xiawarr

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#22
I was introduced to D&D with 1st Edition/Arduin Grimoire combo. Arduin had all sorts of influences from sci-fi, 100-level character progressions, technos(!) as a character class, monsters as playable races, mana point system and spells and monsters of the "not standard" AD&D variety. You can still snag PDF copies of the entire Arduin Grimoire Trilogy line at Emperor's Choice. I would recommend the first three, as that was my introduction to Arduin.
 

MonsterMash

Are you mochrieing me?
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#23
Got to say on a quick reading I like this more than the usual binary old school/new school dichotomy with its tendency to imply that the one that you favour is right.
 

zend0g

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#24
zend0g you seem to have immediately expanded K&K then complained that everything else was just part of K&K
A lot of them happened concurrently. Nothing stopped you from running a zany AD&D game like your preceding D&D game, so there will be overlap. Plus a feature of one system - say zany, high level play - might be seen as a feature of one system and the fault of another, but it could be present in both.

There are no rules for bluffing in poker, either.

And yet it's an integral part of the game.

Funny, that.
The whole you-retire-and-run-a-holding never got any support until Birthright, if you want to call it support. I will take that back; every so often you might see an article about running some aspect of a kingdom in Dragon, but I don't recall anything comprehensive. The source material we take for granted now for medieval and renaissance societies won't see the light of day for another twenty to thirty years. Of course, TSR continued to push out high level modules (S1, EX1-2, G1-3, D1-3, Q1 and I am probably missing others) for adventurers that should no longer be adventuring. Who was that writer that kept shilling those out? Gygax. Gary Gygax couldn't even agree with himself! Gygax could have wrote some adventures about running a kingdom, but I don't think he ever did. Funny that.
 

Silvercat Moonpaw

Quadruped Transhuman
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#25
A lot of them happened concurrently. Nothing stopped you from running a zany AD&D game like your preceding D&D game, so there will be overlap. Plus a feature of one system - say zany, high level play - might be seen as a feature of one system and the fault of another, but it could be present in both.
Except that's not the point.
The time frames given are not for the origins of the playstyles, or when they were ‘official’, although some of both is involved—rather, it’s a best guess of when they were at their peak.
 

Novatian

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#26
The whole you-retire-and-run-a-holding never got any support until Birthright, if you want to call it support. I will take that back; every so often you might see an article about running some aspect of a kingdom in Dragon, but I don't recall anything comprehensive. The source material we take for granted now for medieval and renaissance societies won't see the light of day for another twenty to thirty years. Of course, TSR continued to push out high level modules (S1, EX1-2, G1-3, D1-3, Q1 and I am probably missing others) for adventurers that should no longer be adventuring. Who was that writer that kept shilling those out? Gygax. Gary Gygax couldn't even agree with himself! Gygax could have wrote some adventures about running a kingdom, but I don't think he ever did. Funny that.
What's our standard for "support" here? There are stronghold rules in the Mentzer Expert set, and more detailed rules in the Mentzer Companion set. Also, that wasn't supposed to be something you did to "retire"... it was the next phase in the game for your character, if you chose it. Products like CM1 assumed you did choose it.

However, part of the problem here is that there were two different game lines in the 80s - early 90s called Dungeons & Dragons (one of them with "Advanced" in the title). The (Basic) D&D line included rules for strongholds and domains, and assumed that would be part of the game. The Advanced D&D line made references to strongholds and domains, but provided little rules support for them until (as you mention) Birthright.*

Minor nitpick - I don't think Gygax wrote all of those modules you listed (in particular, Q1).

*I have to admit, however, that I don't have all of the 1e rule books, so I may be wrong about that.
 
#27
Knaves & Kobolds (1972-1977, 2005+): This encompasses the kind of game discussed by Old Geezer, run by Gygax and Arneson, and celebrated by much of the Old School Renaissance crowd. It’s also referred to as “Fantasy F#&@*!ing Vietnam.” The protagonists tend to be scoundrels and ne’er-do-wells (hence the “Knaves” portion of the title), treasure is the main goal, life is cheap and the game seems to be at a lower, somewhat grimier scale than later iterations (“Kobolds”). Campaigns tend to involve rivalry and fragile alliances as much as cooperation, with a stronger emphasis on high-level soloing and the political endgame than is typically seen elsewhere.

Galactic Dragons & Godwars (1974-1982?): This one was brought to my attention by Lizard; apparently it’s represented by the Arduin Grimoire and similar publications. It’s sort of the mirror image of K&K, with lots of wild, wahoo, over-the-top fantasy, informed by the pulpier and more hallucinogenic sides of sword & sorcery and 70s fantasy. It informs even some material in the official line—Erol Otus’ art fits in here as well as with K&K, I believe, and Deities & Demigods wound up being used as a Monster Manual for this sort of game. It’s not necessarily Monty Haul or crude powergaming, although it can degenerate into that—just as all other flavors of D&D have their dark sides. (Nasty player vs. player rivalries, mindless hack-and-slash, railroading, CoDzilla, and tedious combat encounters, for examples.) Dark Sun is arguably an outcropping of this, crossed with some elements of K&K, emerging at the height of the P&P era.
To my mind, these two play-styles both have equal claim on the name "Old School" (which is why I'm not a fan of the parts of the OSR that try to define "Old School" as only the first style and denigrate the second style as somehow inauthentic). Certainly over here in the UK, G&G was just as prevalent - if not more so - than K&K.

Having said that, I think there's less difference between these styles than there might first appear. After all, even Gygax's campaigns apparently had their share of dimension hopping and stuff pulled in from other genres and things like that. From what I've heard it certainly wasn't all K&K at his table.

I think the key to this is that K&K is based around everyone being low level scum, and G&G is based around everyone being high level powerhouses. So what happens to the characters who survive the K&K campaigns and make it to high level? In my experience a campaign would generally start as a bit of a K&K meat-grinder, and then those that survived it (which would very rarely be everyone's starting character - but often their second or third replacement character) would then graduate to a G&G campaign once they got high enough level that simple survival was no longer an issue.

That's certainly how we played back in the day. In fact it's still how my group play (even when we play 3e or 4e!) - and it's the assumed play-style for Dark Dungeons, which can get very G&G at high levels, what with the Spelljammer-influenced flying ships and the Immortals; but which still has first level characters being killed in one hit by the first goblin or trap that hits them.
 
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#28
This is definitely the game I play and generally care about.
You were one of the "strong and eloquent voices" I had in mind for S&S. :)

To my mind, these two play-styles both have equal claim on the name "Old School" (which is why I'm not a fan of the parts of the OSR that try to define "Old School" as only the first style and denigrate the second style as somehow inauthentic). Certainly over here in the UK, G&G was just as prevalent - if not more so - than K&K.

Having said that, I think there's less difference between these styles than there might first appear. After all, even Gygax's campaigns apparently had their share of dimension hopping and stuff pulled in from other genres and things like that. From what I've heard it certainly wasn't all K&K at his table.
There's decidedly a lot of overlap--even Leiber, who's sort of my touchstone for K&K feel, gets G&G at times--and I might not have separated them out if it weren't for the OSR and its strong emphasis on the K&K side. There's also the utter neglect so far that Next has shown to G&G. (So far, Next feels like DC&Dm/K&K to me in its broad strokes.)

But yes, these styles are not meant to be exclusive--games can blend them, evolve from one to another, or use elements of one to spice up a campaign that's largely another.
 

Daztur

Seoulite
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#29
A bit of overlap with the second one but I think it's a distinct category.

Castles and Cronies

This is what TSR-D&D of any stripe tended to turn into eventually if the mortality and retirement rates were low. It is often associated with more powerful character creation options (higher starting stats, just letting Bob have the stats he needs to play a paladin and all kinds of goodies from 1ed Unearthed Arcana or the 2ed book that let you play humanoids) but not necessarily. It grows out from the fact that a lot of TSR-D&D modules were crazy generous with loot and if adopt that as standard for your own adventures and play in a way in which player death is very rare then the players will eventually accumulate big gobs of cash and magic items. Just like the accumulate lots of magic items the players get more and more allies (often more like a cross between DM PCs and spare PCs than Old Geezer's henchmen and hirelings, the henchmen rules usually aren't used here) almost always including intelligent flying mounts. This play style is often reinforce with how saves work in TSR-D&D (it's very hard to kill high level characters with instant death attacks).

When you have that much treasure and that many allies a lot of play becomes the Sims: Fantasy Billionaire Edition. The players build or take over a base and make out complicated floor with descriptions of what's where and suites for different PCs and important allies with notations about where things like who gets to hang the tapestry made out of goddess hair in their bedroom and where the solid gold throne of the dwarven kings gets put in relation to the dinner table. Also with no real magic item economy the players track which ally gets their cast off magic items and whatnot. A lot of play involve wrangling the PCs' allies and helping them in various ways.

Despite having a big damn castle there's no real domain management or political intrigue, even if some of the PCs are rulers, aside from "the kingdom is in danger, let's go save it!" These games tend to be long running with low player turnover so they can end up creating a lot of interesting settling detail over the years.

My own experiences and the number of old Dragon magazine editorials tut tutting about this gaming style leads me to believe that it used to be quite common and at its best it could be quite fun. However, 3ed mostly killed it dead since having a whole slew of allies Castles and Cronies style made combat difficult to manage and the magic item economy and WBL logic lead to the cash that Castles and Cronies used for all kinds of extravagances got drained away to pay for the PCs' personal kits. Since then this is probably the Old School style that's gotten the least love from the OSR (and mostly just ignored not even subject to grumpy blog posts about Dragonlance railroading as with the Princesses and Paladins style). Probably this style mostly survives in The Land that Time Forgot TSR-D&D groups, ones that've been playing since forever and are only vaguely aware of 3ed and have not a clue what the OSR is. I remember one post on this forum by someone who joined a 1ed group, expected Fantasy Fucking Vietnam and got this instead and was a bit surprised.
 

Old Geezer

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#30
Having said that, I think there's less difference between these styles than there might first appear. After all, even Gygax's campaigns apparently had their share of dimension hopping and stuff pulled in from other genres and things like that. From what I've heard it certainly wasn't all K&K at his table.
As one of Gary's players, to me the biggest difference is that we went dimension hopping at 9th or 10th or 11th level and the highest level PC EVER was 14th.
 
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