View Full Version : I need to kill a few PCs

2011-08-17, 05:41 PM
In my PbP campaign several players have left, which is a welcome opportunity to get rid of a few PCs -- 8 are just too many... I'd be happy to hear a few suggestions how to do that. I'm especially interested in the more brutal ways, because I feel like it.

So I'm not so much looking for reasons of the "my uncle Bob (whom I've never mentioned before) just called me" kind, but more of the "his tent was buried by a landslide" variety. However, they should not be too obviously deus-ex-machina-y...

The party is currently level 15ish and traveling to a village in the mountains. Any creative suggestions are much appreciated.

2011-08-17, 05:57 PM
Just say they leave, and ignore them. Really, they are called to have their own adventure, and the PC's whose players aren't there LEAVE.

2011-08-17, 06:47 PM
The party has an unlimited use wand of "summon party member" which lets you call in or return party members as required.

Seriously though, have some high level spellcaster send a projected image asking for help. They can teleport the non-active party members as an inital force - but they are about to activate a teleport blocking device so the other party members will need to come in on foot.

2011-08-17, 09:28 PM
Have them run into a village that needs help on multiple threats so the party splits up. The doomed PCs go off and get themselves killed setting up a big threat for the villain.

Rogue Shadows
2011-08-17, 09:47 PM
I like the above.


I know! Run the Tomb of Horrors. The ex-PCs have just become cannon fodder to test what the right door to enter the dungeon actually is.

2011-08-17, 10:16 PM
THOSE BASTARDS HAVE BEEN PLOTTING AGAINST US! Then, have the other players kill them out of revenge and loot their stuff. :p

2011-08-18, 02:52 AM
The only way to extent true brutality is by extending it into infinity. Some examples:

Have an old enemy of them show up, kill them brutally and turn the PC into an Undead (make sure the soul remains trapped) only for it to be the plaything of the enemy forever.

A race with developed mechanics needs living beings to power their machines. One of the PCs gets kidnapped and turned into a living battery, keeping him alive forever as he is constantly drained of his warmth and his sanity.

The powerful Giant kingdom in the west likes to collect rare humanoids to put up for display. One of your PCs is especially rare and would make the Giant that captures him the talk of the town if he manages to capture him and keep him alive in the cage in which he is put up for display. This also involves a prodding stick to amuse visitors.

One of your PCs has had evil tendencies and it is time to collect. A powerful devil shows up, defeats the PC in question and drags his soul to hell. There he faces an eternity of trying to climb the ranks as he's a squishy goo-like entity in a world where torturing your lessers is the norm.

2011-08-18, 03:59 AM
On a stroke of bad luck, they all have strokes and die.

Rogue Shadows
2011-08-18, 04:03 AM
On a stroke of bad luck, they all have strokes and die.

You see this? This thing right here? This is what we call "no fun."

2011-08-18, 04:07 AM
Puns are always fun!

2011-08-18, 04:20 AM
On a stroke of bad luck, they all have strokes and die.

I like this, can I sig that?

2011-08-19, 09:16 AM
Mountains? It's clearly all set up for "rocks fall, everybody dies" :D

Ambushes on mountainpaths are mean!

2011-08-19, 10:05 AM
PCs are not Player Characters without Players, just Characters.

Characters that are not leadership feat fodder of a player's character are absolutely valid candidates to die for plot reasons, without any rolling whatsoever.

Rocks fall.
An evil entity takes over one, and the party wakes up to it eating the others.
They happen to be leading the way when monsters leap out slay them.
They happen to be trailing the party when a huge drake swoops by and grabs a snack for later (bonus points for later finding the drake and taking back their gear from it's lair).

If you think someone may want to play them later they can be mysteriously indisposed for all later fights (knocked out without a roll, seperated in the fight) or they could be depowered by a level or two and taken as a leadership feat (if you and your players are into that).

2011-08-19, 11:22 AM
Have them betray the party to the BBEG, then disappear. Later they appear again, levelled up and templated, as minibosses.

2011-08-19, 11:27 PM
Have a Phane from the epic level handbook erase them from time/space so it was as if they never were.:smallbiggrin:

2011-08-20, 04:34 AM
Split the party.

Have all the non-player characters go solve one problem and the PCed members go to another.

2011-08-20, 09:09 AM
A rip in space/time opens up, pulling them into the Far Realm.

2011-08-20, 12:19 PM
They open a rift in time-space pulling the far realms HERE, and die quickly in the aftermath...

2011-08-20, 03:17 PM
If there's any way to kill them off in a dramatic plot-hook, non-resurrectable fashion, go for it. If there's a good way to have any of them have something else happen (as a result of the whooping, somebody chickens out and calls it quits, retiring to a nice lake-side mansion, or perhaps somebody defected and sold the group out beforehand, resulting in the partial-party-kill), try to work that in. It's a good way to give your villain some major cred.

Or, if you come up with a good reason for them to disappear, you don't have to tell the players. They might have to figure it out themselves.

2011-08-20, 03:41 PM
Many nice suggestions there, thanks playgrounders. My favorite was the "eating the others" one. Priceless. I must remember to use this some time. My problem was that the next plot-hookish opportunity is still a couple of days away and that the big bad just doesn't know them yet. And I wanted something that doesn't seem too arbitrary or silly and that doesn't lead to a huge diversion. (Like if a dragon snatched one then they would likely want to track down the dragon before continuing with the main quest.) But I think I now have more than one idea to draw inspiration from.

But if you can think of other amusing ways, keep them coming. This might be compiled into a special sort of... Random Death Table.

2011-08-20, 10:23 PM
Random summons on another plane accidentally calls them.

Division by zero.

Get married and settle down.

Shady past comes back to haunt them. And, you know, stick a knife in their back.

2011-08-20, 10:46 PM
Random summons on another plane accidentally calls them.

I have always wanted to do that.

2011-08-20, 10:53 PM
If you pull something cool and non-fatal, it'd be a nice touch to keep up some fake correspondence. A lot of spells have word limits, right? So you can just make up a story for them, and give it in installments. XP Done well, that can even prevent a side quest from forming.

2011-08-20, 11:12 PM
A village in the mountains, eh? How about...

One PC decides that village is actually a really good place to live, he settles there, finds fulfilment there and eventually dies of old age in the village. Bonus points if the PC is highly optimazed full caster.

Imagine, an adveturing high fantasy hero who doesn't die a spectacular death. Extreme.

2011-08-21, 12:31 AM
It has been my experience that any additional focus on characters whose players that quit is generally not helpful. Sure it feels good to kill a few characters in a fluke accident but your non-quiting characters then have to deal with the consequences IC. They may morn, seek revenge, or other realistic and unrealistic actions.

Generally, I have found the best thing for them to do is to leave the party unceremoniously (e.g., "[Character's name] has chosen to remain in this village"). While, this often does not reduce the feelings of frustration for the DM who has carefully twisted the plot to fit this characters backstory. However, it is quick and brings closure and allows the plot to continue. Additionally, it allows for a player to return if they had a situation which did not allow them to continue posting (e.g., not paying the internet bill).

2011-08-21, 06:06 AM
Send in an elder evil and kill them off with it's sign.:smallcool:

2011-08-21, 09:22 AM
Kidnap him during the night, leaving his clothes spread out on a rock, with a frog inside.

2011-08-21, 10:06 AM
If you're interested in turning the plot a bit, and you like intrigues, you could have it come out that one of the ex-PCs is double crossing the party. You could start small, with little oddities or misdirections (gollum-tossing-the-lembas, or a stolen weapon that they are quick to insist must have been a thief in the night)...see how long you can keep your characters trusting the now-NPCs, but maybe have it escalate. They are murdered one by one... Eventually the guy who's responsible has stalled for enough time that he can signal for an ambush by BBEG's forces, and either he escapes to be a recurring villain (like someone suggested)...or he doesn't.

Or it might not be his fault -- a brain parasite is slowly corrupting him, or have the party run into an eerie village in the mountains where there seems to be a rash of cannibalism. Maybe the PCs are begged to solve a series of murders where the victim's heart or lungs are removed...eventually it comes out that there's no monster in the night, but it's a psychotic affliction that's got the villagers eating each other without knowing it -- and one of your ex-PCs catches it... or else they all just get croaked while trying to figure it out.

Again -- this only works if you're game to futz with your plot. Happy hunting!

Eric Tolle
2011-08-22, 02:22 AM
Well, you can try to load Windows Vista on 'em and- what? Oh wait, you mean the OTHER kind of PCs. Never mind....

2011-08-22, 10:24 AM
Random summons on another plane accidentally calls them.

Thats awesome. I approve! :smallbiggrin:

2011-08-22, 01:43 PM
Kidnap him during the night, leaving his clothes spread out on a rock, with a frog inside.

If you do this, you have to do a scene right out of the Odyssey FIRST!

2011-08-22, 02:40 PM
Random evil wizard henchmen is leading a troupe of the big baddies evil minions to plunder the town. One soldier, since the evil group is on higher ground then your pc's, notices said PC's going towards the town. Warning the wizard he decides to dispatch of your party so that you don't interfere with the raid. He enscribes a symbol of insanity on a ball/rock, and chucks it down towards your PC's. The ball is barely in range to effect the now NPC's but not in range of your true PC's. Now the NPC's fight the PC's (and each other), once the fight is over the PC's will just waltz over to the town to defend it/get revenge.

It kills them, tidied up the whole "Mourning" problem since they'll be avenging them very quickly, and relates to the plot.

Bonus points if the wizard becomes (or is) a recurring villain who signaturely loves using symbols of insanity (So much so that the wizard BECOMES insane).

Rogue Shadows
2011-08-22, 05:51 PM
Imagine, an adveturing high fantasy hero who doesn't die a spectacular death. Extreme.

Druss the Legend, IIRC. Certainly his buddy Sieben.

Heart failure. It sucks.