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


Old-School Essentials is an adventure role-playing game of exploration, danger, monsters, and magic. The game is intentionally rules-light, putting the focus of play on imagination, improvisation, and fun. The rules are optimised for ease of use at the table, with meticulous attention to wording and layout clarity. 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!

A Complete Game All in One Book

Old-School Essentials is a modular game where the core rules of the game are extended by additional "rules modules" which add content for different genres of fantastic adventure. The Old-School Essentials Rules Tome is a compilation of the core rules plus four rules modules, forming a complete game for Classic Fantasy adventures:

  • Core Rules: Rules for character creation and advancement, adventuring in dungeons, the wilderness, and at sea, magic and combat.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Classic Fantasy: Monsters: A selection of over 200 classic monsters to challenge adventurers of all levels.
  • Classic Fantasy: Treasures: A hoard of over 150 wondrous magic items.

The material in this book forms a complete clone of the classic Basic/Expert game, including all rules, classes, spells, monsters, and magic items.

Deluxe Print Edition

A deluxe, sewn-binding hardcover edition of this book is currently being produced and will be available for sale at the Necrotic Gnome publisher website from November.

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

Advanced Fantasy Supplements

Two supplements are available for groups who want to inject some of the flavour of the 1970s Advanced rules into their games:

  • Advanced Fantasy: Genre Rules: Adds 9 new human classes (acrobat, assassin, barbarian, bard, druid, illusionist, knight, paladin, ranger) and 6 new demihuman classes (drow, duergar, gnome, half-elf, half-orc, svirfneblin) to the game, all carefully adapted to the power level of Old-School Essentials.
  • Advanced Fantasy: Druid and Illusionist Spells: The complete set of 34 druid spells (from 1st to 5th level) and 72 illusionist spells (from 1st to 6th level), for use by players of bard, druid, gnome, illusionist, and ranger characters.

Free Basic Rules

A 56-page, art-free 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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Reviews (7)
Discussions (3)
Customer avatar
Scott M October 08, 2019 11:46 am UTC
Q) For someone comfortable with LL, what does OSE bring to the table?
Customer avatar
Gavin N October 08, 2019 8:04 pm UTC
I'd say the three biggest differences, compared to LL, are:
1. The structure. OSE is specifically written, structured, and laid out to maximise ease of use at the table. Each topic is presented on a single page or on two side-by-side pages. Spells, magic items, and monsters are presented in a bullet-point format for ease of reference.
2. Rules accuracy. OSE attempts to be 100% faithful to the B/X rules.
3. The physical format. OSE is produced at deluxe hardcover quality (not print-on-demand) in the form of a boxed set and an all-in-one rules tome. (Print editions available from our publisher website from November 2019.)
Customer avatar
Gavin N October 08, 2019 8:04 pm UTC
There was a reddit thread recently with some more discussion on this topic:
Customer avatar
Scott M October 10, 2019 11:20 am UTC
Thanks Gavin
Customer avatar
Mark E August 30, 2019 12:59 am UTC
Will purchasers of the upcoming print books receive the PDF as well?
Customer avatar
Gavin N August 30, 2019 6:14 am UTC
Yep, once the books are printed, they'll be available on our publisher website (i.e. not here at DriveThruRPG). Anyone who orders them there will get the accompanying PDF for free.
Customer avatar
Douglas B August 30, 2019 9:06 pm UTC
Thanks for letting us know.
Customer avatar
David R August 28, 2019 8:14 pm UTC
Is this all of the other old-school essentials books combined into one? Or is this a more advanced version of the core rules book? In other words if I get this do I still need to get any of the other OSE books or not?
Customer avatar
Olivier S August 28, 2019 8:27 pm UTC
This is all the OSE books in one: Core Rules, Classes&Equipment, Spells, Monsters, Adventures&Treasure. What is NOT included are the 2 "new" books: "Advanced Fantasy Genre Rules" and "Druid and Illusionist Spells" as they are NOT part of the original BX rules, but an addon (based on AD&D material)
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File Last Updated:
August 30, 2019
This title was added to our catalog on August 28, 2019.