I joined a game with a group of friends and a couple of other people I haven't met, one of which is the current DM. While I like everyone in the game personally, the current DM is extremely strict, a RAW DM.
This isn't my first encounter with a strict DM so I can adjust my play style accordingly. But while this campaign started as a homebrew-campaign, it quickly jumped into modules. Again, not the end of the world, but this is where it really started to get painful for me.
The module we are running is meant for a group of 4-5, 6th or 7th level characters. We're a group of 4, 4th levels. So right off the bat, the module is extremely difficult. Challenge is fine, but when the DM is very much RAW, some of the situations we encounter (traps for example) are pretty much impossible for us to get around without triggering.
We've been playing for 10 sessions, 6 of which have been in this single dungeon. During our last session, about a month ago due to peoples vacations, two of us died including me due to a difficult encounter.
The encounter was a zombie horde. (14 zombies vs 4 of us) I was immediately surrounded and downed. On the next turn, 2 out of the 5 zombies around me began eating me, easily hitting me and giving me 2 death failures each. 3 of them decided to go after another party member just down the hall.
I rolled a new character and we kept going through the dungeon. This session started us off in combat, to which I was able to take one action, and then was immediately KO'd and killed by the use of coup de grace. I sat there for two hours while the combat was resolved, with another player whose character was also killed quickly. At the end of combat, the DM told me to just roll a new character so we can keep playing.
My issue is: I could roll a new character, but given that I'm more interested in the narrative, min/maxing doesn't really interest me as a roleplaying player. But it seems like I have to in order to just live through single combat. I've already mentioned it to the DM but he's of a mind that, since that's the module we're running, we have to just work around it. I'm tempted to leave the party, but I don't want to ruin the fun for the other people in the group.
Specifically, what is the best way to handle a ruthless DM, if you've already tried speaking to them outside of the game, to minimize the impact on the party as a whole?