One of the biggest things we don't think about when it comes to the strengths of old school games are our binders of house rules and worlds and such.
For those of us used to comprehensive, carefully designed rules sets, pages of rulings and rules can see like a burden rather than an asset.
We they certainly can be but that "simple rules, personally customized" aesthetic that makes up most of the old school, the custom monsters and classes, and yes even the hastily jotted down rulings and sometimes ill thought out ideas that circulated from group to group offered something special that we see less and less of modern rules rigorous games.
Pride of Ownership.
It was your campaign, you world (or version of published world) and your D&D warts and all. Thats a powerful incentive to play and to love gaming even more. It even tightens social bonds in the group sometimes as groups had lingo and rules onlt they, the elect few.
It wasn't all good of course, some rules sucked or were arbitrary or unfair and some groups grew insular and stale but simply and back in the day it gave a lot of us fun.
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