Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Crystal Ball - July

I use the Holmes G+ Community to quickly post links to articles & discussions related to Holmes Basic, generally only with a brief comment by myself. I'm going to start periodically rounding up these links for a blog post. Here are some from the last month, roughly in the order I posted them. I've only included material not featured in a separate post here.

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Does D&D play better when the players don't know the rules? 
Daztur on The RPG site writes: "Since last year I've run 1 hour-ish D&D (roughly Holmes Basic) mini-sessions with eight different classes of Korean 5-6 graders. They're great lab rats for testing rules and GMing styles since they have no idea what tabletop role playing is and are very enthusiastic (beats doing grammar lessons)."

The Acknowledgements in the Rules Cyclopedia include John Eric Holmes among others

Rules Cyclopedia pdf available on dndclassics.com 
The product history by Shannon Appelcline mentions Holmes Basic twice, including this interesting observation: "The Rules Cyclopedia was the result - and it also offered somewhere for the Black Box players to go when they finished with fifth level. Ironically, this was reportedly the exact same setup that Gygax had planned for the J. Eric Holmes Basic Set and also for AD&D, way back in 1977."

Mentzer Basic pdfs (DM and Players) also added
Two pdfs, one for Players book and one for DMs. I'd imagine the rest of BECMI will follow in the coming weeks. So we've got the revisions (Moldvay and Mentzer) but are still waiting for the original Basic! DrowningMan on DF reports: "Pdf quality is much better than the previous one, but some illustrations got too dark (i.e. pages 22 and 23 from PHB)" 

In response to a question, I added:
"There's some neat content by Mentzer: a solo introductory adventure in the Player's book, and an introductory DM adventure in the DM book. Only if you are partial to that kind of stuff. You can see the first few pages of each in the sample files" and "if you want just the Menzter introductory DM adventure, Wizards still has it up on the site as a free download (albeit a poor scan). It's generally called Mistamere Castle. Bargle appears for the first time in these adventures."

Most influential game book ever (and why)
An rpg.net thread that begins, "Most influential gaming book ever published; one volume only; one vote only. I personally think there are only two credible candidates: Holmes Basic D&D (the obvious choice, based on units sold and 'gateway drug' status for a generation) and the 1st Edition AD&D Monster Manual, which is my pick for the top dog..."

Characters Sheets in 1975
From the Playing at the World blog (Jon Peterson), a survey of early character sheets for OD&D. These predate Holmes Basic but are all suitable for use with it...

Two Different Takes on B1 on blogs:
B1 Hack - Into Cytheron Background
Adios, Caverns of Quasqueton

On Role-Playing (Part 2 of 11)
Part 2 of an 11 (!) part series on the B/X Blackrazor blog. This one focuses on the guidance (or lack thereof) on how to role-play in OD&D and Holmes.  

Holmes Blue Book
New Dragonsfoot thread with lots of guidance for someone new to Holmes Basic.
A new thread, five pages currently, in response to a critical review of Holmes Basic. Much of it consists of nice folks correcting misconceptions of the original poster.

From Wayne at the Semper Initiativus Unum blog. A thoughtful essay on combining Holmes Basic with Cook Expert, with a focus on preserving features of Holmes: "At the table, Holmes is simpler and cleaner in many ways, but it requires some expansion past 3rd level. The easiest way to do this is what I call "Blue Book" D&D - Holmes Basic plus the Cook/Marsh Expert rulebook" 
Reboot of a 2007 thread on DF. The eternal question regarding Elf HD in Holmes Basic.

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Feel free to add anything that I have missed.

Edit: Renamed the post "Crystal Ball"

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