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Author Topic: "3.x Style" OSR Games?  (Read 976 times)

ForgottenF

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"3.x Style" OSR Games?
« on: August 05, 2022, 10:11:17 PM »
I'm considering starting up a new table game, and am looking for system recommendations. I'm only agreeing to do it if I can go OSR, but most of the players who are going to be in it have only played 3.5 or 5e DND before. I don't want to culture shock them too hard, so I'm looking for a game which will have a 3.x feel, but with OSR simplicity. Chief criteria are:

-AD&D-esque race and class options
-Ascending AC
-Hard-copy books available, and not too expensive (this is going to be a home game, and I don't like laptops at the table)

So Dungeon Crawl Classics is out because of not having enough class options, and Low Fantasy Gaming is out because the printed book is too expensive. My top contenders are Castles & Crusades and Fantastic Heroes & Witchery, but I wanted to ask if anyone knew of other options I should check out?

Thanks.

Almost_Useless

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Re: "3.x Style" OSR Games?
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2022, 10:15:44 PM »
Castles & Crusades was the first one that came to mind.  It seems like it would check all your boxes.

Jam The MF

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Re: "3.x Style" OSR Games?
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2022, 10:47:07 PM »
I first thought of Castles & Crusades, while reading your opening post.  Then, I thought there have to be some spin off games that were heavily flavored by 3E / 3.5E?  I don't know that 3E clones are considered OSR by purists, but the 3E framework was spun into all kinds of games.

How about the Basic Fantasy RPG?  The Core rules are available super cheap in paperback, and still cheap in hardback.  Ascending AC.  OSR.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2022, 11:09:30 PM by Jam The MF »
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Svenhelgrim

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Re: "3.x Style" OSR Games?
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2022, 12:00:30 AM »
Consider Old School Essentials: Advanced Fantasy.  Has all the races and classes from AD&D, except the monk. Has the option of ascending armor class and base attack bonus.  They are on the stats for every monster.  Easy to modify if you want to add shit like feats.  Based on Moldvay/Cook B/X D&D so easy rules. 

Spells are simple affairs, mostly one paragraph descriptions…mostly. But you can import spells from AD&D and give them to the players as treasure, scrolls or a captured spellbook. Or not, if you want to keep things simple.

All the monsters from old D&D are compatible, so if you have old monster manuals, fiend folio, creature crucible, or any of the OSR monster books you can plug and play.

All the numbers like Attack bonuses, Armor classes, plusses on magic weapons, and player character hit points, are kept to a minimum (Fighters, barbarians, paladins and rangers get d8, clerics and druids, d6, theives, assassins, magic users, and illusionists:d4) and they stop rolling at level 9, and just get a flat number (+1, or +2) each level after that. 

Only 14 class levels, so make each level count!

Hardcover books are $40. For Player’s Tome, $40 Referee’s Tome and when you buy the book, the .pdf’s come with it. If you buy .pdr’s only they are $15 per book.

Frankly if you have old D&D books you only need the Player’s Tome for classes and spells. I only bought the Ref’s Tome to support the product, and because I am a hopeless collector of game books.

ForgottenF

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Re: "3.x Style" OSR Games?
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2022, 12:43:13 AM »
How about the Basic Fantasy RPG?  The Core rules are available super cheap in paperback, and still cheap in hardback.  Ascending AC.  OSR.

I think Basic Fantasy would be too basic for these players. In the past I've always found that the 4 class limitation is a hard sell for people that are used to new school gaming. Thanks, though!

ForgottenF

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Re: "3.x Style" OSR Games?
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2022, 01:02:51 AM »
Consider Old School Essentials: Advanced Fantasy.  Has all the races and classes from AD&D, except the monk. Has the option of ascending armor class and base attack bonus.  They are on the stats for every monster.  Easy to modify if you want to add shit like feats.  Based on Moldvay/Cook B/X D&D so easy rules. 

Spells are simple affairs, mostly one paragraph descriptions…mostly. But you can import spells from AD&D and give them to the players as treasure, scrolls or a captured spellbook. Or not, if you want to keep things simple.

All the monsters from old D&D are compatible, so if you have old monster manuals, fiend folio, creature crucible, or any of the OSR monster books you can plug and play.

All the numbers like Attack bonuses, Armor classes, plusses on magic weapons, and player character hit points, are kept to a minimum (Fighters, barbarians, paladins and rangers get d8, clerics and druids, d6, theives, assassins, magic users, and illusionists:d4) and they stop rolling at level 9, and just get a flat number (+1, or +2) each level after that. 

Only 14 class levels, so make each level count!

Hardcover books are $40. For Player’s Tome, $40 Referee’s Tome and when you buy the book, the .pdf’s come with it. If you buy .pdr’s only they are $15 per book.

Frankly if you have old D&D books you only need the Player’s Tome for classes and spells. I only bought the Ref’s Tome to support the product, and because I am a hopeless collector of game books.

That sounds like being a possibility. Thanks, I'll give it a look over.

Krugus

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Re: "3.x Style" OSR Games?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2022, 01:52:47 AM »
Consider Old School Essentials: Advanced Fantasy.  Has all the races and classes from AD&D, except the monk. Has the option of ascending armor class and base attack bonus.  They are on the stats for every monster.  Easy to modify if you want to add shit like feats.  Based on Moldvay/Cook B/X D&D so easy rules. 

Spells are simple affairs, mostly one paragraph descriptions…mostly. But you can import spells from AD&D and give them to the players as treasure, scrolls or a captured spellbook. Or not, if you want to keep things simple.

All the monsters from old D&D are compatible, so if you have old monster manuals, fiend folio, creature crucible, or any of the OSR monster books you can plug and play.

All the numbers like Attack bonuses, Armor classes, plusses on magic weapons, and player character hit points, are kept to a minimum (Fighters, barbarians, paladins and rangers get d8, clerics and druids, d6, theives, assassins, magic users, and illusionists:d4) and they stop rolling at level 9, and just get a flat number (+1, or +2) each level after that. 

Only 14 class levels, so make each level count!

Hardcover books are $40. For Player’s Tome, $40 Referee’s Tome and when you buy the book, the .pdf’s come with it. If you buy .pdr’s only they are $15 per book.

Frankly if you have old D&D books you only need the Player’s Tome for classes and spells. I only bought the Ref’s Tome to support the product, and because I am a hopeless collector of game books.

I have to second Old School Essentials.   I'm moving my homebrew world over to use the OSE as its background engine.  Its easy to customize your own races & classes (or Race as class).   Counting the default races & classes in the book I'll have 14 races and 22 classes ready to go for when we make the jump.   Just finishing up on my magic system overhaul and then I'll need to find a way to TPK the players in the current campaign :P


Plotinus

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Re: "3.x Style" OSR Games?
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2022, 04:06:09 AM »
Worlds Without Number is worth considering, though I am not sure it checks all your boxes.

  • It has a very modern feel to it, but still maintains OSR-compatible math.
  • It has lots of character customization, including "foci" that are very much like 3e feats.
  • I believe it has various "half classes" designed to be combined, leading to a large number of class combinations or built-in multiclasses.

On the other hand:

  • The hardcover book is quite expensive. Though if you buy the offset print version from Kevin Crawford's website, at least you are paying a fortune for a very nice book with a sewn binding, as opposed to Low Fantasy Gaming, where I believe you are paying through the nose for a crappy POD book.


Eric Diaz

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Re: "3.x Style" OSR Games?
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2022, 11:48:15 AM »
I'm considering starting up a new table game, and am looking for system recommendations. I'm only agreeing to do it if I can go OSR, but most of the players who are going to be in it have only played 3.5 or 5e DND before. I don't want to culture shock them too hard, so I'm looking for a game which will have a 3.x feel, but with OSR simplicity. Chief criteria are:

-AD&D-esque race and class options
-Ascending AC
-Hard-copy books available, and not too expensive (this is going to be a home game, and I don't like laptops at the table)

So Dungeon Crawl Classics is out because of not having enough class options, and Low Fantasy Gaming is out because the printed book is too expensive. My top contenders are Castles & Crusades and Fantastic Heroes & Witchery, but I wanted to ask if anyone knew of other options I should check out?

Thanks.

LFG is not expensive on Lulu, IIRC. It is the "deluxe" version that is expensive. It is a good game.

Fantastic Heroes & Witchery is also very cool.

Another one that comes to mind is Blood & Treasure 2nd Edition, which is apparently on Lulu too for 25 bucks. Awesome game, very complete, lots of classes and options.

https://www.lulu.com/shop/john-stater/blood-treasure-second-edition-rulebook/hardcover/product-22841885.html?page=1&pageSize=4

If you go with a B/X clone (OSE, LL) I'm currently writing a 30ish page book of feats (about 70) and archetypes to give modern-D&D style options for players. PDF only, unfortunately, but should be easy to print or just writing down the feats you use on the character sheet. Publishing it on DTRPG hopefully within this month.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2022, 11:51:04 AM by Eric Diaz »
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finarvyn

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Re: "3.x Style" OSR Games?
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2022, 11:50:00 AM »
I first thought of Castles & Crusades, while reading your opening post.
Yeah, i like your initial thought and agree that Castles & Crusades would be a good bet. C&C is sort of "3E meets AD&D" and provides a lot of old school feel but built on the 3E SRD chassis. The older printings are fairly cheap and feature B&W artwork, if that's your thing. The newest printings are more zippy in appearance with color artwork. The rules are essentially the same no matter which printing, so players could pick and choose their favorite cover or style or whatever. If you go with C&C you can get by with the Player's Handbook and Monsters & Treasure and you really don't need the CK Guide much (we played for years before the CKG even came out!) if that helps. Also, C&C has a lot of adventures written for it, or you can do AD&D stuff with minimal effort. (Mostly converting the ascending-descending AC thing. I play most of the monsters from the Monster Manual straight without any conversions.)
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weirdguy564

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Re: "3.x Style" OSR Games?
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2022, 12:43:22 PM »
How about a game like D&D, but is sci fi.  Specifically Star Wars. 

Star Adventurer. 

It’s also pretty cheap.  A PDF is just $4, and the paper book is $9.   

It is classic D&D rules with six stats and ascending armor class.  However, “spells” are now done with Difficulty Checks, and most powers are stuff from Star Wars like telekinesis, or mind reading.  Fail the check and you lose that power for a few hours.  There are no slots.  Just use it until you lose it. 

Leveling up is also unusual.  Instead of a fixed level chart where you get X at level-2, and Y at level-3, this game uses a random table.  We all could be the exact same class, but I get hit points  for level 5, and you get a skill increase, and our friend gets 2 actions per round. 

Beyond that it is a pretty normal D&D game that’s covers Star Wars. 

The main downside is the lack of any GM material.  Nothing is explained, not even what the six ability score acronyms like DEX and CHA.  There are no pre generated baddies or critters.   I’ve even run into a few things myself, and I like to think I know what I’m doing.  I didn’t know you roll those random tables for leveling up even at character creation, or that the reason that Charisma is used for many savings throws because it represents the closest thing to “luck” that you have, and to also prevent it from being a stat nobody cares about.  I found that out in author interviews.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2022, 03:42:41 PM by weirdguy564 »
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RebelSky

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Re: "3.x Style" OSR Games?
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2022, 01:30:21 PM »
For the criteria of a game that has some of the OSR simplicity while having character customization depth of 3.x gaming leads to only a few options, and OSE and Basic Fantasy isn't it.

ACKS and both Worlds/Stars Without Number fit much better this criteria... But the OP also mentioned 5e as familiar ground for the players so if the group wants a different flavor of 5e than there is the new Stargate SG1 rpg (this new SG rpg is all about character customization as the game is classless after level 5), or Ruins of Symbaroum (which is actually brilliant and written to play more old school).

Ruins of Symbaroum does things right with it's adaptation to the 5e engine. It takes it and adapts the 5e chassis to fit the world of Symbaroum instead of the other way around while still being familiar to anyone who knows how 5e plays. You only need the 5e SRD to play it, so you don't even need any of the printed D&D books. It's a lot more lethal than your standard D&D 5e game too.

But the game that could fit best is Forbidden Lands, Free Leagues hexcrawl fantasy game. It is old school in spirit while using the Year Zero engine. For $40 you get a box set with two hardback books and is probably one of the most economical RPGs available right now. It has all the familiar trappings of your OSR gaming with a different system.

King Tyranno

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Re: "3.x Style" OSR Games?
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2022, 01:41:27 PM »
Pathfinder 1E was basically a 3.5 OSR retroclone from before it was cool. I liked it a lot at the time. Other than that, Worlds Without Number is great and OSRIC might be good for you if you don't mind 1E AD&D.

It's a shame your group don't want DCC. That's another great game I'd recommend otherwise.

ForgottenF

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Re: "3.x Style" OSR Games?
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2022, 02:22:10 PM »

Another one that comes to mind is Blood & Treasure 2nd Edition, which is apparently on Lulu too for 25 bucks. Awesome game, very complete, lots of classes and options.

https://www.lulu.com/shop/john-stater/blood-treasure-second-edition-rulebook/hardcover/product-22841885.html?page=1&pageSize=4

If you go with a B/X clone (OSE, LL) I'm currently writing a 30ish page book of feats (about 70) and archetypes to give modern-D&D style options for players. PDF only, unfortunately, but should be easy to print or just writing down the feats you use on the character sheet. Publishing it on DTRPG hopefully within this month.

I think the players I have in mind will probably respond better to the AD&D feel than they will to the B/X one, but Blood and Treasure looks very much like the kind of thing I was aiming for. I wouldn't mind a more involved skill system, but I could always patch in the progression tables from AS+SH. Thanks, I'll put it in the "examine more closely" basket. Thanks for that recommendation. I had never heard of it.