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Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Monsters
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/25/2020 12:14:16

PDF and Hardcover, 80 pages

Ah, now this is a book I would have loved back in 81. Also coming in at 80 pages this book is about monsters and nothing else.

Stat blocks are concise and there is none of the bloat in the descriptions that appear in later editions (ok to be fair that bloat was demanded by players). The book is fantastic with my only reservation in I wish it had been illustrated more. But even that is fine because the illustration we get are fantastic and very reminiscent of the old school monster books.

There are also NPC encounter tables and monsters listed by HD. The utility of this book is top-notch.

I can easily see a "Monsters 2" and "Monsters 3" sometime in the future for this line.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Monsters
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Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Cleric and Magic-User Spells — Plain Text Edition
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/25/2020 12:07:25

Cleric and Magic-User Spells would have been my favorite book if OSE had come out in the 80s. Right now it also has my favorite cover from the entire series. Seriously, I love it. It just oozes eldritch weirdness.

The book itself has 48 pages and covers all the Cleric and Magic-User/Elf spells in the game.

All the usual suspects are here. Cleric spells go to level 5 and magic-user spells go to level 6, just as expected from the B/X sources. Again, when making my recent Cleric I used this book.

The modularity again is a huge boon for this book and game. Adding a new class, like the Druid or Illusionists? Add a new book easy! In fact, we see that is exactly what was done. Expandability is the key here.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Cleric and Magic-User Spells — Plain Text Edition
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Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Magic
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/25/2020 12:06:59

PDF and Hardcover, 48 pages

Cleric and Magic-User Spells would have been my favorite book if OSE had come out in the 80s. Right now it also has my favorite cover from the entire series. Seriously, I love it. It just oozes eldritch weirdness.

The book itself has 48 pages and covers all the Cleric and Magic-User/Elf spells in the game.

All the usual suspects are here. Cleric spells go to level 5 and magic-user spells go to level 6, just as expected from the B/X sources. Again, when making my recent Cleric I used this book.

The modularity again is a huge boon for this book and game. Adding a new class, like the Druid or Illusionists? Add a new book easy! In fact, we see that is exactly what was done. Expandability is the key here.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Magic
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Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Genre Rules — Plain Text Edition
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/25/2020 10:48:36

These are the rules to allow you to play in any sort of "Basic Fantasy" style game. Here get our character classes of Cleric, Fighter, Magic-User, and Theif and The three "demi-human" classes of Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling. If you are familiar with the Basic/Expert games of 1981 then this is home territory for you. Human classes are limited to 14th level and demi-humans vary.

In addition to the classes (half the book more or less) we go into Equipment, mounts, hirelings and building strongholds. So yes, everything that concerns players from level 1 to level 14 or retirement.

This is one of the three required books by the players. The others are the Core Rules and then also Cleric and Magic-User spells (if they are playing one of those classes).

Like all the books in this series the layout is crisp, clean and a model of efficient use of words. From a User Experience point of view it is an absolute gem.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Genre Rules — Plain Text Edition
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Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Characters
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/25/2020 10:46:21

PDF and Hardcover, 48 pages

These are the rules to allow you to play in any sort of "Basic Fantasy" style game. Here get our character classes of Cleric, Fighter, Magic-User, and Theif and The three "demi-human" classes of Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling. If you are familiar with the Basic/Expert games of 1981 then this is home territory for you. Human classes are limited to 14th level and demi-humans vary.

In addition to the classes (half the book more or less) we go into Equipment, mounts, hirelings and building strongholds. So yes, everything that concerns players from level 1 to level 14 or retirement.

This is one of the three required books by the players. The others are the Core Rules and then also Cleric and Magic-User spells (if they are playing one of those classes).

Like all the books in this series the layout is crisp, clean and a model of efficient use of words. From a User Experience point of view it is an absolute gem.

The art is likewise fantastic with full color spreads throughout the book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Characters
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Old-School Essentials Core Rules — Plain Text Edition
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/25/2020 10:33:55

The Core Rules weighs in at 80 pages and gets to the very heart of the OSE line. The essential Essentials as it were. It covers Ability scores in general, sequences of play and all the basic rules needed. Combat is covered separately. Magic also gets a bit of coverage here in general terms and including how spells can be researched and magic items made.

The rules have been "cleaned up" from their obvious predecessors. The focus is on readability and playability here. like all of the OSE books every entry of a rule is presented on facing pages. So you open up the book and everything you need on the subject is right there. Only rarely will you need to turn the page.

In the original rules, it took a bit of digging to actually figure out how much a character moves. This was vastly improved in later editions of the game, but here it is very succinctly spelled out. Other rules are equally made clear.

Since the "Basic" and "Expert" rules are combined here there is an economy of word usage here. As much as I love my Basic and Expert games, sometimes you need to consult both books when a situation comes up. This book though is more than a handy index, it takes that notion from the B/XE Core Rules and expands it into a much more playable game.

The philosophy of the Core Rules is just that, everything you need to play regardless of the genre. Included in the boxed set (and an expected purchase) is the Classic Fantasy Genre Rules. This is what takes the Core Rules and makes it into a "Basic-era Fantasy Game". So in simpler language, this is Basic D&D. You do need a set of Genre Rules to be able to use the Core Rules, but there is enough there if you are an aspiring game designer to make up your own. Say Roaring 20s, or Space or Horror. Anything really.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Essentials Core Rules — Plain Text Edition
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Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Adventures
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/25/2020 10:33:20

PDF and Hardcover, 80 pages

The Core Rules weighs in at 80 pages and gets to the very heart of the OSE line. The essential Essentials as it were. It covers Ability scores in general, sequences of play and all the basic rules needed. Combat is covered separately. Magic also gets a bit of coverage here in general terms and including how spells can be researched and magic items made.

The rules have been "cleaned up" from their obvious predecessors. The focus is on readability and playability here. like all of the OSE books every entry of a rule is presented on facing pages. So you open up the book and everything you need on the subject is right there. Only rarely will you need to turn the page.

In the original rules, it took a bit of digging to actually figure out how much a character moves. This was vastly improved in later editions of the game, but here it is very succinctly spelled out. Other rules are equally made clear.

Since the "Basic" and "Expert" rules are combined here there is an economy of word usage here. As much as I love my Basic and Expert games, sometimes you need to consult both books when a situation comes up. This book though is more than a handy index, it takes that notion from the B/XE Core Rules and expands it into a much more playable game.

The philosophy of the Core Rules is just that, everything you need to play regardless of the genre. Included in the boxed set (and an expected purchase) is the Classic Fantasy Genre Rules. This is what takes the Core Rules and makes it into a "Basic-era Fantasy Game". So in simpler language, this is Basic D&D. You do need a set of Genre Rules to be able to use the Core Rules, but there is enough there if you are an aspiring game designer to make up your own. Say Roaring 20s, or Space or Horror. Anything really.

The book has some really, really great old-school feeling art as well. Just fantastic stuff really.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Adventures
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Old-School Essentials Referee's Screen Inserts
by Charles W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/01/2020 12:09:42

I bought this referree reference screen in conjunction with the plastic GM screen to insert them into. Couldn't be happier with both. The cardstock the OSE screen is printed on is thick and has some real heft to it, while the screen to insert them into seems to be of a sturdy build as well. It also has the added bonus of me being able to insert other homebrew screens that I've put together over the years. Very happy with this!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Essentials Referee's Screen Inserts
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Old-School Essentials Referee's Screen Inserts
by Joe M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/31/2020 12:36:14

Beutiful art! Well laid-out and relevent charts. My new go-to B/X screen!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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The B/X Rogue
by Aaron J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/16/2020 17:21:00

I love these rules. They take something that I always felt was rather arbitrary collection of unrelated skills and turned it into a coherent system. I've banned the original Assassin classes at my table, but I've allowed them back in via this B/X Rogue class because HERE they actually make some sense.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The B/X Rogue
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Old-School Essentials Referee's Screen Inserts
by Forrest S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/30/2019 16:21:48

Very helpful to have! No space is wasted. Just all the tables you need for quick reference.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Essentials Referee's Screen Inserts
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The Hole in the Oak
by Forrest S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/30/2019 16:05:06

Just finished running this adventure for my group using Old-School Essentials. It was our first experience with OSR style play and we had a blast! The adventure is fun and quirky. The layout is the high quality that is the staple of Necrotic Gnome products and it was very easy to get all the information you need with a quick glance. Highly reccomended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Hole in the Oak
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Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Rules Tome
by Øyvind H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/08/2019 07:57:17

This is a really great and unique product. Both as a playing aid and a look into the early most basics of D&D rules. It's extremely elegantly laid out, very easy to navigate and the artwork is stunning and oozing of that good old school vibe 100% and sparking imagination instead of spelling it out. A supreme basis for your own home brew D&D ruleset or as a All-In-One guide to run a purist old school D&D game. Highly recommended!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Rules Tome
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Old-School Essentials Referee's Screen Inserts
by Øyvind H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/08/2019 07:51:57

This screen is a work of art and invokes a really unique feeling you may or may not like. Personally I love it. The inside is tight, informative and well thought out. Highly recommended!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Essentials Referee's Screen Inserts
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Old-School Essentials Referee's Screen Inserts
by Jason A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/02/2019 19:54:24

This is my favorite DM screen, worth it for the Mullen art alone. Can't wait for a physical product.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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