How do I kill the party?

I have twice before had a game in which, for story reasons, I wanted to kill the entire party all in one go. Once because I needed the players to enter the afterlife, the second because I wanted the players to be resurrected a while later in the future. In a "traditional" rpg where the GM is god you can simply inform the party they have been killed, but dungeon world has rules that the GM must follow.

The first time I did this I had the players ambushed in the woods by bandits and ended up playing the game as the antagonist. Seizing every opportunity to make the situation more dangerous for the players. This rather predictably was not very fun. I violated the "be a fan of the players" rule and we ended up with a very long fight sequence. Most of the players rolled last breath multiple times and it was just a complete slog.

The second time I had better luck, instead of having the party killed by ordinary characters I set up a front and had a being of unspeakable power as the antagonist. This made the build up fun and at least made their deaths feel significant. This time we were also playing the dungeon world hack Freebooters on the Frontier. This makes two changes that are useful for me: It generally makes the players weaker, and it allows me to skip the last breath roll if their corpse is unrecoverable. However I still didn’t feel like this was handled perfectly. The fight was still a little drawn out and I think the players were reasonably ticked that I gamed the system to prevent a last breath roll.

If I’d like to do this again in dungeon world, without the advantages I receive from the freebooters hack, how should I do it? Do I need to communicate to the party that I intend to kill them all for the story? How do I avoid the mechanics of the game keeping my players alive when the story requires them to die?

Maybe this story beat is just a bad fit for dungeon world, but I’m still interested in techniques that could make this less of a bad fit.

What to do when I accidentally kill the whole party?

So, my players’ PCs were fighting 11 fifth-level orcs. They are five 5th-level characters in D&D 4e. It ended in an unexpected TPK.

Thing is, their bard was new (he was put in place of their cleric), with not enough magic items to be as strong as the others and, as everybody knows, a bard is not as powerful as a cleric.

It was a damn hard combat, though my players were used to it and they used to play very well together, making some combats easy even when they were meant to be overwhelming. This one was supposed to be quite hard, but not overwhelming.

What happened was: the wizard miscalculated his Color Spray, hitting the fighter, who lost his Rain of Steel stance. They didn’t deal with most of the orcs during the crucial time they had with many dazed enemies, because of the Wizard’s mistake. It was brutal. They didn’t get a break after that for the whole combat and finally, were obliterated by the orcs.

Now I feel like I killed 5 characters, but only one had it coming. The other players were disappointed because they all feel like it was the wizard’s mistake that killed them all (and I also believe it, BTW). And the one who plays the wizard was the only one who was “Yay! Finally I get to play my hybrid wizard/warlord!” which pissed me off a little bit more, I’ve gotta say.

They are all making new characters but they feel like the campaign ended prematurely. They also don’t wanna go back to level 1, but for that matter, I don’t feel like GMing for brand new characters that already start as strong ones.

So, how to deal with this situation?

Does protection from good and evil kill the host of an Intellect Devourer?

The description of the Intellect Devourer in the MM and SRD says

A protection from evil and good spell cast on the body drives the intellect devourer out. … By spending 5 feet of its movement, the intellect devourer can voluntarily leave the body, teleporting to the nearest unoccupied space within 5 feet of it. The body then dies, unless its brain is restored within 1 round.

Is a character functionally dead immediately upon losing a contest of Intelligence vs an Intellect Devourer? [barring a wish spell]. It seems rather draconian for a CR2 creature, if so. [Hell, even if not so, requiring one of those two specific spells seems rough even if one is a 1st level spell, that is assuming it even helps]

Can a raging barbarian carry live rabbits to kill them, in order to keep his rage going?

One of my players, a human barbarian, came up with the idea of carrying captured rabbits, feeding them and treating them nicely, so that he can rip them apart mid-battle if he knows he will be unable to attack during the round. Does this sound balanced or does this sound like breaking the rules?

Can you kill a Tarrasque with the Open Hand monk’s Quivering Palm feature?

I see the Tarrasque has Legendary Resistance so it can pass failed saving throws. It has a list of Legendary Actions 3 times a day. I keep seeing people say to keep making it do saves to get rid of the Legendary Resistance even though it is not listed under the limited Legendary actions.

Since the Way of the Open Hand monk’s Quivering Palm technique relies on failing a Constitution save to instantly reduce the target to 0 HP, can Quivering Palm kill a Tarrasque?

Are there any melee alternatives to Power Word Kill?

The 9th Level Enchantment spell Power Word Kill outright kills any creature with less than 100 hitpoints.

I’ve had a look but I can’t see anything that would be similar via any melee action or feat. Creature of PC ability.

So my question is: Is there anything that allows a melee attack to strike down a foe to either 0 hit points (rolling death saving throws) or outright kill them using one attack?

Effects with saving throws would also answer the question.

Can a creature kill itself by dashing during a chase?

DMG p.252

During the chase, a participant can freely use the Dash action a number of times equal to 3 + its Constitution modifier. Each additional Dash action it takes during the chase requires the creature to succeed on a DC 10 Constitution check at the end of its turn or gain one level of exhaustion.

Suppose a creature was in a chase and already at Level 4 of exhaustion. It chose to continue dashing and at the end of its turn failed its constitution check.

DMG p. 252

A participant drops out of the chase if its exhaustion reaches level 5, since its speed becomes 0.

Now suppose a creature that was [allowed to Dash twice on its turn] started its turn at exhaustion level 4 and chose to Dash twice. At the end of its turn, it would be required to make two Con checks. If it failed the first check and got to Exhaustion Level 5 would this immediately remove it from the chase and thus remove the need to check again, or would a second check still be required with the possibility of death if it failed?

Note that exhaustion from chases has a different recovery mechanic than other exhaustion, in that (DMG p. 252)

A creature can remove the levels of exhaustion it gained during the chase by finishing a short or long rest.

whereas exhaustion gained by other means requires a long rest, food, and drink. Thus there is some evidence that while chases are temporarily exhausting, the exhaustion gained from them is not as serious or as lasting. Might this include the chase-induced ‘death’ as well?

Could a mouse kill a bear?

I’m planning for a Mouse Guard game that will culminate in the players facing down a bear!

The rules cover such scenarios far too briefly, only stating that you would need 20,000 mice to do so (via the War skill). This seems like far too few mice to wage war on a bear, also how would this even be done? Are the mice laying siege to the bear, or are they marching on it? Do you even use War? Could a single mouse climb the bear, insert itself into the ear, and assassinate the bear?

I realise that this is a task for the players to decide on but I want to prepare for the circumstances.

How do you kill a bear with mice? (and how can I prepare for this?)

Can a DM permanently kill a player in DnD 5e?

Currently my player is at 0 HP and doing death saves.

The DM however, has said an Ogre is holding me upside down by my legs and is going to potentially rip me in half in the next session.

Since I’m not Deadpool, I would assume this would permanently kill me and render death saves moot?

My question is, can a DM do this?

Why would the DM do this you ask? Because I’ve been playing a comical, annoying and selfish character for about 30 sessions now, so the DM and my party think it would be hilarious if I was killed off.