OSR I never should have picked up Old School Essentials…


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Yora

Legend
I see OSE as being B/X with all the monsters and magic items in alphabetical order, the spell descriptions in one place, saving throws and XP being in the monster descriptions, and not having to make the conversion to a sane AC and attack bonus system for monsters myself.
It's straight up B/X without all the inconveniences.

Which is perfect as a starting point for campaign specific customization. With other retroclones, you first have to strip their unique weirdnesses back out before you can add your own stuff. With OSE, it's just adding on top.
 

deganawida

Adventurer
I like that OSE is kinda safe haven for making things for OSR games. More easily used in your flavor of B/X or BECMI or ODD variant.
That was actually one of the major selling points to me. It's much easier to add than to subtract. I had considered, for my DL campaign, doing 5e but removing subclasses to lower power levels, but balance was a bit off when I did that. Whereas with OSE, I can add the extra features (classes, some special abilities) without breaking the fundamental math and/or systems.
 


deganawida

Adventurer
A secondary nice thing about OSE is that it has gotten some degree of name recognition even in circles that have not really heard about other retroclones.
It seems to me that OSE is an easier sell to players than even B/X, depending on where you go looking.

I saw some video on YouTube yesterday with a lady who was sharing her experience with OSE. Though she got a lot wrong, enough that I had to quit watching (seriously, where does it say in OSE that you can cut off a person's hand or stab them in the eyes as an attack action?), she was effusive in her praise for OSE and seemed to really love it.

Found the link:
Anyway, her enthusiasm is infectious, even if she's wrong on multiple details.
 


Hex08

Adventurer
I looked at it and even did a few solitary D&D session with it. It is really a well made document. Much better than flipping back and forth through my old Basic and Expert books.

But ultimately I prefer the AD&D1e (Greyhawk) vibe of C&C.
When I run a D&D game anymore it's with C&C for the same reason. Plus, it's so easy to convert any of my old AD&D 1e or 2e adventures to it. I've never looked at OSE so I can't compare but I came really close to backing the last Kickstarter.
 

jeffh

Adventurer
3. Task resolution. Good heavens, this is quick. You’re an elf and want to listen at a door? Roll a d6, you have a 2 in 6 chance of success.
For a different perspective, and one view on where I suspect many part ways with the old school mentality:

What I always found with this, when those old-school versions were all there was as far as D&D was concerned, was that what you write here seemed true when you were looking at one class or one mechanic. But because there was no consistency to which dice you rolled or which numbers you needed or even whether you wanted to roll high or low, I could never keep these mechanics straight, even if individually they were very simple.

(I don't know if this is as true in OSE, but it's pretty true in the version of the game it emulates.)

I don't see what's harder about "roll a d20, add a number that should be written on your character sheet, does it meet the target number?" except in cases where that "should" isn't met. Which I get if you're playing with, like, very young kids, but otherwise that's a player problem. Plus it lets you vary the difficulty. Why would every secret door be equally difficult to find? I'm not necessarily convinced that d20-plus-modifiers was the ideal choice, but give me some kind of unified, scalable mechanic any day of the week.
 





deganawida

Adventurer
Either case works for me. I'd just have preferred it spelled out as homebrew. I get she was just playing, but had I already not purchased it, I'd have been a little miffed at misrepresentation of the rules.

Regardless of my nitpickiness, I really did like her video and how excited she was about OSE.
 

kenada

Legend
I don't see what's harder about "roll a d20, add a number that should be written on your character sheet, does it meet the target number?" except in cases where that "should" isn't met. Which I get if you're playing with, like, very young kids, but otherwise that's a player problem. Plus it lets you vary the difficulty. Why would every secret door be equally difficult to find? I'm not necessarily convinced that d20-plus-modifiers was the ideal choice, but give me some kind of unified, scalable mechanic any day of the week.
I agree with your first part (that OSE has too many ways to use dice), but I don’t think variable difficulty is necessarily a good thing. It makes things more complicated for the referee when creating content, contributing to a perception that it’s challenging, so one should use pre-written content because it’s easier. Systems featuring variable difficulty also tend to have progression treadmills, so effective improvements in character ability are actually much less than what the raw numbers suggest, assuming char ops doesn’t ruin everything. I’d much rather dispense with the extra complexity and go with a number that’s on the characters’ sheets (or a static difficulty, either works).
 


overgeeked

B/X Known World
Just a quick question, with the Elf, 2 in 6 chance means you rolls a D6 and if you roll a 1 or 2, you spot the hidden door or what not?
Exactly.

Old-School Essentials, Classic Fantasy Rules Tome or Player's Rules Tome, or Advanced Fantasy Player's Tome. p6.

"X-in-6 Rolls
Some rules specify an X-in-6 chance of success (e.g. 2-in-6, 3-in-6, etc.). This indicates that 1d6 should be rolled and the result compared against the specified chance. If the roll is less than or equal to the chance of success, the check succeeds."
 
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Yora

Legend
I've been working on a sandbox campaign for the last weeks, and recently started to wonder why I wanted to run it in 5th edition in the first place. OSE just seems so much neater.

I think a big advantage with OSE (and of course B/X) is that it's lightweigt nature makes it particularly well suited for improvisation and procedurally generated situations. When you realize you need an encounter with a certain type of monster right now, you can put it together in a minute. No need to go through a whole monster description to check what abilities it has and how they work, and how that all translates into useful tactics. If some kind of challenge comes up that you had not thought of before, there's not much in the way of special rules that you could look up. You could of course just make something up on the spot with other editions as well, but I always find it really annoying when I know a mechnic for this situation exists but I would not use it because I'd have to look it up. Making something up that's not covered by the rules feels very different than making something up for something that already has a default rule.

I feel OSE is so simple that when the players have a random encounter with goblins and decide to track a fleeing goblin back to its lair, I could put that lair and the rest of the goblin tribe together while the players are still talking and have it ready by the time they enter the cave entrance in the forest.
Even with the simplicity of 5th edition, I think I would have to take a 15 minute break for that. Which isn't so great if that's the kind of thing that happens once or twice every time you play.
The super simple rules open up new possibilities for running a campaign.
 

Musing Mage

Pondering D&D stuff
I've been working on a sandbox campaign for the last weeks, and recently started to wonder why I wanted to run it in 5th edition in the first place. OSE just seems so much neater.

I think a big advantage with OSE (and of course B/X) is that it's lightweigt nature makes it particularly well suited for improvisation and procedurally generated situations. When you realize you need an encounter with a certain type of monster right now, you can put it together in a minute. No need to go through a whole monster description to check what abilities it has and how they work, and how that all translates into useful tactics. If some kind of challenge comes up that you had not thought of before, there's not much in the way of special rules that you could look up. You could of course just make something up on the spot with other editions as well, but I always find it really annoying when I know a mechnic for this situation exists but I would not use it because I'd have to look it up. Making something up that's not covered by the rules feels very different than making something up for something that already has a default rule.

I feel OSE is so simple that when the players have a random encounter with goblins and decide to track a fleeing goblin back to its lair, I could put that lair and the rest of the goblin tribe together while the players are still talking and have it ready by the time they enter the cave entrance in the forest.
Even with the simplicity of 5th edition, I think I would have to take a 15 minute break for that. Which isn't so great if that's the kind of thing that happens once or twice every time you play.
The super simple rules open up new possibilities for running a campaign.

Yes indeed. One of my major gripes about 5e is how unwieldy the statblocks are. In old school games, they are so simple. One line in my notebook tells me everything I need.

I too am really feeling the pull to OSE. I've even suggested converting over to it with one of my AD&D groups and they're half inclined... Regardless of that group's status, I do plan to run an OSE game in the near future too.

Maybe a video comparing and contrasting about the 3 major systems I run (AD&D 1e, 5e, and soon OSE). :unsure:

*edit: Also really champing at the bit for my OSE materials from the kickstarter... The PDFs should be coming my way any day now. 🤩
 

LoganRan

Explorer
Yes indeed. One of my major gripes about 5e is how unwieldy the statblocks are. In old school games, they are so simple. One line in my notebook tells me everything I need.

I too am really feeling the pull to OSE. I've even suggested converting over to it with one of my AD&D groups and they're half inclined... Regardless of that group's status, I do plan to run an OSE game in the near future too.

Maybe a video comparing and contrasting about the 3 major systems I run (AD&D 1e, 5e, and soon OSE). :unsure:

*edit: Also really champing at the bit for my OSE materials from the kickstarter... The PDFs should be coming my way any day now. 🤩
Do you have a YouTube channel (and willing to share it)? I would be interested in seeing your thoughts on this subject.
 

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