"Making the PCs suffer best evokes the spirit of the source material that inspired SBVD. Put them through the wringer as much as possible before their inevitable, ignominious demise. Killing characters off is no fun; doing everything just short of that is much more entertaining."As you may know, I'm quite a killer DM. Not so much as the B/X Blackrazor guy, but even he is a little overkill for my tastes. Regardless, this section has really got be rethinking my whole gaming philosophy.
I like a sense that death could jump out and smack you in the face at any moment in my games. I feel that the expectation that the party will come out unsuccessful really adds to the sense of fulfillment when everything does pan out, and skilled play is put on a massive pedestal compared to that 18/00 strength you happened to roll during character creation.
On the other hand, I think Mr. Hogan has a point. There's a huge specrtum between being just fine and dandy and dead on your back in the middle of the dungeon. I just have to think more about what exactly that middle ground actually is.