Old School Gaming ?


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"Interesting" or "boring" shouldn't be a matter of having (or not having) feathers or fur or pointed ears.

Similarly, the whole dwarf with a Scottish accent that I keep seeing people being bored of may be a matter of you or the people you play with. In all my years, I've never run across one in game play.

Maybe it is the "old school" gamer in me, but I don't get bored with a character because they are from the Core book or because I may have played a wizard or elf or druid or rogue with a heart of gold or whatever before. I make them different.

All those twists and turns and "I'm a BLAH with a BLAH!" All those have been done and seem elsewhere too. All the stolen or borrowed ideas from books and movies and anime .. people have done those in games and have seen them too. I've often found that in the quest to be different, many people tend to play the same character with a fresh coat of paint. Their catfolk character is just like their elven one, with some cat stereotypes pinned to it.

I don't mind my players coming up with interesting backstories. When it reads like tortured fanfic and requires bending rules or having to rewrite massive portions of the existing game is where I begin to have issues.


Glad to see my point was completely misunderstood.


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Irontruth wrote:
Glad to see my point was completely misunderstood.

You said the word 'misunderstood'. You must be a Special Snowflake!

I don't even know what that is, but you must be a perfect example of it!


Irontruth wrote:
Glad to see my point was completely misunderstood.

Have been introduced to the internet? She's really hot, but a little on the crazy side.


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Terquem wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Glad to see my point was completely misunderstood.
Have been introduced to the internet? She's really hot, but a little on the crazy side.

A little? One time she said said she liked Pringles with lunch, and when I told I only had regular potato chips, she set fire to my car!


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At first she was all cute cat gifs and Tower Defense games, but then the arguments began...


Terquem wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Glad to see my point was completely misunderstood.
Have been introduced to the internet? She's really hot, but a little on the crazy side.

Didn't say I was surprised :p

Shadow Lodge

For me when I hear/read Old School vs New School, for me this is what comes to mind...

Old School: Hard Mode

New School: Easy Mode

Thats probably just me.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Old School: instantly disintegrated by a Beholder that you can't f+$&ing hit because of 20 g~!*~@n f!!*ing eyeballs and one big f!@+ing one dispelling magic.

New School: I want to live!!!!!

.... at least to make it to fourth level.

that's probably just me and my legions of dust piled characters.


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captain yesterday wrote:

Old School: instantly disintegrated by a Beholder that you can't f#~*ing hit because of 20 g*#%@$n f%*%ing eyeballs and one big f*##ing one dispelling magic.

New School: I want to live!!!!!

.... at least to make it to fourth level.

that's probably just me and my legions of dust piled characters.

It's my life

It's now or never
I ain't gonna live forever
I just want to live 'till Level Five

Shadow Lodge

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You know, this might just be me as well, but if your encountering Beholders before 9th+ level then you might want to try a different GM.


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Jacob Saltband wrote:
You know, this might just be me as well, but if your encountering Beholders before 9th+ level then you might want to try a different GM.

I did actually, after I quit for 17 years I'm now the GM, haven't played with my brother for going on 25 years now :-)

Just wanted to share my personal a*&+#*$ DM stories, I got some doozies, my older brothers were a#%!!#$s about it :-)

Why didn't you just take a turn as DM back then you ask?

Great question! My brothers were a%#*@!&s and wouldn't play with me if I was DM and by the time I had some friends that played RPGs Magic: The Gathering was in it's infancy so they all jumped ship to play that:-(

It's one of many reasons I hate Magic: The Gathering so very much!


Old school - you are going to fight a beholder, you'd better have a plan

New School - you are going to fight a beholder, it's CR is appropriate to your level, and you have the right WPL, so it'll be fine...


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Terquem wrote:

Old school - you are going to fight a beholder, you'd better have a plan

New School - you are going to fight a beholder, it's CR is appropriate to your level, and you have the right WPL, so it'll be fine...

Old School - you may need a plan to fight the beholder, but you'd still damn well better be close to an appropriate level and have appropriate toys or you're going to be toast no matter the plan.

Codifying what levels are appropriate and what gear should be available doesn't change the basic power concerns, it just gives you more tools to work with.

I notice for example that all those 1E modules have suggested level ranges on them.


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My brothers were setting and module snobs, they straight up refused to play in a campaign setting that wasn't home brewed or published adventures.

That's why they wouldn't play with me being GM, I was a huge fan of the FR grey box.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Old School : hodgepodge of whatever the designer and/or GM liked. What happened to PCs was completely in the GM's hands for good and ill. Also high PCs/character sheets attrition rate.

New School : giving power back to players. Some GMs do not like this.


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Old school - almost everything had a certain ridiculousness built into it, humor, pun, silliness (hence my posts in this thread are meant to reflect that)

New School - not so much, you know?

Old School - DMs had the power to tell you that what you wanted to try to do could not be done (which was sort of weird, and I never liked it, didn't do it myself, but I saw it done) but they also had the power to tell you that some crazy thing you wanted to try to do WOULD work, did work even without rolling any dice (also sort of weird, but whatever)

New School - not so much, you know?


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The Raven Black wrote:

Old School : hodgepodge of whatever the designer and/or GM liked. What happened to PCs was completely in the GM's hands for good and ill. Also high PCs/character sheets attrition rate.

New School : giving power back to players. Some GMs do not like this.

Yeah, the New School requires the GM to work slightly harder to control what happens to the PCs.


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Actually my games are more like your old school definitions then the new school, in that I always encourage silliness and levity and rule of cool trumps rules every time.

It's hilarious sometimes tho when someone announces big plans or brags at how good they are at something, then roll a 1:-D

Example: GM (me): anyone want to look for treasure now that the monster's dead?

My wife (playing the Rogue): oh boy guys, I'm great at this!! rolls 1

Everyone at the table cracks up laughing.

Liberty's Edge

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Let me sum up...

Old School: [Semi-random, half-truth filled, snarky and borderline insulting rant goes here.]

New School: [Semi-random, half-truth filled, snarky and borderline insulting rant goes here.]

Now no one else needs to contribute any more of those.


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[Insert childish retort here]

[Initiating snark protocol 20.6 now]


Old School gaming:
Presented with an interesting item the PC's use detect magic, then spent alot of time talking about what they see in it, finally asking the DM what they might need to roll in order to know more......

New School gaming:
Presented a curious item the PC's use detect magic and then turn immediately to the DM with questioning eyes about what rolls to make.....


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Old school gaming: 10 x 10 dungeons with giants too large to fit through doors sitting in, guarding treasure chest.

New school gaming: An actual plot and story.

Grand Lodge

thejeff wrote:
all those 1E modules have suggested level ranges on them.

While true, if you note, the original I6: Ravenloft module said it was for a party of levels 5-7. And with 6-8 characters, as was the suggested number of characters needed, you still had to have a good plan despite your party having the Holy Symbol of Ravenloft, and Sergei's Sunsword; and even then, you had to be ready for many a character's untimely death.

Liberty's Edge

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Digitalelf wrote:
thejeff wrote:
all those 1E modules have suggested level ranges on them.
While true, if you note, the original I6: Ravenloft module said it was for a party of levels 5-7. And with 6-8 characters, as was the suggested number of characters needed, you still had to have a good plan despite your party having the Holy Symbol of Ravenloft, and Sergei's Sunsword; and even then, you had to be ready for many a character's untimely death.

Maybe that pretty much sums up the crux of the debate :

Old School : PCs die, often. And do not come back

New School : PCs rarely die for good.


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Raise Dead, Resurrection and Reincarnation were always spells for every edition.

Grand Lodge

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Terquem wrote:

Old school - almost everything had a certain ridiculousness built into it, humor, pun, silliness (hence my posts in this thread are meant to reflect that)

New School - not so much, you know?

Old School - DMs had the power to tell you that what you wanted to try to do could not be done (which was sort of weird, and I never liked it, didn't do it myself, but I saw it done) but they also had the power to tell you that some crazy thing you wanted to try to do WOULD work, did work even without rolling any dice (also sort of weird, but whatever)

New School - not so much, you know?

Your first example is a product of adventure design, and not at all hedged in by edition barriers. My 3.5 GM had the party meet the Keebler elves.

Your second example is simply a difference of GM styles and can be done in current d20 products just as easily as earlier editions. My wife has allowed some crazy schemes in our Skull and Shackles campaign, and even I did it back in 3.5 during my Shackled City game.


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The Raven Black wrote:
Digitalelf wrote:
thejeff wrote:
all those 1E modules have suggested level ranges on them.
While true, if you note, the original I6: Ravenloft module said it was for a party of levels 5-7. And with 6-8 characters, as was the suggested number of characters needed, you still had to have a good plan despite your party having the Holy Symbol of Ravenloft, and Sergei's Sunsword; and even then, you had to be ready for many a character's untimely death.

Maybe that pretty much sums up the crux of the debate :

Old School : PCs die, often. And do not come back

New School : PCs rarely die for good.

Old School: People played lots of different ways.

New School: People play lots of different ways.

I don't recall significantly more PC death back in the day.


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Old School - you found out how weird your game was completely by accident when you and your group all showed up in the Library at school at lunch, and realized there was another group already playing at the big table, and boy were they playing the game all wrong

New School - you enjoy the game, and have a great group, then one day you visit the internet, and suddenly all hope is gone...


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Old school- you got beaten up if you showed up at school with your books.

New school- you have teachers offering to let you use the classroom after school's out, but only if she can join in.

Both were my own personal experiences.

To clarify the new school example, I had a Kingmaker game for my daughter and her friends, her teacher heard about it and asked if she could join in.


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Old school- being traumatised by the grapple table

New school - Nope, still too traumatised to look at grapple rules


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Kingmaker by the way is an awesome tool for teaching leadership and civic responsibility.


Old school gaming: every game session is constantly interrupted as you page through tons of weird, counter-intuitive, complex and badly explained rules with terrible editing. Even something as simple as an attack with a weapon requires a huge arbitrary intuitive table for each weapon and armor combination.
New school gaming: A game session proceeds smoothly without needing to constantly reference the rulebook. However, if you GM, then you must spend lots of time between sessions paging through tons of weird, counter-intuitive, complex and badly explained rules with terrible editing.

Except, of course, that the dichotomy I just gave doesn't actually work. It doesn't represent "new" vs "old" gaming, it describes a big difference between AD&D 1e and Pathfinder. Comparing one recent game to one older game is not an adequate sample of "new school" and "old school".
For example, when I play GURPS, an "old" game, I need to reference the rules a lot both between sessions and while I'm playing.

On the other hand, Mythic Roleplaying (a game released in 2003, which I get the impression means the forumites would call it "new"), is simple enough that the rules in their entirety can be easily memorized, and so referencing the rules isn't necessary either between sessions or while playing.

And, of course, improvisational theater, the oldest form of roleplaying game which predates D&D by several centuries, does not require referencing rulebooks either.

The only real distinction between New School and Old School gaming is what time period they happened in.


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Chief Cook and Bottlewasher wrote:

Old school- being traumatised by the grapple table

New school - Nope, still too traumatised to look at grapple rules

With tentacles?


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Chief Cook and Bottlewasher wrote:

Old school- being traumatised by the grapple table

New school - Nope, still too traumatised to look at grapple rules

Ze game stays the same!


Deranged_Maniac_Ben wrote:

Old school gaming: every game session is constantly interrupted as you page through tons of weird, counter-intuitive, complex and badly explained rules with terrible editing. Even something as simple as an attack with a weapon requires a huge arbitrary intuitive table for each weapon and armor combination.

New school gaming: A game session proceeds smoothly without needing to constantly reference the rulebook. However, if you GM, then you must spend lots of time between sessions paging through tons of weird, counter-intuitive, complex and badly explained rules with terrible editing.

Except, of course, that the dichotomy I just gave doesn't actually work. It doesn't represent "new" vs "old" gaming, it describes a big difference between AD&D 1e and Pathfinder. Comparing one recent game to one older game is not an adequate sample of "new school" and "old school".
For example, when I play GURPS, an "old" game, I need to reference the rules a lot both between sessions and while I'm playing.

On the other hand, Mythic Roleplaying (a game released in 2003, which I get the impression means the forumites would call it "new"), is simple enough that the rules in their entirety can be easily memorized, and so referencing the rules isn't necessary either between sessions or while playing.

And, of course, improvisational theater, the oldest form of roleplaying game which predates D&D by several centuries, does not require referencing rulebooks either.

The only real distinction between New School and Old School gaming is what time period they happened in.

It's perhaps truer to say that "Old School/New School" is nearly always used in reference to older/newer versions of D&D (and from the perspective of the person saying it). Every attempt to define it in other terms ends up describing games published in the last couple of years as Old School and games published in the 1970s as New School, and virtually every game as being a mix of both. And yes, there are some old games where referencing rulebooks was rare and ones where it was common and by contrast some new games where referencing rule books is common and others where it's rare.


Chief Cook and Bottlewasher wrote:

Old school- being traumatised by the grapple table

New school - Nope, still too traumatised to look at grapple rules

I thought early DnD editions didn't have grapple rules. They mentioned that you could grapple, but they never actually told you how you would go about doing that rules wise.


"Grappling" - See "Non-Lethal and Weaponless Combat" page 72 and 73 of the DMG (1979)


Bluenose wrote:
Deranged_Maniac_Ben wrote:

Old school gaming: every game session is constantly interrupted as you page through tons of weird, counter-intuitive, complex and badly explained rules with terrible editing. Even something as simple as an attack with a weapon requires a huge arbitrary intuitive table for each weapon and armor combination.

New school gaming: A game session proceeds smoothly without needing to constantly reference the rulebook. However, if you GM, then you must spend lots of time between sessions paging through tons of weird, counter-intuitive, complex and badly explained rules with terrible editing.

Except, of course, that the dichotomy I just gave doesn't actually work. It doesn't represent "new" vs "old" gaming, it describes a big difference between AD&D 1e and Pathfinder. Comparing one recent game to one older game is not an adequate sample of "new school" and "old school".
For example, when I play GURPS, an "old" game, I need to reference the rules a lot both between sessions and while I'm playing.

On the other hand, Mythic Roleplaying (a game released in 2003, which I get the impression means the forumites would call it "new"), is simple enough that the rules in their entirety can be easily memorized, and so referencing the rules isn't necessary either between sessions or while playing.

And, of course, improvisational theater, the oldest form of roleplaying game which predates D&D by several centuries, does not require referencing rulebooks either.

The only real distinction between New School and Old School gaming is what time period they happened in.

It's perhaps truer to say that "Old School/New School" is nearly always used in reference to older/newer versions of D&D (and from the perspective of the person saying it).

Except talks about division between Old and New School were already in place at least in nineties when I started playing a few years before anyone except the WotC insiders even thoughts about 3rd edition.

Quote:
Every attempt to define it in other terms ends up describing games published in the last couple of years as Old School and games published in the 1970s as New School, and virtually every game as being a mix of both. And yes, there are some...

And? That's a feature, not an issue with those definitions. If they would be supposed to follow chronological progression, there would be no point in calling them "Schools Of Gaming", and instead it would be just Old/New Games division.

Liberty's Edge

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Bluenose wrote:
And yes, there are some old games where referencing rulebooks was rare and ones where it was common and by contrast some new games where referencing rule books is common and others where it's rare.

And there were some where it was grounds for summary termination, citizen None-B-NOZ!


Drejk wrote:
Bluenose wrote:
It's perhaps truer to say that "Old School/New School" is nearly always used in reference to older/newer versions of D&D (and from the perspective of the person saying it).
Except talks about division between Old and New School were already in place at least in nineties when I started playing a few years before anyone except the WotC insiders even thoughts about 3rd edition.
Bluenose wrote:
Every attempt to define it in other terms ends up describing games published in the last couple of years as Old School and games published in the 1970s as New School, and virtually every game as being a mix of both. And yes, there are some...
And? That's a feature, not an issue with those definitions. If they would be supposed to follow chronological progression, there would be no point in calling them "Schools Of Gaming", and instead it would be just Old/New Games division.

The Old School/New School division currently does seem to be focused on the differences between versions of D&D (or games directly related to D&D, like PF and the OSR games). I'm not sure what the terms meant back in the 90s. I don't think I'd run across them then. It's quite possible they were used differently than today. Of course, as this thread shows, there's no clear understanding today either.

Part of the problem, especially if you look outside of D&D, is that the the division is far too simple. There are a lot more than 2 schools of play. If you move outside D&D and tried to split into 2 schools, you'd most likely lump Old School & New School D&D together, because as different as the styles might be, they're far more similar to each other than to something like Amber, or something like Dogs in the Vineyard.

I posted earlier a link to an earlier attempt to break down schools of gaming
He suggested:

Quote:

1975-1980: Explorational Wargames

D&D, Melee, et al.
1978-1988: Literary Simplicity
Call of Cthulhu, Pendragon, et al.
1980-1988: Rules-Heavy Worlds
RoleMaster, HârnMaster, et al.
1984-1993: Comical Rules-Lite
Toon, Marvel Superheroes, et al.
1986-Present: Universal Problem-Solving
GURPS and its imitators.
1987-Present: Fast Cinematic Action
Star Wars, Feng Shui, et al.
1991-Present: Dark Storytelling
Vampire: The Masquerade, et al.
1991-Present: Diceless Fantasy
Amber Diceless, Everway, et al.
2000-Present: Crunchy Challenge
D&D3 / D20, Rune, et al.

Written in around 2004, so there's been more evolution since then and I'm not sure I'd agree with all his divisions anyway. It also is more about game design and overlooks that people can play many of the individual games in very different ways.


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2/3's of the posts seem like people trying to portray their own favorite style in a way that makes them seem superior to others.


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Old School - Games played by people who care about playing the right way, creating the best stories, and laying down the memories that will be treasured for a lifetime

New School - games played by kids who won't stay off my lawn, typing their posts on their phones with the autocorrect set way to harsh, not able to see beyond their herolab statistics, and forgetting everything they did in the last game as soon as the new pokemon game is released


Terquem wrote:

Old School - Games played by people who care about playing the right way, creating the best stories, and laying down the memories that will be treasured for a lifetime

New School - games played by kids who won't stay off my lawn, typing their posts on their phones with the autocorrect set way to harsh, not able to see beyond their herolab statistics, and forgetting everything they did in the last game as soon as the new pokemon game is released

I honestly cannot tell whether this is satire, a serious statement or meant to be "ha ha, only serious".


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I'm shooting for 70%


Terquem wrote:
I'm shooting for 70%

Oh, so the ambiguity may be deliberate, then?

Glad we cleared everything up.


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Irontruth wrote:
2/3's of the posts seem like people trying to portray their own favorite style in a way that makes them seem superior to others.

Isn't that how these things always break down? Everyone's either an entitled whiner who just doesn't like change, or an easily amused man/woman-child ruined by smartphones and World of Warcraft.


Old school- characters below Named Level are expendable game pieces too vulnerable to give a personality or backstory.

New school - characters are precious avatars of the players in the GM's world with complete identities and their loss can be a legitimate emotional blow depending on the player in question. [Speaking personally sometimes I just can't 'get into' the process of forging a new character for a week or two after the loss of an old one.]


I'm going to take everything said in this thread and create the most bad ass cliche trope filled old school gamer alias the boards have ever seen!!

Mwahahahahaha!!!!

Or not.

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