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A total party kill (TPK) or wipe is a situation in which every player character in a party dies.

Factors that may lead to a TPK include player inexperience or stubbornness, absentees or insufficient player characters for encounters as designed, encounters or sequences of encounters too difficult for the party's capabilities, or an unexpected number of die rolls unfavorable to the players.

Different Dungeon Masters may handle TPKs differently. Some might avoid TPKs to keep the players' mood from turning sour, for example, by designing encounters cautiously, misrepresenting hidden die rolls in the party's favor, or even retconning TPKs after the fact. Others might intentionally design encounters with a high potential for becoming TPKs, to maintain versimilitude, or as a challenge to players to recognize and avert dangerous situations.

A very handy tip for new DMs is to keep some NPC's on hand who know where the PCs are going, and if the encounter turns out to be too hard can come in and save the day.

Rocks fall, everyone dies[]

The "Rocks fall, everyone dies" Internet meme describes a form of DM "rage quit", in which an irate DM ends the campaign with an abrupt and arbitrary TPK. A 2002 Something*Positive webcomic strip is believed to have popularized the "Rocks fall, everyone dies" meme.[1]