Sunday, April 14, 2019

Kickstarter - Old-School Essentials (B/X)

"A modular adventure game in the tradition of the beloved 1980s role-playing rules. 100% old-school rules, 100% modern design."

If you read The Tavern, I'm sure you've come into contact with the B/X Essentials ruleset. At the very least, you've heard of it. It has been called the best presentation of the Basic / Expert rules, and that says a lot. Well, Old-School Essentials is a rebranding of B/X Essentials and then some. Let's see what you get with the Old-School Essentials Kickstarter:
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!

Old-School Essentials comes in two forms: a chunky tome and a modular boxed set. The content is identical. Choose one or both, depending on your preferred format! 
The Old-School Essentials Black Box: A game box containing five deluxe, sewn-binding, A5 (Digest sized), hardcover rule books presenting the complete rules of the game and everything you need to run games in the classic fantasy genre. 
The Old-School Essentials Rules Tome: A deluxe all-in-one, sewn-binding, A5 (Digest sized), hardcover tome containing the complete rules of the game and everything you need to run games in the classic fantasy genre.
Free Basic Rules PDF: To whet your appetite for this game, you can download a free PDF, featuring the basic rules for creating characters, adventuring in dungeons, combat, magic, and spells. Includes the complete rules for four classic fantasy character classes: the cleric, fighter, magic-user, and thief.
Compatibility: Old-School Essentials is a 100% accurate restatement of the original Basic/Expert rules (B/X), with nothing added, changed, or removed. All material written for the B/X rules over the last 38 years can be used with Old-School Essentials, without any conversion effort whatsoever! 
Refinement: The original Basic/Expert rules form a wondrously solid rules set, but they are not without areas of confusion and contradiction. All known omissions, contradictions, and areas of confusion have been carefully ironed out in Old-School Essentials.
There's a lot more info on the Kickstarter page. I suggest you read it. If you are an old school gamer or are at all interested in old school gaming, this is pretty much a no brainer ;)

Old-School Essentials had a goal of just under $17k USD (it's listed in Euros). With 27 days to go as I write this, it sits at a hair under $58k USD and is knocking down stretch goals like a 10th level fighter swatting down goblins - at least under AD&D 1e rules ;)

11 bucks for the PDFs (17 if you want bother versions). Rules Tome in print is 28 bucks. Black Box with 5 individual books (this is The Tome broken down to shorter books) is 57 bucks. 79 for both versions of physical and PDF books. Damn it! I think I'm in for 79...


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Not to double buzz but, they are different games. I won't bring up the editing and layout mess that RC brings with it.

    2. Honestly never looked at the difference between the terms B/X and BEMCI. Honestly thought they were kind of interchangeable. Didn't really think that there was much of a difference. I learned sumthin.

    3. And... I deleted my earlier post because my ignorance was showing and I didn't want something negative to be the first thing people saw when they came here. Sorry.

  2. Not to be a pedant, but presumably you wouldn’t do that if you specifically wanted to play B/X D&D because The Rules Cyclopedia is BECMI, for starters.

    There are quite a few other nice things about Necrotic Gnome’s presentation of the rules, too. I have been a fan since the first volume of B/X Essentials. The Kickstarter page lays out all the selling points.

  3. I have been playing Basic D&D (more precisely Moldvay's Basic + Mentzer's Expert & Companion) since 1986. I houseruled it, de-houseruled it, added classes from AD&D, avidely incorporated elements from every retro-clone then dropped most of them, and finally settled on Labyrinth Lord - or so I thought.

    Because Old-school Essentials is here, and this time it is perfect.

    It is 100% B/X, nothing more, nothing less, just clarified and presented in a way that can't be improved IMHO.

  4. Damnation... I had convinced myself I didn't need these, and then the comment section here unconvinced me.


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