My group has been gaming almost every week since WOTC published 3.0. In that time, through 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, Pathfinder, Gamma World, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, All Flesh Must Be Eaten, OG!, Traveller, and The Dying Earth Roleplaying Game, we have never had a TPK.
Thank you, DCC, for a brand-new experience!
Now, I have to add a caveat: we were down a player for the session, so our group consisted of four level 1 characters and four level 0 characters. Play started with the group already inside the burial mound, having clambered in through the cleft in the eastern streambank the previous week. Because they turned right instead of left, they reached the massive burial chamber right off the bat, and a dwarf recognized that trying to dig through those massive stone slabs would bring the roof down.
Smoke from the braziers clued them in to the crawlspace. It looked like they might find the real spear with relatively little trouble, until ...
They decided to send the 0-level halfling into the crawlspace alone. This was a sad moment for me, because I really want a halfling to survive to first level and become the group's lucky charm, and this character had 16 Luck and a +1 Agility modifier. And decent hit points for 0 level. But of course, none of that did any good against the tomb ghoul, which was essentially two 3HD monsters in one.
Screams and cries ... fearful noises ... the rope they'd tied to the halfling came back slack and drenched in blood when they pulled on it.
From there, they started losing characters so quickly that I honestly can't recall how it all went down. The ghoul killed at least two more, and they didn't like the looks of the dark chimney it was using to ambush them, so they went on into the false burial chamber after killing the ghoul. When the trapped column went off, two or more characters got brained by falling debris. I started the initiative countdown. Most everyone ran as soon as it hit their turn ... but not the party cleric, who went over to recover the body of one of the downed level 1 characters. He was technically bleeding out, so her cure spell brought him up with the loss of a stamina point. But his initiative count wasn't until after the next event on the countdown of death, and he failed his second saving throw as badly as the first, getting crushed again. The cleric had no actions left, so she died in the final collapse.
They'd found the crawlspace with eight characters. They left it with three. However, the experience was enough to bring the party warrior up to level 2, and I let the lone surviving 0-level character level up for completing the dungeon, rather than waiting for completion of the whole adventure.
So with a level 1 wizard, a level 1 elf, and a level 2 warrior, they decided to take Ulfheonar's spear and head for the Hound's lair.
Now, as a GM, I perhaps should have said, "I think this is a good place to wrap up for the night." But it was still pretty early, and everybody seemed eager to continue. So on they went.
The module is a bit ambiguous on the mechanic for finding the Hound's lair, so I rolled an encounter every hour and had them roll luck checks after every 3 or 4 encounters. They found the sinkhole just before nightfall. Again, this would have been a good spot for me to call it an evening, but all three players were for some reason afire with a thirst for that Hound's blood. Their strategy? Lower 50' of rope into the hole and Feather Fall the rest of the way. There were a number of problems with this strategy, and at least one of the characters ended up taking falling damage. There's no cleric, and no one has thought to test Ulfheonar's drinking horn.
The black pool burbles and erupts.
With the aid of his new d4 deed die, the warrior attacks it for 8 or 10 damage. On his second round, he pins it with Ulfheonar's spear, doing more damage still!
The Hound now has maybe 4 hit points left. But with the warrior's actions committed to keeping the beast pinned, the group is left with an elf and a wizard doing the fighting -- and they can't hit for the life of them.
Two rounds go by. The Hound is splitting its attacks, and still brings down the wizard, then the warrior. Between them, the characters have done another 3 points of damage. The Hound is literally on its last hit point. It's no longer pinned, but even a single point of damage will dispel it into its gaseous form.
The elf does not spellburn to cast his Flaming Hands spell. He does not burn luck with his physical attack. He just swings his dagger and misses.
In spite of the debacle, three out of the four of us at the table had a grand time. I'm a little concerned that the fourth guy is ready to give up on DCC, so hopefully we won't have another wipe this coming week. But all-in-all, a ton of fun.