It kind of looked like I was back for regular blogging for a while and then petered out. That was unintentional, I got pretty sick and I am still dealing with the aftermath of that. I am still not back to 100%, but I have been DMing the setting still (with two missed sessions due to my illness). We play weekly at my house and I started a second game at my daughter's place, but that one has petered out because of her work schedule and a couple of other issues.
Tuesday evening we played our 17th session, one player couldn't make it because of a work thing, but we were in a good place to leave his character out safe. The party decided it was a good time to return to civilization and cash in so they could try to level up (the party Cleric did, the others were close). On their way back to the dungeon (in the wilderness, beneath an ancient ruined heathen temple) they got a random encounter with 20 Berserkers and I TPKed them. My dice were hot (I roll them in the open as much as possible), theirs were not. Three PCs (levels 3-5), two Henchmen (both level 2) and a pair of Hirelings (0-level Muleteers, brothers in fact) died in the wilderness that day.
I didn't fudge anything (except the fact that the Berserkers should have had surprise, which the players didn't see, but I thought "Oh my god, if I give 20 Berserkers a surprise round at this range, it could be a TPK", so I didn't) during the combat. I thought when I rolled up how many Berserkers there were that it would be a tough encounter, but Berserkers aren't that tough, they hit pretty hard, but go down pretty easy, and the worst AC in the party was 2 I think (except for the muleteers). I figured the party would get bloodied, and maybe have to worry about the next possible encounter (or turn back to civilization to rest and heal).
They immediately started rolling new characters, which made me happy. There was no question of ending this campaign to maybe play something else. Nobody was crying about it being too tough (except maybe me). The players were cool with it.
We have had PC death before. I TPKed them in the caves of Chaos back in June, the second session we played. We've lost Henchmen and Hirelings before (despite playing B/X, I use the more familiar [to me at least] AD&D definitions for the party's retainers, B/X is pretty foggy on the exact definitions there). PC death has become rare though, in part due to the Schrodinger's Adventurer House Rule, in part due to extremely cautious play and good battle tactics on the part of the party.
I just wanted to get this new blog post out. I'll have more Ostschild stuff coming, hopefully soon.