Let's set the record straight...
by, 09-03-2010 at 08:52 AM (596 Views)
It's nice to see the many discussions that always seem to show up time and time again, here on the internet or in face to face chats, concerning Old School and New School. I would consider myself an OS gamer, considering I began gaming in the late 80s when 2E DnD was first released. From the 'good old days' to present, I have had the opportunity and good fortune to play and run a variety of systems. However, I'll focus on DnD, as 2E was my first and still is my favorite system...this excludes about 95% of the material presented in the black cover Player's Options edition released before Wizards purchased TSR.
From my perspective as both a player and a DM, old school gaming was and is much more focused on keeping things fluid. Old School gaming was not, is not about who wins, the GM or the players. In my experience, it was about keeping things moving fluidly or as my group used to say 'Story, not detail!!' The books would be at the table, opened only when spells were being cast. If you made a bad choice, something bad happened to your character or in some instances the group. I saw as a GM, and enjoyed as a player, far more party cooperation than what I see today. If the group didn't work together, chances are things would go poorly or would be a lot more challenging at the very least. Only once can I recall playing with a GM who genuinely felt the goal of the GM was to turn the PCs into blood pudding. The rest, wanted to have as much fun as the players. I can tell you, if Old School gaming really had GM vs. Player as the order of the day, with GMs TPKing group after group, I never would've made it past a 2 or 3 sessions. If there is a real difference between Old School (2E and earlier) and New School (3E and later), it's the evolution of characters as they advance. Old School characters didn't start off as being heroic, so much as evolving into a hero, New School characters start off heroic and evolve into Legends. One is gritty without rules crunch, the other is forgiving with lots of rules crunch.