Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Old School Essentials Genre Books Preview – Part 4

          I received many requests this week for several different features in the Old School Essentials Advance Fantasy Genre Rules. I decided to write the penultimate article in this series on some of the actual optional rules that are available in this new book. In general the optional rules are designed to add features that are common in AD&D, and make them BX/OSE compatible. One of the best features to this set of features is that you can pick and choose the ones you want and leave behind the ones that do not fit your table’s play style. This is just a few of the options that will be available, and I picked them to show the breadth of options that are included.

I need that statue.

Race/Class Combos

          One request I received was to see how OSE will handle the concept of races and class combinations. Instead of Race as Class, you can play a Drow Thief, or even a Drow Knight. I included the Drow specifically, because the Drow Race as Class was already released in a previous Kickstarter update, and you have this now to compare. It keeps the same abilities; Detect Secret Doors, Immunity to Ghoul Paralysis, Infravision, Innate Magic, Light Sensitivity, and Listen at Doors. Unlike the Race as Class, they get bonuses and negatives to DEX and CON respectively. You can also see that they have level restrictions, which do not exist in the normal classes. This gives the Race/Class combo a very classic feel that many people will recognize.
Drow Knights sound amazing.
Spellbooks and Spell Learning

  Let’s face it, INT while being Wizard’s primary attribute, does not do much for them. With these optional rules Wizards with a higher INT will get some real bonuses. First, wizard’s INT modifier will determine how many spells a wizard gets to have in their book at first level. Compared to straight BX, where you generally only get one spell, this can be a big advantage. Next, is wizards adding new spells to their books. Straight BX rules, the only way to get a new spell is to do research. Scrolls and other spellbooks were not an official source of new material. Spellbooks are considered coded, and no wizard can make sense of another wizard's code. Now, having a higher INT will allow wizards a higher percent chance to learn spells from these new sources. Cracking the code so to speak. I love this, I think anything that helps lower level wizards have a leg up is great in my book. I wrote an entire article on it a few months ago called Make Wizards Great Again about this very subject, check it out.

Happy INT has a purpose for wizards.
Weapon Proficiency

Some people want to add a touch of realism to their game and Weapon Proficiency rules are just for that person. Can a Fighter realistically use EVERY weapon that they come across? With these rules, no. The system divides characters into 3 categories, Martial, Semi-Martial, and Non-martial. Each of these categories get different amount of starting Weapon Proficiencies, and different amounts of new Weapon Proficiencies as levels go on. If a person tries to use a weapon that they do not have a Weapon Proficiency for they will suffer a penalty, which is also based on the three initial categories. Also, optionally Martial characters can specialized in one specific weapon, and this gives them a permanent +1/+1 bonus with that weapon. To me, this helps the Fighter in the sense that they become the class that can use the most weapons, as they should, and can also specialize in one to get a good bonus. I might not use the whole system, but I am thinking about allowing Fighters one weapon to specialize in at 1st level, and get the bonus. Just to make them the bad asses in melee in keeping with their reputation. 

Bringing back a classic
          I want to stress these are a small sampling of the new rules that are included in this book. If you are a backer, and have not added this book to your BackerKit, you should before the kit closes at the end of July. If you missed out on the Kickstarter, you will have the option to pre-order this and all the books from the Kickstarter right HERE.

         What do you think of the new rules? Are you excited to see more from the two expansion books? Make sure to comment below on things you would like to see, follow the blog for the last part, and share with other interested parties. Did you miss Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3?
          If you are looking for the creators of this great product please check out their website.

EDIT: This article proved to be very popular. I went ahead and created a Facebook group for the blog, if you are interested the link is here


  1. As much as I like this Weapon Specialization, it takes a little to correctly discern the characters who are martial/semi-martial/non-martial. The increase in Thac0, using martial as an example, is actually every 4 levels (you increase when you go to 4th level), not every 3 levels as stated. Took me a little cross-referencing to determine that.

  2. Yes, it doesn't take too much to figure out what is meant. It's one of those grammatical quandaries: how best to say it?

    Other thoughts: I note that the MU can increase their spell count but still cannot memorize more spells per day. So the additional spells in their spell book offer more variety only. If, for example, they begin with 3 first level spells instead of 1, they won't be able to memorize all of them until they reach Level 7!

    The new rules are helpful for the MU, but only a bit. They mainly save the character time and money on magical research.

  3. Well in the straight B/X variety, wizards cannot learn spells at all from other spellbooks or scrolls. This gives them more flexibility. Wizards have always only been able to casts X number of spells but might have X+Many in the book.