Ultimate Fail

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Hello, let me start off by saying I have some experience with D&D from computer games like Baldur's Gate II and Neverwinter Nights, but I have never played it pen and paper. So I was wondering, what do you do as the DM if the party gets completely wiped out in some epic battle? Let's say you're 6 hours into the campaign and they're fighting the last boss, who rolls a 20 on some massive AoE attack and all the PCs roll a 1 so they all die. Game over and the evil guy takes over the world? That probably wouldn't go over very well. Normally this would be the point where you hit the reload button in a computer game, but I was wondering how DMs would handle something like that on pen and paper.
Their ghosts come back to do what they failed to do while alive.

The evil guy revives them to make them watch him destroy the world.

The world goes on, but with a new ruler, who has to fight the rest of the powers in the world, players make new characters in this world.

The stories don't end, they just get a new twist.
Game over and the evil guy takes over the world? That probably wouldn't go over very well.

That would be pretty awesome. The players then make new characters in this world that has gone bad despite the good guys' best efforts. Plenty of adventure stories begin after the bad things have already happened. In Star Wars, the Empire has already taken over almost completely, and it's up to the good guys to fight back.

There's even a roleplaying setting called Nightfall, I think, that is basically Middle-Earth after Sauron won.

Normally this would be the point where you hit the reload button in a computer game, but I was wondering how DMs would handle something like that on pen and paper.

I'd handle it as stated above, or would otherwise avoid making the stakes something that wouldn't be interesting for the players to see lost. Don't point a gun at anything you're not prepared to see destroyed.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Hello, let me start off by saying I have some experience with D&D from computer games like Baldur's Gate II and Neverwinter Nights, but I have never played it pen and paper. So I was wondering, what do you do as the DM if the party gets completely wiped out in some epic battle? Let's say you're 6 hours into the campaign and they're fighting the last boss, who rolls a 20 on some massive AoE attack and all the PCs roll a 1 so they all die. Game over and the evil guy takes over the world? That probably wouldn't go over very well. Normally this would be the point where you hit the reload button in a computer game, but I was wondering how DMs would handle something like that on pen and paper.



Games have challenges. If one can't fail, the challenge isn't real. Only Player Characters die...the players live on to fight another day.

So, basically, what the others said.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

Lol 6 hours and at final boss. Final bosses tend to come up after many 6 hour sessions at my games. Seriosuly 3-4 months real time. 

Your question - It depends. I'll ask the group. "Do you want to be taken prisoner/captured or something like that, or do you want to reroll as new PCs in a world where the evil dude won?" If the first they are awoken in some holding cells somewhere so the evil dude can gloat at them. Then turn his back and let them slip away. If the second we timejump 40 years or so, and roll up some new PCs in a world as it stands now.

If none of those options are particulalrly appealing to the players, we can also just redo the battle, but I try to steer away from that one.  

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Thanks everyone, those are all interesting solutions. I suppose it's the DM's job to find creative ways of not saying "game over".
I agree with everyone else on the statements made so far.  I'll go one step further and suggest that you try to make all failures interesting within your game.  It might not always be possible, but it's something to strive for.
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