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REVERB GAMERS 2012, #23: Have you ever experienced Total Party Kill (TPK), or been close to it? What effect did that have on you personally? On your group of players? Have you ever used retroactive continuity (retcon) to save yourself? Why or why not? (Courtesy of Atlas Games. Visit them at www.atlas-games.com)
The only thing that jumps to mind is a Tomb of Horrors game that had something like 14 players, most of them evil. When it came time to divide up the swag from the first round of looting, there was a big fight that left a bunch of characters dead. The traps in the tomb took out most of the others, but I don’t remember if it was actually a total party kill. There have probably been others but most of them were pretty similar situations: dungeon crawls where the players had about as much investment in the characters as Monopoly players have in the shoe. When the characters died, you just rolled up new ones and tried again.
I think there have also been a few one-shot games where the party sacrificed itself (staying behind to blow up the planet of fight the hordes of demons or whatever) for the greater good, but those were cases where it was a dramatically appropriate player choice and the game was over anyway.
As for retconning, I can think of a few QAGS games where players have used Yum Yums to basically add in a flashback scene where the character did something that greatly improves their survival odds in the current situation. Can’t think of a time when that’s been used to basically bring a character back from the dead, though.