Part 19 of a comparison of Holmes' manuscript with the published Basic Set rulebook. Turn to page 22 of your 'Blue Book' and follow along...
At this point the manuscript finishes with material covered by Volume 1 of OD&D and moves onto material covered by Volume 2, "Monsters & Treasure".
Published: Adds "ADVANCED" before "DUNGEONS & DRAGONS", as in most other instances where Holmes referred to the original. The reference to demons being described in ELDRITCH WIZARDRY is also removed, although they left the reference to the other supplement, GODS, DEMI-GODS and HEROES, which leaves the reader thinking demons are also described in that booklet.
The last two sentences of the manuscript were changed in the published versions:
Manuscript: "If the monster's alignment is not obviously evil and chaotic this also is given here. Then there follows a brief description which should include any special powers and attributes of the creatures."
Here, Holmes indicates that he is not going to include an alignment stat for all of the monsters. He refers to "evil and chaotic" monsters here even though the only alignments given to monsters are chaotic, lawful or neutral (3-point system).
Published, 1st print: "If the monster's alignment is given here, there there follows a brief description which should include any special powers and attributes of the creatures."
Obviously, this edit doesn't make sense, so it was later changed to:
Published, later prints: "If the monsters’ alignment is not given, it may
be assumed to be an unintelligent beast that will attack anyone who
comes near. "Attacks" means the numbers of blows, bites, etc. the
creature can deliver in a single melee round. "Damage" gives the effect
of these attacks. Then there follows a brief description which includes
any special powers and attributes of the creature".
The big surprise in this paragraph is that Holmes originally had a red dragon in the example of scaling down a monster for low level parties. The published version changes the red dragon to a chimera. I'm guessing Gygax didn't want anyone nerfing his red dragons. Or perhaps it was just because dragons already have a mechanism for scaling using the Age categories.
Sometimes Holmes Basic is criticized for containing 'difficult' monsters in a Basic Level rulebook. Holmes considered this but felt that including the iconic D&D monsters was more important, as we see by his comments in Dragon #52: "I’m glad to see
Moldvay included the dragons just as I did in the first edition. It
seems almost silly to describe dragons in a book intended only for
player characters up to the third level. On the other hand, think how
disappointed you would be if you were an inexperienced player who bought
a DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game and found nothing about dragons inside!"
This section in Holmes' manuscript ends after this paragraph. In the published rulebook, Gygax/TSR added two more paragraphs about determining the appropriate amount of treasure for monsters, referencing both the Treasure Type Table and the Monster and Treasure Assortments, which TSR included in the first three printings of the Basic Set.
In the next part we'll start delving into the Monster List entries themselves.
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Or Go Back to Start: The Holmes Manuscript