Sunday, August 28, 2016

For Gold & Glory

An OSR Version of 2nd Edition AD&D
So today I wanted to talk about the OSR version of 2nd Edition AD&D: For Gold and Glory. For those that do not know, the OSR is an open source version of the D&D role playing game. This is intended to allow people to develop games and material for older versions of D&D, using the open game license developed by Wizards of the Coast. There are a number of options out there for the various systems, such as Basic Fantasy, Swords & WizardryLabyrinth Lord, and OSRIC.

For a long time, these were really the only options, and they reflect game rules essentially from the beginning of D&D to the release of 2nd Edition. For a while, it seemed that 2nd Edition was pretty much abandoned until the release of for Gold & Glory.

Why OSR?
Although much of the 2nd Edition material is still available, and Wizards of the Coast in the run up to 5th Edition released the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master Guide, and Monster Manual, there are reasons to support the OSR. First, it's free. If you've purchased the 2nd Edition material, and you want to run a game - but your players aren't convinced - they can get the core rules to build their characters and learn the rules for free. Second, it provides a convenient PDF with bookmarks that you can use to navigate when you're running your game.

Finally, if you want to go into self-publishing, Wizards of the Coast prevents third party publishers from using the trademarks and brand identities of the 2nd Edition game. As a result, you cannot publish an adventure module as "Compatible with 2nd Edition AD&D" due to current trademark law. One work around would be to write: "Compatible with the World's Most Famous RPG from 1989" which was the original publication date. That's a hassle. Although I support Wizard's of the Coast, and am a huge fan of 5th edition, for those that love 2nd Edition and want to find official publications for it - For Gold & Glory is an excellent thing.

How do the Rules Compare
Frankly, very well. For Gold & Glory is as close to a straight up clone as you can find out there. Every clone takes some liberties, and For Gold & Glory they did as well. Certain sections are slightly changed in their organization. Non-weapon Proficiency points have become skill points. Weapon groups, from Player's Option: Combat & Tactics, was also placed into the rules. However, for the most part the rules are exactly the same, and the slight changes are minuscule. This is not clone of the 2.5 era from 1995 onward with the PO options fully integrated into the game.

For quality, I rate a product on three different categories: layout, editing, and artwork. And for Gold & Glory, I give them full points on all three counts. Let's address each point one at a time:

The layout for the book is two column with some tables taking up the whole page. Navigation is quick and easy in such a format. However, I find that the rules themselves are well structured, with standard conventions across classes and races. For example, each game related skill block is put into a bullet list - instead of just left hanging like in the original rules. I appreciate that because it makes it easier to find the rules later on. Paragraphs also have headers in bold, such as "Armor" or "Weapons" that allow you to quickly isolate where those rules are - again, something that was more hidden in the original rules.

I've read through the rules multiple times to compare them to the original rules that they are based on. Despite that, I have found few editing problems. For a free text, that is impressive. There are some conventions that they have employed which are the reverse of similar presentations in the original work - I'm assuming that was partly for legal reasons - however, it also makes the material smoother and easier to absorb. If you are rusty on your rules knowledge, I'd recommend reading through Gold & Glory before going to original material. A very high mark indeed for the publisher.

I like the artwork, but let's ignore the subjective and instead focus on the objective: Most free versions of the various OSR products do not include artwork. The fact that this work has so much art in it, much of it full page and full color is impressive. Artwork is expensive, so it makes sense that an OSR product that commissioned art would need to charge to cover that cost - and that makes sense. The full team (Edit: see comments below!) went out of their way to find appropriate artwork that was free, so that they could create a free resource for players that was also visually appealing. I appreciate the work and effort that went into that.

Final Thoughts
I wanted to post this early on to show my appreciation for one of the louder advocates for my favorite edition. I think they have put something together here which is really great and should be supported for their effort. In the future, as I put the final touches on my campaign settings and resources, I'll be happy to use the For Gold & Glory branding.


  1. Thank you for your review of For Gold & Glory. As chief editor, I take great pride in my editing work. I would like to point out a few things. Justen Brown started the project, but my proof readers and I carried most of it through to the end. Justen stepped back up at the end to add skills (both chapters) which I think due the verbosity of my editing I was forbidden to touch. Then Dan Hyland, one of my original 3 proof readers stepped up to personally add the bestiary, do the layout and act as art director. A few years have passed since then. I have gotten a "do whatever you like" license for the property. I have published the game as a flip book on I have published a supplement "The Adventurers' Guide to the Practical Application of Herbalism & Alchemy". It can be found on Lulu, DriveThruRPG, and Amazon. Next week I will finally publish a long anticipated creature and rules expansion called "Monsters from Mystical Lands, volume1- Humanoids & Undead" on the same print on demand sources. I have also been a chief contributor to the Ice Kingdoms Campaign Setting which will use FG&G for its core rule set. There is a facebook group for those who wish to keep up with developments of the game and discuss their own development plans.
    I have setup a network of sites for small publishers at

    Again thank you for your review,
    I hope to be able to continue developing MML Vol 2 and 3, Complete books of kits and skills, Additional Spell compendiums and one day maybe even have time to publish my own "narnia clone" campaign world.

    Sincerely Moses Wildermuth

  2. Here's some flipbook links
    FG&G rulebook
    Herbalism & Alchemy Sampler
    Monsters form Mystical Lands Sampler
    The final pieces of art for the latter are coming in as I type this. It will be released starting tomorrow, ok, probably no later than Tuesday. ;)


  3. "Monsters from Mystical Lands Volume 1" made it to lulu.

    It's approved for release on DriveThroughRPG but they are waiting for me to order a proof copy.

    Amazon version is not approved yet.

    Now, however, the caca is hitting the big spinning blades and I really need some love and support from the community to continue working.

    1. Man that sucks, I understand the struggle. Hopefully you'll get some support. I'm still trying to pay off some medical bills. This helps me with the stress though.