I've hit the first really challenging area in Eschalon: Book III. Actually, there are some challenging aspects to this game even when played on easier skill levels. For example, you need to learn skills in order to do certain things, like fight with specific weapon types, use certain kinds of armor, cast spells, repair weapons, mix alchemical potions, pick locks, etc. You can learn/grow skills at level up, by buying or finding skill books to study, or by paying a trainer. When leveling up, you get 3 skill points to distribute. You can use all 3 to learn a new skill, or you can improve up to 3 skills that you already know. Obviously, it's best not to waste skill points on learning skills -- learn your skills from book or trainers, then you get more bang for you buck with the skill points at level up. Well, money is not easy to come by early on. Sometimes you get lucky and find a valuable item, but the merchants in the early part of the game don't have as much money to buy your stuff, so sometimes you have to hold onto a valuable item for awhile to find a better merchant who can afford to buy it from you. It's quite easy to overspend your money too early, then have no easy way to get more money for necessities (like arrows if you're a ranger). Fortunately, I picked Foraging as one of my initial skills so I'm able to feed myself and find water without having to spend much money on food. Then there's the matter of deciding which skills are important for your build and how much to invest in them. For example, in order to break open some crates, you have to have a bludgeoning weapon or break it with your bare hands. There is a bludgeoning skill you can develop, or unarmed combat. My ranger specializes in bows with unarmed combat as a secondary attack. You can find/buy "weapons" for unarmed combat -- namely, brass knuckle type weapons. it turns out to be a decent mode of combat. A skill you don't need to invest too much in is cartography. The auto-map won't fill if you don't have this skill, and when you learn it it will fill with very little detail until you improve the skill to about 3. You can continue to spend skill points in cartography to get very detailed automapping, but in reality, stopping at 3 is fine for getting around.
So that makes this RPG a bit different than most in how important skill development is so early on.