Do you get to keep XP, items or any progress you make when you die? I know some games will return you to the last checkpoint but you will get to keep all of the XP you got up until death. Does that happen in this game?
No, when you die, it resets all progress back to the last save point. Any items you loot from dead enemies and experience that you obtain during combat will be erased and you will have to do it all again. If you are looking for a particularly rare item and you obtain it, it is best to run away and get to a safe place if you are at risk of being killed.