Die Party! Die!


The other night I GM's the first meeting of my Infernum Campaign # 1 (Thursday group-as opposed to the Infernum Campaign #2 Sunday Group). Things went fairly well, with some good roleplaying on the part of the participants, and the initial adventure was a success for the party, i.e. most of the enemy killed, none of the party died.
Now, I don't wish to give away the plot, just in case any of the Sunday Group reads this forum, but basically, the party died. Or would have if I had pursued the event to it's logical conclusion, but after I explained what had happened (" okay, you guys are attacked by ...."), they did a lot of whining, and sniveling (excellant "groveling" I must say) that I relented, and did not make them roll up new characters.
It was, after all, the first night, and I had never GM'd a game for most of those there, and I figured they needed to learn how I did things more than just the mechanics. So, I let them off with a warning.

As a conversation point then, for those of you that have GM's games in the past, do you:

1) Set up events, and allow the party to pursue them as they see fit, suffering the consequences there of, and reaping the rewards if any?
2) Guide the party from making decisions that will cause them to die by the use of NPC's? (but the party has to actively solicite advice from the NPC's)
3) Intervene to prevent party members from ever dying. (Divine Intervention)

I've always favored setting up events and letting the party pursue them as they see fit.

Which led to an interesting conversation once in a D&D campaign, when a second level warrior complained because the party had died after they had attacked 400 orcs.

Toodles all
A little bit of all three. :)

1) Set up events and let the party follow them. This is always my favoured option, however things can go wrong - players can fail to find the right course of action and so try something stupid. Players can misread the situation and try something they shouldn't. Players may have really bad luck and roll fumble after fumble and so die. You may have misjudged the opposition and they prove too damn hard for the PCs.

2) If things go wrong (as described above) or the players are getting nowhere or going into danger because they see no other option, then guide them with NPCs (or any other means) whether advice is solicited or not.

3) Sometimes a little divine intervention is called for. If the bad guys have just rolled two critical head shots in the suprise round, or the PCs are so debilitated by minor encounters they die in the first round of the final confrontation.

Of course if a single fighter attacks 400 orcs, kill him, rip up his character sheet and call him an idiot.
If party is extremely stupidity-let them think they are dead-but don't let them know they are ghost's until later and tell them have to go on a quest somewhere to get something from someone that will get their spirits back into their bodies, But let them know they have a limited time period to do their quest to get their spirit's with the item back in their bodies or they are permantly DEAD DEAD DEAD..And nothing or no one can bring them back. :shock:
I have long had a policy of setting up "Status Quo" encounters, and letting the dice fall where they may. It is up to the players to run their PCs in an intelligent fashion, and while they usually survive, I have killed an entire party on more than one occasion.

As for turning PCs into ghosts, I was going to try that once, but the player of that PC was so annoying, that I decided to throw him out of my game instead.
All my minor encounters are balanced, but I have been known to go easy on my players if they are getting savagely beaten. For example if they failed an insta-kill effect, I'm generous and (usually) let them live. But for the most part, the encounters are there, if they choose to (to use a previous example) rush 400 orcs...well, it's time to start rolling stats again.

'Course, my group seems to be able to survive everything I throw at them.