For today, I had to pre-roll a few initatives. I should have not put seven enemies along with one of the boss monsters. It was rolled on the encounter table that they would face one of the boss monsters.
This encounter was basically half of a monster wave that occurs at the end of every month. I thought they would be alright, but they didn’t take out a monster, they got close, and I decided that these deer/elk monsters would not outright kill a character. Instead, they would just down them and see if they live. Afterward, one of them would say that the person was to leave their territory.
It was almost a TPK. I have one safety net where if someone dies within the first three days of the month an individual, the Gray Lady, will appear. She typically resides within the afterlife, but occasionally is in the physical world making deals with people. Two out of the three people who were downed wanted to come back. Their left eyes were taken, in return there is a glowing purple eye along with a sliver of their soul is gone. She was completely transparent (ha) about the deals she does. The one party member who did not come back, the tiefling paladin, she wanted to pass because she wanted to be happy with her great-great-great-great-great grandma. I gave her a proper send off by herself and the rest of the party traversed back to the starting town to pay for a extremely luxurious headstone. They also swore against deer, they will all die.
I don’t have the heart to tell them that even if you kill them they’ll respawn. They have to get rid of the corruption in the world and then they can permanently kill them.
I made a player cry because of his character dying. I was upset, but this is a game. I need to make my encounters more balanced. They got a level up from the fight, but it was rough given that all the characters lost something. Not to mention myself and the players were worried about one player’s character dying when they weren’t there.