Wednesday, 2 February 2011

OSRIC - the Arrival

I don't imagine there are many people who read this blog who still don't know what OSRIC is all about, but for those who don't, you can find out all about it here. In brief, it's an AD&D 1e clone.

On December 16th, I ordered a copy of OSRIC (economy edition) from Lulu. It cost me, in total, under $US25.00, including postage and handling. Pretty good value for a 400 page letter-size book, and not much more than what I paid for the AD&D PHB alone back in 1982. The "economy" version differs from the "softcover" version only in having no interior colour.

It arrived in pretty timely fashion; a couple of weeks in total from the day I ordered it. I have had faster delivery times from the US, but not without paying an arm and a leg for it.

The paper and print quality is excellent. The cover is nice and shiny, and though it does feel a little flimsier than other softcovers of this size I've bought in the past, it should do the job. Only time will tell how the binding will hold up, I suppose, but it looks and feels OK to me. I honestly don't miss the interior colour at all; in fact I think I prefer having everything in grayscale. Mind you, if there were more of Pete Mullen's colour illustrations in there I might change my mind about that.

There are a few bleed errors on some of the pages; I don't know if that's an issue with the layout not allowing sufficient bleed for full-page printing or if it's a trimming problem at Lulu's end. In any case, it's a minor blemish, and I can live with it.

The back cover was very slightly munched on its bottom edge; the damage is inconsiderable though, less than I'd be likely to inflict on the book in the first month or two of use, and it doesn't worry me in the slightest.

All in all, on first contact I'd give the OSRIC Economy Edition a Highly Commended. I'll be pimping it to all my friends :)

So then: would I actually run or play in a game with OSRIC?

Yes, I would, if I were running or playing in an AD&D1e game (which I'm not, right now — I'm using my bastardized Swords & Wizardry rules).

I have a whole heapin' bunch of AD&D manuals from Ye Olde Tymes of course (from the days before TSR started paying the big bucks for cover art) and I have no doubt I would still cherry-pick some bits and pieces from them — mainly monsters probably. However, those books are, if not actually rare, getting harder and harder to find. OSRIC is a perfect substitute that I can use and abuse to my heart's content without the fear that I might lose or ruin some of my nostalgically precious AD&D books. It has pretty much all the information I'd need 99% of the time, and its organisation is a bit easier to follow than the old books too.

So, would I be playing OSRIC? Hell no. I'd be playing AD&D, using OSRIC as a reference. Which is, I believe, pretty much what it was originally intended for.