I only just recently got into DnD. My friends had been wanting to play it for a long time, so I told them that if no one else wanted to pull the trigger, I would buy the 5th Edition Starter Set and run the Starter Set adventure, the Lost Mine of Phandelver. It's an awesome and well designed intoduction to DnD, for both a first time DM, and the players.
But this session, my players died... A Total Party Kill.
For the past two months I had been running the Lost Mines of Phandelver adventure. It was awesome! I created encounters to further the character's backstories, I learned to tone down encounters or lead on my players in just the right way. We failed together, and we learned together. I roleplayed, made silly voices and grandios guestures from behind my computer screen. But now the players are dead.
We kind of sat there in silence while it happened... The Owlbear that was the cause of these deaths ravaged the Sorcerer's body as the entire partys life force drifted away. It was shocking, and when I saw it coming I had immediately started kicking myself, what I did wasn't actually a part of the encounter. They had snuck into a base behind enemy lines, and when they were fighting a big bad, I had him yell, alerting all of the enemies in the base. Once they had done what they came to do, I told them that they heard many-a-footstep coming towards the quarters they stood in, approaching quickly. But instead of running, they chose to stand their ground. 10 odd goblins and an owlbear flooded the corridor, owlbear hidden from sight, alongside some of the other goblins. The fighter stepped forwards and immediately culled more than half of the goblin number, the barbarian cutting down the rest. Then the owlbear came... The owbear rolled a little too well, and PC's didn't and just like that *snap* they were dead.
Like I said, this encounter was meant to be a cool chase scene, they didn't clear out the rest of the base, and so the enemy, when alerted to their presence rushed to their position. It wasn't written in the Lost Mines of Phandelver book, it was something that I made up, and I most definitely paid the price, it was a mistake. I had expected them to run but they chose to stand their ground, why? Was it because I told them that the footsteps were approaching quickly? Was it because I told them there were multiple? Was it because they thought it was only goblins? I can't say for sure, but I do know that both parties messed up. I know that I messed up, but I believe that in reality that was just the true consequences to both parties actions, both in game and out of game. There was an entire base of goblins running at the party, and they decided to try and fight, not knowing the true perils that lay beyond their knowledge.