Let me give you an example.
Much as Peter Dell'Orto over at Dungeon Fantastic is doing I am currently running an old school styled game using GURPS 4th edition.
Its a sandbox with lots of freedom of action, high trust in my players and it covers 3 of the 4 Old School Zen Moments as envisioned by Matthew Finch.
* Rulings, Not Rules
* Player Skill, not Character Abilities
* Heroic, not Superhero
* Forget “Game Balance”
Only the second is deemphasized a little via the mechanics of the game. Its throughly old school run in the style I have run games in since Rune Quest II mumble years ago.
And yet the same games shows rules grafts from Buffy (Drama Points and Static NPC rolls) 3X D&D (take 10) and 4e (my combat cheat sheet) and uses throughly modern GURPS 4e (an excellent system BTW)
Is its still old school?
Heck yeah. And my players, many new to RPG's are loving it too.
Folks, what makes a game old school is less rules and system (most older D&D games after all were a hodgepodge) but you and your players.
D and D is cool - The *New York Times *recently published an opinion piece explaining "Why the Cool Kids Are Playing Dungeons & Dragons." Of course, *I* have known that D&D ...
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