A couple forums have threads about character death right now (of course.) And of course there's a division between those who shrug it off and those who think it should be minimized.
But rather than discuss whether characters should be allowed to die, I'd like to talk about other character losses. I've heard some people rail against losing treasured equipment, calling rust monsters "screw jobs" and showing anger at GMs who allow NPC thieves to rob from player characters. So, certainly, people feel strongly enough about this that we could consider it a challenge.
So, what about designing depleting adventures? A series of challenges that wear characters down, ruin equipment, use up resources, and cause other losses?
You'd still want a couple potentially deadly challenges, so that players would have a dilemma about continuing the current adventure under their current depleted state. But most of the losses would be in the form of equipment and supplies that would need to be replaced or cleaned, or annoying non-fatal injuries that would require rest (and thus expenses, potentially making an expedition not worth the trouble.)
Suppose you were going to design one or more adventures full of annoying but non-deadly challenges... say, 80% non-deadly and 20% standard deadliness. What kind of challenges would you hit the players with?