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Your Favorite OSR System?

Retreater

Legend
My group is looking for something more rules lite than 5e for our online games, preferably with little need for a VTT. One player especially really wants to try an OSR game (though he doesn't really have a preference).

What do you think? Which ones do you like? (I'm going to avoid "Lamentations of the Flame Princess" for personal taste issues.)
 

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Orcslayer78

Explorer
OSR is a big wide world, it mostly depends by one's tastes (usually depending by which system they started with, you know, you never forget your first love)

For me, while I started with BECMI, my favorite game is Old School Essentials which perfectly emulates the rules of B/X edition of D&D (BECMI's predecessor) but with a better graphic and a better and easy to learn way to explain rules.

If you're not looking for a carbon copy of the old rules then I would recommend you Castles & Crusades which mixes rules from Advanced D&D 1E and D&D 3.5, creating a system that is liter and easier to use than both of AD&D and 3.5, plus is easily compatible with AD&D official adventures and Monster Manuals.

You can find a free Quickstarter for both of them.


While if you want a mix between Old School and 5E I can tell you to take a look at Five Torches Deep or Into the Unknown.
 

Flexor the Mighty!

18/100 Strength!
I just switched my Swords and Wizardry game to Old School Essentials. With the Advanced books it is a perfect melding of B/X with 1e IMO. They are doing a kickstarter to put out two more advanced series books, monster and magic items and a compiled Player book & DM book for the advanced version. The cool thing is you can run B/X classes right alongside the Advanced classes and they are all on the same power level.
 

GreyLord

Hero
Most of the time with OSR, if they are trying to replicate rules exactly, I already have older versions. Older versions are available via DMsguild, so there is no reason not to pick them up. B/X is relatively lite and easy to understand.

With that in mind, of things that fall under the OSR umbrella, my favorite is probably Castles and Crusades. That's the only one I actually run of the OSR game type these days if I run any of them...if I want the other games, I'll just play BX or BECMI (and actually, if you want simpler, probably stick with the BE rules and only use C and M for advancements), or you could just get the Rules Cyclopedia (great bargain).
 

Voadam

Hero
For an online game the older school the better I would think for mechanics that can get out of the way online and do not require lots of back and forth to resolve actions. My preference would be for a B/X chassis so Labyrinth Lord or Old School Essentials, both have free PDF options and both have options for adding in AD&D elements without requiring all the complexities of AD&D's rules. Thieves will still suck at the Basic levels unless you go with something like The B/X Rogue.

Swords & Wizardry for OD&D rule emulation gives even looser mechanics but tons of support material too for monsters and adventures.
 


Orcslayer78

Explorer
Most of the time with OSR, if they are trying to replicate rules exactly, I already have older versions. Older versions are available via DMsguild, so there is no reason not to pick them up. B/X is relatively lite and easy to understand.

With that in mind, of things that fall under the OSR umbrella, my favorite is probably Castles and Crusades. That's the only one I actually run of the OSR game type these days if I run any of them...if I want the other games, I'll just play BX or BECMI (and actually, if you want simpler, probably stick with the BE rules and only use C and M for advancements), or you could just get the Rules Cyclopedia (great bargain).
Of course I perfectly agree regarding your choices, which are very similar to mines, but I want to play devil's advocate for retroclones that emulate old rules 1:1. Those retroclones, compared to the original editions, have the advantage to have been written today, where the way to explain rules, to present layouts and to make tabs has evolved and has become more clear. Good retroclones, like Old School Essentials are easier to read than the originals because they are presented with modern writing, layouts and tabs.
 

It's a bit silly, but I rather love how minimalist Red Box Hack is. Red Box Hack

For instance, when you attack someone, you roll 2d10. One of your dice should be red. That's the face die. If you roll a 0 on the face die, you hit them in the face. This deals 1 extra damage. Everyone has 5 hit points, except fighters who can get 7. There's a wizard spell that lets you talk to doors, and if you're polite, they'll tell you what's on the other side, and maybe unlock themselves for you.

The whole game is just 23 pages.
 

Flexor the Mighty!

18/100 Strength!
One thing I love about OSE is that is it so clearly laid out. Rarely have I seen a game book more designed for quick use at the table.

But the index is kind of lacking.
 





Campbell

Legend
I really like Old School Essentials and am having a ton of fun playing in a weekly Mork Borg game, but right now my heart belongs to The Nightmares Underneath. It's a quirky dungeon crawler where you are one of the few souls insane enough to go into these nightmare realms to claim their treasure which cleanses them. What I love is that it maintains the sense of danger and risk taking of low level play throughout the experience, has a magic system that feels very Swords and Sorcery, has strong support for Theater of the Mind, and has detailed rules for handling interacting with the towns you use as your home base.
 


Orcslayer78

Explorer
I like old school essentials a lot. I haven't tried it yet, but an very interested in Five Torches Deep. Has anyone kicked the tires on that system?
It's pretty good, it has the 4 core classes from B/X and BECMI but adds subclasses thar represent all the classes from 5E (for example you start as Wizard and then you can choose to become a Sorcerer or a Warlock)
 


There's a bunch of info out there on OSR. Just run a Google search and should be able to find a wiki. It's pretty much and system, or hack of a system that has an emphasis on hexploration, dungeon crawling, any style of game that would probably be considered old fashioned these days. Just off the top of my head there is old school fantasy, osric, old school essentials, five torches deep, the black hack, castles and crusades. There are also some a little more "out there" like Mork Borg. Some are based off more modern type systems, and others are little more then reformatting old dnd. Five Torches uses 5e as a basis. I believe old school fantasy uses 3e. Old School Essentials is based off B/Ex DnD.
 


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