I've used Discourse before. It's different, very different. I'm the same way as I prefer traditional setup. Plus it isn't available freely right now. Currently it's a WIP and you can't DL it. They will however perform a set up for you for a one-time fee.
Penny for your thoughts? I use Node, development wise, for a lot of things but web apps aren't one of them. It's great at what I use it for but I don't see any reason to switch from PHP when PHP is working just as good for my uses.I have no desire to ever run a node base forum. I know some of the downsides to node.js and I would not want to manage those.