Last night I ran my second DCC RPG Funnel (third funnel overall if your include last weekend's ACKS Henchman Funnel). More precisely, I ran approximately the first half of The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk by Purple Sorcerer Games.
Ooze Pits is less dungeon crawl, more roleplay / wilderness in nature. Despite this change, 7 casualties out of 12 (16 if you count replacements) of the zero level PC peasants. So far it's been more lethal than The Portal Under the Stars (from the DCC Rulebook).
1D4 Damage vs 1D4 HP PCs is like putting 1D10 Two-Handed Swords in AD&D against 1D10 HP 1st level Fighters. Scaled it's the same.
Managing the number of NPC / Monster adversaries that can engage the party is a delicate balance, especially with the varying numbers of PCs in the newbie swarms. I need to adjust a bit better on the fly. It is an art more that it is a science.
Saves / Checks that are failed even 1 time in 3 that are save or die (even with a 50% luck chance reducing that to 1 in 6) will kill that fraction of the party on average if everyone is forced to make that check. In our case, 2 PCs bought the bullet on that one (exactly 1 in 6). I'm not a fan of forcing a party into a save or die situation - it should be by PCs decision making, good or bad. Did it play out to a fun effect? Yes. Still not a fan of it. Not a specific criticism of the Ooze Pits - I've come across this repeatedly over the years.
Surprisingly, despite (or perhaps because of) the high mortality rate in the adventure so far, my players are having a blast. As am I.
Lack of equipment leads to players thinking out of the box. This has happened in all three funnels I've run. If you aren't comfortable going with the flow and improvising rules to accommodate your players pushing the envelope (and then some), running a "funnel" probably isnt for you.