OSR I never should have picked up Old School Essentials…

Yora

Legend
I think OSE Advanced is a pretty good alternative to AD&D. If I were to run a Planescape or Dark Sun campaign, which really need the AD&D character classes and races to work, OSE Advanced would be my game of choice.
It's still the same simple and straightforward game, but with the character classes and races of AD&D.
 

log in or register to remove this ad


overgeeked

B/X Known World
How does it compare to say The Rules Cyclopedia, ease of play wise?
Well, it includes natural healing rules, for one. Sorry. Still salty about that.

OSE isn't BECM condensed into one book like the RC. OSE is a B/X retroclone (Classic Fantasy) expanded to include stuff from AD&D (Advanced Fantasy). So if RC is your benchmark, there will be some differences.

I'd say it's way more playable than RC simply because many of the things added over the course of BECMI are not there. Though OSE does have rules for things like domain management, which appeared in the BECMI line. Weapon mastery is gone. General skills are gone. But, in Advanced Fantasy, AD&D's weapon proficiencies and secondary skills are presented as optional rules, each of these subsystem takes one page. The level cap is 14 instead of 36. They have options for both THAC0 and the modern ascending armor class and attack bonus. This is baked into every class chart and monster, so there's no looking it up to use either.
 

Musing Mage

Pondering D&D stuff
Do you have a YouTube channel (and willing to share it)? I would be interested in seeing your thoughts on this subject.

I do! I just launched it last month so I'm still 'finding my legs' so to speak - just a couple of vids right now and a folder full of ideas needing fleshing out....

I don't want to post the link in a thread outside of the Press/Promotions area, as to not step on EnWorld's protocols... but the link can be found in the 'About' section on my profile.

I already planned a review of OSE, but have now added a comparison video to the docket.
 

thirdkingdom

Hero
Publisher
Well, it includes natural healing rules, for one. Sorry. Still salty about that.

OSE isn't BECM condensed into one book like the RC. OSE is a B/X retroclone (Classic Fantasy) expanded to include stuff from AD&D (Advanced Fantasy). So if RC is your benchmark, there will be some differences.

I'd say it's way more playable than RC simply because many of the things added over the course of BECMI are not there. Though OSE does have rules for things like domain management, which appeared in the BECMI line. Weapon mastery is gone. General skills are gone. But, in Advanced Fantasy, AD&D's weapon proficiencies and secondary skills are presented as optional rules, each of these subsystem takes one page. The level cap is 14 instead of 36. They have options for both THAC0 and the modern ascending armor class and attack bonus. This is baked into every class chart and monster, so there's no looking it up to use either.

Er, not really? BECMI and the RC has a pretty developed system of domain management (I used it as a basis for the domain management system in Into the Wild), but OSE doesn't really go into it (the Domain Management page is literally three paragraphs) and takes up less than half a page.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Er, not really? BECMI and the RC has a pretty developed system of domain management (I used it as a basis for the domain management system in Into the Wild), but OSE doesn't really go into it (the Domain Management page is literally three paragraphs) and takes up less than half a page.
The Strongholds section is four pages long in both versions of OSE, including charts for building castles, etc. The section within that specifically titled “domain management” is indeed a few paragraphs. I was using “domain management” to refer to that entire subsystem…as it’s the common usage.
 

I would recommend the Carcass Crawler zines; some really great classes and house rules in those!
Ended up getting the first issue to see what they had.

Really dig the Fighter talents, especially the specialization, because after 22 years of Fighters being able to use all weapons, going back to a limited selection irked me.

…a WORKABLE Psionicist? Mind. Blown.

Haephastan made me laugh. Snarf would likely love that.

Overall, it’s on the pricier side, but the quality was high.
 

thirdkingdom

Hero
Publisher
The Strongholds section is four pages long in both versions of OSE, including charts for building castles, etc. The section within that specifically titled “domain management” is indeed a few paragraphs. I was using “domain management” to refer to that entire subsystem…as it’s the common usage.

Even taking that into account, I don't think there's much comparison between the domain management rules in BX and the RC. The rules in the RC take up a full 8 pages of dense text (and it's a full letter-sized book) and includes guidelines (albeit brief) on domain-level play for non-fighters, including everything in B/X (such as stronghold costs). Additionally, there's a detailed mass combat system that I would argue falls under domain level play.

So yes, OSE does have rules for domain level play, but they're nowhere near as detailed or complete as those in the RC.
 

Ended up getting the first issue to see what they had.

Really dig the Fighter talents, especially the specialization, because after 22 years of Fighters being able to use all weapons, going back to a limited selection irked me.

…a WORKABLE Psionicist? Mind. Blown.

Haephastan made me laugh. Snarf would likely love that.

Overall, it’s on the pricier side, but the quality was high.

I really like the d6 thief skills, with the player being able to allocate points. I think that could be adapted to all classes that have skills. The second issue will have a system for item based encumbrance which looks useful as well.

btw Haephastan are basically gith, right? That's what I assumed, but renamed due to copyright
 

I really like the d6 thief skills, with the player being able to allocate points. I think that could be adapted to all classes that have skills. The second issue will have a system for item based encumbrance which looks useful as well.

btw Haephastan are basically gith, right? That's what I assumed, but renamed due to copyright
No. Haephastus is known as Vulcan in Roman mythology. Look at that last ability again ;)
 

I really like the d6 thief skills, with the player being able to allocate points. I think that could be adapted to all classes that have skills.
I did that, because why not, right? A player was going to pick a barbarian (she ended up playing a fighter), and I thought "if the d6 skill system fits the thief, it fits the barbarian, assassin etc". It was quite easy to get the math and apply it to the other classes, as one can expect with B/X-OSE. A d20 could reflect 5% increments? Yes, but a d6 resolution roll is all over the game already. So it's d20s for attacks and saves, and d6s for resolution rolls.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
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.
This is one of the things I really like about OSE. I’m running a B/X-derived homebrew system (not OSE itself), but the tables for generating stuff are really useful. During yesterday’s session, I rolled “banshee” on the undead table for an event at the site my PCs are building up. I then grabbed a map from Dyson Logos, and thus there was a crypt beneath the PCs’ property their laborers uncovered while preparing the site for a barracks. I added some skeletons via the number appearing (lair) entry in their stat block, and that was the adventure for the session. Populating treasure was likewise easy thanks to the treasure tables.

That’s really one of the other things I like about OSE, which some others have alluded to above. OSE (and B/X) is incredibly hackable. I replaced the saving throw categories in my homebrew system, but converting all the monsters turned out to be easy because their saving throw progressions are based on the PC class progressions, which I had to do (and had done) anyway. I love that I can grab an OSE adventure, which are generally pretty awesome, and use it more or less out of the box even if I’m not running “stock” OSE.
 


Got my Advanced Fantasy Referee's Guide on the way. Was a bit surprised that I'd need a separate book, as the Classic Fantasy book has everything in it, IIRC (which I may not).

Anyway, looking forward to it! My best friend, who will be joining the DragonLance campaign, is now very curious about OSE and looking to buy his own copies of the books.
 

Yora

Legend
OSE is packaged in a number of different ways. I believe there is a complete tome, and also a collection of book, which cover the same material.
The original idea was that you can buy one rules, treasure, and monster book as the GM, and all players can have their own player rules book. You can buy the GM books once, and then five or six of the player's book.
 

Got my Advanced Fantasy Referee's Guide on the way. Was a bit surprised that I'd need a separate book, as the Classic Fantasy book has everything in it, IIRC (which I may not).

Anyway, looking forward to it! My best friend, who will be joining the DragonLance campaign, is now very curious about OSE and looking to buy his own copies of the books.
The classic tome has everything you need
The advanced fantasy comes in a player’s and referee’s tome, with more classes, spells, and monsters.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Got my Advanced Fantasy Referee's Guide on the way. Was a bit surprised that I'd need a separate book, as the Classic Fantasy book has everything in it, IIRC (which I may not).

Anyway, looking forward to it! My best friend, who will be joining the DragonLance campaign, is now very curious about OSE and looking to buy his own copies of the books.
OSE Advanced has a lot of extra stuff compared to Classic. Something like double or triple the content, so it makes sense. With Classic it’s all-in-one with the Classic Rules Tome, for Advanced you need both the Advanced Referee's Tome and the Advanced Player’s Tome.
 
Last edited:



I’ve recently cooled down on OSE Advanced Fantasy a little. More and more I see how, with just the core Basic classes, I can just tweak to make any of those character concepts.

But yeah, B/X is my favorite D&D and OSE is my favorite implementation of it.

It is a fantastic game and I hope it gets more and more support and popularity.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top