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The Forgotten Smugglers' Cave: Index of Posts

An index of posts describing the Forgotten Smugglers' Cave, an adventure for Holmes Basic characters levels 2-4.                    ...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

UK Deep Dish

Move over bacon, now there's something meatier
     Acaeum member Gnat the Beggar posted the above picture today in the Recent Fun Finds thread. It nicely shows off the height difference between the US (left) and UK (right) versions of Holmes Basic Set (produced by Games Workshop) compared to the US version. As you can see, the UK version is much taller (more room to store modules!) and is missing the overlapped artwork on the box edges. Gnat also posted a photo of the contents of box:

     In addition to the rulebook, the module B1 and a set of standard Holmes dice, there are two loose sheets. One is an advertisement for White Dwarf magazine (which began its run in mid-77, just before the Holmes Set was published in the US). The other sheet replicates pages 31 and 32 of the module (player's background material), something which has been found before with UK copies of B1.

     The printing history of the UK Holmes Set is convoluted. The first two known printings of the rulebook were sold alone (without a box) and had different artwork on the cover by John Blanche of Games Workshop fame, and throughout the interior by Fangorn (Christopher Baker). I believe the text of these are the same as one of the earlier US printings (1st-3rd printings). After this, the UK version appeared as a boxed set with a rulebook that returned to the original cover and interior art (as pictured above). The interior of this rulebook appears to match the 2nd edition (Nov 1978) of the US version. Strangely, however, this UK version retains the Lizard Logo and F116-R code on the front cover instead of using the new Wizard Logo and 2001 code.

     The various printings are described on the Acaeum Basic Set Foreign Editions page, which has at least one error (the 3rd UK printing refers to Halflings, not Hobbits) and is missing a putative 5th printing with prices missing on the back cover.

     See also the Zenopus Archives website Foreign Editions page.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Travelers Inn by paleologos (1981)

The Green Lilac Travelers Inn (1981) - click link below for a larger version

The above piece is great, back-in-the-day game art illustrating part of B2:

"I was going through some papers over the weekend, and I found this sketch I made in Grade 8 of a group of adventurers entering the Inn in the Outer Bailey of the Keep"

"I haven't seen this picture in over 20 years, but it immediately brought back some of my first memories playing D&D...good times."

     -paleologos, writing on Dragonsfoot

The layout of the Tavern (Area 15) and Inn (Area 16) match the map in B2, with the wall to the Inner Bailey to the north.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Viriconium Fragment

The Avon edition (1974), which I read last year. Cover art by Gray Morrow.

For those familiar with Viriconium, author M. John Harrison today posted a bit of a new story on his blog. I believe (but don't really know) that this is the first new visit to Viriconium since 1985.

Last week he posted links to the articles "Covering Viriconium" and "Recovering Viriconium" on the blog feuilleton, the first a fascinating look at the cover art of the Viriconium books over the years, the second a presentation of ideas for new versions.

If you like post-apocalyptic science fantasy (Starman's Son, Hiero's Journey, Hothouse, Hawkmoon), you can hardly go wrong with the first book The Pastel City. And then things get much stranger. I am currently reading Viriconium (Fantasy Masterworks, 2000), a compilation of all four of the Viriconium books.

Update: This fragment was later re-written by Harrison into a non-Viriconium story, The Crisis, per the comments here. However, another new Viriconium story, Jack of Mercy's appeared in the 2017 collection, You Should Come With Me Now.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Tees

"Loch Ness Imposter"

One Father's Day present I received was a T-shirt from Threadless with the above image.

Shirts (no longer available) that I've been given before:

"Dungeon Crawlers"

"Middle Earth Tube Map"
"In the Belly of a Beast"
"Periodic Table of Monsters"

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Every Day is free RPG day

But today is FREE RPG DAY 2012 in a participating store near you: Store Locator.

Is this a depiction of Azathoth?
And here's the loot list.

Goodman Games has a new DCC product for this year. Here's the Preview Page
And I received an email from them with more info on this:

It includes two new adventures, plus details on the Mystery Map Adventure Design Competition. The first adventure is The Undulating Corruption, by Michael Curtis, which is a level 5 expedition to cure a wizard of corruption. The second adventure is The Jeweler that Dealt in Stardust, by Harley Stroh, a level 3 heist where a clever thieves can excel.

The Mystery Map Adventure Design Competition is an exciting chance for aspiring game designers to earn $1,000 and see their adventure in print. You'll find the Mystery Map within our Free RPG Day module. Finish the map, pitch us on the adventure you would write around it, and see if you have what it takes to write DCC RPG adventures! The winning adventure pitch will land a $1,000 contract.

Wizards of the Coast also has a preview page up for their offering (for 4th edition).

Here are reviews of all of the items (thanks to Reviews from R'lyeh for posting this).

Noble Knight Games is also offering each of the items on-line for 1 cent each (min purchase of $15 per item). See their blog post.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Warlocks & Warriors Wilderness Map

The Warlocks & Warriors map board, drawn by David Sutherland. Source: Board Game Geek.

Reading Hill Cantons' Pointcrawl post, Bruno's Demise's Wild Campaign (where he used maps from Dungeon!, Outdoor Survival and Boot Hill among others), and then Save Vs. Dragon's Hex Crawl Week (1953 Peter Pan board game) got me thinking that David Sutherland's map for the Warlocks & Warriors (above) would make a great wilderness map for a Holmes Basic campaign, particularly for beginners/kids.

Warlocks & Warriors has several things going for it when viewed through a Holmes lens (as we always view things here). The game came out the same year (1977) as Holmes Basic, in the same size box, and with the same cover artist (Sutherland). It was designed by comic book/fantasy writer Gardner Fox, mentioned by name on page 40 of the Blue Book (this was not in Holmes' original manuscript, but was a later edit by Gygax/TSR). Fox published a series of Conan-esque fantasies from the late 60s to early 80s, including the Kothar series, the Kyrik series and the Niall stories in Dragon. The first volume of the Kyrik series is actually called "Warlock Warrior" (1975), which I still need to read to see if it's connected in any way to the game (so far, I've only read the Niall stories).

I'll need to think on this some more, but obviously the Sea Port in the lower right hand corner would be Portown, and the Castle in the upper left hand corner would be the Keep on the Borderlands...perhaps the "Borderlands" is all of the area between. Skull Mountain would be in the Mystery Mountains. The Dragon's Lair would be home to an ancient red dragon - the same one shown on the cover of the Basic set. Other Basic Level modules could be placed in various locations; B4 would fit in the Parched Desert, B1 might be the Lost Dungeon, etc.

Each circle would represent one "hex" of x miles (size to be determined later) that has a path through it. Characters might move off the path with some kind of penalty. The stars would represent special areas; IIRC, in the game they are the spots where wizard characters can cast spells, so they might be areas of increased magic and/or enchanted monsters. Arrows would represent difficult terrain (in the game they send you back two circles). The random tables printed on the map might be worked into the encounter areas.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Chris Holmes at NTRPGcon

where he played EPT with Jeff Dee and others, and other games.
See this post from the DM (Victor Raymond) at his blog The Sandbox of Doom:

And a report from a player in the game is here at Rather Gamey: 

Photo of the game by Allan Grohe (grodog)

It was just over 30 years ago (Nov '81) that Eric Holmes reviewed EPT in his FRPG book:
Holmes on Empire of the Petal Throne

Chris illustrated many of his father's early D&D articles for Alarums & Excursions and The Dragon, including "Lost Civilizations: Fantasy Supplement for Source of the Nile" in issue #24 and "Trollshead" (a Boinger & Zereth story) in issue #31. That issue also has a picture of Eric and Chris talking to Tim Kask, editor of the The Dragon, at Gen Con XII in 1978. Tim also attended NTRPGCon this year (as he has for the past few), and ran several games.

8/5/12 update:
Following up on Allan's comment below, here's some more info on Chris' game from The Society of Torch, Pole and Rope Blog:
"Allan Grohe introduced me to Chris Holmes, son of J. Eric Holmes, who turned out was one of my fellow cavemen in “Expect the Unexpected” [Jeff Dee's Cavemaster scenario] and we got to playtest Chris’ board game of “Pirates vs. Ninjas vs. Zombies vs. Monkeys” (or something like that). The Ninjas won, but not before proving that if you really want to playtest the beejezus out of a game, Allan and I will put it through its paces."

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Reinvigorating Spirit (new monster)

Hamlet and the Ghost (1789) engraving by Thew, after Fuseli

"I am thy father's spirit,
Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confined to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purged away."

An idea for restoration of drained levels in a low level campaign:

Reinvigorating Spirit

Move: 90 feet/turn
Hit Dice: variable (1-6)
Armor Class: 3
Treasure Type: nil
Alignment: lawful good
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1-6

Undead spirits that committed unjust acts during life and seek atonement in the after life. They appear as wraiths but draw power from the Positive Material Plane. Their crackling, energetic touch restores lost energy levels drained by the hateful undead. No hit points are regained, and the touch actually does 1 die of damage per level restored. Each level restored reduces the spirit's hit dice by one, and when they reach zero hit dice their onus is abated and they are dispelled. They will only restore levels to characters judged worthy, and may require completion of a task beforehand. Some will speak but others communicate only through gestures or are non-communicative. If attacked, they are hit only by magical weapons, and they will respond with their searing touch. They can be turned only by evil clerics.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Palace of the Vampire Queen - limited NTRPGCon reprint

"V2 Palace of the Vampire Queen is now available for purchase at for a very limited time from June 8, 2012 and June 10, 2012 to coincide with the fourth annual North Texas RPG Convention. V2 includes the complete contents of the original Palace of the Vampire Queen by Peter Kerestan. The new module includes a forward the original designer, Peter Kerestan. Additionally, a full AD&D conversion is included with room descriptions.
This special module was designed exclusively to support the North Texas RPG Convention which is dedicated to old school games. The print run is 200 copies and they are all individually numbered. A portion of all sales proceeds will be used to support the North Texas RPG Con."

Available for purchase on-line here: ($29/copy)

Palace of the Vampire Queen (1976) was the first stand-alone module published for Dungeons & Dragons. For more on its printing history, see the POTVQ page at the Acaeum.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Proofing Deeper

     I just wanted to confirm that I am currently assisting (along with others) in the proofreading for the upcoming retroclone of the LBBs, Delving Deeper, as mentioned in the May Delving Deeper Update on the Brave Halfling blog.

     Progress is being made on this front. As the co-author/editor Simon (aka waysoftheearth) posted yesterday, "Vol 1 has been proof read and is getting pretty close to being "ready"".

     Note that according to the Delving Deeper pre-order page, "Less than 25 Boxed Sets are Available for Pre-Order. Once they are sold, there will be no more from Brave Halfling Publishing. Our publishing partner, Immersive Ink will take over publishing and supporting Delving Deeper RPG" (Immersive Ink will be run by Simon).

8/5/12 update: I took out the link to the pre-order page, as it was no longer valid since the pre-order has finished.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Wizards of Venus

"William Crabtree observing transit of Venus, from The Manchester Murals by Ford Madox Brown" - Wikipedia

Watch the transit of Venus in front of the sun, live, right now, courtesy the wizards at NASA:

At this moment, Venus is fully in front of the disc of the sun.
This won't happen again until 2117.

The title of this post is a nod to the Carson of Venus series by Burroughs:

"An Apparatus adapted to the Reflecting Telescope for shewing The Transit of Venus"