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Killwatch
08-11-2009, 10:56 PM
1) What is the difference between the New and Old school rpgs?
2) Which do you prefer? Why?

jade von delioch
08-11-2009, 11:20 PM
I would have to say that Old school had more character. But at the same time- New school nails (or at least should) everything down that may or maynot happen in a game.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
08-12-2009, 01:34 AM
Old school, for me, was darker, grittier, and much more unforgiving.

Count my vote for old school.

tesral
08-12-2009, 01:34 AM
Old School: Everything that is not forbidden is permitted. There are few rules and the Gamemaster has to be quick and creative. There is not a "rule for that", you use your imagination and the GM rewards it, or at least should. The Instant Authoritative Answer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Registered_trademark_symbol) is every GM's stock in trade and seldom if ever is a book consulted during the game.

New School: Everything not permitted is forbidden. There is a rule for that, in Supplement No. 35 and it will only take a few (more) minutes to look it up. Piles of books and much consulting. A reluctance if not outright hostility to the idea of doing something outside of the written rules. Hate a rule as they might slavish attention to them must be maintained.

There is how I see the difference. I've had that confirmed by people on both sides of the Schoolyard fence. Your miliage may vary.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
08-12-2009, 01:39 AM
Old School: Everything that is not forbidden is permitted. There are few rules and the Gamemaster has to be quick and creative. There is not a "rule for that", you use your imagination and the GM rewards it, or at least should. The Instant Authoritative Answer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Registered_trademark_symbol) is every GM's stock in trade and seldom if ever is a book consulted during the game.

New School: Everything not permitted is forbidden. There is a rule for that, in Supplement No. 35 and it will only take a few (more) minutes to look it up. Piles of books and much consulting. A reluctance if not outright hostility to the idea of doing something outside of the written rules. Hate a rule as they might slavish attention to them must be maintained.

There is how I see the difference. I've had that confirmed by people on both sides of the Schoolyard fence. Your miliage may vary.
I also agree with your perspective. Ah, i miss the old days.

WhiteTiger
08-12-2009, 12:39 PM
I agree with Tesral. I'm definitely more old school. Although I don't generally allow everything but the principle is sound. :biggrin:

korhal23
08-12-2009, 01:13 PM
That's a pretty accurate statement Tes. That said, I like the rules being there when I want them, and I like to ignore them when I feel like it. So maybe you could say I like having an Old School mentality in New School games?

CEBedford
08-12-2009, 02:55 PM
How about Old/New School? I prefer a blend of the two. The new school might be better built but old school had more heart. There's nothing wrong with having a healthy respect for both schools. The new school might be more efficient but the old school had more soul.

yukonhorror
08-12-2009, 03:07 PM
With respect to Tesral's comment

I like the old school approach for rules that didn't exist. However, the rules that were in place were flawed and clunky, whereas new school systems have had time to refine their mechanics (sometimes by adding in MORE mechanics).

However people crave structure and definition, and aren't as adept at "on the fly" type of rulings. In addition, players are upset if a DM picks and chooses what is adhered to and what is not in terms of established rules (my group fell apart as a result).

In short, I think I like the old school approach with respect to "soft" situations (RP interactions, digging ditches, removing a disease from someone), but I like a clean cut well-defined no room for ambiguity type of "new school" system for combat situations.

tesral
08-12-2009, 04:30 PM
However the general tendency is to yes. The Yes GM is much mopre fun to play with than the no GM.

CEBedford
08-12-2009, 04:44 PM
However the general tendency is to yes. The Yes GM is much mopre fun to play with than the no GM.

Always say yes.

Yes.

Yes but...

Yes and...

Best GM advice I've ever recieved and given.

outrider
08-12-2009, 11:46 PM
tesral hit the nail on the head with his statement. Old school was a little more freer in spirit. However the quality of the books and such were not as good as new school. My poor arduin grimoire books have suffered through the years.

Dytrrnikl
08-13-2009, 02:56 AM
Tes, you're right on the mark. I'm an old school player and GM. I learned to GM by 'flying by the seat of my pants' for an entire session with nothing more than one or two vague sentences about the session, and then a quicklist of monsters - name only that I might pull out. I felt this was the best way to get past the whole - "Crap!!! My player's choices just ruined the last 10 hours of planning" My player's are well aware that just because I ruled one way about a particular situation, be it social or combat/action oriented, does not mean it'll be adjudicated the same way everytime. I keep things loose to allow a session to flow from start to finish. Doesn't happen in new school approach to gaming, as I have had new school players argue with my rulings in the middle of a session if I adjudicated something that didn't fit into the rules or wasn't consistent with a previous sessions ruling due to circumstances that weren't present the first time around. Give me old school anyday, less arguing and nitpicking about rules, more playing.

Moritz
08-15-2009, 09:50 AM
We were also younger during 'Old School'. Everything was new, exciting, never been done, etc.
I also believe we were more tolerant of certain types of players that, I personally, will not bother with for more than 2 minutes in New School.

So essentially, our perspective could have changed from Old to New. What about the kids that are starting out with New School these days? When they get to New-New School, will they reflect the same way as we are now?

Just think, Kids playing D&D 8ed - more rules. Which could mean that 4ed looks like Old (or to them, New) School.

cpljarhead
08-15-2009, 01:27 PM
i'm an old school gamer at heart. ther rules are there if needed but the dm makes all the rules and decisions and that is final unless he allows you to convince him otherwise without having to resort to digging out all the books. the whole point of rpg is to use your imagination!!!

tesral
08-15-2009, 07:46 PM
We were also younger during 'Old School'. Everything was new, exciting, never been done, etc.
I also believe we were more tolerant of certain types of players that, I personally, will not bother with for more than 2 minutes in New School.

So essentially, our perspective could have changed from Old to New. What about the kids that are starting out with New School these days? When they get to New-New School, will they reflect the same way as we are now?

Just think, Kids playing D&D 8ed - more rules. Which could mean that 4ed looks like Old (or to them, New) School.

Old School is not an edition, it's an attitude. You can play any edition old school. I don't think anything beyond 2nd ed is going to teach old school. Because old school is about dealing and new school is about rules.

korhal23
08-15-2009, 08:48 PM
Old School is not an edition, it's an attitude. You can play any edition old school. I don't think anything beyond 2nd ed is going to teach old school. Because old school is about dealing and new school is about rules.

That's not entirely true, tes. Read a 4E book, it'll tell you right off the bat all the old school idioms... don't let the rules interfere, these are just guidelines, make things up, etc. Liking codified rules isn't a bad thing though, and the implication to the contrary is a problem for me. If rules are bad, the old school folks wouldn't need or use them at all, ever.

I look at it this way, the rules are there, and laid out and in depth, so that the GM doesn't HAVE to make things up. There's codified, fair, and agreed upon rules in place for a great multitude of things to use as a springboard. The old school gamer in the new school environ, like me, uses this springboard as a framework, following them closely when I can, making things up when I need a quick decision, and using them as a basis for my arbitration of events not covered by the rules. And THAT is more old school than the "**** rules" attitude you typically see out of most "old school" gamers, who really use old school as a justification for their ignorance and unwillingness to follow the actual rules.

In truth, new school grew out of old school. The writers of, say, 4E D&D, probably grew up playing the hell out of 0-2nd Ed (old school influence drips from 4E if you read it closely... namely in skill challenges, powers from 2nd Ed "Skills and Powers", and other such things), and they were probably adults who enjoyed them some 3 and 3.5 too. But then they get a chance to write for their favorite RPG, and they come to the table saying "Hey guys, this non-covered event came up all the time in my games, we did this, but let's codify that for everyone else to follow if they want."

Part of the new school audience is rigid and slavish in their adherence to the rules, but frankly, these are typically inexperienced roleplayers who, imo, are helped to understand what's going on by a solid framework of rules. Let's say you were going to play American Football for the first time, having never heard of it before, and I were offering to teach you and your group of friends. I'm sure you would much rather that, if you asked me how something worked, I could either give you a solid explanation, or tell you "I wouldn't worry about that just yet, we'll get to it" than if I said "Well, the ref usually makes that up, because there isn't a rule for it, use your imagination."

Sure, this all results in a bit more bookkeeping for everyone, but the net effect is a more solid, more easily understood and played, and more consistent game and world. And when that happens, everyone wins.

Tamburlain
08-15-2009, 09:42 PM
To me this question, old school vs. new school, cooks down to a hand full of basic contrasts, none of which is without exception, and most of which lay upon a continuum of some sort:


OS-----------------------------------------------NS

less complex rules---------------------------------more complex rules
GM-centered--------------------------------------player-centered
temporal tactics emphasized-----------------------spatial tactics emphasized
picaresque protagonists----------------------------heroic protagonists
less mechanically balanced-------------------------mechanically more balanced
influences tend to be literary-----------------------influences tend to be cinematic

Keeping these pseudo-dichotomies in mind, my personal preference for rpg systems would be:

1. Mid-complexity with respect to rules. (OS+NS)
2. Player-centered (NS)
3. Mid-crunch and tactics emphasizing both spatial and temporal contingencies. (OS+NS)
4. Picaresque protagonists (OS)
5. Mechanically more balanced (NS)
6. More literary than cinematic influences (OS).

So, what does this make me? Like most, or so I suspect, my preferences reveal me to be somewhere in the middle on most, though I have a few outright preferences. I truly prefer player-centered systems; yet, on the other hand, I prefer literary grit to cinematic heroism. Go figure.

I guess that makes me No School.

tesral
08-16-2009, 12:31 AM
GM-centered--------------------------------------player-centered



I have to disagree with that. A good game is not "centered" it is a collaborative effort.

Oedipussy Rex
08-16-2009, 05:43 AM
I guess that makes me No School.

I'd have said "unschooled," but that works too, I guess.

Tamburlain
08-16-2009, 11:22 AM
I have to disagree with that. A good game is not "centered" it is a collaborative effort.

Yes, they're not absolutes; that's why I refer to them as pseudo-dichotomies. I mean the term "centered" only in the sense of how much control players are given to shape the direction of the game's narrative, or even the outcomes associated with encounters or micro-events within encounters. For instance, to use D&D as an example that represents the spirit of many early rpgs, in the editions that I started out playing (pre-2e), the DM had explicit and ultimate authority over outcomes, both at the encounter level and at the level of game-direction. There are no do-overs to missed saving throws, UNLESS so approved by the DM. If the players missed a vital clue that was necessary to advance the story, the DM often had to help them out or else risk having the story grind to a halt as the players floundered. In newer games, as I'm sure everyone here knows, players are often given a limited resource to "spend" or "burn" at will (e.g., fate points, arthra, bennies, character points, etc.) to keep just such game-grinding events from happening; thus, removing the mantle of deus ex machina from the shoulders of the GM. Some "new school"--if we must use the term--games even incorporate the idea of rounds into GM-player interactions, meaning they effectively split the task of game/story management into turns, so the GM and the players must share the role of describing both what happens and arbitrating results. Could a talented DM have done this with AD&D? Sure. But she would not have been given explicit tools and/or mechanics to do so. Again, depending on one's perspective, this could be either a pro or con.

To me, where the dichotomy breaks down between old school and new, is when we notice that quite a few of the "older" games were already incorporating the mechanical innovations that we take for granted in the newer ones. And vice versa.

tesral
08-16-2009, 11:24 AM
To me this question, old school vs. new school, cooks down to a hand full of basic contrasts, none of which is without exception, and most of which lay upon a continuum of some sort:


OS-----------------------------------------------NS

less complex rules---------------------------------more complex rules
GM-centered--------------------------------------player-centered
temporal tactics emphasized-----------------------spatial tactics emphasized
picaresque protagonists----------------------------heroic protagonists
less mechanically balanced-------------------------mechanically more balanced
influences tend to be literary-----------------------influences tend to be cinematic

Keeping these pseudo-dichotomies in mind


Pseudo is how I would put it. Outside of the less/more complex rules none of them stand up to examination.

Influences are where you get them. I have lifted entire movie plots wholesale and reworked them. I take plot ideas out of the news.

How heroic depends largely on setting and story. One session will be very heroic, the next not.

Mechanical balance is there, but the methodology differs. That isn't a "school" thing it is system. You can run 3x D&D old school, and I do.

As i put forth in the first post, it is an attitude, not a system. It is an attitude born of a rules light circumstance, but it is not dependent on the circumstance to continue.

When you play with me I have no obstructions on the table. I don't use a DM shield. I may or may not crack a single book all game. I don't have a pile of books, there might be two on the table. I make calls and keep the game moving. Action is quick. We don't take long breaks to puzzle out the rules. Concentration is on what the characters are doing.

Tamburlain
08-16-2009, 11:44 AM
Pseudo is how I would put it. Outside of the less/more complex rules none of them stand up to examination.

Influences are where you get them. I have lifted entire movie plots wholesale and reworked them. I take plot ideas out of the news.

How heroic depends largely on setting and story. One session will be very heroic, the next not.

Mechanical balance is there, but the methodology differs. That isn't a "school" thing it is system. You can run 3x D&D old school, and I do.

As i put forth in the first post, it is an attitude, not a system. It is an attitude born of a rules light circumstance, but it is not dependent on the circumstance to continue.

When you play with me I have no obstructions on the table. I don't use a DM shield. I may or may not crack a single book all game. I don't have a pile of books, there might be two on the table. I make calls and keep the game moving. Action is quick. We don't take long breaks to puzzle out the rules. Concentration is on what the characters are doing.

You are a seasoned and innovative GM, Tes, no doubt. Attitude notwithstanding your habits as you describe them also squarely place you in the "undefinable" category of old vs. new school gamer. I sympathize, since I'm largely unclassifiable as well. But, I do think that as long as we understand that contrasts in gaming styles are best seen as points along a diverse continuum, rather than binary absolutes, then it is helpful (and interesting) for some of us to locate our preferences on these continua.

To better address your excellent point re. collaboration, I would revise the schema as follows:

OS-----------------------------------------------NS

less complex rules---------------------------------more complex rules
tacit guidelines------------------------------------explicit codes
holistic systems-----------------------------------modular systems
GM-centered--------------------------------------player-centered
temporal tactics emphasized-----------------------spatial tactics emphasized
picaresque protagonists----------------------------heroic protagonists
less mechanically balanced-------------------------mechanically more balanced
influences tend to be literary-----------------------influences tend to be cinematic

Moritz
08-18-2009, 08:59 AM
I have to disagree with that. A good game is not "centered" it is a collaborative effort.

Collaborative story telling?

Wouldn't that be 'consent based rules'? For example, "I don't want my character to fall in the pit trap, therefore regardless of what the dice say, my part of the collaborative story is that my character leaps to safety. Ergo, I do not 'consent' for my character to be hurt."

tesral
08-18-2009, 09:49 AM
Collaborative story telling?

Wouldn't that be 'consent based rules'? For example, "I don't want my character to fall in the pit trap, therefore regardless of what the dice say, my part of the collaborative story is that my character leaps to safety. Ergo, I do not 'consent' for my character to be hurt."

False dilemma. Spurious circumstance, and you know it.

Collaborative in the fact you all agree to abide by the game rules. Ergo, if a trap is in front of you, you make a save. Likewise the GM abides by the rules.

The game cannot proceed without both sides, No GM no scenarios to play. No players, there is no one to play the scenario. The game does not have a "center" on either players of the GM. Both are required for the balance of the game to work. New school or Old. Defy the balance and you shortly have no game.

templeorder
08-18-2009, 10:27 AM
I think Tes's comment and those after are mostly right on. Newer game systems have more things legislated by the rules. Yes older systems were clunkier, but the use of imagination was heavier. Like legos, the newer sets are prettier, but leave little to the imagination.

I like both for different reasons. In a fantasy or setting with mystic powers, old school seems to work better. Modern settings (to me) leverage modern systems better. Some of it is a matter of creating the right expectations and in those ruled by science and technology you expect everything to be rule based and governed by known and understood mechanics... mystical settings you (i think) expect things to break down and fall outside the normal set of enforced mechanics.. simply because there is more freedom of "whats possible".

Moritz
08-18-2009, 11:03 AM
Collaborative in the fact you all agree to abide by the game rules. Ergo, if a trap is in front of you, you make a save. Likewise the GM abides by the rules.


Ah yeah, that makes more sense.

MortonStromgal
08-18-2009, 11:25 AM
Old school was very antagonistic. If you look at the Adventures written in the 70s and 80s its very GM vs Players. The 90s Adventures started toward the GM being on the players side. Now not all groups played with pre-written adventures so YMMV :biggrin:

tesral
08-18-2009, 12:46 PM
Like legos, the newer sets are prettier, but leave little to the imagination.

I'm a Lego fanatic. Here is some of my work (http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?m=tesral). Now, yea, those new kits are pretty, but the deal is you can take them apart and do anything you like with the parts. Same with Modern game systems, you can take them a part and build what you want...if you are not afraid too. I see way to much fear of altering the rules.


Old school was very antagonistic. If you look at the Adventures written in the 70s and 80s its very GM vs Players. The 90s Adventures started toward the GM being on the players side. Now not all groups played with pre-written adventures so YMMV :biggrin:

Can be, as New School can be. I've never been antagonistic. The GM vs player thing has never truly died and has never taken over. It was seen as the wrong way even in 1977. You are always going to get GMs that power trip, any school you want.

korhal23
08-18-2009, 01:36 PM
I think Tes's comment and those after are mostly right on. Newer game systems have more things legislated by the rules. Yes older systems were clunkier, but the use of imagination was heavier. Like legos, the newer sets are prettier, but leave little to the imagination.

I like both for different reasons. In a fantasy or setting with mystic powers, old school seems to work better. Modern settings (to me) leverage modern systems better. Some of it is a matter of creating the right expectations and in those ruled by science and technology you expect everything to be rule based and governed by known and understood mechanics... mystical settings you (i think) expect things to break down and fall outside the normal set of enforced mechanics.. simply because there is more freedom of "whats possible".

I disagree. New school products are better made, and therefore facilitate imagination better.

Sure, in a less codified rules system, I may be able to just make things up per the GM's discretion, but in a more codified system, I have a more consistent and believable world, and therefore a world that's easier to lose yourself in, regardless of genre. Say a GM has to make a call on something... what's he really doing? Adding a rule to the game. He now has to remember how he adjudicated it for now until the end of the world/campaign, lest he destroy believeablity and consistency in his world. If that rule had been there in the first place, though, the issue could be avoided entirely.

Older systems are clunkier... from oWoD to nWoD, there's almost nothing I prefer in oWoD. In Spycraft 2.0, there's almost no changes from 1.0 that I think are bad. In D&D, 4 vastly improves on 3.5 which improved on 3, which was leaps and bound better than 2nd.

Again, if rules are a bad thing, why use them at all? Where's the magic line in the sand where a game becomes too codified? What about the people who like a more codified, perhaps even simulationist game? Are they bad at roleplaying because they don't WANT to fly by the seat of their pants, because their game lives or dies by consistency and realism?

tesral
08-18-2009, 02:07 PM
4 vastly improves on 3.5 which

The only thing Forry improves is Hasbro's bottom line. It cannot improve the D&D system because that is not what it is. Something different.

Pathfinder is the evolutionary step in D&D.

korhal23
08-18-2009, 04:24 PM
That's a baffling train of logic. For one, Pathfinder is so not the "evolutionary step" of D&D, it's basically a campaign setting for 3.5 and nothing more. A heavily houseruled setting, but a setting nonetheless. Pathfinder is what 3.5 should've been, not what 4E should've been.

Besides, you know Hasbro made 3 and 3.5 right? So it's not like they just acquired D&D and then sullied it.

It was only 5 years between 3.5 and 4, sure, but really, 3.5 was just a heavily errated 3, so really it was an 8 year gap between editions. I'd think people would be angrier about 3.5 than they are about 4.

And really, 4E has far more in common with 3rd than 3rd did with 2nd. 4E is 3rd Edition minus the things that mire the game down plus many improvements to combat, skills, leveling, feats, and just about every other area of the game. 4E is a better constructed game. And better construction means easier to pick up and learn and better to roleplay in (see my consistency and believability argument).

And if 4E is, as you say, not D&D, then it's better than D&D for all the reasons I've stated.

Dark
08-18-2009, 04:50 PM
That's a baffling train of logic. For one, Pathfinder is so not the "evolutionary step" of D&D, it's basically a campaign setting for 3.5 and nothing more. A heavily house ruled setting, but a setting nonetheless. Pathfinder is what 3.5 could've been, not what 4E could've been.

Besides, you know Hasbro made 3 and 3.5 right? So it's not like they just acquired D&D and then sullied it.

It was only 5 years between 3.5 and 4, sure, but really, 3.5 was just a heavily errated 3, so really it was an 8 year gap between editions. I'd think people would be angrier about 3.5 than they are about 4.

And really, 4E has far more in common with 3rd than 3rd did with 2nd. 4E is 3rd Edition minus the things that mire the game down plus many improvements to combat, skills, leveling, feats, and just about every other area of the game. 4E is a better constructed game. And better construction means easier to pick up and learn and better to role-play in (see my consistency and believability argument).

And if 4E is, as you say, not D&D, then it's better than D&D for all the reasons I've stated.

As I said some like old some like the new and for every positive one side can put down the other side can do the same. So lets all agree to disagree before this topic turns into yet another anti-(insert edition here) war.

We all love what we love and no matter how much logic is brought into this in the end we want what we want. So as I said my advice is let it go and walk away while the topic is still civil.

cplmac
08-18-2009, 04:58 PM
Alright, this is rapidly turning into a my favorite D&D version is best arguement. Lets get back to discussing the Old vs. New style of playing instead. If not, we may have to shut the thread down.

Dark
08-18-2009, 05:00 PM
Truer words have never been spoken.

korhal23
08-18-2009, 05:45 PM
Well I was talking about Old vs New, but my comments were outright ignored except for my one statement on 4E. Yes, let us all return to bashing new school and 4E players. It's not a flame war when it's one sided, right?

CEBedford
08-18-2009, 05:55 PM
Well I was talking about Old vs New, but my comments were outright ignored except for my one statement on 4E. Yes, let us all return to bashing new school and 4E players. It's not a flame war when it's one sided, right?

Takes two to tango man, I'm all for just letting it go.

Tamburlain
08-18-2009, 06:36 PM
Korhal has a good point, imho. If we are patient enough to read back, we see that not one game was "bashed" until 4e. I put "bash" in scare-quotations, because I don't think pointing out flaws one perceives in game or in a game's parent company qualifies as taking a cheap shot. And real bashing (minus scare-quotation marks) is just that, taking cheap shots.

Yet, I can't help but notice that no one called out the cavalry to lock down the thread until negative statements were made about previous editions a la' Pathfinder. For the record, I'm perfectly happy having a no-rules barred open analysis of "old" vs. "new", including any system that can be used to illustrate the comparison. To me, this debate doesn't become ugly until people begin to make personal statements. And I've yet to see that in this thread, thankfully.

So, please, let's continue.

CEBedford
08-18-2009, 06:57 PM
I wasn't so much saying Korhal was wrong but saying that "It was him, not me isn't doing anything to bring the thread back on course."

I'm not surprised 4e was struck first and worst. When you're the biggest there is, flying rocks will hit you more often. Anyway for what it's worth, I am glad 4e is doing well. Would I have the Pathfinder Core Book if 4th edition was more like the hardcore 3.5 fans wanted it to be?

I'm honestly hoping one day that Fantasy gaming can once again be one forum without the need for edition segregation.

Deadone
08-18-2009, 07:00 PM
takes two to tango man, i'm all for just letting it go.

qft

cplmac
08-18-2009, 07:29 PM
:mod:


Alright, we are now trying to debate who started it. As I have read, the first "bash" or bash (for those that want quotes or not) was in post # 30 when korhal basically said that 4E is better by listing it first in the sequence. There was a short response from tesral, and then a counter response from korhal. That is what I posted about above. This thread was to be about styles of playing, no matter what genre or version of is being used to play by whomever. It actually started out as a nice thread and stayed on topic until the post # listed above. For those that were discussing the thread topic, without the need to say that this particular version of this game is best, Thank You. I am closing this down because we do not need another thread to degenerate into an arguement as to which version is best. If he feels the need to do so, perhaps Farcaster with reopen it.