Knight Owls Review: B/X Essentials
Finally! After years of searching for the perfect OSR retro-clone, I have finally found it! Gavin Norman’s awesome little set of books condenses all of the rules from the original basic and advanced boxed set into pure, usable, bliss without adding the usual house-rules and personalized gaming ideology that mar so many other OSR products.
The writing is crisp, clean, and efficient, the formatting and layout are elegant and beautiful, and the artwork is top-notch, featuring work from some of the best OSR artists out there–including insanely awesome cover art.
But the best thing about Gavin Noman’s little masterpiece is just how stripped-down and usable it is. Each book is about 40 pages and only presents the information that you need to play the game. I can’t overstate how awesome this is–finally an OSR book that actually does what the basic sets were supposed to (LotFP came close, but B/X is still much easier to use at the table)! Wow! Way to go! And the use of three books to chunk out the elements of the game into easily accessible volumes is perfect.
Moreover, he separates the rules of the game into a single book (Core Rules), which allows for the B/X system to be applied to any game you want–not only the classic D&D that he presents in the Classes and Equipment book. This is a stroke of genius and I personally can’t wait to start developing my own B/X-based games!