It’s Easier to Kill Them When They Trust You

A challenge for every Game Master is how to get their players to get themselves into a predicament so dire that the GM can wipe out the entire group in one fell swoop. This sounds easy. Putting out a ton of treasure as a lure and hoping they take the bait always seems simple. However, this is not the way most players think and operate. Their innate paranoia will undoubtedly get the best of them and before the GM knows it, they have found a way to survive or at least hobble away to mutter “ok let’s not do THAT again.” How then can a Game Master get the players into such a horrible situation that their deaths seem not only inevitable but surprising it didn’t happen earlier?

The Underdark is the answer. Better than a normal old dungeon beneath a moldering haunted castle, the Underdark offers unlimited ways to surprise, horrify, and most importantly, slaughter the players foolish enough to delve into the depths of the earth. The tricks that must be employed to get the players into the Underdark are many, but the most diabolical one is to take advantage of the player’s boredom. Nothing gets the game rolling faster off track and into total destruction like one or more players feeling fidgety. “Let’s do something fun!” they might say. “We never did get around to seeing where that cave went to down below the goblinoid lair where that deamon had been imprisoned.” Right there is the warning sign. Under the goblinoid lair, meaning that the goblins themselves aren’t stupid enough to go deeper themselves, past that place where a freekin deamon was imprisoned. Anywhere in that sentence are plenty of places for a sane person to say, “I think I’ll stay in town and practice my archery.”

With any luck at all the players will not pick up on any of these cues and instead decide as a group “Hell yeah! Let’s go into the Underdark and get some easy loot and fun experiences!” Game Masters love hearing this from players. Without any prompting they themselves up and decided to commit suicide as a group, and they are welcoming the GM to decide how gruesomely they are going to be slaughtered. So many options to be had! Dark elves that thrive on backstabbing murder and ambushes, illithid that use their psionic powers to enslave the minds of their victims before devouring them alive, monstrous horrors that delve through solid rock and can spew acid, winged terrors that drop from the eternal darkness and smother with slime and poison, beholders that come at you with eyeballs popping and zapping folks with disintegration rays. Oh my what a delight. I have more means at my disposal than I could use in twenty sessions.

It is so much easier to kill players when they trust you.