Sunday, May 24, 2009

Old School is an attitude

Here James M at Grognardia talks about the definition of Old School gaming. I seen the Old School feeling argument made before and I see where James is coming from in that part of his post. However both sides are missing the point. It not about feeling, it is about attitude that makes a campaign old school. This transcends rule systems and setting.

I am not saying that ANY setting and ANY rules system can be used for old school gaming. Some are indeed easier to use for old school than others. But the concepts outlined in the Old School Primer can be used with a pretty large selection of Games and Settings that are out there.

Part of this stems from my experiences. Superficially my experience seems typical of many who write or sell for the current Old School market. I started with Holmes D&D, played AD&D, switched to other game systems (Fantasy Hero, GURPS), tried D&D 3rd, and finally came back to the original material.

Understand while the rule system had changed, the fundamental way I ran my campaigns has not. Instead of ditching what I did in favor of whatever the rule system advocated I adapted the rule system to my campaign. It just I prefer a more detailed combat system from being an avid wargamer. Today I have a lot of fun writing and publishing stuff for everybody in the Old School market. I never left and it is finally good to have a group to share my stuff with and a market to sell to.


Gothridge Manor said...

I glaze over anytime I see the term Old School. I understand the intent of its use, but some people put place too much importance on the term. When used for so many things, events or ways of thinking it loses its meaning. It's a throw away cliche.

Timeshadows said...

While I tend to agree with the thrust of your statement, I do find it hard to think that there aren't mechanical elements necessary to the encompassing of the term.

Once the rules structure goes past this undefined tipping-point, its mass is too great to allow for the swiftness of play and 'judgement calls' that I do think are essential to the OS spirit, and still remain true to the mechanical system embraced.

Now, as for the importance of definitions, Korgoth's assurance of its mandatory importance aside, and of the OS in particular, I am yet to be moved.

AndreasDavour said...

Maybe that's a stab at a definition? It's a Spirit, Jim!:)

Anonymous said...

I'm playing in a very old-school game using 3.5 rules right now, and in a very new-school game using AD&D1e rules.

It's REALLY about attitude - in this case it's the player attitude. The 1e players are "building" characters, while the 3.5 team are exploring a huge undercity and dealing with the thieves' guild. The 3.5 players aren't concerned with magic item collection, character builds, prestige classes and so on - the current group ranges from levels 1 to 3, have a variety of equipment (all of it crap, even the level 3 characters) and it feels like D&D did when I was a teenager.

The importance, more than rules set, is PLAYER attitude.