Saturday, July 5, 2008

"Old School" vs "New School" - Final Word

Sometimes, the blindingly obvious isn't seen for a bit.

"Old school" games have no setting. The referee is supposed to take a set of rules and create a world, and thus the game to actually be played, himself.

"New school" games do that for you.

This of course means that Runequest/Glorantha and Greyhawk are totally new school, and Sorcerer is old school.

... or maybe this is just my playstyle. I'm of the opinion that if a referee doesn't have the ability, the time, or the inclination to create his own setting, he shouldn't take the job on in the first place. It's something that only has to be done once if you do it right.

Frankly, I'm all burnt out on thinking about old school vs new school. They are meaningless titles unless we're talking strictly dates, and this hobby can't be easily pigeonholed and generalizations are daft. If you want to talk about the older versus newer versions of a specific game, OK. Otherwise... I'm out of this discussion, and anybody that focuses on "old school" games as if they are some sort of unified movement is going to make me just tune out.


  1. I love it.

    This, of course, means that 1977 Classic Traveller is old school. And every version since then is new school.

    Works for me!

  2. Saying Runequest 1st or 2nd edition isn't too far from saying Holmes D&D had a setting. Sure we got Glorantha, with three whole cults (so you knew how to build your own) and a map with maybe a page of explanation.

    I do remember the big deal that it came with a setting back in the day (specially Palmer's Complete Book of Wargames and a review in SPI's Ares) but to say it's closer to modern based on that is a bit much.

    Loving the blog, btw.