The death rate was high. Bill and Chris lost characters right away fighting the orc, and as their first exposure to the system that's probably appropriate. Following that combat, despite the comedy, there was a lot more caution at play. Favorite characters stayed a little further back, and the less liked became trap-springers, essentially. The way Bob ran the encounters though, no one was safe. His wolf dodged back and forth, Dan's halfling rolled around behind it, and Chris lost what he considered his best character after that character scored a max damage hit on the wolf. As I posted above, the wizard cast his first spell, just barely, and the effect of the manifestation I described his terrible visage as an unnatural lengthening, and the tear in reality for the Magic Shield itself, for a puny plus two to AC made for some chuckles at the table. The wolf died mid spring, a pitchfork deep in its neck, hurriedly picked up from another dead party member.
I want to mention something that I thought was a good idea: In the first session, before this one, where the wizard was still only a parsnip farmer with a mule, the party had a squire in it with a longsword. Several different party members called dibs on the sword in the event of the squire's death, and eventually it ended up in the future wizard's hands. Between sessions I said that the wizard named his sword, something I picked up from Bernard Cornwell's Saxon-Dane novels, and the name he picked is "Knifelonger." I think this might be a nice organic way to introduce magic-esque weapons, since as you get better with a particular weapon, maybe you know it well enough to get a bonus to hit, a nominal, and purely personal, plus one. And this would be across all classes. You find a rad ancient sword, as happens later in this adventure, hang on to it and give it a name and it's something special to the character.
Anyway, farther up the trail is a log trap that kills five plus, summons the ogre we've been sent to slay, and a wild melee breaks out over the logs and corpses of our recent friends. Flaming oil bottles are misthrown (and Bob has them land randomly). The wizard and his retinue throw fire bombs until they kill one of Dan's guys in melee with the ogre, then decide maybe it's time to pull back. the ogre is one-shotting characters, one a round, and it's a blood bath. Bill's last halfling takes one of the wizard's firebombs and sets the ogre ablaze with it, finally (4 bombs later), and the ogre flees deeper into the cave after killing yet another party member. We started the adventure with 25 characters, and after this fight, only 9 are alive. There's a lively discussion about heading back to town or finishing the fight, but after a turn or two, the party gives chase.
In a large room with a curtained and open secret door, the party decides that the ogre is probably in the hidden room. Two halfling brothers (Bill and Chris') decide to check it out. They barely get in the door before Bill's halfling is slain by a javelin, and the other brother books it and the party shuts the door. I remembered that I had ward portal, and I decide to spellburn two points to make sure it goes off, fairly convinced that the secret room is a dead end (that might contain the hostages we're supposed to rescue, but a small price to pay for trapping the ogre and letting him starve). I still fail the roll by three, so I burn luck to get the lowest result, sticking the door at an apparently permanent DC30 STR check. There is no mention of a duration, the door's just stuck, and pretty damn well, too, since the ogre apparently can't break it down. We loot the room, another room, and our friends then return to town.
From 25 to 8 in about 3 hours. Not bad. We made Bob attach a kill counter to the outside of his DM screen and ticked the deaths off as we went. With the 8 or so from the previous session, the sheet was looking mighty grim.
(But wait, there's more (Part 3 soon(-ish!)))