Our TPK is about the most traumatic ending to a story I have ever experienced.
I had just got my beloved cleric – Cedric the Green – to level 8. We were in the middle of a side-quest to solve a murder when the local thieves guild caught wind of what we were up to and ambushed us. Our GM, Dave, had the mooks target Cedric first. After he went down, the rest of the party shortly followed. Dave thought it was funny but the rest of us were devastated.
I was so upset that it was a year before I played again.
I’m sorry you lost a much-loved character, but that sounds like a poor GM combined with some bad teamwork. Come on, everyone knows that you protect your healer while trying to take down the other group’s healer. Why were your tanks and DPS characters not shielding your cleric?
A GM should not be happy that the players failed. That’s just mean. There is a fine line between making an adventure hard and just playing against the players.
My TPK encounters are not about causing TPKs but making them just possible enough so that players can feel epic when they survive. I explain more here: