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Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Rules Tome
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Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Rules Tome

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$20.00

The essential old-school game of fantastic adventure, monsters, and magic!

A Complete Game All in One Book

  • This book contains everything a referee needs: the complete game rules, full guidelines for creating and running adventures, 7 fantastic character classes, full equipment lists, over 100 classic spells, over 200 fearsome monsters, and over 150 wondrous magic items.
  • Simple rules let imagination and fast-paced action take the spotlight.
  • Clear, modern presentation makes the game easy to learn and quick to reference.
  • Compatible with decades of classic adventures and supplements.

Classic Fantasy or Advanced Fantasy?

Old-School Essentials comes in two flavours: Classic Fantasy (based on the 1981 Basic/Expert rules) and Advanced Fantasy (the same game, massively expanded with content inspired by the 1970s Advanced 1st Edition rules).
Want more options? You may prefer the Advanced Fantasy Player's Tome and Referee's Tome.

Deluxe Print Edition

A deluxe, sewn-binding hardcover edition of this book ( + free PDF) is available from Exalted Funeral, along with all of the other books in the Old-School Essentials line.

Note that there is no print-on-demand edition of this book.

Free Basic Rules

A fully illustrated, 56-page sample of the basic rules of the game required by players is available here:

  • 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 complete set of 1st level spells.

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Index_of_Magic_Items_-_3rd_Printing.png


 
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Reviews (12)
Discussions (27)
Customer avatar
Roger P May 08, 2022 8:12 am UTC
Hi,
I have rules questions regarding healing in Dungeons. Can a PC heal himself during a rest in a Dungeon? Dungeon rules states that a PC should rest periodically while Dungeoneering, but this "forced rest" heals? During this rest, wandering monsters are kept rolling? Is possible to make a full day rest inside a Dungeon? Or is just much better to do it outside it?

Thanks in advance
Customer avatar
Necrotic G May 09, 2022 7:45 am UTC
PUBLISHER
The rule for resting one turn every hour in a dungeon is unrelated to healing, and yes wandering monster checks would usually be rolled as normal during that turn. (Though if PCs find a very secure hiding place to rest in, the referee may rule that the frequency or chance of wandering monsters is reduced.)

For natural healing, characters need to rest a full day. So if a PC could get a full day's rest (without interruptions) in a dungeon, then it would seem fair to let them heal 1d3 hp. In most dungeons this would be nearly impossible though.
Customer avatar
Roger P May 09, 2022 8:49 am UTC
Thanks for this solid response, it is a valuable clarification. It seems clear the best solution is to exit from the dungeon when party's HPs are low.
Customer avatar
Raphael S May 06, 2022 8:09 pm UTC
Is this 3rd printing?? Is there any difference in content between Rules Tome 1st, 2nd and 3rd printing? For instance, if I already have 1st printing do I need to update?
Customer avatar
Necrotic G May 07, 2022 4:06 am UTC
PUBLISHER
We always update the PDFs to the latest printing. So the PDF is now the same as the 3rd printing of the book.

The errata doc lists any little issues that were fixed between printings: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dzQnig4CNET8-1yLJgOfYdssc70oUp5rGfGUZuBZBQE
Customer avatar
Tanya J May 01, 2022 4:54 pm UTC
PURCHASER
The write-up on the hydra gives its hit points as 8 per head. Shouldn't that be 4.5 per head to be consistent with the hit points of the other monsters, which tend to be 4.5 per HD? I was just wondering if that was a mistake or a deliberate deviation.
Customer avatar
Necrotic G May 02, 2022 3:54 am UTC
PUBLISHER
8hp is correct (following the original Basic/Expert rules, which Old-School Essentials is based on). The 4.5hp per HD listed for other monsters is just the average value of rolling d8s, so other monsters could potentially also have 8hp per HD.
Customer avatar
Michał U April 01, 2022 11:36 am UTC
Can I use this rules to play old TSR modules (without any conversions needed).
Eg.
BSOLO Ghost of Lion Castle (Basic)
T1 The Village of Hommlet (1e)

Customer avatar
Necrotic G April 04, 2022 7:21 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Old-School Essentials is 100% compatible with the 1981 Basic/Expert rules (B/X), so anything published specifically for that edition will work without any conversion whatsoever. For people experienced with old-school D&D, it's pretty easy to use any pre-2000 material with Old-School Essentials, but it might need a little tweaking depending on the exact edition that something was published for.

Looking at BSOLO, it appears it was published for the 1984 Basic rules, which are pretty much (probably 99%) identical to the 1981 Basic rules. T1 was published for AD&D 1st Edition, which is a little different.
Customer avatar
Michał U April 05, 2022 5:33 pm UTC
Thank you for the answer.
I've already decided to buy either classic or advanced tome.

Customer avatar
William L January 27, 2022 1:06 pm UTC
Bought the Print/PDF bundle through Exalted Funeral ... will updates (if any) to PDF be provided through their site or is there a way I can get them through Drive Thru?
Customer avatar
Necrotic G February 01, 2022 11:53 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Yep, updates are sent out via the Exalted Funeral store too. (You'll have to contact them if you need any more details on how that works.)
Customer avatar
William L February 02, 2022 7:14 pm UTC
Thanks for the update. ;)
Great product by the way ... best organization of the B/X rules to date.
Customer avatar
Jeremy H October 30, 2021 10:23 am UTC
PURCHASER
Some really nice artwork added in 1.3! Thanks for the update Necrotic G!
Customer avatar
Chris J November 10, 2021 4:24 am UTC
Are there any changes to the rules themselves? Where would you find out about this?
Customer avatar
Necrotic G November 10, 2021 8:00 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Only where errors were found. We maintain a list of fixed errors here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dzQnig4CNET8-1yLJgOfYdssc70oUp5rGfGUZuBZBQE/.
Customer avatar
Wesley A March 07, 2021 7:35 pm UTC
So is this all I’ll need to run Old School Essentials? And then get the advanced add on of I want to play retro AD&D? That’ll come later, I just kinda want to introduce b/x to some friends.
Customer avatar
Necrotic G March 08, 2021 6:24 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Exactly. This book is a complete clone of B/X, so if you want pure B/X this one book is all you need.
Customer avatar
Ryan B August 27, 2021 3:52 pm UTC
PURCHASER
The advanced add-on doesn't convert it to AD&D (though B/X and AD&D are still pretty close to one another). It takes AD&D elements (classes, races, etc.) and adapts them for use in the B/X core of OSE.
Customer avatar
Scott N February 10, 2022 6:03 pm UTC
Well with WOTC now full pods of AD&D just order AD&D or the BECMI Rules Cyclopedia and play, these guys are always out of stock and have shipping delays.
Customer avatar
Eric C M November 09, 2020 7:20 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Made a POD on DriveThruRPG!
Customer avatar
Necrotic G November 10, 2020 8:22 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Just interested: what would you prefer about a POD edition compared to the high quality print editions that the game is currently produced in?
Customer avatar
Eric C M November 12, 2020 1:17 am UTC
PURCHASER
I have money to spend here!
Customer avatar
Ricardo M November 21, 2020 7:24 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Maybe you could offer here a lower cost paperback version. Since the Rule Tome is too big for paperback, you could split it into the Player's Rules Tome (which you already have made), a Game Master Rules Tome and Treasures & Monsters Tome.
IMO paperback editions capture better the look and feel of the original BX edition, hardback was more of an AD&D & RC thing.
Customer avatar
Scotty D June 19, 2022 6:13 pm UTC
Sane people do not want to support a publisher who pushes a radical political agenda. We want games, not politics.
Customer avatar
Steven W August 11, 2022 7:03 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Shipping charges. It's much cheaper to get a POD copy than pay all the customs duties when having it sent to the UK.
Customer avatar
Mark V September 09, 2020 2:20 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi. I bought this because I couldn't find the PDFs of the 5 separate books. I also bought the 2 Advanced books. Any chance I could get the PDFs of the original 5 booklets so I can re-introduce some modularity to my game? I can send my order numbers for the other purchases if that helps?
Customer avatar
David W J June 12, 2020 4:34 am UTC
PURCHASER
I bought the B/X essentials books a Dodd’s from here, the store spies aren’t available anymore, so is this what replaced them? Do I have to buy them again?
Customer avatar
David W J June 12, 2020 5:16 am UTC
PURCHASER
Wow my iPad sucks, so let me rephrase...

I bought the B/X essentials books, the store pages aren’t available anymore, so is this what replaced them? Do I have to buy them again?
Customer avatar
Necrotic G June 12, 2020 7:24 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Right, Old-School Essentials is kind of the revised 2nd edition of B/X Essentials. The main changes are a completely new layout, significantly improved organisation, more art (including lots of full-page colour pieces), and some errata fixes.

You don't have to buy the new edition if you don't want to. The files for B/X Essentials are still available in your library.
Customer avatar
July 29, 2020 8:17 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I just asked the same question over at the Player's Rules Tomb. It's clear as mud with all the flopping products around.

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/307146/OldSchool-Essentials-Classic-Fantasy-Players-Rules-Tome
Customer avatar
drew L May 25, 2020 6:23 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I just purchased this game and set up a campaign on roll20 using the Necrotic Gnome official character sheet. Can you explain why the sheet is set up to roll 2 damage rolls and keep the highest?
Customer avatar
Necrotic G May 26, 2020 6:29 am UTC
PUBLISHER
I'm afraid there's not an official Roll20 character sheet, you must be using one of the fan-created ones (which we at Necrotic Gnome have had no input into). I'd suggest trying to contact the creator of the sheet you're using to ask them about it?
Customer avatar
drew L May 28, 2020 2:43 am UTC
PURCHASER
Okay. In the roll20 sheet selection menu it's listed under sheets created by the publisher, so that's why I thought it was done by Necrotic Gnome for roll20.
Customer avatar
Necrotic G May 28, 2020 7:40 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Huh, I see what you mean. I did briefly chat with the developer of that sheet at one point, but it seems that the sheet having been marked as official was a misunderstanding.
Customer avatar
drew L May 28, 2020 9:28 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Overall, it's not too bad of a character sheet, but it could use some tweaks. I think with the current state of things (COVID), more and more people are gaming on sites like roll20, and, to be honest, I'm not going to use a game system unless it has a decent character sheet on roll20. So I encourage all publishers to try to ensure they have a good sheet for VTTs.

Anyhow, this one is alright, I just don't understand why it was calculating weapon damage the way it does.
Customer avatar
Necrotic G May 29, 2020 8:26 am UTC
PUBLISHER
I've contacted the author of the sheet and we are now intending to officially make it official!

If you have feedback or suggestions, feel free to email webdev@necroticgnome.com -- that'll be read by a developer who can help to improve things. (I've personally never used any VTT, so am not a good person to discuss such things with ;)
Customer avatar
Rudy C May 06, 2020 10:58 pm UTC
Genuinely curious as to what the benefit of this product is over say B/X D&D or the Rules Cyclopedia? I mean, I can buy Moldvay/Cook BX D&D PDFs for $5 each or the Rules Cyclopedia PDF for $10 which is exactly half of the asking price of this product. What would this give me that the other two products wouldn't?
Customer avatar
Necrotic G May 07, 2020 6:09 am UTC
PUBLISHER
The main "point" of Old-School Essentials is the organisation and layout, which are focused on making the books as easy to reference as possible. For example, all the information relating to each topic in the rules is collated and presented on a single page or two side-by-side pages. Also, a lot of the content (e.g. rules, monster, spell, and magic item descriptions) is formatted as bullet points. All of this makes reference (especially use during play) a breeze. Check out the video above.

Another big advantage is that Old-School Essentials is in print. It's available in a high quality print edition. (As opposed to a print-on-demand edition made from scans.)
Customer avatar
Julian Tobias S April 22, 2020 12:55 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Are the modular books the same books you can buy on their own? I bought both the tome and the single books to support the cause, so to speak, so I don't mind but I think it would be useful information to include.
Customer avatar
Necrotic G April 22, 2020 2:06 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
It's not mentioned because the modular books are no longer available for sale individually at DriveThruRPG. I decided that, while obviously the Rules Tome and the Black Box are separate physical products, it doesn't make much sense to sell the two formats separately as PDFs. The content is identical, after all.
Customer avatar
Julian Tobias S April 22, 2020 4:29 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thank you for clarifiying. Keep up the great work. :)
Customer avatar
Kelly D April 22, 2020 11:47 am UTC
PURCHASER
The most recent update of the Tome is 1.2 The zip file of the modular books are 1.0 Did they not change?
Customer avatar
Necrotic G April 22, 2020 2:01 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Correct. The modular books have not changed since v1.0.
Customer avatar
Jason P March 31, 2020 12:20 am UTC
PURCHASER
does this come with both basic and advance fantasy supplements?
Customer avatar
Necrotic G March 31, 2020 7:32 am UTC
PUBLISHER
The Advanced Fantasy supplements are not included.

The Rules Tome is a compilation of the core rules plus four rules modules, forming a complete game for Classic Fantasy adventures:
1. Core Rules: Rules for character creation and advancement, adventuring in dungeons, the wilderness, and at sea, magic and combat.
2. Classic Fantasy: Genre Rules: Seven classic classes (cleric, dwarf, elf, fighter, halfling, magic-user, thief), complete lists of weapons and adventuring gear, extensive lists of vehicles, mounts, and vessels, mercenaries and specialists for hire, rules for stronghold construction.
3. Classic Fantasy: Cleric and Magic-User Spells: The complete set of 34 cleric spells (from 1st to 5th level) and 72 magic-user spells (from 1st to 6th level), for use by players or cleric, elf, and magic-user characters.
4. Classic Fantasy: Monsters: A selection of over 200 classic monsters to challenge adventurers of all levels.
5. Classic Fantasy: Treasures: A hoard of over 150...See more
Customer avatar
Lee W May 08, 2020 1:18 am UTC
The Exalted Funeral website lists the six "modular" -looking "Classic Fantasy" books (Core, Genre, Monsters, Treasure, Cleric & MU Spells, Druid & Ill. Spells) and are described as "shipping in May." I guess they are still being sold for those folks who don't want the full experience of the Rules Tome?
Customer avatar
Necrotic G May 08, 2020 5:46 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Yeah, the individual books are available in case people want extras. For example, if you already have the complete game (in the form of the Black Box or the Rules Tome), you might want an extra copy of the spells book for use by another player in the group.

(Druid and Illusionist Spells is "Advanced Fantasy", by the way.)
Customer avatar
March 11, 2020 9:11 am UTC
PURCHASER
What has changed from the first printing?
Customer avatar
Necrotic G March 11, 2020 9:14 am UTC
PUBLISHER
1. All known errata (a few extremely minor typos) was fixed. (There's a list of errata here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dzQnig4CNET8-1yLJgOfYdssc70oUp5rGfGUZuBZBQE.)
2. The wording in a couple of paragraphs was tweaked, for clarity.
3. The cover is different.
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Product Information
Platinum seller
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Pages
296
File Size:
40.75 MB
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Original electronic
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File Last Updated:
June 07, 2022
This title was added to our catalog on August 28, 2019.