Old School vs Modern
by, 08-30-2010 at 12:30 PM (1248 Views)
How is Old School different from modern D&D? This is half style of play and half the rules as written. After all, 3E and even more so 4E were written to fix the old school style of play. To sum up Old School style of play simply, it's unfair and unbalanced. A modern player can't talk about D&D without using the words balance and fairness after all. Lets look at a couple of examples:
1.Death. Characters in Old School games die all the time. Character death is a natural part of the game. The players know that thier actions can lead to the characters death. When an event occurs, an old school gamer acts like their character is in deadly danger, as they are. The more modern gamer just sits back, knowing that it would be unfair and no fun for the character to die, and is confidant it won't happen in the game.
2.Hit Points. In Old School games you rolled your hit points at every level. Modern gamers like to do stuff like 'gain half your hit dice automatically' or even 'you gain maximum hit points a level'. A modern gamer wants tons of HP's, so they never die. Old School character's got by with very few hit points. It was not uncommon for a 10th level fighter to have 20 HPs(having rolled a 1, 2, or 3 for hit points each level). And some characters, like wizards, had like 9 Hp's at 10th level. You can already hear the modern gamer whine and say it's not fair to have so few hit points and that they will die from the first random goblin attack. See, death, above.
3.Roll or die. Old School games are full of this. Something happens to your character, you roll die. If you make it, you live and if you fail, the character dies. Again, death. In an old scholl game a single roll can kill a character. When the group needed to jump across a pit of lava, everyone gathered to watch each player roll one by one. Some times they would make it, some times make it by just one and sometimes they would fail. A modern gamers character's life almost never hinges on a single dice roll, as you guessed it, it would be unfair.
4.Thinking. With low hit points, wary of rolls and death on their shoulders Old School gamers had to think. They had to do whatever it takes to stay alive, and come up with endless plots, tricks, scams and plans. The modern gamer, who feels safe and protected, just walks into danger.
5.Going beyond the character sheet. An Old School gamer thought of themselves in the fantasy world and played as if it was all real. In old school you did not check your character sheet to see if you have the ability, skill or such, you simply tried to do something. Few modern gamers will attempt anything unless they have more then ten points in a skill. A modern gamer would look at their sheet and say they can't set a trap as they don't have any expert trap making abilities. An old school gamer would know anyone can make the old 'dig a hole and cover it with leaves' trap.
More to follow....