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Old-School Essentials Advanced Fantasy: Genre Rules
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Old-School Essentials Advanced Fantasy: Genre Rules


This supplement expands Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy with character options inspired by the beloved 1970s Advanced rules:

  • 9 human classes: acrobat, assassin, barbarian, bard, druid, illusionist, knight, paladin, ranger.
  • 6 demihuman race-classes: drow, duergar, gnome, half-elf, half-orc, svirfneblin.
  • Optional rules for creating characters by choosing race and class separately.
  • All new classes are carefully designed to match the power levels of the classic Basic/Expert game.
  • Rules for poisons. (Essential for assassin characters!)
  • Advanced options: Optional rules to add extra depth to character creation, combat, and spell casting.
Players of bard, druid, gnome, illusionist, and ranger characters will also require the companion book, Druid and Illusionist Spells.

Classic Fantasy vs 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).

This book is a classes and rules supplement for people who already have Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy.

Want everything compiled? Check out the Advanced Fantasy Player's Tome and Referee's Tome, which compile the Classic Fantasy game plus this book and other supplements.


The content in this book is 100% compatible with the classic Basic/Expert rules (B/X) and can thus be used with any B/X-based game.

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.

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Reviews (5)
Discussions (7)
Customer avatar
Edward A July 13, 2021 7:35 pm UTC
The Monk is missing from this book and I have read that it will be in an upcoming supplement. Gavin, have your gnomes started work on that book yet? It sounds like you have your hands full, but can you offer us any updates?
Customer avatar
Edward A July 13, 2021 7:38 pm UTC
I think an Old School Essentials version of Oriental Adventures would be dope!
Customer avatar
Gavin N July 14, 2021 7:34 am UTC
It was an idea at one point, but it's not something that we have plans for now.
Customer avatar
Edward A July 17, 2021 6:45 pm UTC
I really hope that changes in the future. It seems like you are dealing with the curse of success. I'm not sure what growing pains you're having with your OSE product line, but I hope the community gets behind you in any future products. I'll certainly purchase and promote any books you put out.
For now, the Dark Dungeons X, or Rules Compendium offers the Mystic class (Basically Monk) that plugs in and plays with OSE pretty well. It was a part of the original BECMI line, but I'm not sure where exactly.
Customer avatar
Edward A July 17, 2021 6:56 pm UTC
Just to clarify. Mystic was listed under BECMI's Master Dungeon Master book as an NPC. I guess it didn't migrate to be a player option until the Rules Cyclopedia. Oriental Adventures was a classic book, I can see why it would be a good fit for the B/X line OSE is modeled after.
Customer avatar
Lawrence C January 22, 2021 11:14 am UTC
When are these going to be back in stock in physical copies?
Customer avatar
Gavin N January 25, 2021 8:27 am UTC
We've just done a second printing of this book, which will be available in the spring. We have a small number of copies of the first printing remaining in our EU warehouse and will be sending some of those over to the US shortly.
Customer avatar
Daniel T December 15, 2020 3:14 am UTC
where is it?
Customer avatar
Gavin N December 15, 2020 8:58 am UTC
Not quite sure what you mean I'm afraid. Where is what?
Customer avatar
Igor G October 12, 2020 1:59 pm UTC
Is the Acrobat the same class as the monk in Ad&d (o the mystic in Becmi-D&D)?
Customer avatar
Gavin N October 12, 2020 2:10 pm UTC
No, it's based on the thief-acrobat from AD&D Unearthed Arcana.
Customer avatar
Charles B August 07, 2020 11:56 am UTC
Hey Gavin,

LOVE OSE!!! It's my go to system. I'm currently running a game and have a level 7 Assassin player at the table who isn't so happy with the 4+1HD restriction on his Assassinate ability. After thinking about it myself I have to admit it does seem quite limiting. There were a few instances for example where my player was in an advantageous position where he wanted to Assassinate but I told him he could not because the targets HD was too high. He's now wishing he rolled a Is this intended? I assume so but it seems like a huge nerf. Assassins were always hard to balance and deal with anyways so I understand. Would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks again for bringing to life this wonderful product.
Customer avatar
Gavin N August 07, 2020 1:03 pm UTC
Great to hear you're enjoying OSE!

About assassins: The primary limitation on whom they can assassinate is that they can only use the ability on "persons". That term is defined (Rules Tome p139) as "This includes all humans and demihumans, as well as humanoid monsters of up to 4+1 HD." Note the "all" with reference to humans and demihumans. That means that demi/humans *of any level* may be assassinated. The 4+1 HD limit only applies to humanoid monsters. (Non-humanoids cannot be assassinated.)

This limitation is implicit in AD&D, by the way. All references to assassination refer to a "character" or "victim" of a certain level being assassinated (as opposed to a "monster" of a certain HD being assassinated).

Hope that clears things up a bit!
Customer avatar
Charles B August 07, 2020 1:32 pm UTC
Wow that changes everything. I thought the limitation was a blanket restriction regardless of the target type. Those instances I was referring to during a recent session were all high level Magic Users. Since their HD was way over 4 I assumed my player could not Assassinate. That is great news which my Assassin player will be thrilled about. Too bad we can't go back and redo those combat Cheers!
Customer avatar
Gavin N August 07, 2020 1:36 pm UTC
Glad that helps! (I'm going to add a small clarification on this matter the next time the book is printed, as you're not the first person to have wondered about it.)
Customer avatar
Charles B August 07, 2020 4:37 pm UTC
That helps tremendously. Now does the Assassin also get backstab similar to AD&D? I've been allowing my player to choose whether they're using a normal attack, backstab, or assassinate. But after taking another quick look in the Advanced Fantasy book I don't see backstab listed.
Customer avatar
Gavin N August 07, 2020 4:40 pm UTC
Nope, by the book no backstab. (It'd be mentioned in the class description if they had that ability.) It'd be a reasonable house rule, though.
Customer avatar
Charles B August 07, 2020 4:55 pm UTC
Wow I completely missed For a second I thought about keeping it as a house rule but now that I think about it more I kind of like the idea of the Assassin not having it. It keeps the Thief and Assassin more distinct from each other which I guess was your goal with all the Advanced classes. Now I assume your intention is that Assassinate requires a melee weapon?
Customer avatar
Charles B August 09, 2020 1:41 am UTC
Hey Gavin, I gotta an update for ya: After getting clarification from you on the Assassin, I let my player know about that and he was very happy to hear it. We had a session yesterday playing X2 Castle Amber. During one section most of party was charmed by a level 14 Magic User. The Assassin, who is level 6, made his saving throw to avoid being charmed. He was then able to make a hide in shadows roll to fade out of sight. From there my Assassin player decided he wanted to try and sneak up on the Magic User. He succeeded on his Move Silently roll. He then says to me " I want to try and Assassinate her. " I laugh and said roll it! He rolls his hit roll and succeeds. I go to roll the Magic Users save vs death which is an 8 but with a -2 penalty. Drum roll....she It was glorious. I figured you would enjoy hearing this. My player was absolutely ecstatic to say the least at finally feeling useful. :)
Customer avatar
Gavin N August 10, 2020 5:44 am UTC
Great to hear that the clarification helped and that the player feels awesome!

About assassination requiring a melee weapon: it's deliberately left open to referee ruling, the same as the thief's back-stab ability. I personally would require a melee weapon for both these kinds of attacks, but I know not everyone does.
Customer avatar
Charles B August 10, 2020 2:05 pm UTC
Thanks again Gavin. I did have a few last questions for you. How do you calculate backstab damage? I know as the DM I can do whatever I want. Is the weapon damage typically rolled twice and then add strength and magic bonuses? Or do you just double all of it? And lastly do you personally house rule in your games increased backstab damage? Or would you say increasing the backstab multiplier alters the balance of the game? You seem to really understand the balance of BX so I would love your feedback. Thanks again. I won't bother you again with questions I
Customer avatar
Gavin N August 10, 2020 2:27 pm UTC
Haha, this is turning into a rules Q&A! I'd recommend posing questions like this in one of our communities, as there'll be loads of people there with thoughts.

OSE group on Facebook:
Necrotic Gnome Discord server:
Necrotic Gnome MeWe group:
Customer avatar
April 07, 2020 9:52 pm UTC
So far Advanced Labyrinth Lord has been my go-to to get 1e classes and races in an OSR framework. How does OSE compare?

Researching before I invest :)
Customer avatar
Gavin N April 09, 2020 6:55 am UTC
General differences between OSE and LL:
- The writing and layout of OSE is focused on usability at the table, making heavy use of bullet points, bolding, subheadings, and so on for ease of quick reference. LL is written in a more traditional style.
- OSE attempts to be as faithful to B/X as possible, while fixing a few areas of obvious contradiction in the rules. LL makes changes to the rules in a few areas (e.g. clerics get a spell at 1st level).
- The physical OSE books are produced as a high quality offset print run with fancy things like ribbon markers and printed endpapers (and a boxed set!), as opposed to the print-on-demand quality of LL.

Differences between OSE Advanced Fantasy and Advanced LL:
- OSE has more classes and races, including acrobats, barbarians, bards, drow, duergar, knights, and svirfneblin.
- OSE includes rules for the new demihumans both as race-classes (in the B/X style) and as separate races (in the AD&D style).
- The OSE Advanced...See more
Customer avatar
Antonio E January 17, 2020 12:09 pm UTC
Do the "advanced" race definitions of elves, halflings and dwarves import their AD&D specials? For example, do elves and halflings have a higher chance to surprise opponents?
Customer avatar
Gavin N January 17, 2020 12:18 pm UTC
Nope, the standard demihumans (i.e. elf, dwarf, halfling) have racial abilities based on the abilities of the standard B/X race-classes.
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This title was added to our catalog on August 23, 2019.