Accepting that failure can happen is part of the thrill in this hobby. The Divine Arrow is knocked, the Avatar of Desolation hovers at the apex of its celestial ascendancy, and the world holds its breath as the icosahedron clatters…. But that little plastic bastard don’t always come up 20. Sometimes it comes up 1. And when that happens, and especially when it the final fight of the campaign, you’ve got to ask yourself whether special considerations apply. 

I’ve said it twice before now, but nobody wants an asterisk next to their character’s name. Deciding that the bad guys win is a great big “feels bad,” but then again, so is pulling out that scroll of retcon. 

Just imagine it. You’ve spent three IRL years campaigning with your pals. You’ve made it to the end of a complete Adventure Path (possibly for the very first time!), and there before you lies the Mad Mage / Demon Queen / Aforementioned Avatar of Desolation. None of that matters though, because you can’t roll dice today. The cleric has been dominated, the wizard failed on his dispel magic, and your paladin just whiffed on her full attack. The BBEG lets loose another AoE, and there goes your last HP. No one is left to heal you.

“Sorry guys. I guess you lost. Does somebody else wanna DM next time?”

So for today’s discussion, walk me through your thought process in this scenario. It’ll be our own little Kobayashi Maru. If your party TPK’d in the final fight, would you reset and try again? Would you accept defeat? Or would you expect your GM to fudge the dice just enough to keep the BAD ENDING from ruining a good campaign? Let’s hear all about you philosophy of failure down in the comments!


ARE YOU AN IMPATIENT GAMER? If so, you should check out the “Henchman” reward level over on The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. For just one buck a month, you can get each and every Handbook of Heroes comic a day earlier than the rest of your party members. That’s bragging rights right there!