One of the most hilarious and often overlooked aspects of any D&D game is what might be happening at the player’s home base of operations while the adventurers are out looking for trouble. An old Slothjemian proverb goes, “If you go seeking danger, you will find it. If you are patient, danger will come seeking you.” Never is this more true that in the lives of players that have ticked off someone (or something) more powerful than they are and might have the ability to wait for just the right moment to strike. That right moment is frequently when the players, who are by definition the most powerful elements of any story, are away from home on some delightfully engaging quest. When the cats are away, the mice develop siege weapons and destroy the barony.
This is actually the preferred method of having a villain come after you. While you might have a certain attachment to some of the more colorful and charismatic non-player characters in a story, losing a handful of them is much better than having your own character incinerated. Even if the enemy is exceptionally powerful this kind of “while you were gone” tragedy is a heckuva lot easier to deal with than “glad I was here to witness this and find out firsthand how painful and expensive the resurrection process is.” Being able to roll with the punches for this kind of narrative is key to a good story and absolutely crucial for all players to understand. Horrible things will happen from time to time. It is just a story. Remember that your GM is not trying to ruin your evening (not strictly true for all GMs by the way). It’s going to be okee dokee fine. Not right away, but eventually. For now focus on gathering up your beloved NPC’s remains and have a lovely little mass funeral.
With all of this in mind, I am REALLY looking forward to tonight’s game. MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!