I play two different styles using the no-reload premise:
One is strict no-reload wherein there is no reloading except for a crash or clear glitch; so when the PC dies and that's it. This is what I use for a free-wheeling meta-gaming/powergaming approach in tactical challenges; and in such games I'm mainly just seeing how far I can get before the PC invariably dies to something or other. I do really enjoy the tension to this style of play. But the obvious downside is having to start over a lot
. There's so many ways to die (even without SCS and/or other tactical mods installed).
The other approach I use is so-called 'minimal' reload, which I adopt for my roleplay-intensive journaled games such as the "Let the Fates Decide" game I have going. For this type of game I have made way too much of an investment in journaling and story development to start over if the PC gets killed. But having to live with all the other outcomes definitely increases the tension. For these games I don't meta-game or powergame at all.
So anyway, I have recently been playing strict no-reload using the Candlekeep characters I dreamed up for MP mode. And I'm finding it sort of interesting to note that on the one hand, while I do love the tension of strict no-reload (even including the fun factor of frequently rolling up a new PC party; I use a randomization method for it), on the other hand there is something a bit disconcerting about the dynamics of strict no-reload.
Thus... and this is the main observation I'm throwing out for discussion...
In order to not have to start over incessantly with a strict no-reload approach, you have resort to some pretty extraordinary safety measures to minimize the risks to the PC. "Protect the quarterback" is rule number one to longevity in strict no-reload. And I just can't enjoy playing that way! At least when the PC is a meleer.
The tactical powergaming approach really needs the tension of the strict no reload rule--at least for my taste. Playing games like that as minimal reload wouldn't give enough tension for me.
What are your thoughts about this? Do you share the sentiment? Have you found a way to reconcile this?
I should probably reemphasize that I'm kind of hooked on using randomization for determining PC and party for tactical challenges, so I never quite know what I'll be running with in terms of class skills for the party.
Any other observation you all have regarding upsides and downsides (as you see them) to no-reload approaches?