I've been playing Baldur's Gate again recently, and it's reignited my appreciation for RPGs that can properly kick your ass. There's nothing quite like the quickload abusing challenge of trying to take down a lone polar bear without it wiping out half your party, deranged Beserker and all.
That desire for brutal, unforgiving encounters seems to be at the heart of Requiem: The Oldschool Roleplaying Overhaul , which tweaks nearly every aspect of Skyrim to make it that much more punishing.
The changelog is huge. Races have been reworked to offer more varied inherent traits, sneaking has been nerfed to stop it being a crutch for people (i.e. me) to survive pretty much every encounter, all the spells have been adjusted and shopkeepers have been given an upgrade to stinginess. Naturally fast travel has been disabled, which is going to make the seven thousand steps a right bugger to ascend.
The biggest change though is to the combat. Enemy difficulty is determined by type, with even spiders now requiring more tactical thought than blindly slashing away. Encounters are also designed to be quicker. Humanoids with light armour can be dispatched quickly (even if that means you), but heavy armour comes at a huge cost to stamina unless you're investing perks to negate their weight.
It all sounds rather tiring, to be honest. But no doubt there'll be some out there more than happy to transform the game into an unyielding struggle for survival.
You can download Requiem from Skyrim Nexus . Unfortunately it's not up on the Steam Workshop, so installation will require some effort. Nowhere near as much as actually playing the thing, admittedly.