Old School vs. Modern Gaming (Swords & Wizardry vs. Pathfinder)


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Charon's Little Helper wrote:
I just meant that the ruleset pushed people towards point-buy rather than necessarily a different gaming outlook.

And I maintain this is more than a coincidence. It obviously goes deeper than just Roll vs. Point Buy, but if I had to pick a single moment of transition from old to new school, that would be a pretty good one.


Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:

Codifying rules was a big part of old-school play as well -- again, it's just that the expectation of the rules was different, I think.

I really think that character vs. player emphasis is the delineator here, and that clears up a lot of the Rule 0 discussion.

Yes, codified rules favor player empowerment. And that was still true when the Cavalier Class galloped onto the scene. The evolution of rules, including player empowerment, has been a continuous process throughout the old and new schools.

It's the mindset of the players and the GM that makes the difference. I think there's no better example than Random Ability scores vs. Point buy being the default assumption. There's no question which method is more old-school, right?

And that's because the old school was about what the player could make of the hand they were dealt. Class selection was almost a part of the dungeon -- you have this Int, and this Str, what will you do with yourself?

There's a contradictory element to your argument. You're talking about how old school, players had to rely on their intellect to solve problems. In the new school, players have to find the rule to help them solve problems.

To me that sounds like players were more empowered in the old school, because the rules didn't preclude them from doing actions, thus giving them a wider array of choices of what to do during the game.

This is again, why I find this delineation to be arbitrary and not very productive. We're arguing over whether the apple is red and has flecks of gold color on it's skin, or whether the apple is red and has tiny spots of gold on it's skin.


Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:

There always was Rule 0 folks.

I really don't think that's what delineates the schools.

There were two endings for Old School, which for most of this discussion was the "old" D+D, and it's successor AD+D.

The first ending was when alternatives sprung up.

But the real ending was the beginning of the answer to Orfmay's question of Player Empowerment.

Back in the day, the ONE and ONLY book for players was the Player's Handbook. Players weren't supposed to be even LOOKING at the other books. So TSR''s main purchase market was DMs.

The end was slow at first. You had the Second Edition "Compelete (Insert Class Name Here) line of brown covered books, with the spiritual ancestor to the modern archetype called Kits. Which would generally change one thing about the class. such as the Amazon kit for female fighters only. And what they got was a +3 to hit vs males until they made their first successful strike.

But it was 3.0 that opened the floodgates with the "splatbooks". The era of Player Empowerment began in full earnest, and it's still with us today. Unlike the past, the vast majority of books being printed are marketed for Players. There would not be a need for a "GM Empowerment" clause if the tide hadn't reversed so dramatically in the favor of the players.


Irontruth wrote:
There's a contradictory element to your argument.

Good! Otherwise it would be suspicious. The situation is nuanced, after all.

Irontruth wrote:
You're talking about how old school, players had to rely on their intellect to solve problems. In the new school, players have to find the rule to help them solve problems.

Well, I'm not really talking about rule sets, though. I'm talking about the values of the players and GM. And yes, I think that old-school values emphasized the player over the character.

And it's not so much about finding rules, but rather in the new school your character build out has much more influence on what tools you have to solve problems. Again, both schools had big choices in character creation, but in the new school this is embraced as a central focus of the game. It is valued more highly.

Irontruth wrote:
To me that sounds like players were more empowered in the old school, because the rules didn't preclude them from doing actions, thus giving them a wider array of choices of what to do during the game.

I'd say "the rules" play exactly the same role in both schools. You can play Pathfinder with old school values, or 0D&D with new-school values. This is why I think the Rule 0 discussion is a trap.

Old school had a ton of rules. There was a big difference in consistency, availability and organization, but characterizing original D&D as some kind of wild west where everything was GM fiat is not accurate.

The real difference was an attitude that the player was being tested, and was ultimately responsible for the interactions, rather than deferring to what the character "should" be capable of.

Irontruth wrote:
This is again, why I find this delineation to be arbitrary and not very productive. We're arguing over whether the apple is red and has flecks of gold color on it's skin, or whether the apple is red and has tiny spots of gold on it's skin.

Oh, I don't think we're any more up our own a**es than any other philosophical conversation. I would put it to you, though: if I'm right, and it's not Rule 0 but player values over character values, is that not a more original topic than rehashing Rule 0 yet again?

I think that's where the quality discussion lies.


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Irontruth wrote:

Well, something that came out in 2006 might call itself "old school", but I wouldn't consider it definitive on the subject, being roughly 30 years later.

AD&D Player's Handbook has "reaction adjustment" listing on the Charisma score table. The DMG then has a reaction table (p 63) and all sorts of things scattered throughout the book that provide adjustments to that table. Read through them, they're diplomacy rules.

Now, most DM's I played with never bothered to use that table, but that wasn't how the game was written or intended to be played. (And also why most people dumped Charisma, because the bonus never applied) But the table is part of the game and in the rules, so the same concept applies that if you're going to modify those rules, you'd want to tell people that you aren't using them.

As I said: "I think it's in the culture of how each system is played and interpreted."

You may put store in some concept of RAW, but I personally consider the concept a myth. For me, the old school new school distinction is about how the game is generally played, not how the game is written.

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So when the next generation of ttrpg comes out, will we call old school old old school, this generation old school, and the current new school?


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We will thoroughly confuse everybody by calling the in between group "middle school" even though most of the people playing that style will be well past middle school age.

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NenkotaMoon wrote:
So when the next generation of ttrpg comes out, will we call old school old old school, this generation old school, and the current new school?

It might still be "new school". After all - we still call stuff from the 50's "modern art".


Irontruth wrote:
Hitdice wrote:

Seeing as how it's written into the rules that diplomacy can't change PC attitudes, all the mentions of GM fiat in the world seem contradictory at best.

Are you saying that in the rules of AD&D, GM's could change PC attitudes?

No, I'm saying skill rolls which empower PCs and explain in their description that NPCs cannot use them in a similar fashion are a really bad example of the primacy of DM fiat.

On the other hand, I never played AD&D with a DM who forced us to conform our party racial dynamics to the racial preferences table in the PHB, so, sort of, I guess?


Steve Geddes wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

Well, something that came out in 2006 might call itself "old school", but I wouldn't consider it definitive on the subject, being roughly 30 years later.

AD&D Player's Handbook has "reaction adjustment" listing on the Charisma score table. The DMG then has a reaction table (p 63) and all sorts of things scattered throughout the book that provide adjustments to that table. Read through them, they're diplomacy rules.

Now, most DM's I played with never bothered to use that table, but that wasn't how the game was written or intended to be played. (And also why most people dumped Charisma, because the bonus never applied) But the table is part of the game and in the rules, so the same concept applies that if you're going to modify those rules, you'd want to tell people that you aren't using them.

As I said: "I think it's in the culture of how each system is played and interpreted."

You may put store in some concept of RAW, but I personally consider the concept a myth. For me, the old school new school distinction is about how the game is generally played, not how the game is written.

do you think being written in 2006 is relevant to whether something is old school? If you do it undercuts your view that it's a D&D centric term, don't you think?

I think I was the one who said it was a completely D&D-centric term. I mean, I stand by it, I'm just not sure if Irontruth agrees or disagrees.


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My mistake, probably. I've deleted that paragraph.


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Hitdice wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Hitdice wrote:

Seeing as how it's written into the rules that diplomacy can't change PC attitudes, all the mentions of GM fiat in the world seem contradictory at best.

Are you saying that in the rules of AD&D, GM's could change PC attitudes?

No, I'm saying skill rolls which empower PCs and explain in their description that NPCs cannot use them in a similar fashion are a really bad example of the primacy of DM fiat.

On the other hand, I never played AD&D with a DM who forced us to conform our party racial dynamics to the racial preferences table in the PHB, so, sort of, I guess?

I think we're talking across each other a bit.

It's a basic conceit that players control their characters in both games/styles of play. So I'd like to take that aspect of the argument, label it a red herring, and toss it out. If you want to go down that road, you'll have to find someone else to debate it with you.

Both games had a way for players to attempt to influence NPC's. AD&D's "reaction table" was very simplistic, but as the various items and subrules imply, it was used in a lot of situations and essentially served as that game's version of Diplomacy (and even Bluff and Intimidate to a degree).

In both systems though, the DM is not beholden to the table or any outcomes from rolling on it. In fact, both systems carve out massive exceptions that basically say "or... you can just throw this out and do whatever you want." Comparatively though, Pathfinder actually has more carve outs for the DM and makes it much more explicit that the DM can just make the outcome whatever they want, regardless of rolls.

When talking about "OS v. NS" people refer to the lack of DM fiat as a reason why NS is inferior/different. My point is that PF doesn't just rely on an amorphous "rule 0" to add in DM fiat, but actually calls out specifically within the text and says repeatedly "or you can ignore this as DM". This means that DM fiat didn't go away and is in fact alive and well. Therefore, attempting to paint the lack of DM fiat in PF as a indication that it's "new" compared to AD&D is in fact false. It's based on nostalgia and incorrect assumptions, not actually reading the games.


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Irontruth wrote:
Therefore, attempting to paint the lack of DM fiat in PF as a indication that it's "new" compared to AD&D is in fact false. It's based on nostalgia and incorrect assumptions, not actually reading the games.

I was one who stated this as how I distinguish between the two styles. I also explicitly stated several times that I didn't think it was related to the rules as written but to the culture of how they are generally played.

You don't need to talk to me about that, of course, but it's disingenuous to treat my statement as if it's about the wording and therefore false.

Personally, I also find it irritating when people discount my thoughts on AD&D on the grounds they are based on "nostalgia". I last played it in February, I think. I'm not remembering back to the seventies.


When I'm talking about nostalgia, I'm saying that people look back at the 70's and 80's and only remember the style of play that they preferred and have probably carried forward with them. Ignoring the fact that even back then, there were more than two styles of play. It's also projecting onto the community at large, that because you remember this style of play, you assume everyone played it.

Just look at Gary Gygax, he had two styles of play. His tournament adventures, like Tomb of Horrors, had a distinct style to them and he advocated for them strongly (I mean... he wrote them, how much more can you advocate for it). But if you read his book on role-playing mastery, there is a very distinct and separate style of play that he's discussing. That book by the way has some very significant and major departures from core principles of the OSR movement of the 00's. But it's not like Gygax could be considered "old school" anyways. (sarcasm if you're unsure)

From everything I've heard about Dave Arneson, he had a different DMing style from Gygax.

So, maybe nostalgia isn't the right word, maybe it's something else. These posts aren't being written, edited and revised over the course of days/weeks, so not everything is going to be perfect in word choice, syntax or coherence.

You know, a lot of my arguments will go away if people just stop insisting on making it "old school v. new school" and instead say... this is the Geddes School of Roleplaying*, and deliver it as your interpretation of the hobby. The problem is framing opinion as a definitive analysis of the hobby and lumping it all into two categories and presenting them as diametrically opposed. Even if you aren't trying to do that, it's what it sounds like when people try to define "old school v. new school". If you stop doing that, there's no argument, just discussion on how our philosophies impact the game.

*just an example


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Irontruth wrote:
The problem is framing opinion as a definitive analysis of the hobby and lumping it all into two categories and presenting them as diametrically opposed.

I'm definitely not doing that. I have continually qualified my posts as "I think...", "In my view...", and so forth. I think the old-school new-school distinction is subjective and useful for describing how you're going to run a game. It's not some objective system of ranking, nor is it exhaustive.

To be frank, I don't think there's much to be gained in continuing to talk to one another. I must have completely misunderstood you (although I thought I had been reading your posts carefully) I can't imagine how you think my posts in this thread constitute anything related to "my interpretation of the hobby". Perhaps you've overlaid some previous discussion with others who have said similar things to me and assumed I hold other views in common with them?

In my view it is entirely a subjective shorthand, useful when describing a D&Dish game - it definitely isn't a useful method for categorising rule systems. I think they're far to complicated to all be put onto a single axis.


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Irontruth wrote:
I wrote:
Personally, I also find it irritating when people discount my thoughts on AD&D on the grounds they are based on "nostalgia". I last played it in February, I think. I'm not remembering back to the seventies.
So, maybe nostalgia isn't the right word, maybe it's something else. These posts aren't being written, edited and revised over the course of days/weeks, so not everything is going to be perfect in word choice, syntax or coherence.

This is no big deal, by the way. I was just sharing the fact I find it irritating - it's not like you bang on about it, nor are you overly dismissive. (Which people often are when discussing AD&D/OD&D).


I put this in another thread, and I'll post it here.

Before that though, I think it is very easy to play PF with an old school type mindset, and most RPGs you can play that way.

HOWEVER, I also think the major difference which also gives RPG rulesets different feels is the mindset with HOW they were designed. That is what really defines the difference between Old School and New School. I feel it actually a physical difference in design purposes.

Quote:


5e may say it's old school, and in some ways it is, but it is FAR TOO NEW SCHOOL in many other ways. It adheres to the fake Balance idea by utilizing Bounded Accuracy, something that restricts martials far too much whilst not hindering anyone else, especially spellcasters.

Sometimes it's not just options, it's the actual rules that dictate the game.

I don't like how much bloat Pathfinder has gotten, in all honesty. But I enjoy the basic dynamics of Pathfinder FAR more than the basic mechanics of 5e.

That's another difference between old school and New School in my opinion. One tries to adhere to this odd thing of balance which has gradually gotten worse and worse as time has gone on to where everyone now has to have the same bonus to hit, the same bonus to skills, the same this or that with different abilities rather than the idea that there is inherent balance through teamwork and things like the bonus to hit being different is just one of those facets of the game. It's a different approach to balance, where New school has one idea of balance (which is represented in 4e and 5e, and even in 3e and 3.5 which would include Pathfinder as well) whereas old school has a different approach (as seen in the pre-2000 D&D games, Rifts, Rolemaster, and many of those games from that period. A few games of this time period as well, like S&W or C&C would be in that bunch to a degree) .

In otherwords, while they had a form of balance in the Old School games, it wasn't like how they make "balanced" games today. It was more focused on the game itself and people as a team, rather than characters having the exact same power levels at the same levels as everyone else.

I also noted, in that light, 3e was probably designed with more an old school style of game (in the asthetic of 2e) which also probably was why people who played in a specific way found it incredibly unbalanced. It had some New school ideas being tossed around and built into it, but as that way of design was more new at that point, it wasn't all that great and hence Old School sensibilities still had a very strong grasp on those making it.

3e was the first of the D&D where we start seeing a very strong NEW School influence. People who played in a certain way pointed out a LOT of what they viewed as imbalance in the system and ways they would or could abuse it. I think 3.5 was built in a very NEW SCHOOL frame of though reflecting what those thought processes were.

It is that foundation upon which PF is built, and so if played in that mindset today, you'll find those same types of problems in PF as it is built upon that same foundation as 3e originally was. For a balanced character type approach, the old school would create an inherently unbalanced character style, which is great for team play in an old school type of game, but can be terrible for a new school where it's all about the numbers and whether my mage can do everything a fighter can and more...type stuff.

Pathfinder is more of a patch built with New school ideas, but placed upon an Old school foundation. The house looks new, but if you want a certain style of play (which is where tiers come in) you can see that the cracks in the house stem from the New House being built on the old foundation.

On the otherhand 4e and 5e probably have rebuilt the foundation in a way where you find things like everyone has the same Attack bonus and proficiency bonus when at the same levels and other items that are meant to try to keep classes equal, and not the type of balance that was applied to the old school way of thinking.

So, for some it can be nostalgia, but for a more tangible difference, it is actually the mechanics of Old School and New School and the design choices and ideas that are behind it.

Another prime example of Old School vs. New school that IS NOT D&D might be attributed to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. The 1e was built on old school ideas, and 2e was basically an outgrowth of that (though even there you could see some influences of the New School way of thought worming it's way in...sort of like 3e but a lot less of an impact).

On the otherhand WHFRP 3e, which would be what many here would say was also an old school game (and it can very easily be played in an Old School Way, and in fact encourages it) is actually in many ways very New School in it's design process.


I'm beginning to think it may help to list what the delineators are not.


Irontruth wrote:


From everything I've heard about Dave Arneson, he had a different DMing style from Gygax.

I didn't know much about Arneson, I only caught some of his stuff and his forums at the very end, and I mean, the VERY end, like the very last few years before he died.

He still ran a blackmoor campaign, and with his input had many others running a Living Blackmoor.

They had updates for 3.5 and 4e, which is the Blackmoor I played around with.

From what I saw, Arneson was very loose with the rules. The rules were a tool for him to use, but he was not dictated by the rules.

He had no problem with one playing with one system or the other.

If he thought something would work better a certain way, he'd utilize it that way. If he thought it would work better another, it would be another.

The rules could be seen more as things that were useful, but not something mandated to be used.

If that makes sense. My impression of his style is hard to describe here.

I did NOT have tons of experience in regards to him, just feelers regarding how he ran stuff and his games. There are others that are probably FAR better than I in regards to him (and those who were in his personal groups that played often with him would know best how he DM'd).

Last time I touched Blackmoor I think was several years ago around 2011 or so, so it's been a while. Arneson died prior to that, and the spiritual successors who continued blackmoor would understand FAR better than someone that on a whole had a taste, but overall was unacquainted with Arneson, what he thought of various rules and ideas than someone like me.

I can only relate the brief taste/touch I had of his style and ideas.

I wasn't any close friend of Arneson, or a regular for him to really know, nor was I someone who hung out with him or was a friend of his in any sense of the word...so mine is more of my brushes with him in regards to his Blackmoor and seeing how he ran games then any real personal affiliation.

But the guys that were deep into Living Blackmoor, they'd know better and could tell one if they were really curious.


NenkotaMoon wrote:
So when the next generation of ttrpg comes out, will we call old school old old school, this generation old school, and the current new school?

Or in the age where we are living these adventures through virtual reality, this hobby becomes as dead as the hula hoop.


Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
I just meant that the ruleset pushed people towards point-buy rather than necessarily a different gaming outlook.
And I maintain this is more than a coincidence. It obviously goes deeper than just Roll vs. Point Buy, but if I had to pick a single moment of transition from old to new school, that would be a pretty good one.

I tend to agree, with the caveat that the real difference is in the new school, players feel entitled to have the exact character build they want; whereas in old school, because a much wider range of character stats remains viable (even with very little mechanical difference), the character build is much less important.


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Irontruth wrote:
To me that sounds like players were more empowered in the old school, because the rules didn't preclude them from doing actions, thus giving them a wider array of choices of what to do during the game.

With the explosion in the number of feats, I think this is ABSOLUTELY true. Every feat added to the game is another thing you can no longer do (or at least viably) unless you take the feat.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
Personally, I also find it irritating when people discount my thoughts on AD&D on the grounds they are based on "nostalgia".

This is definitely a big problem in these types of threads. Making snide disparaging comments about the "other side" doesn't convince anyone to "switch sides", and is much more likely to get people to do the same about YOUR "side".


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GreyWolfLord wrote:
In otherwords, while they had a form of balance in the Old School games, it wasn't like how they make "balanced" games today. It was more focused on the game itself and people as a team, rather than characters having the exact same power levels at the same levels as everyone else.

Of course, this just becomes ironic when you ACTUALLY compare the different power levels. Somehow, the "new school" editions of D&D (to include Pathfinder, which is probably the worst example) have managed to WIDEN the gulf between spellcasters and martial characters. Mostly due to the fact that v3.0 got rid of many of the limiting factors on spellcasters when it was published, and subsequent editions have further eliminated almost all of the rest. Paizo is much more likely to nerf a semi-effective option that manages to slip through for martial characters than they are to even remotely address some of the more ridiculously overpowered elements allowed to spellcasters.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Or in the age where we are living these adventures through virtual reality, this hobby becomes as dead as the hula hoop.

Even when VR becomes a LOT better, I think there will always remain a place for tabletop games. For one thing, VR skill level in many ways is going to be linked to your skill level as a person, regardless of your character. You can put yourself into a VR rendition of the Three Musketeers all you want, if your swordfighting skills consist of wild flailing, then you're still going to be wildly flailing in the VR world.

That's one thing I wish they had addressed in one of Star Trek's holodeck episodes. Kinda coincidence that ever time they were in the Wild West, everyone was a quick draw and a good shot; every time they were in a sword-fighting setting, everyone was a good sword-fighter, etc. Would've been fun to have en episode where someone loved the Wild West, but was slow as hell on the draw and couldn't hit the broad side of a barn.

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Irontruth wrote:

There's a contradictory element to your argument. You're talking about how old school, players had to rely on their intellect to solve problems. In the new school, players have to find the rule to help them solve problems.

To me that sounds like players were more empowered in the old school, because the rules didn't preclude them from doing actions, thus giving them a wider array of choices of what to do during the game.

This is again, why I find this delineation to be arbitrary and not very productive. We're arguing over whether the apple is red and has flecks of gold color on it's skin, or whether the apple is red and has tiny spots of gold on it's skin.

That's one of the things I find fascinating about the modern forms of the game: the more rules there are the more certain a player is of what their character can do and the better he can plan based on the challenges he faces. But conversely that increases his certainty about what he can't do, and what options are closed off to him. It both empowers and weakens him.

Of course a player can select traits, feats, multiclassing and spells to get around most of those restrictions, but then the challenge of CharOp becomes trying to make the character he envisioned using the rigid options available. It looks like he can make a vast array of characters, but at the same time many choices become closed off because he doesn't have the stats, skill points or levels to accomplish that.

What the rules give with one hand they take away with the other.


Norman Osborne wrote:
GreyWolfLord wrote:
In otherwords, while they had a form of balance in the Old School games, it wasn't like how they make "balanced" games today. It was more focused on the game itself and people as a team, rather than characters having the exact same power levels at the same levels as everyone else.
Of course, this just becomes ironic when you ACTUALLY compare the different power levels. Somehow, the "new school" editions of D&D (to include Pathfinder, which is probably the worst example) have managed to WIDEN the gulf between spellcasters and martial characters. Mostly due to the fact that v3.0 got rid of many of the limiting factors on spellcasters when it was published, and subsequent editions have further eliminated almost all of the rest. Paizo is much more likely to nerf a semi-effective option that manages to slip through for martial characters than they are to even remotely address some of the more ridiculously overpowered elements allowed to spellcasters.

But they keep trying to balance each class against itself on the charater levels, an absolutely NEW SCHOOL design.

However, as I stated above, for those who want to play in that fashion, the cracks become self evident in the NEW house that has been built due to the foundation being constructed more of the Old School ideas.

This is why 4e and 5e were built with similar ideas, but a different foundation. They have their own problems, but they are trying to change the way that the balance between characters is conceived.

However, just because this is a new school way of design, does NOT mean that it inherently is successful. It is merely the GOAL of the designer, but it does not necessarily mean that designer is actually successful.

Hence why people discuss imbalance in the New School Systems, because trying to create different classes with different abilities but that are equally balanced between each other is difficult to do without making them all exactly the same.

It's a far different philosophy than when one sees it as a team game with rules for a group of players as opposed to player vs. player in regards to power levels.

Which is the New School design philosophy (individual character class power levels vs. other character class power levels) as opposed to the Old School Design philosophy (players in a group with a DM).

To many it may not seem that different at first, but the way you design a game can be completely different in that regard. You could actually have games with BOTH design functions as they are not actually opposites. However, by focusing on one, many times designers do not spend as much time on the other.

In New school more time will be spent on each character class or character themselves with their different abilities and powers and how they work and counter each other, vs. Old school which will spend less time on that and more time on other variables (such as encumbrance or land owning titles).


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New school - a character is "created" and then participates in an adventure

Old School - by participating in an adventure, a character is "created"

Silver Crusade

Charon's Little Helper wrote:
NenkotaMoon wrote:
So when the next generation of ttrpg comes out, will we call old school old old school, this generation old school, and the current new school?
It might still be "new school". After all - we still call stuff from the 50's "modern art".

So old school, new school, and post-modern RPGs.

Dark Archive

Terquem wrote:

New school - a character is "created" and then participates in an adventure

Old School - by participating in an adventure, a character is "created"

Both randomly pop into existence, just one before and one during.


Nostalgia.......


Ajaxis wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
NenkotaMoon wrote:
So when the next generation of ttrpg comes out, will we call old school old old school, this generation old school, and the current new school?
It might still be "new school". After all - we still call stuff from the 50's "modern art".
So old school, new school, and post-modern RPGs.

It'd be old, new, post-new.


Y'know, given how much 5e takes from every single edition including 4e, "post-new school" is actually one of the best descriptions I've heard yet.

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Old, New, Newer


Hitdice wrote:
Y'know, given how much 5e takes from every single edition including 4e, "post-new school" is actually one of the best descriptions I've heard yet.

I don't think it really reaches far enough outside the scope of what came before to deserve a separate distinction.

I like the game and really appreciate its nuances, but it really is still the same game. 4E represents a larger departure from D&D-core than 5E does. And if 5E gets a separate moniker, pretty much every edition should be it's own category, which would suggest that the category should probably just be named for the edition for simplicity's sake.


Irontruth wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
Y'know, given how much 5e takes from every single edition including 4e, "post-new school" is actually one of the best descriptions I've heard yet.

I don't think it really reaches far enough outside the scope of what came before to deserve a separate distinction.

I like the game and really appreciate its nuances, but it really is still the same game. 4E represents a larger departure from D&D-core than 5E does. And if 5E gets a separate moniker, pretty much every edition should be it's own category, which would suggest that the category should probably just be named for the edition for simplicity's sake.

Every edition does have its own separate moniker, that's why I was so confused when you didn't understand exactly what I was talking about like five pages ago when I described Labyrinth Lord as a B/X retro-clone.

If you want to tell me that the OSR has been co-opted by self-publishing indiegamers who don't understand the term retro-clone, I'm fine with that, but that's a self-publishing indiegamer thing, not an OSR thing.


Irontruth wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
Y'know, given how much 5e takes from every single edition including 4e, "post-new school" is actually one of the best descriptions I've heard yet.

I don't think it really reaches far enough outside the scope of what came before to deserve a separate distinction.

I like the game and really appreciate its nuances, but it really is still the same game. 4E represents a larger departure from D&D-core than 5E does. And if 5E gets a separate moniker, pretty much every edition should be it's own category, which would suggest that the category should probably just be named for the edition for simplicity's sake.

People say that, but 4e and 5e are really from the same school of thought. The biggest difference between the two (which people seem to have simply accepted without either fully knowing how similar 4e is to 5e at it's basic core) is the marketing that went into 4e, vs. the marketing that went into 5e. 4e outside of combat was probably MORE old School overall than 5e (which isn't saying much as I consider 4e new school). However, they marketed it as an "old school" type game that also was new school, and a bunch of people bought into that hype (and still do).

4e is the same whether you use powers or not. The difference is IF you use powers it becomes more tactical combat wise, but otherwise is STILL the same game.

4e uses the basic 3e shell, but with things like bounded accuracy (up to +10 instead of +6 like 5e), the three saves turned into defenses instead of saves (Fort, Will and REF), and a thing called bloody and second wind. Overall, it's basically a modified form of 3.5, with the plausibility of powers if you want tossed in (it was possible for a GSL system to NOT use powers and use a lower bounded accuracy if one wanted...which is actually what 5e looks like in many ways).

4e at it's heart is a very simple system (even simpler than 3e). There was a modified 4e that used 4e with a lower bounded accuracy and without the powers for each class (so no daily, encounter, utility, or at-wills). Some stated that 5e stole it's system from that, though you could see that influenc on 4e even when essentials came out (less powers and more just class abilities).

The difference isn't that 5e is that much different than 4e, except that they reduced bounded accuracy, made classes EVEN MORE LIKE EACH OTHER, and changed saves (from the FORT, REF, AND WILL) to something different (and it is even further from D&D and AD&D type saves then 3e PF, and 4e were even...which is saying something).

The biggest difference between 4e and 5e...marketing. They sold it as something different and people bought it hook, line and sinker. However, 5e is probably just as new school, if not newer in the thought processes than even 4e was.

People just buy into the marketing rather than analyzing the similarities that system has to things that came before. Except for class names and a few superficial similarities (even spellcasting is different in 5e than anything previous, and that includes pre 2000 D&D), 5e is far different than any other D&D before it, except for some things it shares with 4e (skills and the base combat mode are handled very similarly to 4e, with a base to skill proficiency as opposed to the 3e/D20 way of things or any other D&D skill system of doing things, and saves...I've already covered that).

Palladium roleplaying had more similarities with AD&D than 4e, and that difference is even closer to the truth with 5e.

The reason I dislike 5e (and I even managed to enjoy 4e) is that the New School of design is FAR too strong in 5e (all classes have to be balanced vs. all the other classes) for my liking.

In that light, as far as New School stuff goes, PF all the way for me. It may be New School but it has that Old School foundation (which is where most of the complaints stem from when you look at what they are complaining about).


On an interesting note, you can see a similar thing in Fighting games to a degree.

Games like Street Fighter II and III relied on characters being completely different in how they were handled and what they did (so Ryu might have a +18 to hit and a +10 to damage, while Ken had a +20 to hit but only +6 to damage for their type of combat, but then you get to Zangief who can't hit at a distance at all, but if he grapples gets a +25 to damage, vs. Dhalsim who is terrible but has various abilities that if magnified can wipe someone with the floor at a point).

These abilities would be unlocked with different movements (so for Ryu and Ken it may be quarter circle punch, where as with Guile or Bison it is a 2 second hold back and then a forward, or with another it's a rapid hit of the punch or kick button).

Oddly enough, there were designed to be player vs. player.

Some new console type fighting games however give the players the same moves and abilities (so every character's special is a quarter circle plus a punch etc.) so that everyone is more or less equal by default.

Aka, in many ways you could see that as a parallel to the Old School vs. New School that we see in RPGs.


Hitdice wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
Y'know, given how much 5e takes from every single edition including 4e, "post-new school" is actually one of the best descriptions I've heard yet.

I don't think it really reaches far enough outside the scope of what came before to deserve a separate distinction.

I like the game and really appreciate its nuances, but it really is still the same game. 4E represents a larger departure from D&D-core than 5E does. And if 5E gets a separate moniker, pretty much every edition should be it's own category, which would suggest that the category should probably just be named for the edition for simplicity's sake.

Every edition does have its own separate moniker, that's why I was so confused when you didn't understand exactly what I was talking about like five pages ago when I described Labyrinth Lord as a B/X retro-clone.

If you want to tell me that the OSR has been co-opted by self-publishing indiegamers who don't understand the term retro-clone, I'm fine with that, but that's a self-publishing indiegamer thing, not an OSR thing.

Well, each edition does have it's own "moniker" - There's OD&D, AD&D, Basic*, AD&D2E, 3.0, 3.5, 4E, 5E. But that's not really relevant to grouping them into schools or styles.

Individual games have names, but there is use in splitting them into different approaches as well. Split down to the level of the individual game, it becomes pointless. Lump too much together, it's also pointless.

*Not all the versions of Basic really have clear monikers, often being referred to by author - Holmes/Moldvay/Mentzer or as BECMI for the later version.


And yet, one of the biggest gripes of 4th edition was that all the classes were the same, everything was "overbalanced" to give that feeling that every class was the same. And that it was too far from the look and feel of 3rd edition, which is why Pathfinder exploded into what it is today. If 4th edition was "just a modified 3e shell", then why did people steer clear of it and flock to Pathfinder?

I will admit, there are a number of things from 4th edition that were carried over into 5th edition. Many of them people griped about on a constant basis when it first released (and some still gripe about it, such as healing on a "short rest" with "hit dice", and completely healing to full on a "long rest"). 5th edition was marketed as "new with old school feeling" or some such. I think that marketing succeeded in drawing people back to the D&D name.

As for "old school vs new school", it depends on the person. Many people started with 3rd edition, which was marketed as a simpler game to attract new players, which I think it succeeded. So to some people, 3rd edition is their "old school", while to others, it's "new school". Just like with video game consoles. When I hear the word "old school video games", what pops into mind is either the NES or the Atari 2600 (with maybe the SNES edging in there), while others thing "Playstation 1 or N64" as old school. It's all relative to the individual person.


Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:
I'm beginning to think it may help to list what the delineators are not.

Or to ask oneself if delineation applies more to players than to game systems.

Sovereign Court

Adjule wrote:
As for "old school vs new school", it depends on the person. Many people started with 3rd edition, which was marketed as a simpler game to attract new players, which I think it succeeded. So to some people, 3rd edition is their "old school", while to others, it's "new school". Just like with video game consoles. When I hear the word "old school video games", what pops into mind is either the NES or the Atari 2600 (with maybe the SNES edging in there), while others thing "Playstation 1 or N64" as old school. It's all relative to the individual person.

Except... if that were true I wouldn't be sure that my interpretation was infallibly correct and couldn't therefore feel superior because others got it wrong.


thejeff wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
Y'know, given how much 5e takes from every single edition including 4e, "post-new school" is actually one of the best descriptions I've heard yet.

I don't think it really reaches far enough outside the scope of what came before to deserve a separate distinction.

I like the game and really appreciate its nuances, but it really is still the same game. 4E represents a larger departure from D&D-core than 5E does. And if 5E gets a separate moniker, pretty much every edition should be it's own category, which would suggest that the category should probably just be named for the edition for simplicity's sake.

Every edition does have its own separate moniker, that's why I was so confused when you didn't understand exactly what I was talking about like five pages ago when I described Labyrinth Lord as a B/X retro-clone.

If you want to tell me that the OSR has been co-opted by self-publishing indiegamers who don't understand the term retro-clone, I'm fine with that, but that's a self-publishing indiegamer thing, not an OSR thing.

Well, each edition does have it's own "moniker" - There's OD&D, AD&D, Basic*, AD&D2E, 3.0, 3.5, 4E, 5E. But that's not really relevant to grouping them into schools or styles.

Individual games have names, but there is use in splitting them into different approaches as well. Split down to the level of the individual game, it becomes pointless. Lump too much together, it's also pointless.

*Not all the versions of Basic really have clear monikers, often being referred to by author - Holmes/Moldvay/Mentzer or as BECMI for the later version.

Not to sound like a dingus, but isn't it pretty obvious to you that that everything previous to 3.0 is old school, and everything after 3.0 is new school? Is that a complicated distinction for players who went from WoD/Vampire to 3.0 without playing the earlier editions in sequence? That's not snarky, I'm really asking.


Adjule wrote:

And yet, one of the biggest gripes of 4th edition was that all the classes were the same, everything was "overbalanced" to give that feeling that every class was the same. And that it was too far from the look and feel of 3rd edition, which is why Pathfinder exploded into what it is today. If 4th edition was "just a modified 3e shell", then why did people steer clear of it and flock to Pathfinder?

I will admit, there are a number of things from 4th edition that were carried over into 5th edition. Many of them people griped about on a constant basis when it first released (and some still gripe about it, such as healing on a "short rest" with "hit dice", and completely healing to full on a "long rest"). 5th edition was marketed as "new with old school feeling" or some such. I think that marketing succeeded in drawing people back to the D&D name.

As for "old school vs new school", it depends on the person. Many people started with 3rd edition, which was marketed as a simpler game to attract new players, which I think it succeeded. So to some people, 3rd edition is their "old school", while to others, it's "new school". Just like with video game consoles. When I hear the word "old school video games", what pops into mind is either the NES or the Atari 2600 (with maybe the SNES edging in there), while others thing "Playstation 1 or N64" as old school. It's all relative to the individual person.

I think you should read the posts I already wrote above.

In a nutshell, 3e was one of the first attempts at a New School idea, but was designed by those of the Old School mindset, hence it was more on the old school foundation. I think Cook and others were truly surprised at all the imbalances that people found, they had a few, but most were unplanned or unexpected. They hadn't thought of the ways people who played in a certain style (which we could call, New School) would play the game.

3.5 was completely New School in it's ideas, and hence you have a New School game on an Old School Foundation.

4e is a D20 game. It works on the same principle as 3.X in that you have an Attack Modifier. It goes up (positive) so it could be +0, or +1, or +2 and so forth. It had bounded accuracy in that topped out at 20th at a +10 (or +15 if you go epic).

The stat tables were the same as they were for 3e.

AC also goes upwards, with a base 10 and then you add your armor bonus (for example, +2 for Leather Armor would give you an AC of 12).

Sound familiar yet?

Melee attacks were modified by STR, and Range Attacks were modified by DEX.

You had three defenses, Fort, Will, Ref...which in turn were extrapolated in a way from the old Saves of AD&D, but simplified greatly.

This should be sounding VERY familiar to you right about now...

HOWEVER, there were changes to the Basic D20 system. For starters, the Fort, Will, and Ref no longer just had the normal bonus, it was added to a base 10, so instead of the character trying to roll the save, the enemy instead tried to roll over that Save/Defense value.

Next, instead of having different bonuses to hit depending on your class (for example, in Pathfinder it goes from +1 to +20 for D10s, +0 to +15 for D8s, and +0 to +10 for D6s and so forth) everyone got the same "proficiency bonus" or level bonus as you were. This ranged from +1 to +10 at 20th, or up to +15 if you went into epic levels. This was the start of the bounded accuracy idea. Everyone got the same bonus.

In addition, skills were changed. In other editions you'd add skill points to your skills and you'd have different ranges of abilities in regards to you skills. You had a lot of freedom to do with your skills as you want. They changed this in 4e. It was far more limited than the combat bonus, as it was a straight up +5. Your limit was up to a +5 (though some feats allowed you to get to +6...woo hoo...wait...that +6 proficiency bonus sounds awfully familiar...).

This was the basic system for 4e. Powers were NOT actually necessary to be in a 4e GSL game, nor were they required. You could run a 4e game without powers...and in fact a basic 4e modified GSL game had it with a lower bounded Accuracy (I believe it was +1 every 4 levels, so up to +5 at level 20, and +7 overall...which made it's appearance in the earlier versions of the 5e draft, but they increased the initial bonus to +2 later for the proficiency bonus) and that applied to skill bonuses as well. Each class got special abilities (such as fighters actually doing more damage interestingly enough, and casters having spells but more in a mana type system, and other such things).

4e itself added Powers (at-will, encounter, daily, and utility) into the mix, but the basic system didn't have this requirement. Most GSL games included them so they could retain power levels with the 4e PHB classes, but it was by no means mandatory...which is what tosses people off when they refer to the 4e system. They somehow thought it was a mandatory thing.

4e itself started adapting other changes, and you can see the start of this with the Essentials line where they started having classes use abilities rather than powers. In essence, for many of the classes, they totally discarded the "powers" system (at will, encounter, daily, and utility) in favor of abilities, some very similar to what you find in 5e archetypes.

5e shares the bounded accuracy of 4e, but limited it far more than from +1 to +10 (or +15 with epic) to a +2 to +6 (or +8 if you extend the tables to epic if you go with the unofficial extensions), and absolutely does NOT use the 3e skill system (or any skill system from any system prior to that). In fact, it's most like the 4e skill system to be honest, where you are either trained or not trained, and if you are trained you get the proficiency bonus, and if you are not, you don't.

The only thing 5e really changed out of the basic 4e core that was drastic was the save system...which is NOTHING like any D&D prior, and nothing like 3e or 4e were.

As I said, 5e and 4e both are born out of the New School type of design (and that's not necessarily bad, it could be very good if you like that type of playing and class comparisons, some would say it's the evolved design process of our day...others would not feel it is superior). The biggest difference is HOW they marketed them. Whereas they made it blatantly obvious they were tossing out the old ideas for the new in 4e, with 5e they tried to say they included everyone (which if you really compare the systems, 5e has VERY LITTLE in common with anything prior to 2000)...

Some bought it hook, line and sinker...and that's the biggest difference between why many older players hated 4e but love 5e which has the basic same design concepts as 4e (actually, 5e's system has more rules for out of combat rulings than 4e I believe, the DM was given far more latitude in rule 0 and making things up outside of combat if one thinks less rules makes Old school) is that they believe the marketing which told them it was.


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Adjule wrote:
As for "old school vs new school", it depends on the person. Many people started with 3rd edition, which was marketed as a simpler game to attract new players, which I think it succeeded.

I never knew that. It seems funny to me to think of third edition D&D as simpler.

No doubt (to reinforce your point) due to never shifting to that new-fangled 2E - which still isn't on my radar when I think "old school". :)


Steve Geddes wrote:
Adjule wrote:
As for "old school vs new school", it depends on the person. Many people started with 3rd edition, which was marketed as a simpler game to attract new players, which I think it succeeded.

I never knew that. It seems funny to me to think of third edition D&D as simpler.

No doubt (to reinforce your point) due to never shifting to that new-fangled 2E - which still isn't on my radar when I think "old school". :)

I think one of the objectives WAS to make the overall idea simpler.

That's why they had what they call a unified mechanic with their D20. You can roll the D20 for any resolution instead of having something different for attacks than you would for thief skills or Ranger Skills (percentile dice) or other systems all mixed into it.

They also simplified the Ability tables from them all being different with bonuses occurring at different stat numbers, to being simple with a bonus every two levels.

But a LOT of it still had a LOT of AD&D ideas in there still (things like concentration for spells reflect that, as well as wizard's spellcasting and the power level of spells increasing so dramatically, favored classes and being penalized for uneven class levels far apart, or that fighters combat abilities/bonus to hit rises faster than Rogues and Wizards, and Rogues and Clerics combat abilities/bonus to hit rise faster than Wizards [something that largely disappeared in 4e, and if you notice the Proficiency bonus in 5e, no longer applies differently to classes in that either] as well as a myriad of other ideas that have a heritage that can be clearly linked back to the Older D&D styles and other such ideas).

If you look at the core rules of 3e (and from there all the way to 4e and 5e) you can see that they had a design to KISS, or to Keep it far simpler than the older editions were. That makes it so that if you don't know what the rule is exactly, you can probably have a pretty good guess as to how it might work (since, once again, you have that unified mechanic).

As opposed to AD&D, just because your thief skill has a 20% chance to succeed in Hide in Shadows...your Climb Walls may be 85%, and that has NO similarity to the system of whether your henchman flee or not, or even if you can get henchmen in the first place!

Ironically, even as they simplified the main mechanic, other ideas crept in that made the ideas beyond the core mechanic a tad more complex for some people (for example AoO is one many try to cite as a common thing many had problems with originally). Some may feel that makes it more complex (along with skills and especially feats).

But the core mechanic is FAR simpler (any D20 game or derivative) in exercise than trying to memorize several core mechanics that cover several different things that characters would commonly try to do (OD&D through AD&D) inside the game.


Hitdice wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
Y'know, given how much 5e takes from every single edition including 4e, "post-new school" is actually one of the best descriptions I've heard yet.

I don't think it really reaches far enough outside the scope of what came before to deserve a separate distinction.

I like the game and really appreciate its nuances, but it really is still the same game. 4E represents a larger departure from D&D-core than 5E does. And if 5E gets a separate moniker, pretty much every edition should be it's own category, which would suggest that the category should probably just be named for the edition for simplicity's sake.

Every edition does have its own separate moniker, that's why I was so confused when you didn't understand exactly what I was talking about like five pages ago when I described Labyrinth Lord as a B/X retro-clone.

If you want to tell me that the OSR has been co-opted by self-publishing indiegamers who don't understand the term retro-clone, I'm fine with that, but that's a self-publishing indiegamer thing, not an OSR thing.

Well, each edition does have it's own "moniker" - There's OD&D, AD&D, Basic*, AD&D2E, 3.0, 3.5, 4E, 5E. But that's not really relevant to grouping them into schools or styles.

Individual games have names, but there is use in splitting them into different approaches as well. Split down to the level of the individual game, it becomes pointless. Lump too much together, it's also pointless.

*Not all the versions of Basic really have clear monikers, often being referred to by author - Holmes/Moldvay/Mentzer or as BECMI for the later version.

Not to sound like a dingus, but isn't it pretty obvious to you that that everything previous to 3.0 is old school, and everything after 3.0 is new school? Is that a complicated distinction for players who went from WoD/Vampire to 3.0 without playing the earlier editions in sequence? That's not snarky, I'm really asking.

In the context of whether 5E should fall into the same category as 3.x and of a lot of disagreement about what old and new school really mean, I don't think it's that obvious. Didn't you just suggest "post-new school" for 5E?

And with that I am completely confused about the post I replied to.

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Part of the difference may also be down to the way Save or Die spells got phased out and the impact those had on combat duration. Lets take Sleep:

Rules Compendium (Basic) 40' radius, 2-16 HD, 40-160 minutes, no save
AD&D 2nd ed creatures within 30' of each other, 2-8 HD, 50 seconds / level, no save
3rd ed, 15' radius, 2-8HD, 60 seconds / level, SR, Will save
3.5/PFS, 10' radius, 4HD, 60 seconds / level, SR, Will save
4e, 2 square radius, all creatures, creatures are slowed in the first round and only fall asleep at the end of their next turn if they fail a save (and they get to keep making the save each round to wake up).

I'm not commenting on the power of Sleep as a spell, just the fact that in Basic it ended the fight and the adventure moved on. From AD&D onwards it still shortened the fight but it became progressively less effective and more of a typical attack spell as the rules changed. By 4e it was just a temporary debuff. I know PCs don't like getting hit with SoD spells, but they sure speed things up.

Until going through that in detail I used to laugh at Basic D&D wizards getting their one spell per day, but boy is it powerful. Even the Light spell, which is now a cantrip, used to be able to blind an enemy for a minimum of 70 minutes (albeit with a save).


GreyWolfLord wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
Y'know, given how much 5e takes from every single edition including 4e, "post-new school" is actually one of the best descriptions I've heard yet.

I don't think it really reaches far enough outside the scope of what came before to deserve a separate distinction.

I like the game and really appreciate its nuances, but it really is still the same game. 4E represents a larger departure from D&D-core than 5E does. And if 5E gets a separate moniker, pretty much every edition should be it's own category, which would suggest that the category should probably just be named for the edition for simplicity's sake.

People say that, but 4e and 5e are really from the same school of thought. The biggest difference between the two (which people seem to have simply accepted without either fully knowing how similar 4e is to 5e at it's basic core) is the marketing that went into 4e, vs. the marketing that went into 5e. 4e outside of combat was probably MORE old School overall than 5e (which isn't saying much as I consider 4e new school). However, they marketed it as an "old school" type game that also was new school, and a bunch of people bought into that hype (and still do).

No. 4E is actually the most radically designed off all the D&D's. It's the most controversial of the editions (it's the only edition that elevated a competitor to a superior sales edition, because it split the customer base) and that is primarily due to it's design, not the marketing.

4E actually has the fewest sacred cows, other than in name. Classic and adored things like various spells appear in name, but function fundamentally differently than in other editions. The core design philosophy around classes is entirely different from any other edition. The codification and principles of combat are more closely related to D&D Mini's than to any edition of D&D rpg.

I've never met anyone who thinks the largest difference in 4E was marketing, and I participate in design discussions with game designers who have had NYT best sellers and won ENnies. I playtest games for multiple companies, and I don't mean public beta's, but large publishers who require NDAs, including 3.0 and 4E.

In fact, if I were to categorize D&D into two categories, I'd put every edition other than 4E in one category, and 4E by itself.


Hitdice wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
Y'know, given how much 5e takes from every single edition including 4e, "post-new school" is actually one of the best descriptions I've heard yet.

I don't think it really reaches far enough outside the scope of what came before to deserve a separate distinction.

I like the game and really appreciate its nuances, but it really is still the same game. 4E represents a larger departure from D&D-core than 5E does. And if 5E gets a separate moniker, pretty much every edition should be it's own category, which would suggest that the category should probably just be named for the edition for simplicity's sake.

Every edition does have its own separate moniker, that's why I was so confused when you didn't understand exactly what I was talking about like five pages ago when I described Labyrinth Lord as a B/X retro-clone.

If you want to tell me that the OSR has been co-opted by self-publishing indiegamers who don't understand the term retro-clone, I'm fine with that, but that's a self-publishing indiegamer thing, not an OSR thing.

Well, each edition does have it's own "moniker" - There's OD&D, AD&D, Basic*, AD&D2E, 3.0, 3.5, 4E, 5E. But that's not really relevant to grouping them into schools or styles.

Individual games have names, but there is use in splitting them into different approaches as well. Split down to the level of the individual game, it becomes pointless. Lump too much together, it's also pointless.

*Not all the versions of Basic really have clear monikers, often being referred to by author - Holmes/Moldvay/Mentzer or as BECMI for the later version.

Not to sound like a dingus, but isn't it pretty obvious to you that that everything previous to 3.0 is old school, and everything after 3.0 is new school? Is that a complicated distinction for players who went from WoD/Vampire to 3.0 without playing the earlier editions in sequence? That's not snarky, I'm really asking.

I don't think that 3.0 inherently has the qualities that people associate with new school. If you look ONLY at the 2ed PHB, it might seem a bit different, but when you look at what 2ed had become just prior to 3.0's release, with the plethora of kits, spells and super strange options in releases like Skills and Powers (you can exclude this and still see it) it's hard to argue that 3.0 was a sudden massive increase in player options. I played a wizard in 2ed and I remember having dozens of books/magazines in front of me for all the spell sources I needed. Building a character could require research. Of course, once the character was built, your options tended to be fixed.

What 3.0 did was spread the powers of those various levels out and let you decide on them when the time came. The wide array of options basically already existed, but instead of being locked in at level 1, you could choose some of what you got at each and every level. It's still player choice, just the timing is different.

The other big shift was the core principle of design surrounding modularity. Classes were designed to interact more cleanly and that principle was applied to monsters as well so that DM's could design their own monsters more easily. Skills, attacks and saves were unified under a single design concept, instead of each being wholly independent. I don't consider these changes as a old/new shift, but rather a refinement of the rules. The same thing happened from 1ed to 2ed, rules got simplified and unified in an attempt to make the game easier to play and run. Instead of memorizing or referring to a chart for these things, you just remembered a couple universal concepts and knew how to calculate each one.

All that said though, the core concept of how you play the game, what kind of heroes go on what kind of adventures remained constant. The basic nature of DM-Player relationship hasn't changed because of the system. So any classification that describes a change in DM-Player relationship is inaccurate, because these games all treat that so similarly as to make no difference at all.

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