I have two roleplaying newbies in a 5th edition D&D campaign. I started them at level 1 to prepare them for joining some more experienced players for a level-4 campaign in the near future.
The two characters were prisoners. Through various means, they brought about the deaths of six camp guards, and killed another two personally. They covered their tracks and escaped without any evidence of exactly who it was. Relevantly, one is chaotic good, while the other is chaotic neutral, and they were imprisoned by the civilian authorities — the people they killed were not soldiers.
One of the players said afterwards that he thought they were just NPCs; clearly they didn't understand what I meant when I said that roleplaying is not like video games.
Should I a) write it off as an inexperienced mistake, b) allow the world to respond in a believable way to this slaughter, or c) some mix of the two with a blunted response and a minor story arc?
I have left my options open — one of the NPCs who escaped with them has disappeared in the night.