One of the things I've noticed that differs a lot between new and old school are the way parties are composed.
The classes selected are often the same but while new school parties are configured like a special forces "Hero" team, old school parties often looked more like mercenary units. Let me explain.
Lets say 5 players, about 5th level
New School Party is say
we also might see a coupe of pets -- say the Wizard's Familiar (a Raven, the only really useful one in my opinion ) and the Ranger's large dog (use Wolf Stats) . Thats about it.
Now and old school party is a lot wilder woollier and bigger
You still have your PC's Fighter, Magic User, Thief, Cleric and Ranger and sometimes one pet (a randomly rolled familiar ) or two if you were using an edition where Rangers got arcane spells. However thats where the similarity ended .
The old school party was often much larger. You might have hirelings (torch bearers and other useful NPC's) men at arms, mules, war dogs and a bunch of the players personal henchmen.
Your five players may have as many as 8 or 10 party members, a pile of goons (at lower level) treasure transport in the form of dungeon worthy mules (since there was no guarantee of bags of holding in old school and ya got to get the loot out somehow ) and of course the Magic Users pet war dogs (best party life saver ever) I've even seen geese and chickens and pigs and charmed hench-critters too ..
This leads to a rather different style of play I'd be hard pressed to explain. You'll just have to try it yourself .
Forthcoming visual history of D&D - I am curious about this forthcoming book: *Dungeons and Dragons Art and Arcana: A Visual History*. One thing that it reveals is that many iconic D&D monste...
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