GM Advice: How To Kill The Party In 5 Easy Steps!
Player Characters, am I right? These pesky little bugger run around your beautiful campaign world, killing all your artfully crafted monsters, looting them like it was a mugging gone bad, and then moving on to the next town to buy liquor, soft company, and to do it all again. They're murder hobos. They're a threat, and they need to be stopped.
"We don't serve your kind here."
That's where you come in. You're the Game Master. You have the power to end this reign of chaos and madness, but alas, they are wise to your tricks. You can't just kill them outright. No, they would be expecting that, and it would be over too soon. They need to suffer. You need to be able to look into their eyes as the agony or realization dawns on them and washes over them like a cleansing fire, both figuratively and quite literally. And as they breath their last breath, and the final semblance of life escapes their broken bodies, you're true dark work can begin. You shall follow them to there hear after, and cobble their souls into a madness machine powered by sorrow and agony, and terror, where they will be ravaged for eternity.
"See, Tycho gets it!"
Only then do you win. So, how do we get there, all honest and by the book? Follow these five easy steps, and you will be able to rain down indescribable ruin upon the player characters.
Step 1: Give Them Something To Hit
Start with a combat. Something easy, but not too easy. After all, you don't want them to see it is a ruse. Use something simple, like orcs, goblins, gnolls, etc. These are classic creatures that everyone loves to slaughter. They won't be able to help themselves!
Step 2: Bait Them
After the last enemy has dropped, give them something like a note or missive. Have it written in the common tongue, and detailing some violent act they are supposed to carry out with the promise of a big reward, and when the deed is done, they are to meet at a specific location. And when I say specific, I mean the player characters can't possibly get lost or mistake it for something else. Jot down something like "In a cave behind the waterfall, the only waterfall, that you can find south west of the town, near the ridge, just past the old well, next t the two trees that wrap around each other."
Make sure the reward is listed, and it is grandiose.
Step 3: Trap Them
They arrive at the location, and find very little the way of resistance. Maybe a few inept guards that could be sleeping on the job. It can be a cake walk, because they know that there will be a boss down here, so they will want to conserve their resources. Encourage this. Make the checks for whatever they need to do very achievable.
When they get far enough in, the bad guys cut off the only exit, be it by cave in, portcullis, barred door, or something of the like. Now with no way out, they must press forward, or spend hours trying to dig themselves out, pry open a locked portcullis, break the iron bar on the door, etc.
It's a trap!
Step 4: Introduce a Challenge They Cannot Possibly Hope To Defeat
Now that they are at your mercy, show them that you do not possess such a frail weakness. This is where you introduce the boss. It should be something well above what the characters can handle, like nine-headed pyro hydra, an ancient red dragon, a lich at full power, some mind-shattering horror from beyond the stars, or if you are feeling particularly insidious, they could just be waltzing into the gullet of the legendary Tarrasque.
"Objects in mirror may be more 'nope' than they appear."
But no, we don't stop there. We don't want to risk that they can focus fire on this Godless beast and pssobily have a chance to defeat it. That would go against everything we are trying to attempt here. That is why you also throw wave after wave of easy to kill minions after them. Use the kind of creatures that gain bonuses to attack if they are close to one another, and just have them swarm with reckless abandon. Their low hit points and ability to nearly always hit will draw the attention away from the major threat to deal with this lesser, but still very real threat. If that doesn't work, use a crab. I always seem to have good luck with crabs.
"The bigger the better!"
Before long, you will be reveling in the symphony of scream that is the final cry of your player characters as they are torn asunder. But wait, there is still one more step that must be observed to achieve perfect destruction of these walking viruses. The most important step...
It has been redacted to keep the awesomeness from melting your mind. Highlight the below text if you dare.
Step 5: APRIL FOOLS!!!
Don't kill the party, fool. That's not fun for anyone, especially you. Why end it quickly when you candraw out suffering over several levels, giving them magic items and beloved NPCs, only to have them taken away and replaced with better ones in a cycle of joy and loss so profound it can only be described as the most messed up psychologically scarring experiment ever cooked up by the human race. You are messing with people's minds. Technically that makes you a Great Old One. Kudos!
Now here is a large man singing Bohemian Raphsody.
Kill them softly,