OSR I never should have picked up Old School Essentials…

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
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.
It also easily lends itself to design of new classes if the core 7 ever get old. James V. West's Black Pudding zine is stuffed with fun ones, for example. Or the stack of 20 or so interesting free ones from Against the Wicked City. Against The Wicked City

Or that whole article about how to design your own from Dragon issue 109.
 

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It also easily lends itself to design of new classes if the core 7 ever get old. James V. West's Black Pudding zine is stuffed with fun ones, for example. Or the stack of 20 or so interesting free ones from Against the Wicked City. Against The Wicked City

Or that whole article about how to design your own from Dragon issue 109.
I was going to go that route but my wife and daughters would have killed me for not letting them be halfling bards or elven druids and so forth. I could have modified, but, eh, it gave me an excuse to buy more books and support Necrotic Gnome, so....
 

How does it compare to say The Rules Cyclopedia, ease of play wise?
The RC was probably my favorite ‘official’ D&D ever published, but I think OSE is easier to read and (more importantly in play) easier to find things quickly in. That said, RC was really BECMI in one book while OSE is B/X - so there are differences. RC has ‘more’ than OSE.

(The sad part is that I currently play with a bunch of folks who really got their start later than I did, so they’re more accustomed to D&D3 - OSE feels too light for them. Sigh!)
 

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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.

Having now received the Advanced Fantasy Referee's Tome, and having perused it, I find myself agreeing with you even more. While AF is really well done, and while I do not regret my purchase at all, I think that the game works best with just 3-4 classes (not counting race-as-class) to cover each major approach to adventuring. Those approaches to adventuring serve best as archetypes for problem solving. I'd go so far as to say that additional classes dilute the archetypes, leading to a need for more classes to cover the now-diluted archetypes.

As you mentioned, tweaking the basic classes is a much better approach, and, given the way characters are revealed/developed through play, can be done as a reward or recognition for how the character is being played, instead of starting with it.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
As you mentioned, tweaking the basic classes is a much better approach, and, given the way characters are revealed/developed through play, can be done as a reward or recognition for how the character is being played, instead of starting with it.
This reminds me of a cool Retroactive Backstory table I've used in my ongoing 5TD campaign to fill in little bits of character and give fun little abilities to the PCs when they gain levels:

 

Having now received the Advanced Fantasy Referee's Tome, and having perused it, I find myself agreeing with you even more. While AF is really well done, and while I do not regret my purchase at all, I think that the game works best with just 3-4 classes (not counting race-as-class) to cover each major approach to adventuring. Those approaches to adventuring serve best as archetypes for problem solving. I'd go so far as to say that additional classes dilute the archetypes, leading to a need for more classes to cover the now-diluted archetypes.

As you mentioned, tweaking the basic classes is a much better approach, and, given the way characters are revealed/developed through play, can be done as a reward or recognition for how the character is being played, instead of starting with it.
Advanced makes for an adequate (possibly superior) AD&D workalike, while staying more B/X compatible that AD&D itself was. I've had good experiences letting players who wanted to build their characters using OSE/AF and using them in OSE games with no obvious disparity. Also, I think if I were making an intentional plan to run one or more of the old AD&D classic modules as a campaign, I'd use OSE/AF (specifically, the monsters and treasure tables) instead of OSE - but still let the-layers choose whether they build PCs using OSE or OSE/AF.
 

Advanced makes for an adequate (possibly superior) AD&D workalike, while staying more B/X compatible that AD&D itself was. I've had good experiences letting players who wanted to build their characters using OSE/AF and using them in OSE games with no obvious disparity. Also, I think if I were making an intentional plan to run one or more of the old AD&D classic modules as a campaign, I'd use OSE/AF (specifically, the monsters and treasure tables) instead of OSE - but still let the-layers choose whether they build PCs using OSE or OSE/AF.
Oh, not saying that there is anything wrong with the AF classes. I just have come to feel that D&D style gaming works best with more limited archetypes, customized to the character, than with "fighter, fighter with divine spells, fighter who can't use magic, fighter who charges, and fighter who doesn't get lost and has animal connections".
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
I’ve also cooled a bit on advanced fantasy. Some of the conversion seem more like a direct import of AD&D rules into OSE even when they reference things in ways that B/X doesn’t really do. Spells in particular stick out for using saving throw categories other than spells (and occasionally death). Some of the combat options are also dubious. Weapon proficiencies are just … no.
 
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Musing Mage

Pondering D&D stuff
I’ve also cooled a bit on advanced fantasy. Some of the conversion seem more like a direct import of AD&D rules into OSE even when they reference things in ways that B/X doesn’t really do. Spells in particular stick out for using saving throw categories other than spells (and occasionally death). Some of the combat options are also dubious. Weapon proficiencies are just … no.

I am curious to persue it, I don't yet have the books... but this seems in line even with the old BECMI Companion and Master sets which added options akin to AD&D but didn't quite seem 'right.'

It would seem that the B/X/BECMI/OSE systems really shine with just the Basic/Expert level stuff without too many trimmings.
 

I am curious to persue it, I don't yet have the books... but this seems in line even with the old BECMI Companion and Master sets which added options akin to AD&D but didn't quite seem 'right.'

It would seem that the B/X/BECMI/OSE systems really shine with just the Basic/Expert level stuff without too many trimmings.
I played a fair amount fo D&D way back when using the Rules Cyclopedia - which is kind of a single-book compilation of BECMI. To my mind, it was every bit as "advanced" as AD&D insofar as considering extra options to be advanced - but the options were different (many of which I liked better than AD&D). OSE/AF is much more along the lines of importing AD&D stuff in the B/X core of OSE. In some ways, I think I would have preferred an OSE w/ all the extras from CMI imported in (for example, I preferred BECMI & RC Weapon Mastery over AD&D Weapon Proficiencies).

I think ultimately, if your preference is straight B/X, OSE/AF probably as very little to offer you. If someone is looking for an easier to read AD&D workalike, OSE/AF can be pretty pretty attractive. I'll end up using it myself. My typical group of D&D players prefers AD&D over B/X, and I don't care enough to be a curmudgeon about it.
 

Musing Mage

Pondering D&D stuff
I played a fair amount fo D&D way back when using the Rules Cyclopedia - which is kind of a single-book compilation of BECMI. To my mind, it was every bit as "advanced" as AD&D insofar as considering extra options to be advanced - but the options were different (many of which I liked better than AD&D). OSE/AF is much more along the lines of importing AD&D stuff in the B/X core of OSE. In some ways, I think I would have preferred an OSE w/ all the extras from CMI imported in (for example, I preferred BECMI & RC Weapon Mastery over AD&D Weapon Proficiencies).

I think ultimately, if your preference is straight B/X, OSE/AF probably as very little to offer you. If someone is looking for an easier to read AD&D workalike, OSE/AF can be pretty pretty attractive. I'll end up using it myself. My typical group of D&D players prefers AD&D over B/X, and I don't care enough to be a curmudgeon about it.

Yeah, I have the RC myself, but more as a collectible. I played the BECMI stuff in the 80s but alas the staying power of our games back then was not the strongest so we never did any high level games with all the trimmings using that system.

My preferred Edition is also AD&D 1st, which I guess is why I'm curious about how they strike the balance and adapt the AD&D stuff over to B/X, and whether or not it works intuitively. (which from what I'm reading here doesn't necessarily seem to be the case...)
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
My preferred Edition is also AD&D 1st, which I guess is why I'm curious about how they strike the balance and adapt the AD&D stuff over to B/X, and whether or not it works intuitively. (which from what I'm reading here doesn't necessarily seem to be the case...)
I have played in OSE games using Advanced classes and perhaps another rule or two (like additional spell acquisition for MUs and Elves) and been generally happy with what they've done. The classes, in particular, they've done a good job keeping balanced with the core seven.
 

I have played in OSE games using Advanced classes and perhaps another rule or two (like additional spell acquisition for MUs and Elves) and been generally happy with what they've done. The classes, in particular, they've done a good job keeping balanced with the core seven.
This has been my experience as well. The OSE/AF material is well scaled to the core OSE rules, allowing you to use as much or as little as you want.
 

Musing Mage

Pondering D&D stuff
I have played in OSE games using Advanced classes and perhaps another rule or two (like additional spell acquisition for MUs and Elves) and been generally happy with what they've done. The classes, in particular, they've done a good job keeping balanced with the core seven.

Certainly encouraging. Will decide soon enough once I get the books.

I am starting a brand new OSE game this Friday to add to my list of games. This group should be interesting - 2 brand new to RPGs, 2 old hat who favour B/X, plus a casual player who just loves the role playing aspect and doesn't know anything about editions, and his son who has only ever played 5th ed.

Will keep it to Basic Fantasy to start, but if it all works out I'll introduce advanced elements once I have time to peruse them.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
Certainly encouraging. Will decide soon enough once I get the books.

I am starting a brand new OSE game this Friday to add to my list of games. This group should be interesting - 2 brand new to RPGs, 2 old hat who favour B/X, plus a casual player who just loves the role playing aspect and doesn't know anything about editions, and his son who has only ever played 5th ed.

Will keep it to Basic Fantasy to start, but if it all works out I'll introduce advanced elements once I have time to peruse them.
Sounds great!

Personally one of the first things I normally include (as a house rule in a B/X game, too, even if I'm not running OSE) is allowing MUs and Elves to acquire spells from scrolls and enemy books. I think the spell acquisition sub-game is one of the really fun and thematic parts of playing an MU, in particular.
 

Musing Mage

Pondering D&D stuff
Sounds great!

Personally one of the first things I normally include (as a house rule in a B/X game, too, even if I'm not running OSE) is allowing MUs and Elves to acquire spells from scrolls and enemy books. I think the spell acquisition sub-game is one of the really fun and thematic parts of playing an MU, in particular.

Yeah, have already informed my players it will be an option and jotted down a reasonable metric for it. Almost everyone has made a magic user of one of their stable of 3 characters, and at least 2 players are leaning to starting with the MU. Should be an interesting one.

Following the AD&D model as well, I'm giving starting MUs Read Magic as a default plus their one starting spell.
 

thirdkingdom

Hero
Publisher
My houserule for magic-users is that magic-users don't have a minimum number of spells they know, but are rather able to memorize any spell they have access to and can study. To counteract that increased range, I've eliminated the Read Magic spell; spells can be found written in any language, and any spell the character can read, and is a high enough level to cast, can be memorized. This, I feel, encourages the collection of magical tomes, scrolls, and such, and at higher levels the magic-user will want to create a sanctum to contain their library.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Anyone using the Rules Cyclopedia versions of monsters instead of the advanced fantasy conversions?

I was looking at the RC’s turning table with an eye towards extending the one in OSE past 7–9 HD when I noticed that RC has monsters that OSE added in advanced fantasy. They are … quite different. We had an encounter with a banshee last session that would have gone very differently if I were using the RC version. I was also struck by how much closer the ghost of Sir Chyde (in Winter’s Daughter) is to the ghost in RC than it is to the converted one in OSE advanced fantasy.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
Interesting! No, I haven't done the comparison. I still haven't picked up a copy of the RC. Though perhaps I should compare the AF book vs Mentzer's monsters from the BECM Companion set, which would be the original source for the RC stuff, right?
 

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