Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Down at the Alehouse

I have regular misgivings about the Knights & Knaves Alehouse and certainly don't feel comfortable posting there, but I still read the forums with great alacrity. The Alehouse is among the best old school forums on the net, provided you have a strong constitution, which I guess I don't. However, it's one of Trent Foster's regular hang-outs and he's a true gurus of old school history and philosophy, so I check the place out on a regular basis nonetheless.

To illustrate my point, here are two really interesting threads I'll be keeping my eye on.

What was the first non-old school RPG? (Hint: Moldvay Basic is a strong contender)

Matt Finch is working on a Primer for Old School Gaming. Some really excellent stuff here. Little wonder that he's someone whose judgment and insights I've come to respect a great deal.

Very good stuff.

6 comments:

  1. Totally off topic, Happy Canada Day James, more on topic I'll be sure to check out those links.

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  2. I'd rather see a list of what games ARE actually, unanimously accepted as "Old School". I doubt it'll be over half a dozen distinct games, since everyone seems to point at 1981 as some sort of cataclysmic year.

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  3. since everyone seems to point at 1981 as some sort of cataclysmic year.

    1983 is actually a much stronger candidate by most accounts. It saw the release of the revised 1e covers and pre-release hype for Dragonlance, among other things.

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  4. I never hung out much at the alehouse because I’m not grognard enough and my favorite edition of D&D is Moldvay/Cook/Marsh. (^_^)

    I’m not sure that thread really has consensus around the Moldvay set being the answer.

    The descriptive/prescriptive or toolkit/not-toolkit axis is interesting. By that measure, I could certainly agree that Moldvay’s set falls more (though not entirely) on the “new” side of the continuum, while I might argue that the 3e UA actually falls more on the “old school” side. (^_^)

    Indeed, the only “d20 System” game that I think I’d really get excited about running would be one that pulled a lot of tools out of the UA toolbox.

    Mythmere’s primer is gold! Great stuff.

    (Who was it that first used the “rulings, not rules” language?)

    Mostly very good suggestions too, except for Mapes’ consistency bit. (6_6)

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  5. I’m not sure that thread really has consensus around the Moldvay set being the answer.

    The descriptive/prescriptive or toolkit/not-toolkit axis is interesting. By that measure, I could certainly agree that Moldvay’s set falls more (though not entirely) on the “new” side of the continuum, while I might argue that the 3e UA actually falls more on the “old school” side. (^_^)


    True, there's no consensus that Moldvay Basic isn't old school, but I think there's quite a lot of evidence that it's at least on the borderline.

    I agree that 3e can be played in a fashion that's more old school than the assumed play style of the game. However, I think the game's underlying mechanics are too firmly embedded into its play for it to qualify as old school under most circumstances.

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  6. James! you may have given the quintessential distinction of old school here. "the game's underlying mechanics are too firmly embedded into its play"

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