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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

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

The Old-School Essentials Rules Tome is a complete game of classic fantasy adventure, containing the following:

  • Core rules: Rules for character creation and advancement, adventuring in dungeons, the wilderness, and at sea, magic and combat.
  • Character options: 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.
  • 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.
  • Monsters: A selection of over 200 classic monsters to challenge adventurers of all levels.
  • 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. The game is also available in the form of a boxed set of 5 modular books.

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.

 
 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (11)
Discussions (19)
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
Gavin N 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
Gavin N 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
Gavin N 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
Gavin N 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
Gavin N 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
Gavin N 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
Gavin N 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
Gavin N 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
Gavin N 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
Gavin N 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.
Customer avatar
Máté B March 04, 2020 10:46 am UTC
Do I get to upgrade to the print version once it is available if I buy the book here, or only if I buy it from the NG website?
Customer avatar
Gavin N March 04, 2020 11:36 am UTC
PUBLISHER
We only offer a PDF to print upgrade for PDFs bought at the Necrotic Gnome website.
Customer avatar
Ed S February 29, 2020 8:48 pm UTC
When will the hard copy on your site be available? And I didn't even see a price listed for the hard copy once it get restocked...
Customer avatar
Gavin N February 29, 2020 8:54 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
We don't have a concrete date yet. Basically it'll be available once it's been printed (should be finished next week) and then shipped to our warehouse (probably the week after that). The price will be the same as before: €35.
Customer avatar
Ed S February 29, 2020 9:40 pm UTC
Whatever that is in U.S. dollars.... ok thanks....
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
Scott N May 19, 2020 6:47 pm UTC
Now with the COVID-19 thing going on, you won't ship to USA it says on your site....So why not a pod option here now?
Customer avatar
Gavin N May 20, 2020 7:36 am UTC
PUBLISHER
We're in the process of sending a bulk shipment of products (including thousands of copies of the Rules Tome) over to Exalted Funeral in the US, who will then be handling orders in North America. While the bulk shipment is in transit, you can pre-order over at the Exalted Funeral website: https://www.exaltedfuneral.com/collections/necrotic-gnome

Still no plans for a POD version of the book. The reason is that we're committed to publishing high quality print products. A POD version of the Rules Tome would be simultaneously much lower quality and much more expensive than the offset printed version of the book. This is a combination that just doesn't make any sense either for Necrotic Gnome as a company or for individual customers.
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.
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Product Information
Gold seller
Author(s)
Pages
296
File Size:
44.14 MB
Format
Original electronic
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File Last Updated:
August 22, 2020
This title was added to our catalog on August 28, 2019.