How I Was the Sole Survivor of a Near TPK

I managed to survive a near TPK moment, and that changes the story in ways no one could predict.


I messed up badly during our last game of Pathfinder, but first let me give you a bit of a back story on our campaign and what had transpired so far. As of now we've been playing the campaign with our DM for the last several months, and it started out as kind of a weekly adventure thing because we wanted to give players the chance to drop in and out of game. Eventually though we started a story line with the three core characters: Everest, the battle oracle, who enjoyed women, war, and his great sword, Terran, the neutral kineticist, former slave, now mercenary for hire who would never pass up a drink and a good time, and Jun Kiko of the Kiko clan, my character, a chaotic good samurai who wanted to right the wrongs of her family and be a hero for the weak and downtrodden, she also had an unhealthy obsession with her sword the Hatensaka.

For a while all went well. Everest got battle. Terran got to drink. Jun…well Jun was Jun, naive but well meaning.

I will preface this next part by saying that truthfully I'm accustomed to a fair share of hand holding and deus ex machina-ing from my DM's. Generally put, the DM's I've had before, if they throw a big bad in our way it's usually something we can fight, but might be challenging for us; or if it's someone we can't win against it's for a purpose and they'll leave us broken but not killed. One thing I really respect about our current DM is he doesn't hand hold as much. I'm sure he fudges some rolls, but with him, there is always that fear of should we fight this? Can we or will we all get killed? When we defeat something it is a genuine victory, but there is always that fear of death.

Now then, fast forward. Our player who played Terran found out he had been playing the Kineticist wrong, and since he had been doing it for a while, he asked the DM if he could get a new character. There had been an ongoing villain called the The Red Eyed Man, cause guess what, he had a glowing red eye. We had just defeated him last game when our player discovered this little fact and asked to create a new one. Thus when we started next game it began with the TREM possessing Terran and stealing his body before his old body perished. So, we lost our first person.

The player created a new character called The Raven, a Batman esque style vigilant in the city of Caliphas. Everest and Jun, being the survivors mourned their friend and continued with the quest now aided by The Raven. After a few weeks of working together the player who played Everest had to drop out, so thanks to an item he picked up months ago, he ended up possessed by a Dwarf God King and left on an island. So…two people down, both lost to possession. It was also during this time that TREM showed back up and tossed a soul gem containing Terran at Jun. Jun wasn't able to fight TREM to avenge her friend at that point, so she took the soul gem to an "alleged" necromancer she had been working with so see if anything could be done. Through great power she brought Terran back…sort of. The former earth kineticist was now a rock golem, who couldn't eat, drink, or sleep. He remained with the necromancer as the Raven and Jun continued their adventures and gained a new companion Orcgana, a half-orc lawful neutral Inquisitor, who wielded a great axe called Axel and was a bit of a pyromaniac.

At this point in the story, Jun was the only one who had any real dealing with TREM. She was the only one who was from the original quest, the only one with knowledge of the world ending and had a personal stake in it. The Raven was there because Jun's caravan she had been dealing with brought a necromancer, pack of werewolves, a vampire, and a plague spreading alchemist into his town and he wanted them all out. Orcgana's goddess told her to come to the town and seek out the necromancer Jun had been working for. All in all they were just there to aid Jun.

Events transpired and Jun lead the two of them against the Red Eyed Man. I was fairly confident that combat wise we could take him. Our team dealt a lot of damage. I knew part of his powers worked by eye contact and to the DM's credit, in game he did give us quite a few options to avoid fighting him. But…Jun wanted revenge for Terran and to put an end to this. So they attacked the Red Eyed Man. Problem is…Jun never figured out a way to stop his possession technique. In game and out of game I figured it was sight based so I made a point of attacking his glowing eye…turns out that wasn't it; and while I had warned the group about his possession technique it didn't honestly occur to me that we had no counter for it. As soon as I land the killing strike we all have to roll WILL saves. I roll highest, poor Orcgana gets possessed. Jun realizes she messed up and begins to back away, the Raven realizing something was wrong and hoping that it was a once a day ability he attacked Orcgana and killed her. Then came another WILL save. One point separated The Raven and Jun, he got possessed next. I let "him" attack me for a few rounds, thankfully none of them connected, as I tried to think of a way to stop it. With no other option available I drew my sword and cut him down. Thankfully, or perhaps not so thankfully, I didn't kill him. Just knocked him unconscious. Realizing that since he wasn't dead he couldn't jump bodies, I had no other options… I ran.

So, we failed our mission and we failed it hard. I was messed up by it. The person who played Orcgana was only two games in with us and she died. The Raven was a good friend of mine and he loved that character. What made it worse was I lead them into it and I was the one to escape. I couldn't stop apologizing to them after the game. It was the lowest and greatest/worst defeats my group had ever suffered in a game before. Now that the emotions have settled I've got to say though…it was incredibly amazing. While I still feel bad about getting their characters killed, they both forgave me, and apparently the DM had talked to the player who made The Raven and kind of asked him what he should do as he didn't want to kill us, but we hadn't found out the answer yet either. Really, providing any sort of Deus Ex moment would have cheapened everything, so I'm really glad the DM didn't do that.

After our utter failure, Jun is the last survivor. Our next game is going to be a ten year time skip with the world having gone to hell and back because we failed to stop the original evil. The player who created Terran at the beginning is playing him again as a rock golem barbarian who is essentially using human stats, but for everything else he is a rock golem. So for the last ten years it has been Jun and her friend surviving the oncoming apocalypse as Terran can't eat or sleep or feel, so a character that loved life to the fullest now can't live at all so he watches over Jun to keep her from giving into a demonic influence within her, and Jun has gone from a cheerful and hopeful young warrior into a bitter and self loathing shell of her former self who had demon corruption coursing through her veins turning her into a monster. The person who played Orcgana is now playing an Indigo Montoya type character, staring off the 10 year skip by playing one of the children of the Raven, looking for Jun to find revenge for the murder of their father and believes that a hero can do anything they put their mind to it.

All in all, it was an awful night, and I still feel bad for getting everyone killed; but it was definitely one of the most humbling and memorable moments I'd ever had. I'm looking forward to the huge story potential and character growth over that time. Kind of feels like the story is coming full circle now, and hey, now I essentially get to play the complete opposite character I was before…so we shall see where it goes from there.


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