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Sunday, September 21, 2014

The OSR for the Lapsed Gamer - Free PDFs - OSRIC

OSRIC - Old School Reference and Index Compilation

Doesn't sound all that sexy when you actually break it down, does it? Well, it wasn't supposed to.

OSRIC was initially envisioned as a safe harbor for publishers that wanted to post "old school adventures." As it was a reimagining of AD&D 1e, it would allow publishers to use it as a reference for their "old school adventures", without stepping on the toes of WotC and falling back directly on Wizard's 1e IP.

It's was officially released 1/20/07 (with a preview that had released on 6/23/06)

OSRIC v2, which is the version one is most like to encounter online (or at Lulu) is written with the idea of actually being used as a reference in play, whereas OSRIC v1 was written with the idea of it being used as a reference for published material. OSRIC v2.2 is the latest version available.

It includes the usual AD&D 1e classes with the exception of the Bard (who never fit in the first place system wise) and the Monk (who was usually out of sorts setting wise). Strangely enough, Swords & Wizardry Complete includes the Monk but drops the Illusionist. Just an observation.

OSRIC is the 1e Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide and Monster Manual rolled into one comprehensive volume. Even if you still like running with your original 1e rules, having OSRIC as an additional reference at the table doesn't hurt.

It drops Weapon Speed (which I don't recall ever being in a group that used the rule, let alone understood it.) It retains segments as a time measurement in combat and spell interruption if hit while casting.

OSRIC plays close enough to AD&D 1e that I was able to run a campaign with both 1e books and OSRIC being used at the table interchangeably. Sure, the experience point tables are tweaked a bit to change the math, but all in all, it is simply a much easier to read and understand rewrite of the original AD&D 1e rules.

Some history about the Why's and Wherefore's OSRIC (as supplied by +Guy Fullerton )

...plus the post immediately following it.




+Stuart Marshall , OSRIC's Editor in Chief, would prefer you play with your original AD&D 1e books when possible  http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=1306092#p1306092

OSRIC Pocket SRD (Free PDF and OBS $13.50 POD)

OSRIC v2.2 (Free PDF and Lulu various prices POD)

OSRIC v2.2 (Black Blade Publishing $21.00 HC)

add reviews, reflections, impressions, experiences, corrections and the like to the comments below.

next up will be Basic Fantasy RPG


  1. Does OSRIC contain monsters from Fiend Folio and Monster Manual 2?

  2. Wow, that March 18, 2006 post is pretty much the start of the whole thing. Flashback.

    1. That spark was the result of a slow simmer that began in two different places around 1-and-a-half years prior.

      Folks who would go on to become significant voices at K&KA (and thus eventual contributors to OSRIC) had high hopes for Castles & Crusades, followed by disappointment upon seeing the development process and/or final product.

      And you (Matt) were feeling the burnout from your 3.5 game, drifted into C&C, felt group tension from that, and got into several discussions with K&KA folks who helped you see why C&C pushes a different play style from AD&D (and just about understanding AD&D in general—these threads contain pretty fascinating exegesis of the games in question*). Then I believe you dropped C&C in favor of a heavy set of house rules (for what system, it's not clear to me from the threads), and eventually moved to 1e proper by Dec 2005.

      Within a couple months, the pent-up publishing energy (by folks unsatisfied with C&C, but not exclusively them) started boiling over in various places: Mazes & Minotaurs and BFRPG both in Jan 2006; Stuart Marshall's rough plan to make an "Advanced" BFRPG in Feb 2006; K&KA's AD&D restatement project and Beermotor's OD&D restatement project both in Mar 2006; RJK fishing for interest in OGL-based 1e modules in Apr 2006; and Raggi's OGL-based D&D clone research in Apr 2006.

      OSRIC happened to be the situation that caught fire the hottest. The specific people at K&KA were the key: Energetic, relatively experienced at self-publishing & production, experienced in legal matters, and extremely knowledgeable & articulate about the nuances of AD&D. (The controversy certainly helped the subsequent momentum, too! Ironically C&C fueled the situation both before *and* after the OSRIC release.) But even if OSRIC hadn't happened at that point, *somebody* would have made a true 1e clone (or 1e publishing solution) pretty shortly thereafter. There was simply too much pent-up energy for it to not happen.

      * The threads suggest that additional exegesis occurred in other threads on the proboards version of K&KA, but sadly those threads are not accessible to the public.

      Some reference threads:


  3. Thanks to you and Guy for pointing the reader to that material. That's quite interesting stuff.