Hey, @Sean, what's the deal with

@Sean, I see you bought a copy of this: https://www.exaltedfuneral.com/collections/necrotic-gnome/products/old-school-essentials-rules-tome?variant=31512176328806

I know this is a re-visit, re-print of the B/X system. however, before I go and buy a version of a game I already have two copies of can you or, @Hobbs or anyone else tell me what is better/different about this compilation?

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I backed the Kickstarter and got the Rules Tome and boxed set. I can say that the production quality of the books is top-notch. The binding seems durable, and it lays mostly lays flat when open on the table. I’m not worried about the book falling apart like with some RPG books.

The page layouts are clear, and each section is on a single page, or a two-page spread. So no flipping around to see the rest of a spell description (or whatever). Everything you need, for every level is included. Unlike the original B/X, it’s not split into one book for levels 1-3, and another for levels 4+. Just one book that fits in your hand and doesn’t take up much table space.

Each of the classes is described in a two-page spread, with all the tables. So you don’t need to look up hit dice in one section, saving throws in another, languages in yet another, and so on. Class-specific rules, like Cleric’s turn undead ability, are described on the class page.

The language is pretty terse, with heavy use of bullet-points. “Keywords” for different abilities or effects are used consistently. I don’t recall any instances where I had to try to figure out what the text was trying to say when looking up a spell’s effect during a session (for example).

And finally, the author seems like a good dude. In addition to writing, he also did all the layout and art direction, and ran a very professional kickstarter campaign. Plenty of communication about the state of different rewards, and the few issues that came up.


Oh, and the endpapers have handy tables and concise rule summaries. Just great all-around usability.



I would say that it is the OSRIC of BX. You can get the books separately which allows you to bring only the ones you need. I opted to get the full monty all in one tome. It’s a digest size just over 290 pages. Reminds of the old Hardy Boys books, only a bit thicker.

@jim sums it up pretty well.

My take @Fafhrd. Not sure I need Swords and Wizardry or Labyrinth Lord now that I have this. And the version i have has two ribbons!


Nice! Very solid info - thank you!

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That’s what I was hoping it was - the OSRIC for B/X

Guess this one will have to make it’s way to my shelf for sure :slight_smile:

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Honestly, this seems to be the new hotness. Lots of people talking about this game right now; in both indy game circles (whatever your definition of “indy” is) and OSR circles.


I’m trying to be smarter about my RPG book purchases so I’m thinking I might get a hold of the PDF first and then choose if I want the hard cover. The BX books aren’t hard to read/follow/find info in like the 1st Ed AD&D DMG and PHB are - so that’s where OSRIC is super handy.

Granted, it’d be cool to have things in one book, or at least stuff combined (e.g. all spells are in the spell section and not across 2 books). But, again, the BX books aren’t hard to use, I already have 2 copies of them, and the books aren’t huge tomes.

then again… a nice new RPG book is hard to turn down…

Anecdotally, it does seem like quite a few of the people I’ve interacted with in the OSE community are younger people who started out with post-1990s editions of D&D, so it’s their first exposure to “old-school gaming”. Most of the players in the Stonehell game I ran fell into that category. Others are slightly older, but didn’t play B/X before. (Personally, I started out with Mentzer’s Basic set and AD&D 2e, and only got into B/X in the last few years.)

Among those who have prior experience with B/X, the reactions tends to range from “Oh, that’s nice I guess” to “Why do I need this? I have my original rulebooks memorized!” I guess my advice is to pick up the PDF and see if the format and organization wow you. The print editions are really nice, but maybe you don’t need them.

The PDFs are nice, and I use them a lot. They’ve got bookmarks / table of contents for all the sections, and page references are hyperlinked. They’ve gotten a couple of minor errata updates since the Kickstarter print run, which may or may not be in the print edition from Exalted Funeral. I’m not sure.


If you happen to be a collector, @sean, or if it’s important for you to explore all “flavors” of D&D, you can keep this in mind:

Swords & Wizardry actually is an articulation of Original Dungeons & Dragons. According to its writer, Matt Finch, Swords & Wizardry: Complete contains Original and all of its various supplements right up to the publication of the 1e PHB.

The B/X clones I know less about. By all reports, OSE is the high water mark, but is it based on the Mentzer version? I know Blueholme (obviously) is based on the Holmes edition.

OSRIC is 1e.

For Gold and Glory is 2e.


OSE is a clone of the 1981 Moldvay / Cook / Marsh version. I’m not sure if there’s a clone of the Mentzer BECMI edition, or the Rules Cyclopedia.

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You might want to wait, @Fafhrd. OSE is launching a Kickstarter this week. I’m not sure what’s going to be different between this “Advanced Fantasy” and the original B/X clone they published. I think this one might have rules from 1e. Is there a big difference between B/X and 1e? I came into the hobby with 2e.

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@Phil that is my take, the new KS’er is going to cover ‘advanced’ which will probably be a riff on 1e.

@Gabe good to know. I’m starting to get them all confused. TSR didn’t help matters.

The Advanced Fantasy line is basically taking stuff from AD&D 1e, and “B/X-ifying” it by lowering the stats and complexity to better match B/X D&D. It also adds some optional rules based on the ones in AD&D, like separate race and class and the, uh, less strict limitations on Magic-User’s spell books.

The first two books (Genre Rules, and Druid & Illusionist Spells) were released with the first Kickstarter, so I guess this is adding books for monsters and treasures, and all-in-one rules tomes. If you want to get an idea of what they’re like, the current books have previews on DriveThruRPG: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/280808/OldSchool-Essentials-Advanced-Fantasy-Genre-Rules


Imho, OSE does whittle away some inconsistencies concerning b/x. It also adds some up-front rulings where they were needed. Control Panel layout is very nice.

It isn’t a required investment cause players won’t know the difference if you keep running b/x and call it OSE, but it is nice to have specific rules to point to or help with rulings.

As far as the new ks… I’m not as convinced. Might have to have Gavin on HNF to explain his ideas. I’m not as impressed withthe AOSE stuff I do have. I’m really happy with all my OSE stuff though.