My players killed everyone

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Despite multiple pleas of mercy from Gorn, Geordi and Sal my PCs (so enraged by betrayal) slaughtered them, living no one and nothing in the first chamber alive.  A few weeks back they also killed Ronnick (who they are now pissed about since they butchered an innocent man).  The question now is:  How do I set them back on the right course?

My current ideas are:

Gorn fearing Benwick would betray him along side the PCs had an agent of his waiting to deliver a letter to the PCs (should they survive and to Lord Drysdale if they did not) outlining Benwick's plans.

The goblin bouncer of the Stumbling Giant is actually a spy in the employ of Drysdale and overheard Sal and Geordi discussing the betrayal of the PCs and some of Benwick's plan.

Through the mighty graces of the gods, gorn survives being but down to -45 HP and reveals Benwick's plan.

Edit: Title should be "My Players Killed everyone".
I haven't read through Chapter 4 as my store is a few weeks behind the schedule, but something between your first and second hooks is probably your best option; one of Drysdale's spies has come forward with information about the impending plot against the keep, and Drysdale is interested in keeping it quiet so the keep doesn't plunge into total chaos at the news of an impending dragon assault on the town.

Most places that house civilians, no matter how well fortified, don't mess around with dragons, so keeping that information on the DL is to everyone's advantage.
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Maybe play up a skill challenge where Lord Drysdale is willing to foot the bill on a resurrection for Ronnick at the local temple. 
Success: He will pay to resurrect Ronnick because he is innocent
Failure: He will only pay to resurrect Ronnick if the adventurers attempt to track down Benwick and bring him to justice or back for trial.

Primary skills might be: 
Diplomacy moderate DC (players tell their story about how Benwick tricked them)
Intimidate hard DC (reveal the fact that Benwick is planning an assault on the keep with dragons)
History easy DC (relay some story where a villain duped a hero and was later captured by that hero)
Religion easy DC (Describe what a cult of Zehir might do to an already troubled region like the Chaos Scar and Restwell Keep) 

Secondary skills (that might aid primary skills or remove a failure) might be:
Heal easy DC (a PC might be able to say how much time can pass before Ronnick can be resurrected) can be used only once
Perception/Insight moderate DC (the PC recognizes how Lord Drysdale is leaning in thought and helps to sway him the PC's direction)

Bluff could go either
(attempt at Bluff might result in an automatic failure of that check or the whole challenge as Lord Drysdale is already suspicious of the PC's involvement in Ronnick's death) 
or
mixed DC's (?? successful check if 19 or higher/assist if roll is 15-18/do nothing if 9-14/check failure if below 8)

If Ronnick wasn't killed, this could be slightly modified to have him released.

*edit*
I would probably make this a complexity 1 (4 success before 3 failures) or 2 (6 successes before 3 failures)
Not too bad an idea, but be mindful of the fact that a skill challenge will mess with the milestone rhythm of the encounters.
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Yep, my players did the same thing. In fact, they even murdered the copper wyrmling, after the thing spilled its guts and promised to go to the Light Side.

The last laugh will be on them, though, when they don't get the five renown points for "Complete All Quests".
I hadn't thought about that in terms of either the milestone rhythm or the "Complete All Quests" renown points. I guess then the characters will be going to Lord Drysdale and say something like 'we screwed up' and he says 'now it is time you fix your mistakes.'
If you have such blood thirsty players perhaps you should modify an encounter and TPK them. Make sure they know it happened because their bloodthirst had them kill someone that had information that they needed and without this info they walked in blindly and were devestated.
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just play the final encounter of chapter 4 with Vermastyx intellegently and TPK is a very real posibility
If you have such blood thirsty players perhaps you should modify an encounter and TPK them. Make sure they know it happened because their bloodthirst had them kill someone that had information that they needed and without this info they walked in blindly and were devestated.



I'm second from the left in the picture.


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If you have such blood thirsty players perhaps you should modify an encounter and TPK them. Make sure they know it happened because their bloodthirst had them kill someone that had information that they needed and without this info they walked in blindly and were devestated.



Maybe play up a skill challenge where Lord Drysdale is willing to foot the bill on a resurrection for Ronnick at the local temple. 
Success: He will pay to resurrect Ronnick because he is innocent
Failure: He will only pay to resurrect Ronnick if the adventurers attempt to track down Benwick and bring him to justice or back for trial.

Primary skills might be: 
Diplomacy moderate DC (players tell their story about how Benwick tricked them)
Intimidate hard DC (reveal the fact that Benwick is planning an assault on the keep with dragons)
History easy DC (relay some story where a villain duped a hero and was later captured by that hero)
Religion easy DC (Describe what a cult of Zehir might do to an already troubled region like the Chaos Scar and Restwell Keep) 

Secondary skills (that might aid primary skills or remove a failure) might be:
Heal easy DC (a PC might be able to say how much time can pass before Ronnick can be resurrected) can be used only once
Perception/Insight moderate DC (the PC recognizes how Lord Drysdale is leaning in thought and helps to sway him the PC's direction)

Bluff could go either
(attempt at Bluff might result in an automatic failure of that check or the whole challenge as Lord Drysdale is already suspicious of the PC's involvement in Ronnick's death) 
or
mixed DC's (?? successful check if 19 or higher/assist if roll is 15-18/do nothing if 9-14/check failure if below 8)

If Ronnick wasn't killed, this could be slightly modified to have him released.

*edit*
I would probably make this a complexity 1 (4 success before 3 failures) or 2 (6 successes before 3 failures)



I haven't read through Chapter 4 as my store is a few weeks behind the schedule, but something between your first and second hooks is probably your best option; one of Drysdale's spies has come forward with information about the impending plot against the keep, and Drysdale is interested in keeping it quiet so the keep doesn't plunge into total chaos at the news of an impending dragon assault on the town.

Most places that house civilians, no matter how well fortified, don't mess around with dragons, so keeping that information on the DL is to everyone's advantage.



Good ideas all, I think I'll end up mixing and matching everything here a little bit to see if something interesting can happen on the PCs end.  Thank you, everyone!
i was going to let the pcs follow one of the following 2 trails:

have benwick, in a rush to flee the keep after the betrayal, get sloppy and leave behind incriminating evidence at his place

or

if the pcs decided to go question chendera, being the last known acquaintance of benwick in the keep, she spills all the details when threatened enough.

either way, they have evidence they need to get back on the story plot and move on to report these things to drysdale.
Another Possible source of information is Venn and Jarell back at the town house. It may be assumed that these are the two snaketongues, but it doesn't actually say that it is. You could allow one of the PC's to remember this and go there to interrogate them. Or they could simply ransack his place and find clues there as to what he may be up to, but I wouldn't give them the whole story in this case. I might not even specify that he will be meeting dragons, let that be a surprise for their lack of forethought.
Any player who is paying attention will find it inconsistent for the snaketongues to be anyone other than Venn and Jarell; it doesn't make much sense that random snaketongue lackeys would somehow find their way into this fortified keep.
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Perhaps you'd care to explain how it makes any less sense than a random group of adventurers making their way into the town? And if Benwick is already there with four lakeys, how hard would it be for him to get a couple more into the keep? Just sayin' it is a plausible alternative, even if Venn and Jarell are the most likely suspects there.
Despite multiple pleas of mercy from Gorn, Geordi and Sal my PCs (so enraged by betrayal) slaughtered them, living no one and nothing in the first chamber alive.  A few weeks back they also killed Ronnick (who they are now pissed about since they butchered an innocent man).  The question now is:  How do I set them back on the right course?

My current ideas are:

Gorn fearing Benwick would betray him along side the PCs had an agent of his waiting to deliver a letter to the PCs (should they survive and to Lord Drysdale if they did not) outlining Benwick's plans.

The goblin bouncer of the Stumbling Giant is actually a spy in the employ of Drysdale and overheard Sal and Geordi discussing the betrayal of the PCs and some of Benwick's plan.

Through the mighty graces of the gods, gorn survives being but down to -45 HP and reveals Benwick's plan.

Edit: Title should be "My Players Killed everyone".

you could try the trick i pulled and hand-wave their characters away and start them off with new characters completely and let Lord Drysdale be the narrator of the plans which must be interrupted.

Perhaps you'd care to explain how it makes any less sense than a random group of adventurers making their way into the town? And if Benwick is already there with four lakeys, how hard would it be for him to get a couple more into the keep? Just sayin' it is a plausible alternative, even if Venn and Jarell are the most likely suspects there.



Snaketongue cultists aren't exactly inconspicuous.  Benwick has maintained the ruse for years of being the local nomadic priest and has brought in two cultists in disguise to sustain that ruse and help him, plus having two doppelgangers on his side; there's nothing hard about it if you've simply been there as long as the town has.

You really find it more plausible that two random no-names would find their way into the fortified and well-guarded keep to mount this assault?  At this particularly well-coordinated timing, no less?
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Snaketongue cultists aren't exactly inconspicuous.  Benwick has maintained the ruse for years of being the local nomadic priest and has brought in two cultists in disguise to sustain that ruse and help him, plus having two doppelgangers on his side; there's nothing hard about it if you've simply been there as long as the town has.

You really find it more plausible that two random no-names would find their way into the fortified and well-guarded keep to mount this assault?  At this particularly well-coordinated timing, no less?


not that it matters much at this point, but who says cultists aren't inconspicuous? Cultists don't have to look like a snake to be a snake-tongue. And I never said they were random cultists mounting an assault at just the right time. I was implying that they were in the employ of Benwick. Thus bringing his total number of sub-ordinates up to six so far and giving them reason enough to be "in the right place at the right time" as it were. It's not unthinkable that he could have other assistants who have not been introduced into this adventure yet after all.

I was simply offering up solutions that were plausible, not that were most likely.
It just seems like a lot of handwaving to me, and the more of that you have to do the more risk there is of breaking suspension of disbelief.  Furthermore, the idea that Venn and Jarell are both part of the cult makes the betrayal full and complete which contributes to the emotional weight on the players of their previous actions.

And you should probably look up a snaketongue cultist in the MM if you think they can be disguised easily; it's a lot more than just a person with a forked tongue according to their description and artwork. ;)
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