OSR Retrospective: Basic Fantasy


As I said before I’m not doing these in any particular order. I’m just looking at my bookshelf and grabbing the one that catches my interest at the time. So this week, I’m going to talk about Basic Fantasy.
Basic fantasy doesn’t try to emulate and specific older edition of D&D but the foundations of the game mechanics are strongly rooted in those older editions. The game does use Ascending AC and race is separate from class. The main book has the four basic classes (Fighter, Magic-User, Cleric and Thief) along with the four basic races (Human, Elf, Dwarf, and Halfling). It uses the 5 Saving Throws for the older editions and Thieves use the old percentile skill system. The core book (3rd Edition) clocks in at 166 pages and has all the material you need to run a game as well as some very good optional rules and guidance for DM’s and players. All in all, it’s great game for beginners and experienced players alike.
Yes, I know that first paragraph sounded really boring but here’s what’s really cool about Basic Fantasy, the price. Many old-school games have their core books as PDF’s for free. The entire Basic Fantasy line is available for free in PDF. That’s right the adventures and supplements are free. Plus there is an active community putting together even more material. But wait. There’s more. The hard copies of all that are for sale at cost. That’s right at cost. So on Amazon the core Basic Fantasy book is only $5. There are PDF’s out there of core books that cost way more than that. And since most of the old-school games are largely cross compatible with little or no work, all those supplements and adventures are useful no matter what game you happen to be running. Basic Fantasy is a solid game and a great choice if you want to dip your toe into the old school style without investing a lot of cash.
Check out the Basic Fantasy website for all those PDF’s. And here’s the link to the core book on Amazon and Lulu.

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