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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Basic Blueholme

Cover of the Blueholme Prentice Rules, available at RPGNow

I posted an announcement in the Holmes Basic G+ Community, but I have been remiss in posting here about the release of the first parts of a new OGL clone of Holmes Basic, Blueholme. I was waiting to gather up links to reviews from other blogs, but the editor himself scooped me on that, so for that I'll just point you over to the post on his blog, Dreamscape Design. The editor, M.T., goes by Vile on the OD&D Discussion forums, where he is an enthusiastic convert to the charm of the original Basic set.

So far there are two releases for Blueholme, each currently a free download on RPGnow:

Prentice Rules - A starter set of rules, covering levels 1-3 much as the original Basic rulebook. There's an enthusiastic review over here at the Dispatches from Kickassistan blog. Since I am dedicated to the original Holmes Basic rulebook, I can't say I will personally be using the Prentice Rules, but they do a great job of cloning for anyone who does not have the original. In the interest of simplicity it does sidestep the famous (infamous?) rule giving daggers two blows per round and heavy weapons one attack every other round. The Prentice Rules particularly shine in the use of fantastic public domain art by the illustrators Henry Justice Ford and Victor R. Lambdin. Even if you are not a fan of the Holmes set it is worth checking out these rules just to see how this art has been masterfully juxtaposed with the rules. My only criticism of the look of the rules is the constant referral to the game as BLUEHOLME TM, which brings to mind mid-80s trademark proliferation in TSR products.

(Full disclosure: I am listed in the Acknowledgements section, which is quite an honor particularly given the other names that included).

Maze of Nuromen - this is an introductory module by J.B. of the Forbidden Mazes of the Jennerak blog. Here is his original post about the adventure from 2011. J.B. is also a member of the OD&D Discussion forums (as xerxez). This module continues with the use of great public domain art, here by Harry Clarke. I'll post more on this module when I have a chance to read through it in more detail.


  1. Blueholme (TM) is indeed a little bit of wonderful. Great production. Loving it right now.
    I almost want to add 'Remember, use only quality BLUEHOLME products and suppliments' to keep the TSR vibe going...

  2. You got me on the BLUEHOLME™! Okay, it does work as real trademark protection as well, but the main reason it's in there is as a little dig at the frequent AD&D references inserted into the Holmes Basic rulebook by TSR.

    Now, as for the light/medium/heavy weapons rule - I intend to re-introduce it as an optional rule in the BLUEHOLME™ Compleat Rules, but this time together with variable weapon damage as was probably originially intended. I won't bother with it in my games personally, but it will be there for those who like a bit more crunch in their combat.

  3. Looks great! I actually don't mind the title that way, it's totally in-spirit with the original rules presentation. Evocative.

  4. I enjoyed reading through these PDFs, and decided to dig out my original Blue Book from 1979. Besides the illustrations, they are almost the exact same thing. Similar wording, written as if for those completely new to the RPG scene (much like I WAS in 1979!). Funny how we're drawn to so many of these new retro clones, when we actually still own the original thing they were cloned from.

    I also still have my BX Red Book and BX Blue Book from 1981 or so (which I guess is where Labyrinth Lord and S&W are from). Boy do I feel old.