The Grey Book: OD&D Compiled

I’ve just discovered another collected compiled version of early D&D available for free on the web. Steven J. Ege’s The Gray Book is a collected, re-organized and slightly edited version of the OD&D rules and supplements (with some additions from The Strategic Review, The Dragon #1, Holmes D&D, Basic/Expert D&D, and even AD&D).

In spite of the additional material, The Gray Book has a house-ruled OD&D and supplements feel. The only major feature I noticed missing from OD&D and its three rules supplements is psionics. I could have easily used The Gray Book back in the late 1970s to run my OD&D games instead of OD&D, Greyhawk, Blackmoor, and Eldritch Wizardry.

Like the AD&D "3rd Edition" Books, The Grey Book is probably one big copyright violation. Grab your copy while you can. It’s a free 4.2 meg pdf download and provides 146 pages of old school RPG goodness. If you would like to try OD&D with all the supplements, They Grey Book is a great way to do so without having to track down and buy the out of print original booklets.

Randall Stukey

Randall is the author and publisher of a number of old school games (Microlite74, Microlite81, BX Advanced, etc) through RetroRoleplaying.com. Randall's main job, however, is being caregiver for his MS-afflicted cancer survivor wife. You can support Randall with a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund.

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Randall is the author and publisher of a number of old school games (Microlite74, Microlite81, BX Advanced, etc) through RetroRoleplaying.com. Randall's main job, however, is being caregiver for his MS-afflicted cancer survivor wife. You can support Randall with a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. Gates & Glamours RSS Feed

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Dr. Awkward
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"…bandwidth for today has been exceeded. Try again tomorrow."

CURSES!

Adam Thornton
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Yeah, this might be a little crass, but if he's got an email address in it, could someone who DID download it please contact him and ask him to put a copy someplace with more bandwidth?

JB
Guest

Wish it DID have the old (supplemental) version of psionics.

And what? No monk?

Randall
Guest

Another download location. Different filename, but appears to be the same book.

http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?v1nizj02zom

And yes, JB, no monk. 🙁 I didn't notice that the first time through as I don't believe I've ever had anyone play a monk.

David
Guest

Thank you for posting this! I'm looking forward to reading it!

Rich (aka: Francisca)
Guest

Yes, thanks for posting this. I went through a process a few months ago to build up a ruleset for my big dungeon. I started with the 3 little books, then started pulling in material from the supplements. The gray book is very similar to what I would have ended up with. However, I what I ended up with ended up look so close to AD&D, circa 1979, I just went with AD&D, dropping the following: Psionics, the monk and bard, casting times (actually anything 7+ segments = full round), spell components under 100gp, weapon vs. AC, and weapon speeds.

Traveller
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I know I'm late to the party, but I need to chime in since it is my name on the edit byline in the book. The original idea behind "The Gray Book" was a "what if" question. What would the Holmes Basic Rulebook have looked like had it not been severely edited into the 48 pages that exist today? Holmes mentioned in his preface to that book that he used things from Greyhawk, Blackmoor, and Eldritch Wizardry in that book. However, with the exception of Greyhawk, I never found anything from either Blackmoor or Eldritch Wizardry in the book. As… Read more »

Randall
Guest

There are people in the retroclone community who think their version is better? Weird. The only way I can see the clones as "better" is no real copyright issues because of the OGL. That makes them better for publisher wanting to publish for-profit adventures and supplements. For players, I can't see any real difference. In my OD&D game, I use my original books, a couple of players use S&W they printed out, a couple use copies of The Grey Book the printed. The three other players didn't even bother to print out a book, they just borrow someone's in they… Read more »

Traveller
Guest

There is at least one particular fanbase for one particular clone that seems to think their game is the "salvation of AD&D". So they do think their game is better than the competition, which at the time was limited to Castles & Crusades. The issue though does happen to be the OGL. Castles & Crusades was as close to AD&D as the lawyers would allow, but some could not accept that and made their own clone that wanted to get closer. The problem is that the legality of such a move is debatable. The established publishers refuse to get near… Read more »

Randall
Guest

Ahh, the C&C debate. Fortunately, I wasn't involved in the online gaming community at that time. I don't really understand the reasons for the feuding. Different lawyers will take different positions on intellectual property stuff and each person/company has to pick one and go with it. Nothing is settled or known until it gets fought out in court. I don't care much for C&C NOT because it isn't "close enough" to AD&D1e, but because the SIEGE Engine system just does not work well for me. Given how much AD&D1e was house-ruled back in the early 1980s, I don't think C&C… Read more »

skulmar
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There is a doubt in my head related to Elves… In rules state they have advantage against goblins, orcs, some undead and lycanthropes, ogres, and giants. What the bonus in terms of game??

Randall
Guest

Skulmar: Most of the special advantages are listed under individual monsters in the monster section. For example, elves are immune to the paralysis effect of ghouls. Unfortunately, the list in the elf racial description is not very helpful as some of the monsters listed really don't have a special disadvantages vs elves and the list isn't very complete with respect to those that do.

skulmar
Guest

Dear Randall: How do you handle this situation??

skulmar
Guest

???

Randall
Guest

Skulmar: Sorry, I've been busy the last few days. I've never really though about it, to be honest. I just pieced together special abilities from monster descriptions, CHAINMAIL, etc. and went with that. The missing pieces in OD&D are just more noticeable with The Grey Book because it is far better organized than OD&D was.

skulmar
Guest

I observed some questions about the Elves. One of them it´s aspect about magical weapons. In the Chainmail state one extra die WITH MAGICAL WEAPONS for the Elves against goblins, orcs, some undead and lycanthropes, ogres, and giants.
The ability of moving silently I think It is the use magical advice (in this case elfin boots).
What you think my dear Randy?
Sorry for ANY errors,because I am brazilian guy!@ XD XD XD

skulmar
Guest

??

Randall
Guest

Chainmail is more about minis battles. One extra die with magical weapons would apply to a unit of elves in combat. If you want to translate this to OD&D, you could give elves a +1 to hit (or to damage) goblins, orcs, low level undead and lycanthropes, ogres, and giants. Moving quietly in natural surroundings could require elven boots if you want it to.

Unknown
Guest

Anyone have a link to the book? Links posted are no longer working.

Randall
Guest
The Angry Monk
Guest

Thank you!