OSRIC: Old School Reference and Index Compilation

Text © Stuart Marshall 2006-08 or contributing author 2006-08 and used with permission—see the Open Game License, Section 15

Illustrations and maps © respective artists 2006-08, used with permission

“OSRIC”, “Osric” and “O.S.R.I.C.” are trademarks of Matthew Finch and Stuart Marshall

Final Author and Editor in Chief: Stuart Marshall

Initial Author: Matthew Finch

Initial Developers: David M. Prata and Allan T. Grohe Jr

Contributing Authors and Editors: John Adams, Nick Bogan, James Boney, Chris Cain, Floyd Canaday, Mike Davison, Mark Evans, Trent Foster, Vincent Frugé, Jeremy Goehring, Chris Hopkins, B. Scot Hoover, Fabrice Philibert-Caillat, David M. Prata, Daniel Proctor, Robert Ross, Bill Silvey, Matthew James Stanham, Matthew Steward

Illustrations: Mark Allen, James Wesley Blair, John Bingham, Jason Braun, Matthew Finch, Edward Kann, Peter Mullen, Fabrice Philibert-Caillat, Andy “Atom” Taylor, Brian Thomas

Maps: Sean Stone

Design, Layout, and eBook Conversion: James D. Kramer

Cover Illustrations: Hugh Vogt & Mark Ahmed
color application by James D. Kramer

eBook testers: [YOUR NAME HERE!!]

The authors would like to express their sincere gratitude, admiration and respect to Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, who originally created this hobby and devised many of the algorithms used in this game; and to the regulars at the Knights & Knaves Alehouse for much support.

Legal Note: The authors of this document are not affiliated in any way with Wizards of the Coast, Inc. (WOTC); any use of a trademark of WOTC or any other party is unauthorised, inadvertent, and is not intended to infringe upon the intellectual property rights of such parties.

Nothing in this document is to be construed as legal advice.
For legal questions you should retain a solicitor or attorney to advise you.


Explanatory Notes and Definitions of Terms

The authors envisage that OSRIC will be used primarily by people who are already familiar with 1e-compatible systems, so we have not burdened the following text with long passages of explanation concerning matters probably already familiar to our target audience. Nevertheless, we cannot assume that everyone who uses OSRIC will already be familiar with every term that we use, so we have provided brief explanations of some of the terminology here.

Readers who are familiar with 1e-compatible systems will probably not need to refer to this section and should skip on ahead to the next.

Attribute; (also called: Ability Score; Characteristic)—defined in paragraph 1, page 1.

Character; A character is an individual featuring in the game. Each player controls one character, save the GM, who controls all the characters not controlled by a player.

Class; Characters in OSRIC-compatible games frequently have special skills and talents. (This is always the case with PCs.) These special skills and talents are summarised by describing the individual as a member of a particular character class—“class” for short. See Chapter I for a detailed explanation of character classes.

Demi-human; Demi-humans are human-like creatures generally of good alignment or well-disposed towards humankind. They include elves, dwarfs, gnomes, halflings, and other similar creatures.

Dice and notation; Game and hobby stores often sell dice with varying numbers of sides. If there is no such game or hobby store near you, you can also order them from distributors such as Chessex ( You will need a set of such dice in order to play OSRIC.

The abbreviation “d” means “die” or “dice”, always printed in conjunction with a subsequent number indicating the number of sides (hence, a traditional cube-shaped dice with six sides is called a d6). A number appearing before the “d” indicates how many dice are to be rolled (and if there is no number, it should be assumed to be 1)—hence, “3d8” means “roll three eight-sided dice and sum the total.”

You will need at least one d4, d6, d8, d10, d12 and d20 to play OSRIC, and the authors recommend at least one complete set per player. The special notation “d%” means “roll 2d10 and treat the first number as tens and the second number as units”, thus generating a random number from 1 to 100. (If both dice show “0”, this is interpreted as a roll of “100”.)

GM; The Game Master (“GM”) does not normally have a particular character of his or her own. Instead, he or she is responsible for controlling the remainder of the game universe apart from the player characters. The GM has ultimate power over the game, including the ability to waive or rewrite the rules, and also controls all the Non-Player Characters (“NPCs”—see below) in the game universe. The GM’s job is to ensure that the game is entertaining, yet difficult and demanding, for the players.

Humanoid; Humanoids are human-like creatures generally of evil alignment or ill-disposed towards humankind, for example, orcs, goblins or hobgoblins.

Level; This term has a wide variety of meanings in OSRIC-compatible games. It can refer to a character’s progression on his or her experience chart, to a monster’s power relative to character level, to the relative power of a spell, or to a particular depth into a dungeon.

Monster; “Monster” is sometimes used interchangeably with “NPC”—thus, a wandering “monster” table might include helpful creatures and humans or humanoids. Generally, “NPC” means a human or humanoid character while “monster” could mean any creature the players might encounter.

Player; In an OSRIC-compatible game, one participant must be the Game Master (see below). All the others are referred to as “players”. This term is sometimes used to distinguish between a player and his or her character.

“PC” and “NPC”; “PC” is an abbreviation for “Player Character” and refers to a character controlled by a player. “NPC” is an abbreviation for “Non-Player Character” and refers to a character controlled by the GM.

Prime Requisite; The Prime Requisites for a character class are those Attributes which affect its experience point bonus, e.g. strength for fighters, intelligence for magic users, and so on. Classes such as assassin which have no experience point bonus use the most logical attribute. (In the case of assassins, this would be dexterity.)

Race; This refers to a character’s species (rather than his or her ethnic origin, which is irrelevant to OSRIC-compatible games except in very unusual circumstances). OSRIC-compatible games feature a wide variety of non-human races, some of which (such as elves or dwarfs) can be PCs, but the majority of which (such as dragons) are confined to NPCs only. See Chapter I for a detailed description of the various nonhuman PC races.

To Hit and Saving throw tables; The numbers indicated on the to hit and saving throw tables are the scores required (or greater) on a d20 for the creature to hit its target or save against an attack of the type indicated.

Weapon Proficiencies; Each character class may only have a certain number of “Weapons of proficiency” at first level. All classes gain additional proficiencies at regular intervals. The weapon proficiencies for each specific class are described in the rules entry pertaining to that class.

The Weapon of proficiency must be an individual weapon type (e.g. “Longsword” rather than “Sword”). If a character is fighting with a weapon with which he or she is not proficient, the Non-proficiency Penalty is applied to his or her rolls “to hit”.

Preamble: OSRIC—First Edition Reborn

Much has happened since my friend and colleague Matt Finch wrote the paragraphs below (the ones entitled “Introduction and Purpose”). I think it’s fair to say that Matt wrote these words in fear and hope—fear that the document might not be well-received by the gaming public, balanced by the hope that we would achieve what we always intended: a revival of First Edition in print. I certainly believe that Matt’s fears have been allayed, and his hopes wildly exceeded.

I write this now with the advantage of considerable hindsight, and I can say that OSRIC’s success has gone beyond anything we ever expected. I certainly never expected such demand for a print edition! And neither did I expect to receive so much help in drafting it.

This document is a collaborative work from more than twenty artists, editors and authors, who have given freely of their time and expertise to bring it to you. I am immensely proud of it.

There have been challenges along the way, and doubtless there are more to come, but nevertheless, OSRIC has reached the stage where I feel I can truly describe it as: First Edition Reborn. I hope there remain new heights to reach.

I cannot thank everyone I ought to thank, or this book would be much longer. Writing OSRIC has been such a huge project, involving so many people, that it is quite beyond me to express my gratitude to every single one of you. So I hope you will forgive me for simply saying, if you contributed to OSRIC in some way— large or small, with advice, suggestions, or merely a kindly word of encouragement—then, thank you!

— Stuart Marshall

Introduction and Purpose

This document represents a compilation of rules for old school-style fantasy gaming. The book is intended to reproduce underlying rules used in the late 1970s to early 1980s, which being rules are not subject to copyright, without using any of the copyrighted “artistic presentation” originally used to convey those rules. In creating this new “artistic presentation,” we have made use of the System Reference Document produced by Wizards of the Coast (“WOTC”).

The reason for going back to square one and restating the underlying rules is simple. It allows old school publishers (both commercial and fans) to reference the rules set forth in this document without making reference to any protected trademark. (This document is trademarked, but the use of the trademark is permitted under the terms of the OSRIC Open License—see below). By using this document in tandem with the Open Game License (“OGL”) of WOTC, a publisher should be able to create products for old-school fantasy gaming and clearly refer to this particular rule set without violating the terms of the OGL.

Thus, in many ways, this entire book is nothing more than a tool for old-school writers, a stepping stone to put the original, non-copyrightable portion of the old-school rules into an open license, as permitted by law. Great pains have been taken to ensure that we have used none of the original artistic presentation, for we have the greatest possible respect for the authors who originally created these games.

We considered the non-copyrightable rules to be the numerical algorithms that would be in a computer version of the game (most precedent in the area of game copyrights has come from computer games, not RPGs), and have included these and the relations between the results of the formulae. “To hit” numbers are a clear example. On the other hand, level titles other than “name” level are clearly artistic presentation and are excluded.

When “name” level does not create a numerical effect such as taxes from a stronghold or the ability to improve fighting power with followers, we have not used name level titles, even though the titles themselves are generic words.

In a few cases you may find that rules themselves have been clarified, or are more based on the SRD than on original rules (when it was difficult to separate rules from artistic presentation). The greatest difference is in the inclusion of some random factors into the experience progression.