Total Party Kill
But if tomorrow, it turns out we got smacked downThe entire adventuring party dies in an epic blaze of glory! ... wait, no, that's not quite right. The party was trying to quietly remove some guards, and Bob decided to use a tactical nuke in hand-to-hand combat. The remains of the group wouldn't fill a coffee can. A Total Party Kill is often the result of complete player idiocy. Occasionally, the Game Master won't balance an encounter well, and the mooks are much bigger than he thought. And some days, the Random Number God just doesn't like you, and your dice collectively vote for the party's violent demise in the most embarrassing way possible. When this happens in a MMORPG, it's called a "Party Wipe". It happens disturbingly often when you enter a level-appropriate dungeon with a Pick-Up Group. A Leeroy Jenkins is likely to be involved. Not the same as Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: in that trope, the Game Master deliberately kills everyone. Here, players die due to getting in over their heads. If the Game Master values the current plot or characters, he may save the group, but otherwise, it's time to roll up another party. Also differs from a game going Off the Rails (even if it causes the destruction of the party, or the whole world for that matter) in that the GM never actually loses control of the situation; rather, the players get hosed through either incompetence or bad luck, or most often, both. Compare Redshirt Army. See also Kill 'em All. For incredibly stupid ways you can do this to yourself in in video games, see Yet Another Stupid Death.
If we're dead, our hit points worn away,
Then sorry dude, you won't be coming back now;
One death sucks, but six spells T-P-K.
If we're dead, our hit points worn away,
Then sorry dude, you won't be coming back now;
One death sucks, but six spells T-P-K.
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Anime and Manga
- Happens frequently in Knights of the Dinner Table, usually as a result of the players deciding to undertake some blindingly stupid (and obviously suicidal) course of action combined with a total inability to realize when they are outclassed. Always hilarious.
- Has actually happened to the Justice League more than once. The one that best fits the trope would be when the alien Despero comes to Earth with Superman-level strength and invulnerability, wipes out the entire JLI-era League, and leaves... at which point it's revealed to the reader that the actual TPK part of the fight had taken place entirely in Despero's mind thanks to the Martian Manhunter's mental powers. Think of it as an RPG with Despero as unwitting Game Master.
- During the Obsidian Age storyline, the League travels back to the distant past and encounters an ancient equivalent of itself made up of superhuman representatives of ... very roughly era-appropriate cultures with a much less "enlightened" take on their role as the world's protectors. All the Leaguers are killed (except Plastic Man, who's shattered into tiny pieces and strewn across the ocean floor, which he technically survives). Thanks to a spell cast before the fight, the Leaguers are brought back to life in the modern era from their fossilized remains (and track down the pieces of Plastic Man to reassemble them).
- In Seven Soldiers, Greg Saunder's team (mostly comprised of wannabes and knock-offs) took out the giant spider that they were originally hunting, but didn't consider the possibility that it might have had company and got swiftly wiped out by the Sheeda invasion force.
- All of Alpha Flight, which, granted, are mostly C list by fame, got killed in a Bendis penned New Avengers in a Worf Barrage moment. After that, two of them were shown to be Not Quite Dead and those that weren't have apparently come back anyway.
- The Ur Example of this Trope for comic books was the original Doom Patrol - small fishing town, enemy with a nuke, and DC canceling the title.
- Of all the superheroes listed above, most eventually came back from the dead. An exception was in the early issues of DC Comics' Eclipso comic, after the titular villain had conquered a Banana Republic. A rag-tag group of C-listers flew south to try and oust him. He TPK'd them, then left them to rot in the sun. (Several of them are classic examples of Affirmative Action Legacy turning into C-List Fodder — DC has been doing that since the early 90s.)
Films — Live Action
- Occurred in The Gamers. Well... sort of. The characters didn't die, but they did show up in the real world and kill all of their players, GM included.
- The Gamers: Dorkness Rising. Within the first 5 minutes, the entire party dies.
- The Wild Bunch almost begins with one as most of the bandits are killed when they try to rob a bank and instead ride right into a trap. The survivors flee to Mexico where they end up taking on entire army garrison fully aware that they will probably not make it out alive. They don't. The bounty hunters chasing them are so thrilled to grab the bodies for the bounties that they ride right into a rebel ambush and are wiped out.
Live Action TV
- Blake's 7 - The final episode ends with all the regular characters getting ambushed and killed by the forces of The Empire. Extra points for the team's second leader bloodily slaughtering the returning original leader out of paranoia.
- Supernatural - 2014!Dean's run against the Devil in "The End" leads to everyone except the guy who's not from then dying, one way or another.
- Community - The study group are forced to play a video game created as a competition for Conelius Hawthorne's inheritance. While the group sticks together, Gilbert Lawson goes against them. He manages to pull this trope twice against them, nearly three times if it weren't due to Britta accidentally creating a poison instead of a strength potion. That said, the entire group manages to be killed by the hippies immediately after respawning from Gilbert's second party kill.
- In one of history's most famous wars, Team Troy decided it might be smart to roll the opposing team's giant horse into their base. What followed was a lot of back stabbery that resulted in a TPK.
- Not quite a TPK, a couple of them ended up in that Roman campaign...
- In Game Night by Jonny Nexus, this occurs at the end of the book.
- In the book "Ready Player One", at the end of the book there is a massive battle between tens of thousands of "gunter" avatars (the game is mostly set in a futuristic virtual reality called the OASIS) and the avatars of the IOI, the main enemies of the book, as the main characters try to reach the crystal gate which holds the ultimate objective of the story. Upon realising that the three remaining main characters were about to enter this gate, the IOI activate their chekhov's gun: the Catalyst, an artifact which kills the avatars of absolutely every player in the entire sector of space. Permanently. It is earlier stated that a very large percentage of the entire population of the OASIS was present at this fight. Considering that the OASIS is pretty much used by every single person in the world, thats one heck of a TPK. the only reason the story doesn't end there is due to another Chekhov's gun, a magical Quarter found earlier in the book by the protagonist which turned out to grant an extra life, and due to IOI having some backup troops hanging around just outside the sector of space that got nuked. There goes the neighbourhood.
- This is an expected result of Tomb of Horrors and several other early D&D modules, which were designed for tournaments where the winning party was the one who survived with the most people standing. Back then, the Game Master was usually playing against the party, not with them.
- Gygax himself counseled against this attitude in his manuals and talks and only used it for tournament style play.
- According to an anecdote by the late, great E. Gary Gygax, an adventuring party in a game he ran somehow screwed up royally and got killed by some kobolds. What makes this notable is that EGG decided to give experience points to the kobolds... who leveled up and killed the next party he sent up against them! They ended up becoming a sort of anti-adventuring party who kept killing group after group.
- So that's where the inspiration for the Goblins webcomic came from!
- The dime novel "Night Train" for the early Deadlands is notorious for being a TPK, but a later adventure ("Canyon o' Doom") actually gives the Marshal permission to off a stupidly obstinate posse.
- Happens regularly in Call of Cthulhu; backup character parties are the norm in some games.
- To the point where Full Frontal Nerdity asked the world to finally let the joke die.
- This is expected to happen in Paranoia. Repeatedly. If the players don't kill each other or themselves, the GM will. It's oftentimes built into adventure modules. The players were given a number of backup "clones" of their character for precisely this reason.
- If a game goes on too long, the GM is explicitly recommended to have something explode and kill everyone. This being Alpha Complex, "something" is very loosely defined, up to and including shoe polish.
- The nicer Dark Heresy and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay games end like this. The bad ones don't bear thinking about.
- That's a bit of an exaggeration; unlike in Call of Cthulhu, the player characters have Fate Points that allow them to escape death (until they run out, that is).
- Can happen entirely as a result of one magical fumble in FATAL, if you roll "1351: accidentally casts FATAL". This spell goes significantly beyond being a Total Party Kill, and ends up a Total Planet Kill as everybody in the entire world dies.
- So much expected in Dark Sun that players are advised to have three backup characters handy at any given time.
- A TPK is more than common in the Indie Game The Mountain Witch. One notable session ended with one character committing seppuku, one character being killed by another character (who was in turn killed by an enemy), and one character giving up and going back home.
- The Ninja Burger RPG is built on the assumption that your character will die frequently. The average player is expected to go through three or four ninja per game since simply being seen by any NPC forces the player to roll on a random table of punishments... a good chunk of which are instant death.
- Almost all tabletops have a critical and/or a critical fail type of system that can result in TPK, hence being the namer of the tropes. Of course, the most hilarious methods of TPK generally involve the "exploding" rule, a common variation of the critical where if you roll maximum on a die, you get to roll that die again and add that number to the result, and this can continue indefinitely if you keep rolling well. Let's just say that in more than a few Legend of the Five Rings games, people die from 3 foot falls because the dice exploded on them a little too often...
- Can potentially happen fairly easily in GURPS due to its general emphasis on "realism". Characters (of the human persuasion, at least) don't have many hit points, weapons can do sizable amounts of damage relative to HP totals, simply getting hurt at all brings various temporary penalties with it that make it easier for an enemy to slip another hit in before the character recovers, and while dropping to zero hit points only risks unconsciousness instead of death (rolls for that only start at fully negative HP), an unconscious character is still out of the fight and makes taking out the rest of the group as well that much easier.
- Stars Without Number: this is why you should be really careful when using a spike drive, and is why piracy is not necessarily a viable way of making a living.
- Forsooth!: It's not uncommon for games to end with the remaining protagonists dying in the last scene a la Titus Andronicus. Forsooth! games only end when all characters are either married or dead. In Tragedy games it is likely that more of them will die than marry.
- iD Software's internal D&D campaign, as documented in David Kushner's Masters of Doom, ended when John Romero's character traded a demon-summoning tome for the sword his group had been after the whole game, after which the book was used to summon an army of demons (literally, every demon in the books, several times over) to infest the realm, and the game ended when said demons wiped out humanity. It's not so much a Total Party Kill as it is a "total world kill", though...
- Incidentally, that sword was called the Daikatana. And yes, that's where the name came from originally. Perhaps it should have been taken as an omen.
- In the Nintendo Hard early games, the death of all party members was not uncommon. The developers set things up such that backup characters would have to go on a corpse-retrieval mission before the party could be resurrected. However, if the backup characters were no stronger than the main party, the retrieval mission might be suicidal. The later games added the option to load and save, making this trope less bad.
- The Dark Savant trilogy had what was known as the "Boffo" endings; where, if you took a particular path, everyone died. In Wizardry 6: Bane of the Cosmic Forge, the "Boffo" was giving the wrong answer to one of the final bosses. Wizardry 7: Crusaders of the Dark Savant had the "Boffo" as taking the totally selfish/unchivalric option at the end of the game (taking the GLOBE instead of the GIRL). Wizardry 8 pulled the stops out on the "Boffo" which resulted in not only your party, but the whole world exploding, if you neglected to disarm a certain bomb before heading off to the endgame...
- teleporting into a rock perma-kills your entire party.
- In Bane of the Cosmic Forge, you can walk off a tower near the start of the game, resulting in an instant Game Over.
- Yggdra Union: If you got the attack order wrong, misplaced a character or screwed by the weapon disadvantage, or the RNG hates you, there's a good chance that your whole union will go head over heels over the enemy.
- Gnomeregan, one of the low to mid-level instances in World of Warcraft, in addition to its other qualifications as a Scrappy Level, is notorious for buggy monster AI in sections with two paths, one of them elevated. If the party isn't careful (or has members who are lower level than recommended for the dungeon), a monster on the other path will "aggro" them, leading half of the path's monsters to them at once. Less an epic blaze of glory than getting zerged by several times the enemies the party can possibly handle. You could consider it an accidental Leeroy, except it was around way before Leeroy's rise to fame. Higher level characters, of course, may trigger this deliberately to clear the dungeon faster.
- The entire hunter class is notorious for this, due to a pet that can potentially aggro huge numbers of enemies, and the fact that so, so many don't know how to play their class, either in a group situation or at all.
- The original Leeroy Jenkins incident involved a raid on the Upper Blackrock Spire which had lots of eggs that hatched into dragon whelps if one got too close, with Leeroy's actions resulting in a mass aggro situation similar to that of Gnomeregan above. The video of the incident was a staged joke, but there are actually people who play this way.
- The game also makes its raid bosses examples of this in that many of them utilize area-of-effect attacks that can obliterate entire raid groups if not dealt with or otherwise physically avoided. Many of them are particularly forgiving in regards to performing the action necessary in time, others not. In addition, many bosses are actually timed in that they either possess a "hard enrage" (typically giving the boss a multiplier to damage dealt that means a One-Hit KO for anyone involved, even tanks, if not dealt with within X minutes), or a "soft enrage" (aka Boss Arena Urgency).
- In the final battle against the Lich King, this WILL happen as a cutscene. Arthas raises his sword and smashes it into the ground, doing well over 800,000 damage. What's even worse is that You cannot resurrect from this, the Release Spirit button stating "Your soul belongs to the Lich King now.". Fortunately, though, Tirion breaks the sword that captured everyone's souls, and the released souls completely encircle and restrain the Lich King, turning the final 10% of the fight into a Curb-Stomp Battle.
- His Defile ability plays this trope straight. He targets a random player and makes a dark puddle appear under his feet. Every tick of damage made against any player makes it grow a yard larger. It only takes one inattentive player or two players who keep trying to hang around the edge too close (and "leapfrog" the puddle growth, so to speak) and the raid wipe is guaranteed. This single ability has caused more Lich King wipes than any other.
- Happened in the lore for the dungeon Frore in Asherons Call.
- As far as Armada Online is concerned, a common occurrence on the Alliance side if Nomads are equal to or greater than your own side, due to the ghastly Runabout (structure building NPC) AI which causes him to run in circles around the designated area, launch into an assault against immensely more powerful opponent(s), run into a horde of Mooks guns blazing and die to the inevitable gangraping, or be stuck in a fight-or-flight cycle while low on health going back to base and returning over and over without building a damned thing. This happens most often when trying to take the middle of the three Sci Lab locations, and if you focus on the middle when one of these is occurring your team is pretty much baked. There is a reason Alliance takes the outer sci-labs first unless experience farming. There have even been instances of the runabout latching onto a group of NPC raiding ships and attempting to assault an enemy outpost with its pitiful mining gun. Needless to say with your builder constantly dying and respawning, this has the potential to lead to an agonizingly lengthy and unavoidable TPK through sheer attrition. Nomad rarely seem to have such problems.
- A fully-farmed carry hero (in the sense of "being able to carry the whole team to victory) in the Warcraft III map "Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars" is supposed to be able to single-handedly wipe the enemy team. In practice, of course, things rarely work that way. Such as if the enemy team has stuns/silences...
- Fulfilled in Battlefield 2142 when:
- Friendly Fire is on.
- A Titan assault force breaks into the reactor chamber.
- Someone loses track of how many demopacks they have. (The game automatically switches to your detonator, activated by the same key for dropping packs.)
- Interesting variation in in Final Fantasy XII: Many, many, many bosses have abilities that can wipe out the entire party in one go if you don't know what you're doing. Unlike most games, however, FFXII expects you to deal with it by calling in the reserves (if they get wiped out before the main party is rezzed, well...I hope you enjoy the gentle ambiance of the Game Over screen). Unfortunately, not everyone remembers to train the reserves, since Leaked Experience in the game doesn't work that way.
- The most infamous instance of this trope is That One Boss, Bonus Boss Zodiark, who has Darkja, an attack which not only does high magic damage to the entire party that cannot be avoided, but it also has a chance to inflict Instant Death. That doesn't sound so bad, except XII is one of the very few games in the series where this is no form of equipment that grants protection from One-Hit Kill attacks. Ergo, Zodiark has the potential to instantly kill off your entire active party regardless of their HP or level, and there is nothing you can do but pray.
- In Final Fantasy X, there's a surprisingly low number of storyline bosses that have a one-shot party kill move. The Monster Arena, on the other hand... In there it's actually easier to list which ones don't have a one-hit party kill move. Thank God for Auto-Life. But then there's Th'uban in the Arena who likes to counterattack with a total status-remover, removing even Auto-Life. From your whole party. This counterattack might be a party kill unless you've trained a lot.
- Of course, some Storyline Bosses "do" have a rather devastating party killing move. One of them likes to Totally Annihilate your party with ONE move. But at least you get a fair warning before he unleashes the hurt.
- And one storyline boss in particular has a party-wide spell that inflicts the death status. Without warning. Fortunately, this is a multi-stage boss who only unleashes this attack in the final stage while earlier stages will inflict the "zombie" status ailment (which applies Revive Kills Zombie to player characters). In this case, the door swings both ways, and any character who still has the zombie effect on them will be immune to "death". It's possible to beat this boss without using that little trick, but it's much much harder.
- Your party can also be wiped out by a Great Malboro, not only if you're under-leveled, but as a result of being over-leveled (specifically in Evasion) and not protected from its immediate status effects. Having the whole party rendered confused, blind and poisoned results in an excruciatingly slow death as each member constantly successfully dodges the others' attacks, while slowly dying from the poison. It's possible that the Malboro will attack you and break confusion, giving you a chance to escape - but if you're not lucky, all you can do is sit there and watch, because there's literally nothing you can do about it. And Great Malboros always get to attack first, and always open with Bad Breath.
- Most notably, there's Sin's Giga-Gravitron, which doesn't just wipe your party, but the entire airship that the party is on for a Non-Standard Game Over.
- Of course, some Storyline Bosses "do" have a rather devastating party killing move. One of them likes to Totally Annihilate your party with ONE move. But at least you get a fair warning before he unleashes the hurt.
- In Final Fantasy IX, it's possible to do this to yourself. Doomsday casts Darkness damage on everything on the field, both your party and the enemies, and being the most powerful spell in your arsenal, it's more than capable of wiping out your entire party along with the enemies. There are two ways around this: you can either merge the attack with Steiner's sword to focus it on a single enemy, or you can equip gear that will negate or absorb darkness spells to each of your party members.
- And then there is Ozma. If you're unlucky enough, Ozma may cast Meteor at the beginning of the battle, and it will kill your entire party before your first turn.
- Similarly, climbing up the vines within Gizamaluke's Grotto leads you to a part of the world map that contain monsters that are at least 50 levels above your party's levels and you won't actually see them on a regular basis until disc 3 or 4. You face off against dragons that can cast Thundaga on your party and wipe them out in one shot or cause the Venom status that immobilizes the victim and has their HP and MP slowly drain. The other kind of monster in the area are large birds that can cast Firaga and Stop on your party. You're given a fair warning by a Moogle in the previous area to not climb up, so continuing anyway puts the blame on you.
- In Final Fantasy VIII, junctioning 100 Death or Break spells to Attack-J allows you to OHKO any non-boss enemy susceptible to those spells. If Confuse is not junctioned to Status Defense, confused characters can easily destroy the entire party in a few turns. Multiple confused characters (say from Bad Breath or what have you) wielding 100 Death or Break spells in the Attack-J slot is a great example of this trope.
- The Bonus Boss in Final Fantasy VIII has an attack that hits ten times, each attack targeting a random party member and hitting for over 3000 HP. Needless to say, it's TPK unless you had the foresight to bring items that make you invincible, equip the Defend command and use it just before the attack, or get saved by Phoenix.
- Or raise a GF defense and get a bit lucky. With HP maxed out on both your party and GFs, you can survive this attack, though you will lose the GFs for the remainder of the battle. Then again, losing the elemental GFs is no sacrifice, since their attacks would heal Omega Weapon anyway.
- Or just rely on berserked Angel Wing Rinoa to utterly destroy Omega before it even uses this attack.
- How about the Bonus Bosses of Final Fantasy VII? Emerald Weapon had an attack called Aire Tam Storm that did an unblockable 1111 HP of damage to every member of your party for each materia they had equipped. And since each character's HP maxed out at 9999, if you made the honest mistake of going into the fight with ten or more materia on each character... say goodnight. Furthermore, the battle takes place with a twenty minute timer; if you didn't get the secret item to disable the countdown and the clock hit zero, total party wipe automatically.
- The time limit really isn't a factor. One way or another, the fight will be over by then.
- Although to those expecting this attack, it is easily taken advantage of, removing all difficulty from the entire fight. Simply put 2 materia on your characters and have them at 9999 health. Cue Aire Tam Storm, you now have your whole party in "Lucky 7s" mode.
- Ruby WEAPON is even worse. The first thing he does is banish the two of the party members on the sides completely from the battle with no way to bring them back, then digs his fingers into the ground to surround the third person with Ruby WEAPON on one side and two towering finger-tentacles on the other side (both of which can inflict all of the status ailments). The only way to avoid losing the party members is to go into the battle with them KO'd and wait for Ruby to implant his fingers, then revive them. Also, if you use Knights of the Round on Ruby, he counterattacks with Ultima, hitting the entire party hard.
- Final Fantasy VI Advance had the bonus version of the Holy Dragon in the Dragon's Den, which can counter any attack with a chance at Heartless Angel, an unblockable move that sets everyone's HP to 1. Keep in mind that counters don't interrupt the boss's action gauge, so it can take a turn normally RIGHT AFTER, which means it can use Searing Beam, an equally unblockable group targetting holy-elemental move on everyone. Oh, and holy element is the hardest one to null in the game, with only one single equipment that requires painful amount of effort to obtain), and the Rage skill that can be used by two specific party members out of fourteen. If you're not prepared for it one way or another...
- Final Fantasy V has Neo Exdeath, who has not one, but three methods of wiping out the entire party in one turn.
- Firstly, he has the ability to cast Almagest, a spell that inflicts the Sap status (constantly draining the party's health), instantly followed by Maelstrom, which reduces the party's health to single digits. Of course, he can also cast them the other way round, which is just as deadly, as Almagest also deals around 1600 damage to the entire party.
- Secondly, he has the spell Grand Cross, which can inflict Death on the entire party. Or Petrify.
- Thirdly, he has the spell Meteor, which hits the party with 4 highly damaging meteors, with a random target being chosen for each one.
- Final Fantasy XIII has Climax Boss Barthandelus and his Destrudo. If you don't do a certain (fairly low) amount of damage during the charge time, it's a guaranteed party wipe.
- Comes in three main flavours in UFO Aftermath:
- Alien rocket launchers and railguns explode in the midst of the party, who start out bunched and haven't had time to spread out before the ammmunition begins flying.
- A Deathbellows hurls a gobbet of flesh-devouring bees into the heart of your group.
- You foolishly move your entire group to open a door and a Balloon Fish comes out to say "Die."
- Of course, there are lesser versions including, for example, starting out separated in a base defence mission and winding up with everyone being ganged up on by aliens with rapid-firing laser cannons.
- In Bungie's Myth series, your explosive-chucking dwarves have incredible TPK potential, as you can tell in this video.
- This is the point in VS mode in Left 4 Dead where the zombie players' objective is to kill all the survivor players. The trope also occurs if there is a player who is Too Dumb to Live or is a Leeroy Jenkins and causes the whole team to be killed due to his stupidity. Or worse, a Griefer.
- "Hey guys! Check out my grenade launcher!"
- Anyone who is a Griefer for online games. Their goal is to piss off the other team members and they usually accomplish this by killing everyone via friendly fire.
- In Baldur's Gate II, if you attack Irenicus in Spellhold without recruiting the other inmates to help you, he will simply call you a fool and kill the entire party with a single spell.
- In X-Com and similar strategic/tactical games, a single berserked or mind-controlled agent with explosive weaponry can easily result in this, whether because everyone got blown up, or because of the spiral of panicking and berserking that results. Also, Chryssalids (and Tentaculats in sequel Terror From the Deep) transform your teammates into zombies with just a single bite, and when the zombies are killed their infested corpses hatch another Chryssalid! In this way your whole team can be wiped out as an effective fighting force in just one or two turns.
- There's also the much-dreaded 'grenade thrown into the Skyranger on first turn'.
- If you have played a Shin Megami Tensei game, you have probably seen an enemy cast Mahamaon or Mamudoon, realized that nobody in your party is immune, and seen everyone drop simultaneously. Or, worse, Megidolaon.
- Or even worse. This trope is taken Up to Eleven by Samsara and Die For Me!, which are Mahamaon and Mamudoon with 80% of party-wide instant-death. But even these two don't compare much to the next example (as they are usually traditionally in possession of certain boss or secret demons), as is, the even more extreme, Megidoladyne, unique to Lucifer, as Bonus Boss of Devil Survivor; it deals ridiculously high unblockable Almighty damage to every single member of ALL of your parties. And every time he uses it? It gets a 50% power boost. Nevermind the fact that you'd need to be in the high 90s in level and have a maxed or nearly maxed magic stat to even survive one hit and not be put near death by it, this spell eventually becomes powerful enough to induce a guaranteed Total Party Kill if you can't kill him fast enough... or figure out a way to get him to get the least possible amount of turns he can. Only a fool would attempt to take this boss on without preparing specially for Megidoladyne.
- Star Ocean: Till the End of Time has this in spades if you get struck by an attack called Ether Strike while fighting the final Bonus Boss Freya, who makes a parody appearance from a sister game called Valkyrie Profile. Despite being a huge bitch in that game, she manages to be entirely worse in this one. Much worse. There is no way to survive a direct Ether Strike on the "easiest" difficulty without actively trying to break your defense to do anything but a straight Freya fight, and even then you're still likely to die unless you learn her pattern and bring lots of bombs.
- In the Tales Series, a boss' Hi-Ougi/Mystic Arte can easily lead to this if everyone gets caught up in it, especially on higher difficulties.
- In the PS2 remake of Tales of Destiny, Barbatos Goetia's aptly named World Destroyer arte will most likely cause this if you fail to interrupt it in time, as it nukes the entire battlefield for damage well over the HP cap.
- The PS3 version of Tales of Vesperia has a particularly nasty example of this with the last boss and his Big Bang mystic arte on difficulties above Normal, as it can't be avoided, and deals enough damage to OHKO anyone who doesn't have an invincibility buff and/or isn't Flynn.
- Clint's mystic arte can be even worse, as it performs a One-Hit KO on every single character who's had their fatal strike gauge depleted by him or his allies, with an obvious result if everyone is in that situation. Removing your ability to get hit entirely with Repede's Gale Dog or Estelle's Force Field is the only way to avoid it, and having an Auto-Revive effect active is the only way to (Technically) survive a hit from it.
- In HaloHalo: Reach this can sometimes occur in firefight mode, which pits up to four players against increasingly difficult waves of covenant enemies. One of the most frequent ways this can happen is actually pretty surprising, the detonation of loose plasma grenades. Nearly all enemies have two plasma grenades on them but most can't or won't use them and when they die the grenades are dropped on the ground. These tend to aggregate in certain places where there are ideal kill zones. When one grenade is hit, it will start a chain reaction that can easily kill all the players if they are unlucky enough to be caught in it. Can also easily happen if someone messes up with the target designator and calls an artillery strike on their own heads.
- In Oregon Trail, this will probably happen if you try to ford the Green River, or hit a rock while rafting down the Columbia River. "Everyone in your party has died". In the sequel, your entire party can be wiped out at once by freezing or starving to death in a blizzard (especially if you can't hunt or don't have winter clothing), a contagious disease, thirst (if you don't have canteens or water kegs), etc...
- The sequel also lets you cross the Black Rock and Great Salt Lake Deserts. If you decide to travel during the day instead of waiting for nightfall, everyone dies one-by-one in an instant.
- At the end of the second chapter of Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark, Mephistopheles kills the player and his/her companions are all killed in the imminent diabolical invasion. The third chapter is set in Hell (specifically Cania, the eighth layer, reserved for traitors), in which your entire party is technically dead.
- In Mabinogi, finishing the Generation 9 mainstream allows players the ability to summon the gold dragon Adniel to use his Meteor attack on a specific spot (not targeted by enemy) in the Shadow Realm. Keep in mind that many Shadow Missions involve hitting an orb that seals off the surrounding area and spawns monsters inside for the players to fight. Commanding Adniel to center his meteors on the center of the room can potentially kill EVERYTHING within the room, player and monster alike. There is no IF to a bunch of rocks pummeling the ground.
- Unusually for an arcade game, this shows up in Dungeons And Dragons Shadow Over Mystara. At one point, the players are given the choice to stay overnight in some city or other (the exact details are not presently recalled), or to press on with their quest immediately. If you stay, the whole party gets wiped when a dragon (that you would have fought had you gone on) annihilates the city that night. Game Over, no continuing. Sounds harsh, but the option to stay inverts But Thou Must so hard that anyone who doesn't take the hint frankly deserves it.
- It's one possible outcome of the last mission in Mass Effect 2, although you probably have to be trying to foul it up that badly. It's arguably a really extended Non-Standard Game Over, as it's the only ending you can't import to Mass Effect 3.
- In the series as a whole, thresher maws tend to be this for NPCs (in fact, one backstory you can choose involves being the sole survivor of a group that ran afoul of one). For you, thresher maws just tend to be a battle which isn't so much a challenge as it is a trial of patience.
- Some fusion spells in Persona 2 instantaneously kill any enemy that can't void a specific element. There are spells for Earth, Fire, Water and Wind. Another ridiculously specific Fusion Spell not only kills every enemy, but also kills two of your party members as well.
- The primary cause of mission failure in Rainbow Six. "Mission failed, your team was wiped out". Can instantly result from grenade mishaps.
- MOTHER 1 has the R703x robots, a trio of robot enemies - each of which are the upgraded version of the previous - that appear at certain points in the story to block your way. A normal battle with these guys is a guaranteed Total Party Kill. Two of them, R7037 and R7038XX, can only be defeated in specific ways by borrowing a guy's tank (which breaks right after, oops) and the Heroic Sacrifice of your Robot Buddy EVE respectively.
- The middle of these, the R7038, can't be defeated at all and will always wipe out your party. (People have hacked the game to discover that even if you somehow mange to lower its HP to 0, it still won't be defeated.) However, right after the party is wiped out, a friend of yours will appear in the newly rebuilt tank that was used to defeat the R7037 and obliterate it.
- EarthBound has the spell PK Flash, which can cause various status effects. It hits everyone, and the higher levels have instant death as a possible result. It's rather unlikely, but your entire party can be instantly killed by a monster casting this spell if the RNG hates you enough.
- Dragon Quest has a few of these:
- The Thwack (or Defeat) spell can kill your whole party in one go if you're unlucky. The Kamikazee (or Sacrifice) spell will kill your whole party in one go; no saving throw for you. Kamikazee even gives the Nightmare Fuel message "Character Name explodes into a thousand fragments!" instead of the typical "Character Name dies!" But the caster can still be resurrected somehow...
- And similar to the example of Final Fantasy's malboros described above, if your party is confused but has high defense stats, they will ineffectively bash each other with their weapons - but magic attacks don't undo confusion, so the enemy can still Frizz you to death!
- Heavy Weapon's Updated Re-release for the Xbox360 has the War Party Survival mode, in which players have infinite lives, but get a respawn timer that gets longer for each time they die. The game only ends once all player tanks are dead and have yet to respawn. This trope comes into play once the Havanski Atomic Bomber appears- it drops A-bombs that will destroy every player on the screen regardless of shielding should one of them even touch the ground before being destroyed.
- In Planescape: Torment, the Nameless One is separated from his companions when they enter the Fortress of Regrets. The Transcendent One kills them all, one by one, but the Nameless One resurrects them at the end.
- Certain dumb actions in Drakensang may results in this. Usually by casting powerful A.O.E. spells like fireball when the enemy's engaged in melee will result in tons of damage to the players. In certain crowded areas, trying to outrun a large amount of enemies engaged in battle may results in one as well.
- In Borderlands 2 the entire party of four can be loaded into a single Bandit Technical, if the player behind the wheel is a bad enough driver, this can occur quite quickly.
- This is pretty much the expected ending in Dwarf Fortress for both fortress mode and adventure mode. Merely one way to achieve TPK in adventure mode is trying to ford a river in the fall; if the freeze happens while you and your party (if you have one) are in the river, everyone is instantly frozen and killed. Traveling at night when explicitly warned about boogeymen is another easy way to tempt fate. In fortress mode, there are as many stupid/accidental/avoidable ways to destroy your own fortress as there are fortresses. There's a reason why the game's motto is "Losing is Fun!".
- The Dullahan, the Bonus Boss of the second and third Golden Sun games is notorious for this, mosty because he spams a move the renders all your Djinn useless. Meaning your stats take a dive, your most useful spells (like multiheal and revives) are no longer useable, and your high-damage summmon spells are no longer available. Oh, and he also can summon Charon, the ultimate Venus summon, which has a chance of auto-killing all targets.
- The Tower Raid level is infamous for this in Warface, where it requires amazing teamwork and communication among several experienced players with high level weaponry to even attempt to avoid this trope.
- In Monster Hunter, a party of three or four can instantly go from "Defeats: 0/3" to QUEST FAILED if the entire party gets knocked out at once, as the three-KO limit is shared amongst the entire party.
- Like in Monster Hunter, Dariusburst Another Chronicle uses a shared lives system; players who join or get killed subtract a life from the total stock. In a 3- or 4-player game, everyone has only one life, which means a single boss attack can wipe out the entire party in an instant even if no one has died up to that point.
- In Xenoblade, Yaldabaoth's ultimate attack in the final encounter with Egil has the same effect as a total party kill if Egil's Mechon is able to use it. The attack itself, Bionis Slash X, is more Apocalypse How in attack form and gives a two-minute timer to stop it after it's Vision concludes, temporarily making the battle into a sort of Time-Limit Boss, and if you're unable to destroy the three devices around the boss before the Vision time limit expires it's game over as the Mechonis destroys Bionis in a single downward stroke.
- In the Freelance Astronauts' Let's Play of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, one of their attempts at level 9-7 ended up as this when all four of them make the same jump into a Piranha Plant.
- Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG gives a guide on what's an appropriate TPK
- Mr. Welch is also not allowed to mention that time when they were nearly TPK'd by a Jerboa.
- Happens regularly in Binder of Shame. The record is three TPKs in a single night - the narrator left when someone suggested they start playing for a fourth time, and apparently they managed several more without him.
- In the Noob webseries and comics, this happens quite frequently to the titular guild (the name is no accident).
- This happens to the party in the Fantasy storyline of Irregular Webcomic! on occasion. It's a reason never to let your party's Fire Mage put all of his skill points into that Fireball spell... Good thing Death Is Cheap and Death of Insanely Overpowered Fireballs is woefully incompetent...
- This strip of RP Generic shows us what happen when the players insist on having heavy-armored dwarf characters in a high-seas adventure.
- Sometimes one idiot can ruin an entire session of Call of Cthulhu, as proved by The Unspeakable Vault (of Doom).
- Referenced in Erfworld.
- In Absurd Notions, it takes a while to convince the designers of "Traps and Treasures" that they shouldn't make all the traps result in TPKs.
- In Leftover Soup, Lily forces her players to try 4th edition this way.
- In The Order of the Stick, La Résistance of Azure City, bar one survivor, ends up like this after being ambushed by Redcloak.
- This is also what Elan dreads, if his requiem for Roy is anything to go by.
- The end of the Ruby arc of the original Nuzlocke Comics had this occur to the last remnants of Ruby's team against Steven, thus setting up his Failure Knight status for the FireRed arc.
- Some campaigns in Full Frontal Nerdity ends like this.
- In Homestuck, Meenah does this intentionally to her own party with a massive bomb. This allows them to live on as ghosts, as opposed to being obliterated by the scratch, which would have meant absolute death.
- And then again when Her Imperious Condescension and a Caliborn-possessed Jack Noir obliterate the moons of Prospit and Derse in the human post-scratch session. And yet, all four Nobles were on their quest beds in the moons' cores, and thus all four god-tiered instantly.
- Again in [S] GAME OVER, when Her Imperious Condescension arrives on LOFAF and starts going on a rampage. In the ensuing battle, seven members of the main cast die. Karkat is stabbed in the chest by Gamzee and falls into the Lava Pit. Kanaya cuts Gamzee in half with her chainsaw, but is then immediately disintegrated by the Condesce's Eye Beam. Jane is Impaled with Extreme Prejudice on the Unbreakable Katana along with Jake, who dies trying to save her from Aranea. Dave fights to defend Jade's corpse from Bec Noir and Bec!PM, but Bec and PM attack at the same time and stab Dave in the chest with their swords. Rose is stabbed in the chest by the Condesce's trident, but Roxy manages to grab Rose at the last second and teleport away. Aranea attempts to throw the rest of the planets themselves at the Condesce to kill her, but Terezi breaks her concentration. Aranea mind controls Terezi into stabbing herself in the chest with her cane before being flung to the ground like a ragdoll, but Terezi manages to survive. The Condesce then grabs Aranea by the throat, forces the Ring of Life off her finger, and snaps Aranea's neck before dropping her body into the flames. Even worse, everyone who was a God Tier died either Heroically or Justly, which means they can't revive on their own.
- Knights of Buena Vista is a Campaign Comic covering Frozen, and instead of the king and queen dying tragically in a storm, they, and other player characters, die in a battle against pirates and sea monsters. The new characters they draw up are the film's main cast.