TPK: A crime they did not commit

What happens when your party are accused of a crime they did not commit? What happens when they do not see the accusation coming – say during some well-earned rest in a tavern?

This is a TPK post by Matthew the Evil GM. This encounter is designed to expose players to a risk of a dead character. TPK posts are partly generated and may not be the same the next time you refresh the page. The specifics are generated from your data and a seed. If you want to see changes, give the TPK a shuffle.

This tavern based encounter can be tuned to the party’s level. Use the form below to make sure you have the best saves and stats from across the party.

Most of the tavern’s patrons are local Elf drinkers nursing frothy beers. A few scruffy looking Gnome males stick to the shadows. The Gnome patrons appear disinterested in conversation with anyone else.

Sat in the shadows, you see a lone Human wearing a brown cloak. You quickly realise that he is watching you intently as he sips at his potent beer.

The Fighter will continue to watch the party as long as they remain and will not act as long as they leave him alone. However, he will block their exit if they try to leave and will draw his weapons if they approach.

Human; Level 7 Fighter

The CG Human Fighter is wearing scale mail and he is armed with +1 flaming burst spear. Among his other skills, the Fighter has ranks in Sense motive, Bluff, and Slight of hand equal to his level.

  • Stats: STR 9; DEX 8; CON 8; INT 8; WIS 11; WIS 11
  • Feats include Ability Focus (Sense Motive)Alertness and a +0 against intimidation.
  • Other possessions: 653 GP and a letter describing the party as troublemakers and looters.

You should furnish him with other skills, feats, and equipment as make sense for the setting and will prove challenging for the party. Teamwork feats for flanking manoeuvres would be very effective.

The Challenge

“Your days of pillaging and plundering are over, criminal scum,” spits the Fighter. Weapons ready, he looks like she means business.

The Fighter is being quite loud and dramatic so unless a player specifically makes a perception check (DC 17) they will not see the Gnome fighters close in behind them. Should combat be initiated, the 8 level 5 fighters will get to act in the surprise round.

This encounter need not be resolved by fighting. A diplomacy roll may avert an attack.

  • Diplomacy DC 23 allows the party to convince the angry Fighter he has been misled.
  • Diplomacy DC 17 allows the party to buy some time to talk.
  • If talking fails, the delay grants the Gnome fighters +2 to initiative.
  • The perception DC for spotting the lurking fighters drops by 2 for each minute of talking.

In a fight, the whole party will almost certainly be flanked for most of it. If you are feeling particularly evil you could give the fighters and the Fighter teamwork feats that grant bonuses while flanking. To avoid alerting the players prematurely, make the occasional perception roll for them.


If the party wins the encounter with diplomacy and words, they will learn that a person with deep pockets and a strong desire for privacy (name and location utterly unknown) paid for the bounty upon the party. However, their name will be cleared and they will have gained an ally willing to report local gossip and news of interest. As they were accused of a crime they did not commit, the party may wish to investigate. You may wish to drop clues pointing to a certain goblin leader.

If, on the other hand, the party fights and wins, the tavern owner will insist they leave. The city watch will arrive while he is pointing them to the door and the party will be arrested. If they go willingly, they will be released the next day. However, some NPCs in the area will recall that they have a reputation for lawlessness. If they fight the watch… Well, that all depends on how plot dependant the settlement is to the adventure you are running.

If they lose the fight, those that survive will wake up in a prison cell and face an interrogation from the watch. The (fabricated) evidence against the party will be exposed allowing them to easily talk their way out of incarceration. They will face a fine of 150 GP each, for brawling and drunken behaviour. They will also earn a lifetime ban from the tavern. NPCs will treat them nervously as infamous thugs.

Reusing the encounter “A crime they did not commit”

Although you may need to come up with a slightly different script, you could shuffle this TPK several times in different locations. your player would probably get paranoid if you attack them with an ambush in every tavern but give them long enough to forget about it and then whip it out again when they are getting complacent.

Party Best Values

Character Stats

STR (0)
DEX (0)
CON (0)
INT (0)
WIS (0)
CHA (0)

Other Stats

Best AC
party size

This TPK encounter is for Pathfinder and other DnD 3.5 rules based games. For other systems some adaption may be needed.

Seed: 1714005883 (shuffle)

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