wary

Grand Lodge

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PFS adventure, opens with PCs at the base of a mountain. On investigating a campsite, they are surprised by a leopard. Surprise round pounce brings the ninja to one above negative Con. And he won initiative on the cleric.


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pretty sure some poor group out there did a way of the wicked campaign and was unable to escape the 1st room of the prison and was then executed 3 days later


Before the party actualy got together. A gnome wizard felt offended by how tall the barbarian is. He sent a magic missile at the barbarian, which barely grazed him. The barbarian retaliated, killing the gnome in one hit.


Adjoint wrote:
Before the party actualy got together. A gnome wizard felt offended by how tall the barbarian is. He sent a magic missile at the barbarian, which barely grazed him. The barbarian retaliated, killing the gnome in one hit.

the gnome had that one coming

Silver Crusade

3.0 d&d

Special game before start the campaign. Like a background or precuel.

All players being orphans in house of orphans.

They will start the heros way defending the house against goblins.

TPK

The game will ever remembered as "your goblin eats my orphan"

Silver Crusade

GM MacShack wrote:
And then a greatsword-wielder decapitates me. There was a houserule where if you nat 20'd your attack roll and your confirmation, then got another 20 on a third d20 roll, it was an instant kill.

I played in a 3.5e homebrew once where there was a similar rule, but it was auto-kill if the crit confirmation was a natural 20. 1st encounter of the campaign, each PC is dropped into a separate 20' square room containing a Howler (all PCs were made at level 3). I'm a sorcerer/monk. Howler wins initiative, kills me with a 20-20 crit. Even without the auto-kill rule the crit put me below zero hp, with no possibility of rescue.

That GM was much more fun on the other side of the GM screen.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As written, I do not believe the assassin encounter in Giantslayer book 1 is survivable (I don't remember if it is the first or second fight). I cheated and didn't let the assassins coup de grace anyone, but it went poorly. From what I have read, there were many TPKs as a result of this fight.


Redelia wrote:
Reign of Winter, book 1. First fight was a TPK.

I had that too! Although it was the second fight. And it happened on the same fight when I gave them another shot at it with meta knowledge.

Scarab Sages

Kingmaker. 1st fight, first round, second character acting was the lead bandit. crit, max damage. killed the player outright.


Mostly tells me that crits are too potent in PF. I moan about this constantly. Just by the fluke of the GMs dice you die. No blame or poor decision. It's frankly a bit rubbish.
Thankfully SF and 5th ed have tempered it a bit.


First encounter of a new Pathfinder campaign in my GM's homebrew world. My level 1 polearm fighter kicks down the door to the back room of a shop after hearing a strange language. He gets hit with 3 crossbow bolts, one a crit, from bandits that were waiting in ambush. Dropped him on the spot.


3.5 Campaign, we went through a temporal anomaly all ended up outside of town earlier in the day than when we had Just started the game. I tell everyone Not to interact with their past selves, could Blow up the Universe..... So I go tell my past self Not to upset the Barbarian in the bar later....

Needless to say the universe broke, and some Draconic God of Time destroyed my past self..... SOOOOOO basically I got killed Before the Campaign Technically began >.>


My very first character ever, our very first combat, less than 10 minutes into the game.Back in BECMI days, "Escape from Zanzer Tem's Dungeon".

The first encounter, not counting the jailor we overpowered to get out of the cell (I think that was just handwaved), we met some skeletons. Being complete noobs, the DM told us all relevant stats for the skeletons, including AC, hp, THAC0 and damage. I suck at math but it wasn't hard for me to realize that doing 1d4 points of damage per blow meant the skeletons had a better than 50% chance of killing my 2 hp Thief on a hit. With more than one skeleton I decided I didn't want to stand up front, so I did what any rational Thief should do: I hid behind the others.

"This is a game about heroes, not cowards," the DM declared and the hitherto sluggish skeletons leapt over the rest of the party (I think the ceiling was described as too low to allow that, but that may be me misremembering), the first roll hit and did 2 damage.

There was an awkward moment as everyone, especially the DM, realized how easy it was to die.


The quickest death I remember occurred 7 minutes after the PC was introduced. The campaign had such a high body count that someone thought to time the new character's life span. I can't remember the details since this was an AD&D game I played in 25 years ago.

Shadow Lodge

I always loved (in a bad way) the starting story from this old PFS thread:
Fastest death ever


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I was running a 3.5 homebrew game. Very first game I send the party into a swamp and the first "encounter" was the party finding an abandoned boat in a large pond. I just put it there for flavor, and expected nothing to come of it.

One of the players decided to swim out and investigate the boat. Fails his Swim check, and begins drowning. Another player tried to save him. They failed their Swim check and began drowning. The party ended up drowning as every rescuer failed their Swim checks and drowned.


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Tollak Vargsson wrote:

I was running a 3.5 homebrew game. Very first game I send the party into a swamp and the first "encounter" was the party finding an abandoned boat in a large pond. I just put it there for flavor, and expected nothing to come of it.

One of the players decided to swim out and investigate the boat. Fails his Swim check, and begins drowning. Another player tried to save him. They failed their Swim check and began drowning. The party ended up drowning as every rescuer failed their Swim checks and drowned.

A TPK from a CR 0 encounter. You ought to win something for that!

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, there was that one Paranoia game where a player went through a whole clone family during the initial briefing...but that's Paranoia for you.

And as a runner-up, while not the FASTEST death as such, the very first time I ran a published adventure for Legend of the Five Rings RPG (Honor's Veil), my group of friends had played all the way through the investigative scenario without starting a fight. As they finally caught up with the person responsible for the murder they were investigating, a fight was started. The NPC went first, and...killed two players out of four in his very first action.

And of course, there was always original Traveler, where your character could die during character creation...


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YogoZuno wrote:
And of course, there was always original Traveler, where your character could die during character creation...

Those rules were so bad you often hoped you'd die, if the alternative was surviving with appalling stats.


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Loren Pechtel wrote:
Tollak Vargsson wrote:

I was running a 3.5 homebrew game. Very first game I send the party into a swamp and the first "encounter" was the party finding an abandoned boat in a large pond. I just put it there for flavor, and expected nothing to come of it.

One of the players decided to swim out and investigate the boat. Fails his Swim check, and begins drowning. Another player tried to save him. They failed their Swim check and began drowning. The party ended up drowning as every rescuer failed their Swim checks and drowned.

A TPK from a CR 0 encounter. You ought to win something for that!

It's up there with my favorite/most accomplished encounters and games. It was just so ridiculous. One of my players still says "Don't wipe the party" if someone needs to make a Swim check.

Silver Crusade

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YogoZuno wrote:

Well, there was that one Paranoia game where a player went through a whole clone family during the initial briefing...but that's Paranoia for you.

And as a runner-up, while not the FASTEST death as such, the very first time I ran a published adventure for Legend of the Five Rings RPG (Honor's Veil), my group of friends had played all the way through the investigative scenario without starting a fight. As they finally caught up with the person responsible for the murder they were investigating, a fight was started. The NPC went first, and...killed two players out of four in his very first action.

And of course, there was always original Traveler, where your character could die during character creation...

Oooh, L5R is a deadly system.

My first ever L5R game, I'm playing a Unicorn samurai-ko. We get our "mission briefing" and then we're heading into the Shadowlands. We pass the border where there's a Crab sentry. As we pass the sentry says "That's one less Crane, one less Lion, one less Unicorn..." I refuse to let the insult pass and challenge the insolent Crab to a duel. He accepts. Karmic strike - I'm killed outright whilst dealing the Crab a mortal wound.


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What the hell were you doing heading into the Shadowlands in the first place? You leave that place to the experts.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In one old school D&D game we tried to take siege of a ship using disguise and magic, but things quickly went pear-shaped. One guy went through a few player characters in that session. One of them was introduced as a stowaway on our boat we used to reach the enemy ship. That PC was shot dead by enemy arrow fire the very first round he appeared in the game. However, their sacrifices were not in vain, as through a long series of shenanigans we made off with the ship in the end.


My cousin was running a modified XCrawl campaign. I was running a Gnome Hacker. First crawl in, we encounter a horde of goblins with chainsaws. First attack, crit, and maxed out damage.

I spent the rest of the session writing up 3 backup characters.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
What the hell were you doing heading into the Shadowlands in the first place? You leave that place to the experts.

I recall that published scenario :) Silly, honor-bound Unicorn should have just looked back and said 'Wanna make it one less Crab?'


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Taja the Barbarian wrote:

I always loved (in a bad way) the starting story from this old PFS thread:

Fastest death ever

That's pretty much the Giantslayer assassin scenario. If you sleep in separate rooms, 3 coups de grace.

Dark Archive

First, I'm sure at least a few people have died to the first fight in confirmation. A crit from that thing would kill like 2/3's of PC's at lv 1.

Second, where do you guys fall on killing pc's? I have weird inconsistent viewpoint where typically unless you are very new the dice are the dice and enemies fight to win. If the bad guy is standing next to an unconscious PC and someone is trying to heal him back up, that player is gunna die. I don't typically spread damage unless an enemy is beast level int or it is disadvantageous for me to do so.

Do you guys pull your punches or make intentionally un-optimal choices to keep from killing pc's?

Grand Lodge

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Yep. We're here to have fun, not play super realistic games. My intelligent NPCs will attack downed PCs, but only if there is a good reason. It's almost always better to turn to threatening opponents rather than waste time of incapacitated foes.

Dark Archive

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Yep. We're here to have fun, not play super realistic games. My intelligent NPCs will attack downed PCs, but only if there is a good reason. It's almost always better to turn to threatening opponents rather than waste time of incapacitated foes.

Say that downed player is adjacent to the healer who you know can heal him up. You are a NE gunslinger with say 3 attacks and an 18 Int, would you put at least a shot into the downed PC? Your Bg's story is your a hitman and you are on the run, the pc's are trying to catch you. If your caught your best option is death in a jail sail. Tactics:fight till death/incapacitated


Backpack wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Yep. We're here to have fun, not play super realistic games. My intelligent NPCs will attack downed PCs, but only if there is a good reason. It's almost always better to turn to threatening opponents rather than waste time of incapacitated foes.
Say that downed player is adjacent to the healer who you know can heal him up. You are a NE gunslinger with say 3 attacks and an 18 Int, would you put at least a shot into the downed PC? Your Bg's story is your a hitman and you are on the run, the pc's are trying to catch you. If your caught your best option is death in a jail sail. Tactics:fight till death/incapacitated

Why not shoot the healer?


I was DMing a one-shot campaign that I hastily threw together on short notice with encounters from d20pfsrd, CRB, etc. and the first encounter was against half-orc Barbarians wielding greataxes who were making lots of noise (easy to avoid or ambush), but naturally, the face decided to greet them by offering a goat (silent image, which they disbelieved) in exchange for the human women they had captive, proceeds to roll a 1 on his diplomacy, and then the muscle rolls a 1 on his intimidate check.

Battle ensues, face gets critted on the first attack with a greataxe where I rolled two 12s and a 9 IIRC. Muscle misses with his attack, takes two hits and goes down, rest of party runs away.

Probably shouldn't have used greataxe wielding barbs at 1st level and I wish we didn't roll in the open so I could've fudged some rolls ... but c'est la vie.

Dark Archive

Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Backpack wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Yep. We're here to have fun, not play super realistic games. My intelligent NPCs will attack downed PCs, but only if there is a good reason. It's almost always better to turn to threatening opponents rather than waste time of incapacitated foes.
Say that downed player is adjacent to the healer who you know can heal him up. You are a NE gunslinger with say 3 attacks and an 18 Int, would you put at least a shot into the downed PC? Your Bg's story is your a hitman and you are on the run, the pc's are trying to catch you. If your caught your best option is death in a jail sail. Tactics:fight till death/incapacitated
Why not shoot the healer?

Ok say average I do 15ish per hit and I hit 80% of the time. I could do, not actually doing math, just rough estimate, about on average 38ish? That likely wouldn't drop the healer even if I only focused him. The healer heals both him and the unconscious pc for 18. Now both are up and my chances of getting out alive are much worse.


No monster at starter level should be wielding a great axe. Always seemed odd a 5-8 hp beastie would down many pc archetypes with one hit

Grand Lodge

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Backpack wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Backpack wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Yep. We're here to have fun, not play super realistic games. My intelligent NPCs will attack downed PCs, but only if there is a good reason. It's almost always better to turn to threatening opponents rather than waste time of incapacitated foes.
Say that downed player is adjacent to the healer who you know can heal him up. You are a NE gunslinger with say 3 attacks and an 18 Int, would you put at least a shot into the downed PC? Your Bg's story is your a hitman and you are on the run, the pc's are trying to catch you. If your caught your best option is death in a jail sail. Tactics:fight till death/incapacitated
Why not shoot the healer?
Ok say average I do 15ish per hit and I hit 80% of the time. I could do, not actually doing math, just rough estimate, about on average 38ish? That likely wouldn't drop the healer even if I only focused him. The healer heals both him and the unconscious pc for 18. Now both are up and my chances of getting out alive are much worse.

And the healer has wasted his action, letting you full attack him again. He better hope he doesn't eat a x4 crit.

Now, I most certainly have targeted downed creatures before. I recently had a BBEG magus out of spells knock a PC unconscious with his attacks, and just to add insult flick an acid splash on the body with his spell combat casting. I have spent an iterative, unlikely to hit the conscious foe, on an unconscious PC to force the healer to spend their action preventing the death rather than doing something else to the enemy. But out and out full attacking/CdGing a downed foe is almost never necessary and just detracts from the fun. I don't enjoy killing PCs, and I don't enjoy full on grimdark enemies killing my PCs. I almost always apologize when the dice decree a death. I never seek it out.


Backpack wrote:
Ok say average I do 15ish per hit and I hit 80% of the time. I could do, not actually doing math, just rough estimate, about on average 38ish? That likely wouldn't drop the healer even if I only focused him. The healer heals both him and the unconscious pc for 18. Now both are up and my chances of getting out alive are much worse.

Shoot the downed enemy: Almost no chance to also kill the healer, who then has nothing else to do on his round than do something to stop me.

Shoot the healer: Higher chance to kill him, who will probably use his action to heal. The healed player was unconscious and thus prone, so unless it's a spellcaster or ranged martial that can fire while prone, not much of a danger. Next round, both of them probably drop from a single shot each.

Unless the healer has something to prevent the NPC from full attacking (and probably even then), the smartest choice the PCs can make is to heal/move away and stand up/move away, respectively. If the NPC kills a player, he gives the healer extra motivation to stop him.


Traveler

I had a character die during character creation from old age.


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I devised a WHFRP one-shot in college that was predicated on the fact that in the first edition of that game character creation could be *completely* automated fairly trivially (I mean, the rules had you roll for race and class against tables). So I wrote a program to just spit out randomized characters before a game and brought a printer to the game. The scenario was about a ship full of random people run aground on a volcanic island, and the conceit to that game's hilarious lethality was that every time a character would die you would hit the button and play whoever came out of the printer.

This was sufficiently entertaining that it was brought back a few other times by people who wanted to run their own scenarios with the same conceit, and "characters dying before their sheets finished printing" was not uncommon.


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First game of D&D ever (1979), arrived late to session (playing out on bikes- I was 11) rolled up 1st level Magic User (took an hour- DM in a bad mood, and he's 13 years old- the epicentre of mean).

On the way to the dungeon, rest of guys waiting at door (about 5 minutes down the path)- encounter: 1 kobold, it gets init on me and kills me dead.

The other guys laugh so much that I run away in shame.

Don't play D&D again for two years, return to the game as a DM (aged 13), been getting my own back ever since.

Side salad- killed a PC (Ghoul) as part of a semi-massacre (3 PCs dead out of 5), party retreats to town to recruit. Roll up new guys- go back to dungeon, meet same Ghouls (now with added PC members) = TPK.


In a 1E AD&D game a player created a new PC. The group was exploring an evil temple, and his backstory was that he was the last survivor of another group of adventurers. He spotted the player characters and they didn't see him. The player knew that the others were the PCs of course, but he role played his character as being not too trusting of strangers encountered in a temple of evil - which was understandable. He decided to observe the party for a while before revealing himself.

Then some baddies show up and the halfling pulls out his wand of wonder and utters the command word - and out comes a fireball! One failed saving throw later and the new PC is dead, without having even exchanged words with the other PCs.

Silver Crusade

YogoZuno wrote:
Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
What the hell were you doing heading into the Shadowlands in the first place? You leave that place to the experts.
I recall that published scenario :) Silly, honor-bound Unicorn should have just looked back and said 'Wanna make it one less Crab?'

You're a dirty Scorpion, you'd never understand. ;)


Carrion Crown. At least we made it to 3rd level before that stupid burning skelemonstrosity axed us a few critical questions, one-shotting everybody in the party.

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