B/X Essentials: Classic Fantasy Tome

Tome still life by Tom McNemar

I've discussed the modular approach of the B/X Essentials series before -- how the books (excepting the Core Rules) are designed to be able to swapped out with alternatives. For example, the standard Cleric and Magic-User Spells could be swapped out with a book of Pagan and Elemental Spells, or the standard Monsters book could be swapped out (or augmented with) a book of Planar Monsters.

This design approach makes the system extremely extensible. Based on the Core Rules, the B/X Essentials line will grow in many directions, encompassing any number of different adventuring styles, genres, and campaign settings. All completely cross-compatible, in a mix and match way, and all without having to reprint elements of the core rules of the game in every new genre book.

However, there are people who prefer to have everything in one book. I'm not one of those people -- I've become rather smitten with the flexibility and usability of having chunks of content split into separate booklets -- but I completely respect the opinion of the people who just want a single book to take to their games.

So, work has begun on an all-in-one, non-modular B/X Essentials tome. I have given this the working title of "Classic Fantasy Tome", as it contains all of the classic, Basic/Expert rules for fantasy gaming. The plan is to run a Kickstarter for this early next year. (All going well, there may well be further B/X Essentials "tomes" in the future. For example, once the Advanced booklets are complete, I may produce an "Advanced Fantasy Tome".)

As the first step, I've been figuring out the structure of the book. The lazy way of structuring it would be to simply slap the five existing B/X Essentials books back to back and call it a day. Fans of all-in-one RPG books will probably be pleased to hear that I am not lazy! I'm restructuring the material into an order that makes more sense for a combined book.

Here's the current plan for the structure:

  • About B/X Essentials
  • Adventure Gaming
  • Terminology
Player Characters
  • Game Statistics
  • Creating a Character
  • Ability Scores
  • Classes
  • Alignment
  • Languages
  • Experience and Gaining Levels
  • Wealth
Equipment, Services, and Strongholds
  • Equipment
  • Land Transportation
  • Water Transportation
  • Mercenaries
  • Specialists
  • Strongholds
  • Adventuring Basics
  • Hired Help
  • Hazards and Challenges
  • Dungeon Adventures
  • Wilderness Adventures
  • Waterborne Adventures
  • Encounters
  • Chases
  • Combat
  • Other Combat Issues
  • Types of Magic
  • Spells
  • Magical Research
  • Cleric Spells
  • Magic-User Spells
Monsters and NPCs
  • Monsters (General Notes)
  • Monster Descriptions
  • Normal Humans
  • NPC Adventurers
  • Strongholds
  • Combat Tables
  • Dungeon Encounter Tables
  • Wilderness Encounter Tables
  • Adventure Scenarios
  • Designing a Dungeon
  • Random Dungeon Room Contents
  • Designing a Wilderness
  • Designing a Base Town
  • Awarding Experience
  • Placing Treasure
  • Treasure Types
  • Gems and Jewellery
  • Magic Items
  • General Notes
  • Armour and Shields
  • Miscellaneous Items
  • Potions
  • Rings
  • Rods, Staves, and Wands
  • Scrolls
  • Weapons
  • Treasure Maps


  1. This sounds great! I'm really looking forward to seeing this!

  2. I'll buy it because at this point I'm a collector as well as a user, but I'm keener to see Dolmenwood as a campaign book and what happens to Wormskin going forward, assuming it has a future post campaign book.

    1. Fortunately, it's not a choice between the two. I'm working on both in parallel. The BXE Kickstarter will come first, followed by the Dolmenwood Campaign Book Kickstarter.

      I notice that most of my blog posts of late have been about BXE, but I've also been posting updates on the Dolmenwood Campaign Book on Google+ and MeWe.

    2. I must look into this MeWe business, Google+ was very convenient, very annoyed it's going away.

  3. Outstanding, really looking forward to this... any chance of additional art or is it mainly a unified layout of the existing material?

    1. Yeah there'll most likely be some new art, as the layout will change in places.

  4. Excellent! I have all the BXE books, but this should be great to have.