Thursday, July 30, 2009

Are We Playing the Old School Way?

There seems to be a lot of Old School/New School talk in the Role Playing Game Community as of late.

I never played back in the days of AD&D so I don't really know what that was all about. I have an inkling from what I've read—a sort of gut feeling about how those games went. The Joke is that there was a more adversarial relationship between the GM/DM and players, but in reading A Quick Primer for Old School Gaming I came to realize that old school gaming is what I had in mind when I wanted to get into gaming.

I came to realize that I had, as a player, definitely tried my hand at being an old school gamer without even knowing it. What this essay points out is that the character sheet in old school games had far less on it, which leads to more creativity. For instance in a new school game, if I describe some kind of tactical trick during a fight—there's probably going to be Rules that determine the outcome and the situation will be resolved with a couple rolls of the dice. While in an old school game—the same explanation requires a little mind exercising on the part of the GM; die rolls will still be incorporated, however the GM will be "Ruling" as opposed to following "Rules" so instead of following the rules he makes something up that fits and may or may not have you roll to resolve.

The current system we've been running is Savage Worlds, and I think that it lends itself well to the old school ways. Instead of having eight skills for eight different types of firearms, you have a shooting skill that covers everything from a bow and arrow to a howitzer to a M1A2 Abrams to the phaser banks and torpedoes on the Star Ship Enterprise. It's this simplification of the character that opens up the possibilities and creativity.

Because I'm a new GM and not clear on ALL the rules it forces me to just make things up—which is a very old school way of doing things. (For more Specific examples see A Quick Primer for Old School)

The only thing I didn't like so much about the old school way of doing things is the resource management. I don't really like keeping track of  every bullet, etc. We've reduced fuel, food, and Ammunition to a Scale of Very High, High, Low, Out. So I guess I'm a little bit Old School—A Little bit New School.

Sure, sometimes I find myself just resolving things with a die roll, though I hope I'm still running a creative game, and using quick die rolls at times when appropriate.  Those that have played in my games are encouraged to comment—especially if they take time to read A Quick Primer for Old School (it's only 11 pages)

One last note, I learned again while writing this that I had been using some words wrong. I essentially had the definitions of Treatise and Essay backwards in my head.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know what "school" I play.
    Probably the Noob School = )