Please check back for update history!
v1.3: Corrected OGL errors (07/13/2020)
v1.2: further typos, expanded House Rules section, bookmarked
v1.1: fixed typos under "Rolling Skill Checks", clarified references, fixed some Delver text
v1.0: beta release , may have typos (07/07/2020)
Red Box Rogues is a handbook for players and referees of Old School Essentials, a game that I will use Gavin's own words to describe:
A role-playing game of fantastic adventure, where players work together to overcome fearsome monsters, sinister plots, and deadly traps in search of wealth, power, and glory.
This supplement was initially inspired by the 1977 boxed set of our favorite fantasy role-playing game, written by John Eric Holmes. I opened this all by trying to fit Holmes' magic-user into OSE, as I believed that Holmes had unique insights to the flaws of the magic-user and how it felt in play which neither Moldvay nor Mentzer felt needed to be fixed.
Specifically, Holmes recognized that the rules of OD&D "placed great limitations on the magic-user's power"...enough so that he was compelled to include ways to partially overcome these limitations through scroll-scribing procedures, available to his magic-users even at 1st level. These changes were undone when Moldvay and Mentzer wrote their rulesets. I sought to restore Holmes' magic-user.
As I gained more confidence in laying out a document in the beautiful style of OSE, I found that I couldn't stop at 1 class, and this product is the result.
Included are the following:
- A series of formalized house-rules that are re-worded and laid out for compatibility for OSE, ranging from a less harsh death system to the classic "Shields Shall Be Splintered" houserule of Trollsmyth fame.
- The Delver, a fighter that specializes in verticality, ready to explore the Veins of the Earth by Patrick Stuart or The Pod-Caverns of the Sinister Shroom by Matthew Finch. No longer will you have to rely on the Thief to prepare rope for you, for the Cleric to bribe the clergy to help you into a city's walls, for the Magic-User to turn you into a goat so you can scale steep cliffs!
- The Fighter, inspired Dave Arneson's campaigns where he allowed fighters to cleave through rows of enemies as swords and sorcery heroes should!
- The Gladiator, a juggernaut newly liberated from the fighting pits, with an attack progression that matches monsters more than men!
- The Apostate, a blasphemy-spouting cleric that has incorporated the use of arcane magic with their worship of the divine, despite the teachings of the church!
- The Cleric, now with 1st-level spells. No need to use the Labyrinth Lord cleric for OSE any longer - this one is laid out in slick OSE fashion.
- The Oracle, a cleric gifted with second sight and born with divine power, so that they do not need to hew closely to the tenets of any faith.
- The Bone Cobbler, a thief that survived under years of oppressive rule under necromantic sorcerer-kings and learned a trick or two whilst there.
- The Leech, a polymath hybrid of crime investigator and barber-surgeon that is able to act as support at low levels and scroll-slinging caster at mid levels.
- The Thief, incorporating a mixture of ACKS thief skills and AD&D backstabbing progression in order to better emulate the likes of Gray Mouser and Inej Ghafa.
- The Holmes Magic-User, straight out of Holmes' Blue Box, for use with OSE, with his unique take on this B/X classic that solves the magic-users low-level struggles with the ability to scribe scrolls.
- The Witch, able to pull from both arcane and divine spell lists in their unique capacity as straddling the line between faith and the occult.
The product this was made for, Old-School Essentials, can be found for free here: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/272802/OldSchool-Essentials-Basic-Rules; you can find the rules for higher levels here if you need them.
This is meant to be entirely compatible with the core rules, and does not require the Advanced Genre rules to play. Please enjoy my humble submission.