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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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$19.99

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 available from the Necrotic Gnome publisher website.

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 (8)
Discussions (9)
Customer avatar
daniel P February 13, 2020 6:34 pm UTC
Monster Languages
20% of intelligent monsters speak Common
(unless the monster description states otherwise). Many intelligent monster species also
have their own tongue.

This rule addition, present in Classic Fantasy: Genre Rules: ,is not in the "rules tome" as of version 1.1

"all player character races are able to speak common". Where in the original cipher was this mentioned?

original b/x :

"The "common tongue" spoken throughout the "continent" is known by most humans. All other creatures and monsters which can speak have their own language, although some (20%) also know the common one. Law, Chaos, and Neutrality also have common languages spoken by each respectively."

elves/dwarfs , despite being player characters, should not by default be able to speak with their human party members. Methinks the publisher is being a bit too judicial with re-interpreting the rules as written...See more
Customer avatar
Gavin N February 13, 2020 7:24 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
B9: "All dwarves speak Common, Dwarvish, and the alignment tongue of the character, plus the languages of gnomes, kobolds, and goblins."

B9: "All elves speak Common, Elvish, and the alignment tongue of the character, plus the languages of orcs, hobgoblins, and gnolls."
Customer avatar
Gavin N February 13, 2020 7:25 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
>This rule addition, present in Classic Fantasy: Genre Rules: ,is not in the "rules tome" as of version 1.1

It's on p139 of the Rules Tome.
Customer avatar
Gavin N February 13, 2020 7:30 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
>"The "common tongue" spoken throughout the "continent" is known by most humans"

This text doesn't appear in B/X. Are you sure you're not thinking about the 1983 Mentzer BECMI sets? (Which are a different version of the game than the 1981 B/X sets.)
Customer avatar
Reese L February 13, 2020 8:49 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Daniel - That snippet of text is from OD&D, Book I "Men and Magic" under the section on languages, pg 12 of the WotC reprints from a few years back. OSE is a clone of the 1981 Basic and Expert box sets.
Customer avatar
Adam O January 29, 2020 3:38 am UTC
PURCHASER
The pdf will be updated as well for v1.2? And when?
Customer avatar
Gavin N January 29, 2020 8:48 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Yep, when v1.2 is ready the PDF will be updated here. (No exact date for that happening.)
Customer avatar
Richard S January 16, 2020 4:09 pm UTC
Being 'the same' as the 'boxed set' and this being today's "Deal of the Day", would it be possible to get the price of the boxed set to match this current 'deal' price? (I would rather have separate PDFs vs a single....)
Customer avatar
Gavin N January 16, 2020 4:12 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Sure thing, good idea! Black Box bundle updated to the same price.
Customer avatar
Scott N January 06, 2020 5:21 pm UTC
Why isn't this a POD? I just don't get it, everything here on this site should have the option for PODS!

Besides I won't pay $19.99 for a pdf, it is a matter of fact it doesn't cost a dime for these people to putup a pdf, if it had a POD + free pdf or a $5.00 pdf is okay.
Customer avatar
Travis D January 16, 2020 7:44 pm UTC
I believe the price is a reflection of the effort made in designing the game, typography, artwork, etc. Not the amount it costs to upload a file.
Customer avatar
Scott N January 16, 2020 7:59 pm UTC
Still doesn't matter, needs to have a POD with PDF option here, it can't be that complicated, if WoTC can do it anyone can.
Customer avatar
Dave M January 16, 2020 9:05 pm UTC
You can buy the print version directly from the publisher.
Customer avatar
Scott N February 10, 2020 8:33 pm UTC
No you can't its sold out!
Customer avatar
Reese L February 13, 2020 9:10 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi Scott - The hardcopies (of ALL products) that are sold by Necrotic Gnome through their website are a high-quality offset printed book, far superior to a POD copy through DriveThru or Lulu, and because he has them printed in high quantities, the pricing is comparable to that of the inferior POD as well.
While the Rules Tome is indeed currently sold out, more are being printed as we speak and once they are back in stock, they will be available again from NG.
Customer avatar
michael M January 01, 2020 12:00 pm UTC
Is there a print on demand version?
Customer avatar
Gavin N January 01, 2020 3:17 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
No, the physical book is only available as a deluxe quality, sewn-binding hardcover. (Available from the Necrotic Gnome website.)

We have no current plans for a print-on-demand edition.
Customer avatar
Gavin N January 06, 2020 5:25 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
It's sold out now, unfortunately, pending a 2nd printing in the near future.
Customer avatar
Dave M January 16, 2020 9:06 pm UTC
I got my copy from their website and, funnily enough, they accepted my Sterling (suitably converted).
Customer avatar
Lucas S December 19, 2019 2:39 am UTC
PURCHASER
Download is not working... I got disconected everytime
Customer avatar
Gavin N December 19, 2019 10:19 am UTC
PUBLISHER
I think it's probably a temporary problem on your side. I just tested it and the PDF downloads fine. If the error persists, I'd suggest contacting DriveThruRPG support. They should be able to look into it for you.
Customer avatar
Scott M October 08, 2019 11:46 am UTC
PURCHASER
Q) For someone comfortable with LL, what does OSE bring to the table?
Customer avatar
Gavin N October 08, 2019 8:04 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
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
PUBLISHER
There was a reddit thread recently with some more discussion on this topic: https://www.reddit.com/r/osr/comments/dc65e4/old_school_essentials_ose_vs_advanced_labyrinth/
Customer avatar
Scott M October 10, 2019 11:20 am UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks Gavin
Customer avatar
Mark E August 30, 2019 12:59 am UTC
PURCHASER
Will purchasers of the upcoming print books receive the PDF as well?
Customer avatar
Gavin N August 30, 2019 6:14 am UTC
PUBLISHER
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
PURCHASER
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
PURCHASER
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.