... now with 35% more arrogance!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Past Few Years Have Been Wasted

I normally only skim the first paragraph of the blog posts on Gnome Stew. They very rarely have anything relevant to my interest. But in the most recent article, "You Can Totally Do That Thing (Or Maybe Not)", the author gave an example of a player paralyzed with indecision, and had this to say:

"In the opening example, the player hadn’t played D&D in quite some time and was coming at his choices from a very old-school perspective. The last time he had played regularly, if something wasn’t explicitly stated in the rules, you simply couldn’t do it. He assumed that he couldn’t jump up onto the wall because it was something he couldn’t do in one of his previous games."

Yep. "You can only do what is explicitly in the rules" is now a "very old-school perspective". All the work the OSR has done over the past decade or so trying to convince people otherwise, all of Old Geezer's rants and subsequent bannings on RPGnet for telling people that their character is not their character sheet. all of it, has been either a lie or a waste.

OK< yeah, I realize that the "Anything Not Explicitly Allowed Is Forbidden" attitude did start to creep in at least around the time of AD&D, but even there, the PHB and DMG go to some lengths to point out that yes, people other than thieves can climb, some scrolls are usable by people who aren't magic-users, it's possible to use a weapon you don't have training in... it took years for the so-called "very old-school perspective" to become the norm in all things.


  1. Old-school in this case being the early 2000s :p

    Seriously, even though the 3e books made it clear that this wasn't the case, the community seemed to act like that's how things worked. Same with rulings. The books encouraged them (even if they did codify quite a few as rules and reduced some rulings to abstract exercises in mathematics), yet by 2003, everyone acted like it's something you just don't do. For people who obsessed over the letter of the rules, they don't seem to have actually read them

    Thinking of that as the old-school approach would certainly go a long way in explaining why some people don't like older editions. You'd hardly be able to do much of anything in OD&D, and quite a bit of the game would be either unfair or boring

    1. Yuppers a lot of payers treated rules that made some classses and skill/feat options really good at something as if it were a prohibit6ion against actions for characters that did not have the choice skill/feat options.

  2. Old school has no meaning to me. OSR is a cover blurb. Retroclones well... Rarely do. I just like to think about and play games and to hell with all the sloganeering.

  3. Many early modules contained rules for when the players attempted something not codified in the books, that it was obvious that they were going to attempt. That these ideas were not always consistent has been a regular complaint from those who embrace the newer school design ethos.

    That said, I think that ProfessorOats is correct. I do not think that 3e was intended to change the game as it did for many; I believe that was an unintentional consequence of the design, which WotC increasingly embraced until poor response to 4e made them reconsider optimal game play.

  4. I thought this post was really good so I added a link to it in my Best Reads of the Week series. You can check it out at this link below if you'd like.