Dec 11, 2019

Advent Calendar - 11th Wormhole

Behind today's advent wormhole, you'll find THE gaming classic - just as you knew it and at the same time, as you never encountered it before ...

Gavin Norman
Old School Essentials - Rules Tome
Old School Essentials - Boxed Set

necrotic gnome productions Euro 35,00/60,00
There’s tons of role-playing games that adapt one or the other early set of D&D rules, either tweaking them only a little (like Swords&Wizardry or Labyrinth Lord) or taking them as a starting point and inspiration (like Beyond the Wall or Dungeon Crawl Classics).
And then there’s Old School Essentials, the Old School Rosetta Stone: the game that recreates the exact rules from the Basic- and Expert-Sets from the early 80s in a so much more conclusive and accessible manner that even I, someone who’s been eyeing the so-called Old School Renaissance movement very sceptical, am now convinced of the elegance at the system’s heart. Gavin Norman doesn’t take anything away from this classic game where elves and dwarves were character classes right besides thieves and warriors. He doesn’t add anything, either (with the exception of introducing the Base Attack Bonus as an alternative to the to-hit tables, but that really isn’t a rule change, it is just a different way to express the original rules). What he does is to re-organize it all in the most sensible way. Most of the rules’ subsystems are presented on double-page spreads; so, e.g., if you go seafaring or chasing an enemy over long distances, you’ll find all the special rules for that on one double-page.
Old School Essentials will open up the door to everything Old School Renaissance for you: It’ll give you a deeper understanding of the beginnings of rpg’s in general, and it will allow you to make use of all the wonderfully weird OSR material out there (including Gavin Norman’s own darkly whimsical setting Dolmenwood, which has been partly published in his Wormskin magazines and will probably be out as its own supplement in late 2020). It is also beautifully illustrated, evoking that playful gonzo appeal of the Old School. And it comes in two formats: You can either get the hardover Rules Tome for 35 Euros or the boxed set that has the same content spread out over five books (which is much more handy for actually using them at the gaming table) for 60 Euros.
If you have a friend who’s running the current edition of D&D or Pathfinder, seriously, consider this for her or him. Even if they’ll end up sticking with their modern ruleset, they will get tons of inspiration from the Old School perspective.

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