D&D 4E and That Old School Feel

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Bear with me. I'm just kind of thinking out loud, but today I was wondering what would need to be done to D&D 4E to make it have more of an old school feel (I understand that definitions of "old school" vary wildly).

My initial ideas were:

1) Take out the skills Perception and Insight.
You tell me where you look and I'll tell you what is there. And you, as a player, need to make up your mind about whether an NPC is lying to you or not. This is the 0E and BD&D way.

2) Take out the skills Bluff, Intimitate and Diplomacy.
You tell me what you say and I'll tell you how the other guy reacts. Again, this is the 0E and BD&D way.

3) Only give 1/10 the usual XP for killing monsters but give 1 XP for every GP found (but none for Magic items).
This is pretty much how it is in BD&D.

4) Be very lenient with made up moves in combat.
Basically, if the player wants to try something, use the page 42 rules but don't worry at all about stepping on the toes of pre-existing powers, feats, etc. Keep things as freeform as possible and reward trying new things. And remember that you don't have to rule the same way twice about a move.

5) make up extra good and bad stuff that happens in combat based on high or low rolls.
Don't shy away from declaring that someone (Player or monster) has been knocked prone by a high-damage attack or declaring that someone has gotten their sword stuck or knocked out of their hands, etc.

6) Stats are rolled 3d6 in order.
The "in order" part is key.


This was inspired by reading the Quick Primer for Old School Gaming.

What else could be done?

EDIT: And one more thing. This is not a thread for discussing whether Old School was good or not. It's about how to achieve an Old School feel for better or for worse.
Traps deal 4x their listed damage and can only be found by someone whose primary class is Rogue.

Multiclass feats are human only, unless taken at first level. (Corrolary: Dwarves, elves, halflings and tieflings may select their powers from the Fighter, Wizard, Rogue and Warlock classes respectively, regardless of primary class.)
3) Only give 1/10 the usual XP for killing monsters but give 1 XP for every GP found (but none for Magic items).
This is pretty much how it is in BD&D.

Something to consider: how would/should this affect treasure parcels?
Something to consider: how would/should this affect treasure parcels?

If you're really going old school, you should do away with the parcel system altogether. Monsters now have minimal treasure on them (and what magical items they have they are likely using), but there are seemingly random spots within each dungeon where gold pieces are piled to the ceiling.

Oh, and the Rogue gets double XP for all found gold.
Lemme add something onto your list

7) Repeatedly kill your players with basically everything you can at every opportunity. If you think you have the guile, rub it in their faces. Traps, Monsters, more Traps, Rocks backed up with gravity, spheres of annihilation, anything at all!
Because it's fun! Really, it is!
If you're really going old school, you should do away with the parcel system altogether. Monsters now have minimal treasure on them (and what magical items they have they are likely using), but there are seemingly random spots within each dungeon where gold pieces are piled to the ceiling.

One of my favourite things from some of the older editions I've played/read was how monsters had a % chance to have magic items. Say a monster had a 10% chance of three magic items.

I found this hilarious because, statisticlly, you fight all these monsters who have no magic items. Then, all of a sudden, this tenth one coughs up THREE of them when it dies!

Good times.

Oh, and the Rogue gets double XP for all found gold.

Was this from any actual edition? Can't say I know that one.
EVERY DAY IS HORRIBLE POST DAY ON THE D&D FORUMS. Everything makes me ANGRY (ESPECIALLY you, reader)
i'm pretty sure in 2nd Ed rogues had the benefit of 1XP /GP found, in addition to the normal amounts. i don't have those books on me though at work.
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"All right, I've been thinking. When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back. GET MAD! I DON'T WANT YOUR **** LEMONS! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THESE?! DEMAND TO SEE LIFE'S MANAGER! Make life RUE the day it thought it could give CAVE JOHNSON LEMONS! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?! I'M THE MAN WHO'S GONNA BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN! WITH THE LEMONS! I'm gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that's gonna BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN!" -Cave Johnson, Portal 2
Was this from any actual edition? Can't say I know that one.

Second Edition Theives got bonus XP based on gold found. OD&D Theives basically gained twice as much as everyone else from treasure (if I'm remembering correctly), since they got the normal bump and then a class-based bonus.

Theives leveled incredibly quickly if you were playing stock dungeon crawl D&D.
Old school feel?

Eliminate Dragonborn and call Eladrin High Elves.

 Any Edition

Second Edition Theives got bonus XP based on gold found. OD&D Theives basically gained twice as much as everyone else from treasure (if I'm remembering correctly), since they got the normal bump and then a class-based bonus.

Theives leveled incredibly quickly if you were playing stock dungeon crawl D&D.

Hmm, I have OD&D (I assume you mean the boxed ones?), and there is no Theif class in mine. I do have a retroclone thingy of... Basic, I think, called Labrynth Lords, and although it has a Theif, they also don't get a special bonus. Then again, I'm pretty much 100% sure that LL isn't complete.
EVERY DAY IS HORRIBLE POST DAY ON THE D&D FORUMS. Everything makes me ANGRY (ESPECIALLY you, reader)
Hmm, I have OD&D (I assume you mean the boxed ones?), and there is no Theif class in mine. I do have a retroclone thingy of... Basic, I think, called Labrynth Lords, and although it has a Theif, they also don't get a special bonus. Then again, I'm pretty much 100% sure that LL isn't complete.

No Theives? I had to leave my old soft-cover stuff at home when I moved out to Philly, but I'm just sure there were theives in the red book.

If you've got them in front of you and they disagree, though, I'm obviously misremembering.
I guess it depends on the definition of old school. As for myself, I have been playing since the old boxed sets and I think that, regardless of some new classes and some name changes, 4E feels more old school than any edition since the first. I think the overriding factor for my opinion is the streamlined method of play. Gameplay seems to move quicker and smoother, just like I remember it. It seems in 3E there was always this feeling that a rule was being ignored, misinterpreted or downright forgotten. In 4E I do not get that feeling at all.
Bear with me. I'm just kind of thinking out loud, but today I was wondering what would need to be done to D&D 4E to make it have more of an old school feel (I understand that definitions of "old school" vary wildly).

If you're going through all that trouble, why not just play OSRIC? I think 4th is plenty Old school...might just be me.
Bear with me. I'm just kind of thinking out loud, but today I was wondering what would need to be done to D&D 4E to make it have more of an old school feel (I understand that definitions of "old school" vary wildly).

My initial ideas were:

1) Take out the skills Perception and Insight.
You tell me where you look and I'll tell you what is there. And you, as a player, need to make up your mind about whether an NPC is lying to you or not. This is the 0E and BD&D way.

This would also mean taking stealth out of the game. If you look at where I am, you see me. Simple, right? Except that now there's no point in Stealth, so who would train in it.

2) Take out the skills Bluff, Intimitate and Diplomacy.
You tell me what you say and I'll tell you how the other guy reacts. Again, this is the 0E and BD&D way.

Some people are less socially adjusted (to put it in a nice way) than others. Some don't actually want D&D to be a social game, while others in the same group do. This allows those people who can't (or simply don't want to) come up with something witty or dimplomatical to say just roll the d20, and let it talk for them. Not an ideal solution, but hey, it's there.

3) Only give 1/10 the usual XP for killing monsters but give 1 XP for every GP found (but none for Magic items).
This is pretty much how it is in BD&D.

This seriously messes up the level system in 4th. Considering you should get roughly 720GP by the end of level 1, that means you only need, what, say 300 XP to level. That's like, 5 encounters, even with your 1/10th XP reward for killing monsters.

4) Be very lenient with made up moves in combat.
Basically, if the player wants to try something, use the page 42 rules but don't worry at all about stepping on the toes of pre-existing powers, feats, etc. Keep things as freeform as possible and reward trying new things. And remember that you don't have to rule the same way twice about a move.

You need to worry about it stepping on the toes of powers and feats that already excist. If you have an encounter power that lets you knock someone prone, and I let someone else do it simply by using p 42, was there much point in you taking that power in the first place? Probably not, no. In the interest of balance, I would say taking pre-existing material into account is the single most important thing to remember when using p.42.

5) make up extra good and bad stuff that happens in combat based on high or low rolls.
Don't shy away from declaring that someone (Player or monster) has been knocked prone by a high-damage attack or declaring that someone has gotten their sword stuck or knocked out of their hands, etc.

There are powers that have these effects. If you start adding them just because you rolled 75% of the maximum possible damage on an attack, things start to get broken. What about those effects that let you automatically crit? Do they get counted here? If not, why?

Again, in the interest of balance, this is probably not a good idea.

6) Stats are rolled 3d6 in order.
The "in order" part is key.

Meh, whatever makes you happy in your game. Remember though that the sum of your modifiers should be between 6 and 8, and that the DM is advised to adjust them to the average (which is 7) otherwise players will be too powerful, and find things too easy, or too weak, and find things too difficult.

Since you, as the DM, are told to adjust any stat sets that are too low or high, the point of rolling 3d6 and assigning them in order becomes slightly pointless.

Also, there's a reason this generally isn't done anymore.
If anything I say is wrong, clueless or spelt incorrectly, it is because, I am, in general, wrong, clueless and... Well, I'm usually spelt correctly.
Was this from any actual edition? Can't say I know that one.

Well, sorta. The Thief (later Rogue) got bonus experience for all gold that he could steal. if he could sneak gold away from the party by pocketing it, he got double xp for it. I could look up page numbers if you want.

So yeah, actually, it is.
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No Theives? I had to leave my old soft-cover stuff at home when I moved out to Philly, but I'm just sure there were theives in the red book.

If you've got them in front of you and they disagree, though, I'm obviously misremembering.

I think they are talking the White Box. With Fighting Men, Wizards, and Clerics only.

I mean, I suppose if we define old school, we have got to start off by deciding where old school is.
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Traps deal 4x their listed damage and can only be found by someone whose primary class is Rogue.

Multiclass feats are human only, unless taken at first level. (Corrolary: Dwarves, elves, halflings and tieflings may select their powers from the Fighter, Wizard, Rogue and Warlock classes respectively, regardless of primary class.)

Thieves weren't the only ones who could find traps.

Thieves were just the only ones who had a roll for it.

Anyone could poke around with a ten-foot pole, look around for trip-wires, check the underside of doorknobs for needles, etc.
This would also mean taking stealth out of the game. If you look at where I am, you see me. Simple, right? Except that now there's no point in Stealth, so who would train in it.

It doesn't need to be an opposed roll. In BD&D, Move Silently and Hide in Shadows weren't opposed rolls.


Some people are less socially adjusted (to put it in a nice way) than others. Some don't actually want D&D to be a social game, while others in the same group do. This allows those people who can't (or simply don't want to) come up with something witty or dimplomatical to say just roll the d20, and let it talk for them. Not an ideal solution, but hey, it's there.

This is a part of the "player skill vs. character abilities" thing that the Old School Primer on Gaming was talking about. Whether it is good or bad is beside the point. Doing it this way would be more "old school" (i.e. that's the way it was done before).



This seriously messes up the level system in 4th. Considering you should get roughly 720GP by the end of level 1, that means you only need, what, say 300 XP to level. That's like, 5 encounters, even with your 1/10th XP reward for killing monsters.

In Old School style gaming, there is no such thing as "you should get".



You need to worry about it stepping on the toes of powers and feats that already excist. If you have an encounter power that lets you knock someone prone, and I let someone else do it simply by using p 42, was there much point in you taking that power in the first place? Probably not, no. In the interest of balance, I would say taking pre-existing material into account is the single most important thing to remember when using p.42.


There are powers that have these effects. If you start adding them just because you rolled 75% of the maximum possible damage on an attack, things start to get broken. What about those effects that let you automatically crit? Do they get counted here? If not, why?

Again, in the interest of balance, this is probably not a good idea.


Meh, whatever makes you happy in your game. Remember though that the sum of your modifiers should be between 6 and 8, and that the DM is advised to adjust them to the average (which is 7) otherwise players will be too powerful, and find things too easy, or too weak, and find things too difficult.

I understand what you are saying, but these are all very "modern" ways of looking at it. The point of the thread is to create that old school feeling. What you're saying doesn't create it.


Since you, as the DM, are told to adjust any stat sets that are too low or high, the point of rolling 3d6 and assigning them in order becomes slightly pointless.

If you're trying to do old-school you wouldn't go by rules like that.
This is a part of the "player skill vs. character abilities" thing that the Old School Primer on Gaming was talking about. Whether it is good or bad is beside the point. Doing it this way would be more "old school" (i.e. that's the way it was done before).

In Old School style gaming, there is no such thing as "you should get".

I understand what you are saying, but these are all very "modern" ways of looking at it. The point of the thread is to create that old school feeling. What you're saying doesn't create it.

If you're trying to do old-school you wouldn't go by rules like that.

All if this is well and good, but it sounds like you are coming at this with two conflicting viewpoints:

1. Old-school gaming was all about the Godlike GM screwing over the Foolish PCs and telling them exactly what happens, and giving them little or no reward for their actions.

Which conflicts with:

2. You want rules and guidelines to make 4e, a system which was designed specifically to do away with a lot of the attitudes and systems mentioned above, more like the way it used to be.

You can get the Old-School feel by playing the old systems. Lots of people do. I think trying to make 4e feel like 2nd is just going to lead to frustration from everyone involved, PC and GM alike.
1. Old-school gaming was all about the Godlike GM screwing over the Foolish PCs and telling them exactly what happens, and giving them little or no reward for their actions.

For the record, this is very much not what I think "old school" is about. Although I know that there are many people who do see it as a buzzword for that style of DMing. Everyone has their own definition of what "old school" is.

You can get the Old-School feel by playing the old systems. Lots of people do. I think trying to make 4e feel like 2nd is just going to lead to frustration from everyone involved, PC and GM alike.

I'm not thinking about 2E but rather 0E (white box/brown box) and BD&D (red box/blue box).

This whole thing is just a though experiment anyway, but if there were frustration, I think it would only be from differing expectations. If everyone were on the same page, there would be no problems. But that could be said about anything really.
It doesn't need to be an opposed roll. In BD&D, Move Silently and Hide in Shadows weren't opposed rolls.

Then it would involve a complete rewrite of the Stealth rules. I guess it's doable, but since someone can undo your +18 stealth roll by saying "I look at the tree", it seems a little silly to train in it at all.

This is a part of the "player skill vs. character abilities" thing that the Old School Primer on Gaming was talking about. Whether it is good or bad is beside the point. Doing it this way would be more "old school" (i.e. that's the way it was done before).

These rolls also allow people whose abilities are not up to that of their character (you are not likely to be a charasmatic as a character with Cha 25) still play out their little roleplay session, and be rewarded for it.

Also, this makes scaling challenges a lot harder to do, and considering the Skill Challenge system in 4th edition. Well, let's just say it would need a rewrite. It needs a rewrite anyway...


In Old School style gaming, there is no such thing as "you should get".

Except with 4th edition, wealth is tied to how many magical items you can afford. Since a level 1 magic item costs 300 GP (I think) then giving level 1 characters 1000GP in that level gives them 1 more item than they should have.


I understand what you are saying, but these are all very "modern" ways of looking at it. The point of the thread is to create that old school feeling. What you're saying doesn't create it.

Balance is not a modern idea. In a system built around balance, one can not simply brush it aside, and expect it to not have effects later on. I guess if you let everyone do crazy stuff, including the monsters, balance could be maintained, but it would require everyone to be on board and everyone to attempt it.

If you're trying to do old-school you wouldn't go by rules like that.

4th edition is set up to deal with characters of a certain power level. If they don't have the proper stat sets, they're either too strong, or too weak, and will crush, or be crushed, by any encounters you throw at them of their level, or their level + 1. Obviouslty, the reaction here is simply to increase the level of the monsters they're fighting, but then they level quicker.
If anything I say is wrong, clueless or spelt incorrectly, it is because, I am, in general, wrong, clueless and... Well, I'm usually spelt correctly.
I, personally, feel the 'old school feel' is to be avoided, if it's synonymous with a lack of social skills, getting rid of the charisma based skills and insight. That's old school game design, true... and it's bad game design. Mechanically, the characters exist only as combat machines, and all interactions comes down to nothing but GM fiat, with no mechanical decision-making whatsoever. Bad stuff.

Also, it seriously cripples the charisma stat, and many characters who rely on it.
Give half the players a green lantern ring. Give the rest point sticks. Then break the sticks.

If someone roleplays in a way you don't agree with wrong, make thier character useless, then punch them in the face over and over at unexpected times.
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I find it interesting that some people feel that 4E already has an Old School feel while others feel that doing Old School in 4E would be impossible.

At any rate, people are starting to express their opinions about whether Old School is good or not and that is not the point of the thread (re-read the OP). The only thing that lies that way is an edition war and a lock.

And comments like:

A: How can I [ -insert idea-]?

B: You shouldn't want to do that.

...amount to little more than a thread crap.


I just woke up, so please pardon me if my post is a bit cranky.
You do realize that it's not possible to change one edition to the 'feel' of another without comparing them right?

Right?

I'm assumign you know this because of your screen name.
Sig to be rebuilt soon The Descendants-- the webserial that reads like a comic book! World of Ere-- A campaign setting that puts style to the fore.
You do realize that it's not possible to change one edition to the 'feel' of another without comparing them right?

Right?

I'm assumign you know this because of your screen name.

What I was wondering about (and the point of the thread) was what would need to be changed to achieve tht feel of old school for better or for worse.

I never commented that old school was better (seriously, I choose my words carefully so as not to show opinion about good or bad). That's the kind of comparing that turns into an edition war. Comparing to find out what needs to change to emulate it without judging whether that is a good or bad thing is different, I feel.
What I was wondering about (and the point of the thread) was what would need to be changed to achieve tht feel of old school for better or for worse.

The dynamic. You would have to change the dynamic.

You're looking for a mechanical difference, which isn't going to get you far. All you would have to do is push all the power into the DM's hands and switch to reactive gaming. That means not letting your players choose their own destiny and have their characters evolve emotionally. It means throwing the players into a dungeon that doesn't need to make sense. It just has to inspire fear in your players as they will because weary and cautious of everything they see.

Attempt to kill them at every turn and make dying incredibly easy. That wouldn't require any mechanical changes because often times there wasn't even a roll to see if you lived. It was a, "Oh, you touched that? You just got sucked into a plane of pure feminism for all eternity. Roll a new character."

Lots of character rerolling. It doesn't need to have a terrible connotation because the game revolves less around characters and more about dungeons with blue doors and magical mounds of gold that eat you when you try to collect it. When that's the attitude, losing a character doesn't matter so much. You're just there to enjoy the game and defeat the dungeon.
Honestly, you're not going to get completely objective responses on this.

You either don't care, or you have a romanticized view where the game was all about danger and matching wits with the DM OR you have a cynical view where it was Nintendo Hard and depending on an arbitrary and obstinate DM.

Only the last two are going to participate in this thread and so you're going to get responses colored that way. And when people see other people's changes, they're going to respond. It's just how it goes.
Sig to be rebuilt soon The Descendants-- the webserial that reads like a comic book! World of Ere-- A campaign setting that puts style to the fore.
Honestly, you're not going to get completely objective responses on this.

You either don't care, or you have a romanticized view where the game was all about danger and matching wits with the DM OR you have a cynical view where it was Nintendo Hard and depending on an arbitrary and obstinate DM.

Only the last two are going to participate in this thread and so you're going to get responses colored that way. And when people see other people's changes, they're going to respond. It's just how it goes.

I think you're exactly right on all these points.

For the record, the definition I, personally, was using for Old School is what is described in the Primer for Old School Gaming linked in the OP. And it doesn't mention anything about the DM killing the PCs frequently, so it wasn't part of my image of Old School.
I find it interesting that some people feel that 4E already has an Old School feel while others feel that doing Old School in 4E would be impossible.

The reason that some of us think 4E feels "old school" is because playing it feels like it used to, back in the rose-colored past. 4E feels like a homecoming, even though it's very different than previous editions. I get a sense of wonder and excitement from it that I haven't had since I started with 2E, not because of any sort of mechanical similarities but because it conjures those types of images in my minds eye and gives me the same feelings of discovery and adventure I had back then. I'm sure a lot of others feel the same way.

"Old School" is almost impossible to quantify, and usually not worth the effort if you can actually pull it off. 4E gives me the good parts of those old feelings, though, which is why I play it.
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Or that's how I heard that it worked in one of the earlier edition. I cannot be sure as I haven't read anything before 2nd.
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I have to agree with some of the people who say 4e 'feels' like old school D&D, I enjoyed playing 3.x for a few years, but it just didn't feel like D&D to me, at least not the old boxed sets of the 80's that I remember... Sure, 3.x WAS D&D, just not the same D&D.

Well, now 4e is here and it isn't the same as the old D&D, but it has the FEEL of being like it for some reason, the more I get into it, the more I feel like WOTC pulled it off.

D.
All if this is well and good, but it sounds like you are coming at this with two conflicting viewpoints:

1. Old-school gaming was all about the Godlike GM screwing over the Foolish PCs and telling them exactly what happens, and giving them little or no reward for their actions.

Which conflicts with:

2. You want rules and guidelines to make 4e, a system which was designed specifically to do away with a lot of the attitudes and systems mentioned above, more like the way it used to be.

You can get the Old-School feel by playing the old systems. Lots of people do. I think trying to make 4e feel like 2nd is just going to lead to frustration from everyone involved, PC and GM alike.

You actually have no clue what old DnD is. I have played for 30 years and so has most of our gaming group. And outside of our immature younger days where we were adolescent idiots (no offense to other adolescents out there, but I was an iditot at that age!!!), we never... ever... experienced the bone grinding, excruciating play that you are describing above.

Some people are just clueless about what DnD is really about and has been about over the years.

If you have to translate the editions of DnD to cartoons...

OD&D & 1st Edition DnD = Tom and Jerry (DM and players go back and forth struggling to entertain themselves but still are friends)
through
4e DnD = Smurfs. Where everyone is equal, DM's and Players love each other. Very warm and fuzzy edition.

Personally, I like T&J more than the Smurfs.
You actually have no clue what old DnD is. I have played for 30 years and so has most of our gaming group. And outside of our immature younger days where we were adolescent idiots (no offense to other adolescents out there, but I was an iditot at that age!!!), we never... ever... experienced the bone grinding, excruciating play that you are describing above.

Some people are just clueless about what DnD is really about and has been about over the years.

If you have to translate the editions of DnD to cartoons...

OD&D & 1st Edition DnD = Tom and Jerry (DM and players go back and forth struggling to entertain themselves but still are friends)
through
4e DnD = Smurfs. Where everyone is equal, DM's and Players love each other. Very warm and fuzzy edition.

Personally, I like T&J more than the Smurfs.

This is the kind of stuff that will turn the thread into a fight.

Hamakto, could you instead tell me what you think would need to be changed to go from "Smurfs" to "Tom & Jerry" in 4E instead of just stating that you like one over the other.
of course not. welcome to the internet, we aim to aggravate.
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"All right, I've been thinking. When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back. GET MAD! I DON'T WANT YOUR **** LEMONS! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THESE?! DEMAND TO SEE LIFE'S MANAGER! Make life RUE the day it thought it could give CAVE JOHNSON LEMONS! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?! I'M THE MAN WHO'S GONNA BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN! WITH THE LEMONS! I'm gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that's gonna BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN!" -Cave Johnson, Portal 2
This is the kind of stuff that will turn the thread into a fight.

I'm pretty sure that was the goal.
The kool-aid club, still in session.

Give half the players a green lantern ring. Give the rest point sticks. Then break the sticks.

Or make everyone the same - same gold, same gear, same powers (different colors) and same level of progression for their effort.
I'm inclined to say that going "old school" is best done by just getting an old D&D system and running that, rather than trying to force 4e into something it wasn't built for. It's a bit like trying to recreate that "horse and buggy feel" by driving your car slowly. You're better off with a real horse.

Then again, if you want a bit of old-school feel without mangling the 4e system too much, these house rules might do the trick. Stats are rolled, there's no criticals, and anyone who drops to 0hp is dead.
A few observations....

T&J vs Smurfs. This is an oversimplification. I look at it more like Ghostbusters (original) vs the Littles.

I will say it again, using wealth as a balancing mechanic is a very bad idea. This needs addressed in the 4.5 revision.

3rd edition has always been a min/max power gamer heaven, and sometimes it discourages others who have less than stellar numbers with a particular character. I think the changing of Non-weapon proficiencies into skills and sometimes feats was somewhat of a clunky change, and seemed to be the one thing that frustrated some, with the added skills with different books and having the Stealth set being spread out so much. The new edition didn't do much better, porting over the theatric SaGa trained vs forgotten shtick.

Old Skool, as gaming is concerned, will never be accepted within a newer edition. I think that if anyone wants to kick it old skool, than they should play 2nd edition with some house rules to adopt some of the 3rd edition combat rules. I wouldn't doubt that some have been doing this already.
The new edition shouldn't be changed to flavor aspects of the past, though, and if it is not your cup of tea, I suggest another system altogether. (Not Pathfinder, but maybe FantasyHero or even *shudder* RiFTs)
Terms you should know...
Show
Kit Build - A class build that is self sustaining and has mechanical differences than the normal scale. Started in Essentials. Most are call their own terms, though the Base Class should be said in front of their own terms (Like Assassin/Executioner) Power Points - A mechanic that was wedged into the PHB3 classes (with the exception of the Monk) from the previous editions. This time, they are used to augment At Wills to be Encounters, thus eliminating the need to choose powers past 4th level. Mage Builds - Kit builds that are schools of magic for the Wizard. A call back to the previous editions powering up of the wizard. (Wizard/Necromancer, for example) Unlike the previous kit builds, Wizards simply lose their Scribe Rituals feature and most likely still can choose powers from any build, unlike the Kit Builds. Parcel System - A treasure distribution method that keeps adventurers poor while forcing/advising the DM to get wish lists from players. The version 2.0 rolls for treasure instead of making a list, and is incomplete because of the lack of clarity about magic item rarity.
ha ha
56902498 wrote:
They will Essentialize the Essentials classes, otherwise known as Essentials2. The new sub-sub-classes will be: * Magician. A subsubclass of Mage, the magician has two implements, wand and hat, one familiar (rabbit) and series of basic tricks. * Crook. A subsubclass of Thief, the Crook can only use a shiv, which allows him to use his only power... Shank. * Angry Vicar, a subsubclass of warpriest, the angry vicar has two attacks -- Shame and Lecture. * Hitter. A subsubclass of Slayer, the Hitter hits things. * Gatherer. A subsubclass of Hunter, it doesn't actually do anything, but pick up the stuff other players might leave behind. Future Essentials2 classes include the Security Guard (Sentinel2), the Hexknife (Hexblade2), the Webelos (Scout2), the Gallant (Cavalier2) and the Goofus (Knight2). These will all be detailed in the box set called Heroes of the Futile Marketing. (Though what they should really release tomorrow is the Essentialized version of the Witchalok!)
Old school gaming is a theme, and not something that's mechanically captured. It's a lot like how videogames have advanced over the years: the newer systems can still play 2D side scrollers and roguelikes, but those genres represent an older flavor.

That said, old-school D&D would be a dungeon crawl. Character development would be something done on the side of the adventure... no social encounters or the like, but rather interacting with the DM and telling him the background you wish your character to have. Combat will be the focus... after all, old-school D&D didn't just invent the dungeon crawl, it IS the dungeon crawl.

To that vein, plot isn't as necessary as play is. Old-school scenarios had plots that were only thick enough to help you understand the dungeon you were traversing, and gameplay that stretched for miles. Encounters should be a mixture of traps, puzzles (part of which should involve clues players will get from rumors in town) and monsters. Gold should be plentiful, but magic items less so (not too rare).

Finally, I would recommend downplaying most skills. Perception can be used to listen on the other side of doors, thievery for picking locks and such, athletics for climbing... but most everything else should be dictated. Perception is based on how the DM describes the room as players ask about it... a perceptive character is going to ask about every inch ("a chair you say? I look at the underside of the chair... what do I see?"). Social encounters are conversations between player and DM. Traps might require a check, but puzzles require you to figure them out yourself.

Old-school D&D put a lot of weight on the narrative skill of the DM, which is why it's largely gone by the wayside since about the end of 1st Edition. Modern D&D is most notably different for taking the load off from his shoulders, but any DM who wants to take that challenge has every right to do so.

That's old-school.
Races as Classes
I can't believe no one mentioned this! As per the old Rules Cyclopedia, have the races BE classes. Honestly for ease I would turn classes into races as follows:

Tiefling (as Warlock)
Dragonborn (as Paladin)
Dwarf (as Warlord)
Elf (as Ranger)
Hobbit (as Rogue)
Half-Elf (as Ranger)*
Eladrin (as Ranger)*
*For the last two you might want to tweak things so there are some differences between an elf, a half-elf, and an eladrin--or not! DM's perogative! Or you might just omit the last two entirely.

And the Human options:
Fighter
Wizard
Cleric

Rename the Saves
Paralysation / Poison / Death Magic (Fortitude)
Rods / Staffs / Wands (Reflex)
Petrification / Polymorph (Will)

Statistic Tables
When you make characters, you should also have a table for each stat written up with special high-stat exclusive daily powers given for stats above 16. Some examples could be that with a 17 in Strength you might be able to Bend Bars as a daily power. With a 16 in Dexterity you might be able to get a -2 (a good thing) to AC versus missile weapons for an encounter.

If you roll an 18 for Strength you then roll percentile dice and list that number next to the score, separated by a slash (ie. STR: 18/36.) If you roll under this number on percentile dice after using the strength based daily power, that power recharges.

Inverted AC (Called THAC0)
I'd also take the AC's of armor and flip them so the weakest armor gives you an AC of 9 and so on down to plate mail which would give you an AC of 0--then magic and shields could push you into the negatives, which is good.

Pre-Adventuring Career Table
Have characters roll a d100 to pick what career they were before they were an adventurer with story rewards of being able to do neat things like make and repair (or evaluate the worth of) armor and weapons if they roll Armorer or the ability to celestially navigate, sail, swim and chart headings if they roll Navigator.

Heh. The more I think about it, a game like this would be a blast! (Sorry if I'm violating my neutral POV by blurting that out--but thanks for starting this thread, man! It's awesome.)




EDIT- Oh! I found that old d100 occupation chart by the way, just for kicks:

01-02 Armorer
03-04 Bowyer/Fletcher
05-10 Farmer
11-14 Fisher
15-20 Forester
21-23 Gambler
24-27 Groom (Animal Handling/Husbandry)
28-32 Hunter
33-34 Jeweler
35-37 Leather Worker
38-39 Limner/Painter
40-42 Mason
43-44 Miner
45-46 Navigator
47-49 Sailor
50-51 Shipwright
52-54 Tailor/Weaver
55-57 Teamster/Freighter
58-60 Trader/Barterer
61-64 Trapper/Furrier
65-67 Weaponsmith
69-71 Woodworker/Carpenter
72-85 No Skill Of Measurable Worth
86-00 Two Skills Rolled On This Table
Now with 100% more Vorthos!