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Old-School Essentials: Basic Rules
by Gus L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/19/2020 16:39:59

A clean modernized retroclone of the 1981 Molday Basic/Expert set. It doesn't make changes, but it has a nice muber of explanations and notes that make it a great introductory rule set for people that expect a different play style. For a free starter, it's complete, well illustrated and utterly sufficent to start running adventures.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Essentials: Basic Rules
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Old-School Essentials: Basic Rules
by Cosmo C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/27/2020 18:19:58

Old School Essentials is the best way to play original B/X D&D. The TSR Basic and Expert rules are hard to come by and not organized well at all. This solves that perfectly. It's cleanly laid out and done right. So if you want to play a very streamlined and simple version of Dungeons & Dragons this is it. It does not, however, try and fix the design issues with the original version so you'll see a lot of relics of 1970s/1980s unrefined game design in some places (e.g. the thief saving throw vs wands is 13 for levels 5-8, then changes to 11 for levels 9-12, the real questions here are "why did it stay the same for 4 levels then jump 2 spots" and "why have a save vs. wands in the first place" and "why are all wands the same so far as saves are concerned"?). Simply put, you get an excellent presentation of some very old and simple D&D rules (which are still tons of fun to play).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Winter's Daughter (Old-School Version)
by Idle D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/21/2020 17:03:20

This is an excellent module with a strong eerie fairytale theme and narrative background while still being very varied in the manner of encounters, challenges and obstacles it offers players, and still avoids railroading a party into approaching the dungeon 'the right way'. I've run this module a number of times with different groups of players, some experienced OSR players, some complete newcomers to RPGs, some only having played 5e, and each group has tackled the module in a different way with a different outcome.

Presentation This is one of the best laid-out modules I've read - it is very GM-friendly. Lore is brief but sufficiently presented in bullet points, and room descriptions are clear, terse and very good at prodding the GM's imagination into gear. It's very straightforward to run with minimal prep.

Playstyle This is one of my go-to modules for one shots, especially with groups unfamiliar with the OSR playstyle - it provides a bit of narrative guidance for those less used to completely open sandbox gaming, but acts as a good introduction to many old-school motifs. It's probably more forgiving than many old-school dungeons, but groups going in guns blazing won't get far. There are a good selection of encounters which encourage (and some require) a non-combat mindset.

It has some nice plot hooks beginning - each one handy for different groups, depending on where they might sit on the hero / mercenary spectrum.

Length For all that it has several maps, it's also quite a short module - I've seen it take between 2.5 and 4 hours, depending on the group.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Winter's Daughter (Old-School Version)
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Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Rules Tome
by Ryan K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/03/2020 21:12:43

The best rules for playing Dungeons and Dragons. Especially when it comes to exploration.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Rules Tome
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Old-School Essentials Advanced Fantasy: Genre Rules
by Paul H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/28/2020 10:38:02

Asolutely love this. Whilst being a tome that ties in nicely with the Old School Essentials set, this is usable with most B/X (or even later Mentzer/Cyclopedia) versions of Basic D&D. It introduces race & class as distinct whilst keeping the flavour of osr gaming (you have the option to keep race-as-class, and it includes many new additions for this style if you prefer it).

I particularly liked the feel of old-style classes (Acrobat, Assassin, Ranger etc.) in the context of the Basic set-up. Also includes 'advanced rules' (two-weapon fighting, parrying, multi-classing, skills, weapon proficiency), yet somehow manages to 'feel' like its own thing, i.e not just a compromise with AD&D rules tacked-on.

I find the rules herein far more intuitive than the weapon rules offered in the Cyclopedia version of basic D&D (which add more complexity than AD&D in many ways, albeit adding great depth).

OSE keeps to the design principle of 'rules-light' and intuitive, whilst serving up something very evocative of what I had been looking for whenever I went back to try the 'basic' version of the 'Original Game' and found it missing something. This volume is an incredibly good answer to that feeling of what was missing. Great work, all!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Essentials Advanced Fantasy: Genre Rules
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Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Rules Tome
by drew l. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/21/2020 15:26:37

If you are looking for a product that is faithful to the B/X rules and presents them in a way that is easy to digest and read, then this product is a five star product.

However, if you want the feel of the B/X rules but some tweaks to improve them a little then you won't really get that here. For example, the RAW B/X rogue is kind of useless because the base percentages for the thieving skills are so low. It would have been easy for the designer to tweak those to make them actually useful. Of course as a GM it's not that hard to houserule, but I do like it when the designer takes time to do some of that work for me. That being said, I don't really think that was the goal of this product, so I can't really criticize it for that.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Rules Tome
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Old-School Essentials Core Rules
by Sebastian J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/22/2020 10:47:30

Excellent book, the classic B/E rules, revised, updated and presented in the clearest format I've ever seen in an RPG book. This page's layout is art in itself.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Essentials Core Rules
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Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Rules Tome
by Tony P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/11/2020 17:41:40

Rules for B/X games all in one easy to read manuscript. Faithful to the 1981 Edition, it's streamlined and layed out exceptionally well. Coupled with some necessary clarifications and fabulous illustrations, OSE has set the bar for OSR. After playing with the book in two homebrew adventures, I am not only satisfied, but also impressed! Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Rules Tome
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Theorems & Thaumaturgy Revised Edition (No Art)
by Isaiah M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/04/2020 02:48:32

This is one of the greatest single purchases for my games I have ever made. The spells are imaginative and dangerous. Must have for any casters and great for any class. The only thing that could make it better is if it was a hard cover book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Theorems & Thaumaturgy Revised Edition (No Art)
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Creator Reply:
You're in luck! It is available as a hardcover book! https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/198548/Theorems--Thaumaturgy-Revised-Edition Glad you enjoyed it :)
Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy Rogues Gallery I
by Chad K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/01/2020 17:32:38

I love this product. A bunch of pregen characters each with their own character sheet, illustration, backstory, equipment, everything. Need characters for a quick game? Right here. Need a rival adventuring party? Here you go. I just wish there were more. Each character is one page with everything you need- just print and play.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy Rogues Gallery I
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Old-School Essentials Advanced Fantasy: Druid and Illusionist Spells
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/25/2020 13:07:10

PDF and Hardcover, 48 pages

Much like the Cleric and Magic-User Spells book this one covers Druids and Illusionist spells. Again the modularity of the game pays off here. You can play Advanced Genre Druids and Illusionists OR you can just use the Cleric and Magic-User classes respectively and this book to play a Basic Druid and Basic Illusionist and not even buy the Advanced Fantasy Genre Rules book. It would be better to pick up that book, but the way everything is written you do not have too.

This covers the usual suspects of spells again. The Basic style presentation is fun and it is like seeing these classes and spells through new eyes. It really is a testament to the system and the authorship.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Essentials Advanced Fantasy: Druid and Illusionist Spells
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Old-School Essentials Advanced Fantasy: Genre Rules
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/25/2020 12:59:55

Like many in the early 80s, I moved from the B/X version of the World's Greatest Game to the Advanced version. But also like many, I never forgot my "Basic" roots and thought for all it's "Advancements" there was still something special about the Basic game.

Well OSE hears you. The modular design of OSE makes adding material that is considered "Advanced" to be quite easy. Granted this is not the first Retro-Clone to do this, but this one does it in such an elegant fashion.

Advanced Fantasy: Genre Rules adds new classes and new races. For new races we get drow, duergar, gnome, half-elf, half-orc, and svirfneblin (yes deep gnomes!) Also true to the advanced rules this book pulls race and class apart. In truth this was one of the major benefits of the Advanced game and that is true here as well. For new classes, we get acrobat, assassin, barbarian, bard, druid, illusionist, knight, paladin, and ranger. There is also rules for multi-classing, something I always want to add to my basic games. Some additional rules on poison and magic are also included.

A fantastic addition to the Core Rules.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Essentials Advanced Fantasy: Genre Rules
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Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy Referee's Screen
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/25/2020 12:41:44

The one thing that B/X lacked was a proper GM's screen. Yes, BECMI had one, but not B/X. Well OSE has you covered, or screened as it were.

This product has 10 pages (1 cover, 1 OGL page and 8 pages of screen) for standard 8-panel, landscape orientation screens. Purchase the PDF and print them out. Easy.

The cover art is Peter Mullen's core art. So there are ways to get all the cover art...covered I guess.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy Referee's Screen
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Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Rules Tome
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/25/2020 12:34:58

PDF and Hardcover, 296 pages

If you are a fan of the old "Rule Cyclopedia" version of the BECMI rules then this is going to be a treat for you. The Rules Tome combines all of the "Core" and "Classic Fantasy" rules into one large and gorgeous tome. There are three different cover versions. I have the foil JShields version, the Andrew Walter is the standard version and in many ways, I like it better! It is the same art on the Box Set, so I am happy to have both. This book includes:

Core Rules: Rules for character creation and advancement, adventuring in dungeons, the wilderness, and at sea, magic and combat. Classic Fantasy: Genre Rules: Seven classic classes (cleric, dwarf, elf, fighter, halfling, magic-user, thief), complete lists of weapons and adventuring gear, extensive lists of vehicles, mounts, and vessels, mercenaries and specialists for hire, rules for stronghold construction. Classic Fantasy: Cleric and Magic-User Spells: The complete set of 34 cleric spells (from 1st to 5th level) and 72 magic-user spells (from 1st to 6th level), for use by players or cleric, elf, and magic-user characters. Classic Fantasy: Monsters: A selection of over 200 classic monsters to challenge adventurers of all levels. Classic Fantasy: Treasures: A hoard of over 150 wondrous magic items.

So everything you need for a full fantasy game.

Should you get this one or the individual books? That is up to you. The combined volume is obviously cheaper. But all are enjoyable.
I have a Rules Tome for me, a set of books for the table and a couple extra players' books (Core Rules and Genre Rules).

This is pretty much perfect.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Rules Tome
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Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Monsters — Plain Text Edition
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/25/2020 12:14:50

Ah, now this is a book I would have loved back in 81. Also coming in at 80 pages this book is about monsters and nothing else.

Stat blocks are concise and there is none of the bloat in the descriptions that appear in later editions (ok to be fair that bloat was demanded by players). The book is fantastic.

There are also NPC encounter tables and monsters listed by HD. The utility of this book is top-notch.

I can easily see a "Monsters 2" and "Monsters 3" sometime in the future for this line.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Monsters — Plain Text Edition
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