Questions tagged [osr]

OSR stands for "Old School Renaissance." It is an umbrella term encompassing pre-D&D 3.0 versions of Dungeons & Dragons. The various older editions are closely related enough that an answer for one is often applicable to other editions.

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What's the deal with alignment languages?

In early D&D, there was the concept of an "alignment language." The original "little brown book" D&D says only: Law, Chaos and Neutrality also have common languages spoken by each ...
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64 votes
11 answers
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Overview of D&D retro-clones

I'm getting more and more interested in the D&D retro-clones. I keep seeing various names thrown around, like Labyrinth Lords, Swords and Wizardry, Lycanthropes &… something else starting with ...
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61 votes
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How to randomly generate a village or town for old school D&D game?

There is a lot of material written on random generation of dungeons for play. But inevitably characters have to return from the to spend those ill-gotten gains. And where else but a nearby ...
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58 votes
3 answers
14k views

What is the purpose of old-school D&D class level limitations? [closed]

When I played 1E and 2E, racial level limits was one of the first rules we decided to ignore. We decided that it would prevent us from playing (say) an Elven fighter for as long as the party might ...
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38 votes
13 answers
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How do I get around players losing interest during mapping?

For the past couple months, my D&D hack game has been experiencing the same persistent issue. While all my players seem to have fun during the exploring/debating/combat/social parts of the game, ...
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36 votes
17 answers
5k views

How to handle character death in adventures with save-or-dies

I am currently running an LotFP adventure using D&D Next, the amazing Better than any man. In SevenSidedDie' s great answer to a previous post of mine he touched upon philosophical differences ...
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33 votes
10 answers
6k views

What defines the "old school renaissance"?

I'm aware that the old school renaissance (OSR) is all about hearkening back to old versions of D&D and the play styles of the 70's and 80's, but what characteristics really define this movement? ...
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24 votes
4 answers
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How can players learn the nature of magic items?

I'm running a sandbox campaign with Adventurer Conqueror King System (essentially Moldvay-Cook Basic/Expert D&D). My players are starting to find probably-magic items during their expeditions and ...
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24 votes
2 answers
5k views

Where did exceptional ("percentile") strength come from?

I run a B/X game for a few guys, most of whom have only played 3E before. It leads to a lot of talk about the change in power level between basic and 3E. One of the things that came up was the ...
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20 votes
9 answers
1k views

Can you use a Spelljammer ship to get to Krynn?

Following on from this (can-you-use-a-spelljammer-ship-to-get-to-ravenloft) question, I seem to remember that Krynn is similarly impossible to get to, mainly for plot reasons since no character on ...
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20 votes
4 answers
2k views

Was Original D&D an Historical Wargame?

At the dawn of roleplaying, the Castle & Crusade Society and Lake Geneva Tactical Studies Association (LGTSA) focused on Medieval Britain, and produced the Chainmail tabletop wargame rules with a ...
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20 votes
7 answers
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What happens in adventure locations between adventures?

I'm running a sandbox with several adventure locations that have been visited, but not entirely cleared, and ones that have been left open for new residents to arrive. I'm looking for a method for ...
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20 votes
2 answers
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What is the most reasonable conversion rate for a 5e "Gold for XP" house rule?

I am thinking about using a OSR-like XP for Gold rule for my next 5e campaign. Instead of handing out Combat or Quest XP, I want to use the following rule: Players can purchase XP / a level when ...
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18 votes
8 answers
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What adventures are there out there that would fit in this old school campaign?

In a few weeks I'm starting a game of old school D&D for a group of fairly new players, and I'd like to be able to have a few published modules to drop on my hex map, so I can mix it up a bit and ...
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17 votes
9 answers
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How do you optimize in 1st Edition AD&D? [closed]

1st Edition Dungeons and Dragons gives its players a few strategic options during character creation, many of which are restricted by randomly generated attributes. With this in mind, what are some ...
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17 votes
3 answers
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How to determine PC genetics in D&D for the purpose of creating 2nd generation PC's [closed]

I remember watching "The Dungeons & Dragons Experience" and one of the people featured in the documentary mentioned how him and his friends had developed a way to blend and randomize attributes of ...
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17 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the average number of sales of adventures (modules) and adventure settings (hexcrawls) for OSR publishers?

I came across this post on the blog Monsters & Manuals about the campaign setting Yoon-Suin and its units sold since being published. It's interesting to read for someone who's entertaining the ...
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17 votes
2 answers
1k views

Who or what first said to "don't name monsters, describe them"?

There is an interesting GMing principle that more or less states that a GM should only ever describe monsters, and let the players name them. There may also have been mention of creating a sense of ...
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16 votes
6 answers
9k views

In early D&D, why would chainmail ever be preferred over plate armor?

In early D&D, both chainmail and plate armor were considered metal armor, and to slow the wearer to 60' per turn. Chainmail cost 40gp, and plate armor 60gp. Their encumbrance was 400 or 500 coins ...
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16 votes
5 answers
4k views

How do I remove a poorly-designed rule without my players feeling cheated?

(This question is inspired by by Neil Slater's answer here: What are the acceptable limits for questions using the probability tag?. Other related questions are: Rules for increasing ability scores in ...
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16 votes
2 answers
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Why can't a Cleric use a sling?

So by the book 1st Edition AD&D, clerics can't use a sling. Other than game balance (it essentially means that other than the odd thrown hammer clerics have no ranged weapon ability which further ...
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15 votes
4 answers
6k views

How can I convert D&D 3.5 to 2nd Edition or older AD&D?

I have accumulated a lot of D&D 3.5 modules and adventure settings, but I play older editions of the game. What is the best way to convert these to an older edition, say AD&D 2nd edition? Is ...
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15 votes
4 answers
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What kind of rulings predated ability or skill checks in old school D&D?

As I grow more weary of 4E and more nostalgic for my days playing 2E, I'm spending more and more time reading the old rules and the retroclones. I'm having a great time. One of the things that I ...
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15 votes
6 answers
2k views

Using 2x on d12 instead of x on a d6 in OD&D/Classic D&D/Clones

A staple of of early D&D is the "1 in 6" or "2 in 6" chance for surprise, finding secret doors, and so on. Recently, some of the retro-clones, mostly noticeably Lamentations of the Flame Princess ...
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15 votes
1 answer
2k views

How do I learn to run games in the OSR/old school D&D “Way”, as an experienced 3e/5e DM?

I'm a seasoned D&D 3e/5e DM, and I'm interested in learning how to run an old-school game. The trouble is, the 3e/5e "way" is trained into me (e.g. I'm very used to calling for skill checks to ...
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14 votes
6 answers
3k views

Remembering to add tracks and signs of wandering monsters

When refereeing OSR sandbox game (using whatever rules; key parts are player-driven sandbox play with neutral referee, and rules as negotiable representation of fiction) I use random encounters: ...
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14 votes
3 answers
12k views

AC differences between AD&D 1E and Basic D&D?

I understand that there are differences between the way Armor Class works in AD&D (first edition) and Basic D&D (the boxed sets, Rules Cyclopedia, etc.), but I don't have the books to check it ...
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13 votes
4 answers
3k views

What are the advantages and disadvantages of oldschool D&D combat initiative?

Old D&D and D&D3E/4E treat initiative and combat order differently like so: D&D 3.5 / 4E: All participants roll individual initiative, once only at the start of combat. Each player takes ...
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13 votes
5 answers
24k views

Are there rules for increasing ability scores after character creation in Basic D&D?

Are there any rules (house or otherwise) for increasing ability scores after character creation in Basic D&D or any of its retro clones? (Other than magic items or wishes.) When we generated ...
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13 votes
4 answers
434 views

Megadungeon or modules for a weekend of play?

I've been having gaming/camping weekends with some friends and we've only played Call of Cthulhu so far, using modules. This time I plan on running an OSRIC/1e game, and would like to run the ...
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13 votes
3 answers
4k views

What are the differences between Labyrinth Lord and Lamentations of the Flame Princess?

I'm planning to use OSR modules like Caverns of Thracia, Keep on the Borderlands (and new material also as Vornheim) and so on in a open table project I'm running. I'm not sure whether using ...
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12 votes
4 answers
2k views

Megadungeon: How often to restock?

I am running an episodic megadungeon using Pathfinder rules, with XP only for found treasure (1 GP = 1XP). Now, I know to restock my dungeon after the PCs traveled an area. I have a restocking system ...
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12 votes
1 answer
560 views

At what point does a trap on a lock spring?

So a thief finds a chest which is trapped and locked (though he knows neither of these things at this point). He fails his find traps roll and assumes / risks that it's not trapped. At what point ...
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12 votes
5 answers
1k views

Has anyone released Castle of the Mad Archmage upper levels?

I'd really like to run COTMA, but for some reason the idea of coming up with the ruins and level 1 kind of intimidate me. I'd like to see some examples that I could either use as written or just use ...
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12 votes
6 answers
851 views

Is there a term for OSR games which are not retro clones?

The Old School Renaissance / Revival boasts many retro clones, especially of various D&D editions: from Swords & Wizardry for OD&D, through Blueholme for Holmes Basic, to OSRIC for AD&...
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12 votes
1 answer
2k views

Concealed door vs Secret door

In AD&D 1st edition, what is the difference between a concealed door and a secret door?
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12 votes
1 answer
1k views

What's the big appeal to Majestic Wilderlands?

I've been seeing a lot about this setting lately, and although I've looked over some of the material, I don't feel like I "get" it. That is by no means a criticism--I'm pretty interested, but it ...
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12 votes
1 answer
644 views

Is OD&D faster than D&D 3e at low levels, and why?

I've never played OD&D, AD&D or retro-clones, but fans of those games often say they run much faster than D&D 3e and 4e, especially to resolve combat. However, it's my experience that D&...
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12 votes
1 answer
533 views

Is there a formula behind S&W White Box classes?

I intend to create my own classes for my current Swords & Wizardry campaign. I've read White Lies Admin Toolkit which deconstructs their own classes, but when I tried to run the same formulas to ...
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11 votes
1 answer
2k views

Does D&D 5e have rules for gaining experience from gold?

I have read in some of the Old-School Basic D&D incarnations that characters are awarded more XP for the gold value of the treasure they find than they gain by defeating enemies. I like how this ...
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10 votes
5 answers
3k views

Good source book for wilderness/road encounters? [closed]

I'm a GM and like for my players to have several interesting encounters when making long road journeys between cities. I especially enjoy when the party has options of how to deal with what they ...
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10 votes
3 answers
297 views

Rules for delaying action?

Does Advanced Dungeons & Dragons have rules for holding/delaying action in combat?
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10 votes
1 answer
399 views

How many spells does the Magic-User have in their spellbook in S&W Core?

In Swords & Wizardry Complete, the rulebook states that [...] a beginning Magic-User’s spellbook contains as many of the eight basic first level spells as the neophyte character can know [based ...
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  • 428
10 votes
1 answer
363 views

How to design an introductory adventure heavily based on exploration and interaction with the environment? [closed]

Tower of the Stargazer and B1:In Search of the Unknown are two of my favorite introductory modules. The main reason is their focus on exploration; in particular, they feature extensive possibilities ...
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9 votes
2 answers
365 views

If OSR modules are unbalanced by design, why do they often have recommended level brackets?

Unbalanced encounters is one of the staples of the OSR/old school modules. However, most of them have some kind of recommendation regarding PC levels and/or numbers. For example, this extensive list ...
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  • 141
9 votes
2 answers
406 views

Seeking a specific D&D retro-clone

I'm fairly sure this game exists, but I can't figure out for the life of me which one it is. I know it's not Darker Dungeons, Labyrinth Lord, or LotFP, because I just checked them before posting this. ...
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9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Where can I find a database (sqlite, csv, etc) of Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set character and monster data?

I'm writing an engine for Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (Red and Blue Box) First Edition (1E) in Python and would like to be able to read from an existing database of what is in the players and ...
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8 votes
2 answers
629 views

Can a translation of a text declared as OGC be declared as Product Identity?

Le't say I make a translation of an rpg originally published in English (in this case a retroclone of D&D BX). The original game was licenced under OGL. Under the Open Game Content section it is ...
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8 votes
3 answers
499 views

Old school dungeon with undead toads

I remember reading a dungeon that involved either undead or vampiric toads as the final encounter. Now I can't find it again. Does anyone know what it was? I know it was from one of the OSR-type ...
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  • 81
8 votes
2 answers
846 views

How can the GM go diceless in classic D&D?

For those unfamiliar with the concept semi-diceless gaming is only having the players roll the dice. It's used in Cinematic Unisystem and the old (and now free) game Legendary Lives. I'd like to ...
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