The Any OSR Key describes characters and creatures in text descriptors easily ported to stats typically found in Old School Renaissance (OSR) games and “retro-clones” of early class-and-level medieval fantasy roleplaying games. These terms do not key into any one game engine but serve as general guidelines to give readers an overall sense of how they fit within their own game’s stat format. Any OSR Key publications from Griffon Publishing Studio provide settings, characters, adventures, and other source material adaptable to your favorite roleplaying game.
The Any OSR Key stat block consists of text descriptions outlining a character or creature’s abilities, ordered much as numerical stats would appear in an OSR game. Here’s an example of how an Any OSR Key adversary’s stats might appear:
Goblin Guards. Basic (1-3); AT: spear; DF: leather armor, shield; Skills: perception; Morale: moderate; Gear: d4 silver pieces.
Each section offers guidance in creating stats corresponding to values in your favorite OSR game:
Name: This identifies the character or creature and might include the number or further tags, such as “6 Bored Goblin Guards.” You can look up a similarly named creature in your own game and use those stats, modified by subsequent notes in the Any OSR Key descriptions.
Level: The first notation after the name offers guidance about the monster’s level or hit dice. Three terms describe broad ranges for the level: Basic (levels 1-3), Expert (4-9), and Master (10+). Use your own judgment in assigning hit dice or refer to equivalent monsters in your favorite rulebook.
AT: The creature’s means of attack listed here correspond to weapon damage and occasionally the number of attacks. Tool-using adversaries list weapons (“spear, dagger”) while animal adversaries list natural attacks (“bite, claw, tail, horns”).
DF: An adversary’s defenses listed here (“leather armor, shield” or “tough hide, dragon scales”) correspond to OSR equivalents for armor class.
Skills/Special Abilities: These “tags” provide suggestions for linking these extra specialties to their corresponding names and values in an OSR game. These could include thief skills, cleric and magic user spells, or other extraordinary abilities the character uses.
Morale: Like level/hit dice, morale lists one of three tiers describing the creature’s willingness to endure combat: fickle, moderate, and determined. You can estimate an OSR game morale value based on those descriptions.
Gear: List any additional gear, including magic and mundane items, treasure, and other assorted oddments.
Most listings include two lines after each stat paragraph so you can customize Any OSR Key materials with your own notes.
Sample Monster Listings
Brigand. Basic (1-3); AT: bow, sword; DF: leather armor; Skills: sneak; Morale: moderate; Gear: d6 gold pieces.
Gargoyle. Expert (4-9); AT: claws, bite; DF: stone skin; Special Abilities: flying, perception; Morale: moderate; Gear: none.
If characters face non-combat tasks the scenario text might indicate a particular difficulty level (and corresponding target number) for successfully overcoming the challenge. Tasks are Challenging (10), Hard (15), or Improbable (20). To succeed players must roll equal to or greater than the difficulty number on a d20, adding any modifiers based on the appropriate attribute. (Players may add the character’s level in addition to or instead of attribute modifiers at the gamemaster’s discretion.)
Alternately characters have a 1 in 6 chance of accomplishing a non-combat task, adjusted by the appropriate ability score modifier. For instance, a character with a Dexterity bonus of +2 would have a 3 in 6 chance to successfully complete a task with some possibility of failure.