In Their Own Words
"OSRIC™ represents a compilation of rules for old school-style fantasy gaming. The book is intended to reproduce underlying rules used in the late 1970s to early 1980s, which being rules are not subject to copyright, without using any of the copyrighted "artistic presentation" originally used to convey those rules. In creating this new "artistic presentation," we have made use of the System Reference Document produced by Wizards of the Coast.
The reason for going back to square one and restating the underlying rules is simple. It allows old school publishers (both commercial and fans) to reference the rules set forth in this document without making reference to any protected trademark (this document is trademarked, but the use of the trademark is permitted under the terms of an open license – see the license pages on this site). By using this document in tandem with the Open Game License of WOTC, a publisher should be able to produce products for old-school fantasy gaming and clearly make reference to this particular ruleset without violating the terms of the Open Game License.
Thus, in many ways, the entire OSRIC™ book is nothing more than a tool for old-school writers, a stepping stone to put the original, non-copyrightable portion of the old-school rules into an open license, as permitted by law. Great pains have been taken to ensure that we have used none of the original artistic presentation, for we have the greatest possible respect for the authors who originally created these games. We considered the non-copyrightable rules to be the numerical algorithms that would be in a computer version of the game (most precedent in the area of game copyrights has come from computer games, not RPG's, and have included these and the relations between the results of the formulae. "To hit" numbers are a clear example. On the other hand, level titles other than "name" level are clearly artistic presentation and are excluded. When "name" level does not create a numerical effect such as taxes from a stronghold or the ability to improve fighting power with followers, we have not used name level titles, even though the titles themselves are generic words.
Spell effects are mainly covered by the WOTC SRD, and where they are not covered by the SRD we have considered their functional effect to be a part of the rules (thus, not subject to copyright protection). All spell descriptions not covered by the SRD (and most that are) have been completely rewritten. The fact that tables of available spells are identical with previously published works is a somewhat grey area, but it definitely seems to be more a part of the "system" than an "artistic presentation" since it defines and delimits the capabilities of a spell-casting character rather than being decorative (as, for example, the level titles are).
In many cases you will find that rules themselves have been clarified, or are more based on the SRD than on original rules (when it was difficult to separate rules from artistic presentation). The greatest difference is in the experience progressions, and the inclusion of some random factors into the original level progression."
I have already done a lot of reading through the OSRIC PDF manual and had a few discussions with others who have played using the system. Based on what I have read and knowing my own interests, strengths and preferences in regard to AD&D 1E I have to say this is an excellent option to pursue, especially for those who don't have the resources to get the actual AD&D 1E books.
Putting it very simply, OSRIC is like an "open source" version of AD&D 1E. They even license it using what is called the "Open Game License". What does that mean for us? It means we can share the main resources, in the form of the actual books or the PDF files with anyone we want to, freely.
It means that they allow people to download the PDF versions of the manuals for free, as in gratis, no money expense to us. It means if we feel compelled to make our own changes, they won't impede us or charge us for the privilege of doing so. Just do it using their license specifications to make sure it stays like we found it, open.
Those things alone make me enthusiastically supportive of the game system.
If that weren't enough, the system is very close to the basic, pre-Un-Earthed Arcana additions that I personally prefer. Yes, they put some of the UA type of stuff in there, but it seems like only minimally and with thought to the game as a whole.
Also, if you're like me and write your own games or heavily edit other published modules to fit your world better, then making the jump with what few, small differences isn't really much of an issue at all. It seems to be barely noticeable, almost a clean jump.
The OSRIC manuals are already in PDF format. just download them and open the PDF, there's no need to wiki-ize it. It works very well on a laptop just as a wiki would. So instead, I provided you with free download links to the PDF manuals on the main page of WikiMage here.
I have written adventures and created characters using OSRIC as well as played using it as a full game system. It passes the important tests as far as I am concerned.
Hints, Tips & Errata
Character Ability Scores
I noticed in the OSRIC PDF in the character ability scores section that all the tables went up to a score of 19. Now I know that strength could go that high with a roll of 18 giving you a chance to roll percentage dice for an extra gain up to 19, but all the others? So, I went to ask someone. Who else should answer my question than the guy who put the system together.
He pointed out that in some areas like Dexterity, some races allowed for an automatic +1. Thus, if a natural 18 was rolled, the resulting score would be a 19.
However, not all ability scores are affected by race, etc.. so the others must be raised, if they to ever be raised above 18, by magic of some sort. Otherwise, 18 is the limit.
Monster Combat and Saving Throws
If you're like me and just started scanning the PDF without fully reading it, you might have noticed that you don't see combat or saving throw tables for monsters. In OSRIC, monsters pretty much use the fighters tables for those unless otherwise indicated. There is a table in the COMBAT section (page 123 of the OSRIC manual) that converts monster Hit Dice levels into fighter levels.