To kill your players.
Or at least put them in impossible situations.
Last night, the AL-esque group I’m in as a player at our local game store had nine players show up, which is a little ridiculous, but the DM made it work. With around an hour left to play, a late-night random encounter took a turn for the worse.
We watched as the DM literally emptied a bag of minis on the table. I counted up 28 minis and that’s before the bulette joined the fight. (In case you were wondering, it was: 18 Lizardfolk, 1 Giant Crocodile, 3 Rust Monsters, 3 Giant Lizards, 1 Dragonborn Sorcerer leading them and his Firenewt Warrior sidekick, a CR 5 berserker type dude, and a Bulette).
The nine of us, mostly level five, a couple level six, were sitting there thinking: “We’re gonna die.”
The leader demanded two of our own to die in retribution for killing off the firenewt warrior’s tribe earlier. The illusionist wizard gladly volunteered (and of course only made it look like the croc bit his head off), but we stalled at picking a second.
We managed to fight our way out of it, actually, and won thanks to a nice combo from the warlock’s hypnotic pattern and the wizard pulling off a couple of good illusions.
We asked the DM later if he was trying to kill us. “Yeah, kind of.”
And that’s fine. Being faced with an impossible challenge was a lot of fun. Even if we TPKed, it would have been a thoroughly interesting story, for sure.
And really, good stories are what D&D is all about anyway.
Now get out there and tell a story!