What do you think of these OSR systems?

DarkCrisis

Reeks of Jedi
If you were going to sit down and play "D&D" but not actual D&D, which would you pick of these? What do you think of each? Pros Cons?


The White Box. Probably the best $5 you can spend on an OSR IMO.
white.jpg


Basic Fantasy. Again super cheap buy in.
basic fant.jpg


Osric, making 1E readable.
osric.jpg


For Gold and Glory making 2E more readable
for gold.jpg


Shadowdark, i love it for it's simplicity odl school edge with modern gameplay

shad.jpg



Castles and Crusades, I have yet to play it but want to. I hear only good things. I have the starter box

castle.jpg



OSE I have never played this but again hear good things but i already own so many OSR games
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overgeeked

B/X Known World
OSRIC. I'm most familiar with this one as I've played more AD&D than any other variety of D&D. OSRIC changes a few minor things that will trip you up if you're familiar with AD&D. If you have the old AD&D books or any reprints or PDFs, you're better off using those instead. Mixing OSRIC with AD&D is a minor thing, but there are differences. Coinage for one. Which is a weird thing to change. It's good as a thing unto itself, but with the ease of access to the originals, it's lost it's purpose.

Shadowdark. I like what I see from this and it's a new game, rather than a retroclone, but I haven't had a chance to play it yet. It looks super easy to hack, which I love. And it's very focused on the dungeon crawling aspect, which a lot of people like. If I'm being honest, it reads like a streamlined, 5E-ified version of Dungeon Crawl Classics in a lot of places.

OSE. This is easily my favorite of the bunch. Especially OSE Advance Fantasy. B/X is super light, easy to hack, and smooth as silk to play. That's Basic Fantasy. Advanced Fantasy adds in many/most/all of the AD&D options to the B/X chassis. It's absolutely fantastic. But again, with the easy access to reprints and PDFs now, the shine is somewhat lessened...but there is such a thriving community around the game that you'd be hard pressed to not find a ton of stuff that whets whatever appetite you have for supplemental material.

The others I either have no experience with or have somewhere unread and collecting digital dust.

I'd suggest a few others to check out, if you don't mind.

Dungeon Crawl Classics. Knave 2E. Maze Rats. Acid Death Fantasy. Black Sword Hack. Into the Odd and Electric Bastionland. Five Torches Deep. Cairn. Troika. Ultraviolet Grasslands. Weird North.
 

Retreater

Legend
OSE: I have no nostalgia for B/X, so it would need to use the Advanced options to appeal to me. Even with that, it's pretty generic and low-powered.
OSRIC/For Gold and Glory: Essentially, these are 1E and 2E with the serial numbers filed off. There are no quality of life improvements. So the games are fine if you want to just play AD&D.
Basic Fantasy: It's cheap (i.e. free). Kind of like a lesser version of Castles and Crusades. But you get what you pay for.
Castles and Crusades: A good marriage of more modern design and old school flavor. For me, the best of the bunch on here.
 

TGryph

Explorer
I agree with Retreater completely, and add...
White Box - Left me cold. All I could see are more Feats to choose from ( I Know they are not Feats per se )but nothing about the system appealed to me. YMMV...
Shadowdark - Fast and fun... big hit with my friends...for now. I am concerned about long-term playability. Time will tell, but right now we are continuing our Castles & Crusades campaign full steam ahead.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
I am completely over games with descending armor class, to-hit matrices, saving throw charts, or thieves skills tables, which immediately puts me off a lot of the games in your post, @DarkCrisis.

Given that I want old school dungeon crawling as one of my flavors of fantasy gaming, but am not willing to embrace a lot of old school systems that, to me, feel like artifacts of when designers genuinely didn't know better, that mostly means Shadowdark is the system for me. I've been playing it since last spring and it's fantastic. It moves faster than old school games ever did -- and runs laps around 5E -- while still having a very high danger level throughout. It's spectacularly hackable and I've never run a game where I didn't create a new monster, magic item, spell, class or ancestry to go along with it.

Like all old school systems, it's tough to survive the first few levels, so getting emotionally attached to characters before they've got a few levels under their belt is a bad idea. But when I want adventures featuring heroic characters who have a high survivability factor and who aren't scrabbling in the dirt for coppers and panicking when their torches go out, I've already got 5E for playing in that mode. (I am not a one-system-is-the-best-for-all-adventures kind of DM.)
 



Jack Daniel

dice-universe.blogspot.com
I only have one use for retro-clones: compatibility indicators. The Swords & Wizardry trademark tells me that an adventure or supplement is white box compatible, the Labyrinth Lord and Old-School Essentials trademarks signal BX compatibility, and so on.

You don't play a retro-clone, you publish D&D content under one.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Why do people play these instead of actual AD&D or Basic?
Because to-hit matrices, saving throw charts, THACO and descending AC are something better left to nostalgia, rather than play.

Even if you just use all the original rules, OSRIC is vastly better organized than 1E and OSE is vastly better organized than BD&D. Just having the actual rules where a normal person can find them, without decades of memorization practice, is a big improvement.

But many people discover that they want at least some improvements over the original games. OSE and Labyrinth Lord offer the optional ability to bring in AD&D races, classes, magic and monsters alongside BD&D rules, for instance.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
I only have one use for retro-clones: compatibility indicators. The Swords & Wizardry trademark tells me that an adventure or supplement is white box compatible, the Labyrinth Lord and Old-School Essentials trademarks signal BX compatibility, and so on.
That was definitely the intended purpose of OSRIC.
You don't play a retro-clone, you publish D&D content under one.
I feel like that's going to come as quite a shock to quite a number of tables.
 

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