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Old-School Essentials: Basic Rules


Old-School Essentials is an award-winning role-playing game of fantastic adventure, monsters, and magic. Players delve into forbidden crypts and forsaken ruins, explore haunted forests and perilous mountain ranges, sail the high seas in search of lost lands, recover fabulous treasures and uncover secrets of ancient magic.

Light, easily modified rules put the focus of play on shared imagination, improvisation, and fun. Modern formatting and layout make the game easy to learn and easy to reference during play. Durable, deluxe quality hardcover books are filled with gorgeous, evocative art. What's more, Old-School Essentials is 100% compatible with the classic Basic/Expert game from 1981, meaning that decades of adventure are at your fingertips!

The Basic Rules

This book is a fully illustrated sample of the basic rules of the game required by players:

  • The full introduction and character creation rules.
  • The four core human classes: cleric, fighter, magic-user, thief.
  • Full lists of adventuring equipment, weapons, and armour.
  • The rules for dungeon adventures, encounters, and combat.
  • The full rules for spell casting, and the list of 1st level spells.

The Complete Game

If you enjoy the free Basic Rules, you may wish to purchase the full game here.

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Reviews (10)
Discussions (3)
Customer avatar
Chad K February 10, 2024 5:41 pm UTC
Please make this available in print. A short cheap basic print rulebook like this would help bring new players into the game.
If print copies were $10 , it would be easy to buy a few to get new players. DCC rog and some other games do this.
Think about it.
Customer avatar
Edward A April 20, 2021 6:41 pm UTC
This is why pdf's are great. After buying it and reading it I was inclined to go to Necrotic Gnome by way of Exatled Funeral and purchase the whole setting. Necrotic Gnome has lots of cool indy rpg stuff. With a sharp eye for presentation. The site also is MAF! Selling many Indy metal artists material.
Customer avatar
Cameron W January 03, 2020 12:36 am UTC
I know that Old-School Essentials covers all of B/X DnD, but I'm interested in specifically just the B/X Basic rules at the moment.

How closely does the content in OSE: Basic Rules match _just_ the B/X Basic rules? Or is content from the B/X Expert rules included in OSE: Basic Rules as well?
Customer avatar
Necrotic G January 03, 2020 8:22 am UTC
Good question! The "Basic" in "Old-School Essentials Basic Rules" is actually unrelated to the meaning of the word in the context of the original Basic/Expert sets. The Basic Rules PDF is a free preview of the full game and only contains player-facing rules (i.e. no monsters, magic items, or rules for running adventures).
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Product Information
File Size:
4.91 MB
Original electronic Click for more information
Scanned image
These products were created by scanning an original printed edition. Most older books are in scanned image format because original digital layout files never existed or were no longer available from the publisher.

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For printed books, we have performed high-resolution scans of an original hardcopy of the book. We essentially digitally re-master the book. Unfortunately, the resulting quality of these books is not as high. It's the problem of making a copy of a copy. The text is fine for reading, but illustration work starts to run dark, pixellating and/or losing shades of grey. Moiré patterns may develop in photos. We mark clearly which print titles come from scanned image books so that you can make an informed purchase decision about the quality of what you will receive.
Original electronic format
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File Last Updated:
November 17, 2021
This title was added to our catalog on April 12, 2019.