With that provocative title to grab your attention, let me explain what I mean. Please, as with all things of this type, keep in mind a giant neon sign that says, "OBVIOUSLY NOT APPLICABLE TO 100% OF PEOPLE."
In D&D of even a somewhat "old school" bent, it has always seemed to me that the game outright encourages inducing paranoia in your players. Making them distrust every offer of allegiance, every kind gesture, every calm scene, every peaceful town. Making them rightfully believe that they're in constant danger of losing their ability to participate in play, aka, in constant danger of character permadeath, for light and transient causes. I've even been told, just recently and on this very forum, that such paranoia absolutely is how play should work.
So. How about it? Does "don't fear the
reaperroller" sound like blasphemy or beatitude? Would it "not be D&D" if fear weren't the fundamental motivator of your games?
In "old school" games, you don't ever lose your ability to participate. One character dies and another steps up. In the middle of a dungeon, this is best done by having a retainer/hireling switch to being a PC. Otherwise, it takes about 5 minutes to make a character in B/X and get rolling again.
The primary motivation for 'old school' characters is loot. They are out there to get rich, make a name for themselves, and create a stronghold. The way they do it is by delving into the terrifying wilderness and underworld. The wild places actively hate and oppose the intruders from the civilized world. It is a place of darkness, fear, and death.
Risks are great - only a lucky few successfully reach the end of this ambition. But those few become legend.
In newer-style games, there is often a focus on narrative where each player has a single "hero" that is intended to be part of the story from start to finish. This calls for an entirely different kind of play, where death is much less common and the goal is not to get rich but to conclude the story that is being told.
The key is to go with whatever matches the kind of game your table has decided to play.