This is the blog. Click here to go to the Zenopus Archives website.

Note: Many older posts on this blog are missing images, but can be viewed at the corresponding page in the Internet Archive


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.                    ...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Part 7: "Something Has Come Strolling Along"

Part 7 of a comparison of Holmes' manuscript with the published Basic Set rulebook. Turn to page 10 of your 'Blue Book' and follow along...

In the manuscript, the title of this section has "CLOSED DOORS" and "HIDDEN DOORS" for the second and third items. This was changed in the rulebook, but Holmes' original title survived into the Table of Contents of the first printing.

Traps: The only change to this paragraph in the published version was to append the final sentence with "...taking one or more 6-sided dice of damage". 

Doors: The first sentence was revised from "often locked" to "often stuck or locked".

Listen: No changes.

Secret Door: The published version of this paragraph adds a new sentence at the end, "Of course, the Dungeon Master will lessen these possibilities in lower levels of the dungeon".

Spiking Doors: No changes.

Surprise: No changes.

Wandering Monster: The first paragraph has no changes. The published version of the second paragraph adds a new sentence at the end, "Where a slash (/) appears between two monsters, roll again to see which of the two appears". This clarifies how to use of the Wandering Monster Table.

The published version has a long third paragraph that discusses adjusting the number of monsters encountered, but this is not present in this location in the manuscript. Instead, Holmes has some of this information later in two brief sentences following the Reaction Table:

Holmes got this information from pages 11-12 of Vol 3 of OD&D:

Number of Wandering Monsters Appearing: If the level beneath the surface roughIy corresponds with the level of the monster then the number of monsters will be based on a single creature, modified by type (that is Orcs and the like will be in groups) and the number of adventurers in the party. A party of from 1-3 wouId draw the basic number of monsters, 4-6 wouId bring about twice as many, and so on.

Holmes altered "basic number" to "one", presumably based on the first sentence that says "single creature". In the published paragraph, TSR changes this advice to suggest a number of monsters "roughly equal" to the strength of the party.

Level Beneath the Surface Table: This table, which is a revised version of the table on page 10 of Vol 3 of OD&D, is not present in the draft. Perhaps Holmes wasn't sure how to revise this, since the original table allowed for monsters of level 4 and above to be encountered on levels 1-3.

As a side note, the table (found in the published rulebook) has a nice mirror symmetry. 
The monsters that will be encountered on each level have the following ratios:
Level 1 --- 8:3:1 (i.e., 8 1st level monsters to 3 2nd level monsters to 1 3rd level monster)  
Level 2 --- 3:6:3
Level 3 --- 1:3:8

Wandering Monster Table: We've known for a long time that the WMT in the first print of the Basic rulebook was not Holmes' original. In Dragon #52, when reviewing the new Moldvay Basic Set, he wrote:

"The first Basic Set rulebook contained some irritating typographical errors. Someone at TSR rewrote the wandering monster table and put in a number of creatures that were not in my list of monster descriptions. But most of the errors were corrected for the second printing."

Holmes' original WMT is found in the manuscript, and tracks very closely to the tables from the Greyhawk Supplement, pg 64.

The only change that Holmes made to the Greyhawk Tables, which can be seen here, was to write out the level of the NPCs, rather than using level titles. He may have done this since the level titles above 3 do not appear in the Basic rules (of course, neither do stats for any of these higher levels). Here again we see Holmes using "order" instead of "level" for character level.

The secondary editor(s) at TSR seems to have revised the Greyhawk tables by drawing heavily on the Monster & Treasure Assortments, which included numbers of monsters for each type - something not found in the Greyhawk tables. However, this lead to monsters from the M&TA that are not in the Holmes rulebook being included in the 1st printing of the published rulebook. This table was revised again in the second and third printings as discussed in the post linked above showing the Greyhawk Tables.

Hostile-Friendly Reaction Table: This table is identical in the manuscript and published version, including introductory paragraph, and first sentence following it. As mentioned above, the second and third sentences following were moved to before the table and expanded. 

Holmes adapted this table from two places: OD&D, Vol 3, page 12 and the one in OD&D, Vol 1, page 12. The first source has the general format and content of the preceding and subsequent sentences, plus a smaller 3-entry table, and the second source has the more familiar 5-entry table.

Following this table, there is another paragraph covering pursuit. The only change here is to change the first instance of "(roll 1-3)" to "(roll 1-3 on a 6-sided die)". Holmes adapted this material from OD&D, Vol 3, page 12, although he simplified the material, including changing percentages to d6 rolls. 

Continue on to Part 8: "Successively Deeper Strata"
Or Go Back to
Part 6: "Fully Armored and Heavily Loaded"
Or Go Back to Start: The Holmes Manuscript 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Part 6: "Fully Armored and Heavily Loaded"

Part 6 of a comparison of Holmes' manuscript with the published Basic Set rulebook. Turn to page 9 of your 'Blue Book' and follow along...

LANGUAGES: The paragraph in the Holmes draft follows the section "Languages" in Men & Magic, pg 12, very closely, with just a few changes. In the draft, the first sentence only refers to "most humans" knowing "Common" - just as in Men & Magic. In the published Basic rulebook, this has been changed to "most humans, elves, dwarves, and hobbits". A small change but it moves demi-humans out of the category of 'monsters', of which only 20% know common. For the third sentence, Holmes follows Men & Magic: "Law, Chaos and Neutrality also have common languages spoken by each respectively". In the published rulebook this is naturally changed to refer to 5-point alignment system (see yesterday's post). In the second-to-last sentence, the draft just has "Thus, a man with an intelligence level of 15 could speak 7 languages". This is a simplification of the sentence in OD&D and the rulebook actually restores the full information of the original by adding "i.e., common, alignment, plus five others as selected".

In the situations where Holmes follows OD&D, and then is edited by TSR, it almost feels as if Gygax/TSR is making some 'official' clarifications to the OD&D rules.

Update: The 2nd edition of the rulebook adds a new sentence to the end of this paragraph, clarifying that languages must be selected before play starts. For further discussion, see this post.

TIME AND MOVEMENT IN THE DUNGEONS: In the first paragraph, there no changes except for "rounds" to "melee rounds". The concept of "each round lasting ten seconds", which does not appear in OD&D, is in the draft paragraph and passed through TSR without change. Holmes may have been influenced by either the Warlock Supplement (1975) or Metamorphosis Alpha (1976), each of which uses 10 sec combat rounds. See the end of this post.

The second paragraph is an example by Holmes of a party searching for secret doors while a purple worm approaches. The only change here is to reduce the amount of wall that the characters can search in a turn from a "20 foot section" to a "10 foot section". 

No changes to the third, fourth or fifth paragraphs, but there is a change to the Movement Table between the fourth and fifth. Here is Holmes' original table:

This information comes from two places in OD&D: Vol 1, page 15, and Vol 3, page 8. The table in the published Basic rulebook includes all of the information from draft table, but labels it "Exploring/Mapping" and adds a second column labeled "Moving Normally" where the movement values are all doubled.

One thing I noticed a while back is that while Holmes follows the movement example in Vol 3 of OD&D - "120 feet for a fully-armored character" - he fails to note that this is "two moves", and that there are "two moves in a turn", which comports with Vol 1 of OD&D, where an armored man has a move of 60 feet. The problem with omitting this information arises in relation to the the Monster List, where monsters are given the same movement as in Vol 2 of OD&D, but per turn, rather than getting two moves per turn. This leads to an unarmored man being faster than most monsters in the Monster List (and as fast as the fastest horse). To restore the OD&D ratio between humans and monsters, the monster moves in the Monster List should be doubled.

ENCUMBRANCE: This entirety of this section is missing from Holmes' draft. In the past I had thought that Holmes wrote this simply because the example uses Malchor, who appears in two other examples in the published rulebook. However, we did have a clue all of these years that this section was added at a late point during editing: it's not listed in the Table of Contents of the published rulebook, unlike the sections before and after it.

This section does a good job of explaining in simple terms what is meant by "heavily loaded" in the Movement Table. I wonder who at TSR wrote this: Gygax, Mike Carr (who edited the AD&D rulebooks and wrote the first module for Basic), Tim Kask (who edited the last three OD&D supplements), or someone else? I might be imagining things, but looking at this with fresh eyes it seems to share some of the clear writing of Mike Carr's introductory material in B1 - which is almost an extension of the Basic rulebook.

Update: Upon re-reading Gygax on Holmes, I get sense that Gygax wrote this material:
Among other quotes: "As it happened, I reviewed Eric's ms. and put in the material I was creating for the new AD&D system".

LIGHT: Here Holmes has rewritten a paragraph on light from page 9 of Vol 3 of OD&D. There are just few changes from his draft to the published version. The second sentence of the draft is missing the distance (60') that elves and dwarves can see in the dark, but is otherwise the same. Two other clarifying sentences are added in the published version, one indicating that a torch or a lantern allows 30' sight, and the other noting that elves and dwarves lose their ability to see in the dark if there is light within 30'. 

Continue on to Part 7: "Something Has Come Strolling Along"
Or Go Back to
Part 5: "Lawful, Neutral or Chaotic"

Or Go Back to Start: The Holmes Manuscript

Monday, November 25, 2013

Part 5: "Lawful, Neutral or Chaotic"

Part 5 of a comparison of Holmes' manuscript with the published Basic Set rulebook. Turn to page 8 of your 'Blue Book' and follow along...


Holmes wrote this section from scratch, as it doesn't appear in OD&D. However, he may have used the the terms "hopeless" and "below average" here because the sample character in OD&D Vol 1, Xylarthen, is "below average in charisma, but not hopelessly so". The next version of the Basic rulebook, edited by Tom Moldvay, keeps this section, including the title in quotes, so this is an instance where material added by Holmes was retained going forward with the D&D line. Moldvay expands the notion of the "hopeless character" from all-below-average stats to having more than one stat that is in the 3-6 range. Moldvay also drops Holmes' musing that sometimes these characters will survive and propser despite their stats.

Despite Holmes writing this section, it somewhat reflected actual play practices in Lake Geneva, who per reports would roll multiple characters until they got what they wanted. This seems to have become character generation in Method IV of the AD&D DMG, where one set of stats is picked from 12 sets of six 3d6 rolls.

NUMBER OF CHARACTERS: The first sentence in Holmes' draft reads: "Most Dungeon Masters allow a player only one, two or three characters at a time". In the rulebook the end of this was changed to "...only one (or perhaps two characters) at a time. Holmes was perhaps a bit more generous with the number of characters he allowed each player to run than Gygax/TSR, who IIRC generally advised allowing only a single character per player. 

In the second paragraph, Holmes' reference to a "seventh order cleric" is changed to "seventh level cleric" in the rulebook. There is at least one other place in the manuscript where Holmes uses "order" instead of "level". This may be a carryover from an earlier draft where he used "order" for character level, perhaps in an attempt to reduce the number of different meanings of "level".

The rest of this section is unchanged. The part about designating a relative for inheriting treasure and retiring comes from Men & Magic, page 13, "Relatives", though Holmes reworded the original a bit and added the second paragraph about death and possible means of revival.

NON-PLAYER CHARACTERS: No changes in the first paragraph. The second paragraph adds a few clarifications in the published rulebook. The first sentence adds "i.e. first level" to clarify "lowest level of character types". After "...the referee must determine expenditures" an aside is added: "(rolling a 6-sided die for 100's of gold pieces is suggested)". The third paragraph adds "sometimes" in the first sentence to "Monsters can [sometimes] be lured..." The rest of this section is unchanged.

The text of the first three paragraphs of this section in Holmes' draft are mostly word-for-word the same as the section "Non-Player Characters" in Men & Magic, page 12, and the fourth paragraph comes from "Capture of Non-Player Monsters", page 13.

ALIGNMENT: Here we see another big difference between the manuscript and the published rulebook. As might be guessed, Holmes follows the 3-point alignment scheme of OD&D: Lawful, Neutral and Chaotic, rather than the 5-point alignment scheme that Holmes Basic is known for. Here is the draft paragraph in full:

There were less changes than might be expected made to this section to convert it from 3-point to 5-point. The first sentence was changed to "...lawful (good or evil), neutral or chaotic (good or evil). The second sentence was revised to end with "...code of behavior whether for good or evil". In the third sentence chaotic characters go from being "usually" to "often" evil. The "code of lawful characters" becomes the "code of lawful good characters". Magic items that "can be used only by lawful characters" becomes "can be used only by one alignment of characters". In the last sentence, "lawful" is changed to "good". 

The manuscript does not contain the alignment figure found at the bottom of page 8 of the published rulebook. The first version of this figure included several monsters not found in the Monster List, so it is as expected that this figure does not appear in the draft.

I should note that despite using only the 3-point alignment in this section, back in the section on character classes Holmes indicated that "Magic-users, of course, may be either good or evil, lawful or chaotic" and "the cleric may be good or evil, lawful or chaotic", and "thieves are not truly good and are usually referred to as neutral or evil". So Holmes pretty much described the 5-point system in the characters section, it just wasn't quantified to labels such as "lawful good".

The 5-point system by Gygax was first set forth in the Strategic Review #6, Feburary 1976. I don't know whether Holmes had seen this or not when he was working on the manuscript. The 5-point system was used in the published Holmes rulebook (July 1977) and the Monster Manual (Dec 1977) and the full 9-point system first appeared in the Player's Handbook in mid-1978. 

Update: Vile reminded me of Holmes' comments on Alignment in Dragon #52, when he was reviewing the new Moldvay Basic Set. They seem relevant to this post, so I'll quote them here:

"Character alignment: This is the most difficult of the D&D concepts to get across. The new rules spend more space on alignments and do a much better job of explaining them, using practical examples. Alignment is Law, Chaos and Neutral. Good and Evil are not discussed as separate alignments at all, which I think makes better sense. The first Basic Set had one of those diagrams which said that blink dogs were lawful good and brass dragons were chaotic good. I never felt that this was particularly helpful. I am sure Gary Gygax has an idea in his mind of what chaotic good (or other “obscure” alignments, etc.) may be, but it certainly isn’t clear to me. Without meaning to be irreverent, I am also sure that Buddha knew what he meant by nirvana, but that doesn’t clarify it in my mind either. I think the new rules simplify the issue appropriately."

Update (6/11/15): I missed a few bits going through this before. In the second sentence, Holmes has lawful characters acting according to a "highly chivalrous code of behavior". In the published version, "chivalrous" is changed to "regulated", presumably to account for the "lawful evil" alignment. In the third sentence, Holmes had chaotic characters as "totally unreliable", which was changed to "quite unpredictable".

The rest of Holmes' article can be read at Sword & Shield

See also: Holmes Alignment is Six-Point
Holmes Manuscript series Part 19, section on alignment

Continue on to Part 6: "Fully Armored and Heavily Loaded" 
Or Go Back to Part 4: "...And a Half-Human/Half-Serpent Naga"
Or Go Back to Start: The Holmes Manuscript

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Part 4: "...And a Half-Human, Half-Serpent Naga"

Part 4 of a comparison of Holmes' manuscript with the published Basic Set rulebook. Turn to page 7 of your 'Blue Book' and follow along...

Character Record, Hit Points, Gold: These sections are not titled in the original manuscript or the published rulebook. There are no changes to the first paragraph about recording your character, the single sentence that follows it, or the final paragraph about rolling for gold. The third paragraph about hit points has some changes in the first half, with regard to formatting and clarification. Here is the original:

And here is the published version (1st print):

           "First generate a random number for "hit points." To generate the numbers roll the special dice in this game — 8-sided, 6-sided, 4-sided. This represents the amount of damage the character can take. For the number of "hit points" roll the proper sided die mentioned below. The die pertaining to players' character type is rolled once per level of experience. (See the section EXPERIENCE POINTS AND EXPERIENCE LEVELS.) Fighters, including dwarves, generate random numbers from 1 to 8, clerics from 1 to 6, and magic-users and thieves from 1 to 4. Elves use a spread of from 1 to 6 as they are both fighters (1-8) and magic-users ( 1 -4). Although hobbits are always fighters, they also use a 1 to 6 point spread due to their size. Note that constitution can add or subtract hit points, but no character can have less than 1 point per level regardless of subtractions."

Holmes' sentence near the middle, which reads "One way to generate the numbers is to roll the special dice - 8 sided, 6 sided or 4 sided, but numbered cards can be drawn from a set, or some other system used" has been edited to make the use of the dice included in the game the standard, and moved to be the second sentence of the paragraph: "To generate the numbers roll the special dice in this game - 8-sided, 6-sided, 4-sided". In addition, TSR adds three clarifying sentences starting with "For the number of "hit points"... 

Notably, Holmes' original includes the information that the "alternating elves" use a d6 for hit points. As far as I can tell he doesn't clarify when the d6 is rolled for elves - when one class gains 2nd level or both? Presumably an elf could choose to only gain levels in one class, so I guess the d6 would just be rolled whenever a higher level is gained in either class.

COST OF EQUIPMENT & WEAPONS: This section doesn't have a title in Holmes' original, so it is not separated from the preceding paragraphs. Holmes did have an entry in the Contents for "TABLE Equipment and Costs". TSR changed this entry to "COST OF WEAPONS AND EQUIPMENT" in the Contents, and imported the title, with "equipment" and "weapons" reversed, here.

Holmes very precisely copies the Equipment Table directly from the one in OD&D, Vol 1, down to the exact note at the end ("Other items cost may be calculated by comparing to similar items listed above"), with just a few changes. 

Five entries are dropped; four of these are the four highest price entries in the original list, each 5,000 gold pieces or more and are all large sea-going vessels: Small Merchant Ship, Large Merchant Ship, Small Galley and Large Galley. Holmes presumably dropped these as being outside the scope of Basic level adventuring. 

The other one that was dropped is Belladonna (5 gold pieces), possibly because there was no further explanation for it or Wolvesbane in Original D&D, and Holmes may have viewed that as confusing or duplicative. Holmes also added a note to the entry for Lycanthrope that stated "All were-creatures are repelled by wolfsbane"; this is its first official description in D&D. Belladonna is first explained in the Monster Manual, which states, "If the person is carrying belladonna there is a 25% chance that this will cure the affliction if eaten within one hour. Note that this infusion will incapacitate the person for 1-4 days and there is a 1% chance of the poison in it killing the creature". This is the closest to an OD&D description for belladonna.

Otherwise, the Manuscript retains the order of items in the list, and the prices. This includes the weapons from Men & Magic in the table, which appears random at first glance but is actually in the same order as the twelve different weapon categories Chainmail, from shortest to longest (Pole Arms & Halberd go together). 

In Holmes, the price of a spear is 2 gold pieces, which one may think is a change from the 1 gp price in the LBBs. However, a spear is only price at 1 gp in later printings of the LBBs; the first printing had it  at 2 gp. This is evidence that Holmes had an early printing  of the LBBs. In the next iteration of Basic, Moldvay increased the price by one more gold piece, to 3 gp.

Holmes split the original table into two halves, but this may just be an artifact of the formatting in the manuscript, where he put the items that didn't fit on the first page on another page, and included the same headers. TSR retained this formatting as published, resulting in the table being split. 

As published, the table has no changes other than minor formatting (changing the headers from underlined to bold, capitalizing "Mail" in "Chain-type mail"), and the addition of one item added by Gygax: Tinder Box, with a price of 3 gold pieces. This is its first appearance in a D&D rulebook.

ADDITIONAL CHARACTER CLASSES: This was always one of my favorite sections, and provided a lot of flavor to the rulebook. Back when I only had Holmes Basic it provided a glimpse of the exciting material to come in AD&D. There are some interesting changes here. I'll quote Holmes' original in full:

Points of Interest:

(1) As many had guessed, in the first paragarph Holmes was just describing what was already available in OD&D. TSR simply changed his "DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, and the various supplements" to "ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS".

(2) No witch! Holmes does not have the famous reference to the witch being a subclass of magic-user, which puzzled many kids when they got AD&D and found it wasn't there. Gygax has said that he was never planning on adding a witch class to AD&D:

"That mention slipped by me, and all I can assume was that either Eric was planning to force such a class upon me, or else someone editing the work thought it a good joke to play. i never had a PC class of that sort in mind for the game."
-Gygax on Enworld in 2005, see here for a link to the original post

So now it appears that "someone else editing the work" added the reference to the witch.

(3) "seven basic classes": Holmes' terminology here, which treats dwarves, elves and hobbits as classes along with fighter, magic-user, cleric and thief, is in line with the "race as class" concept that was further developed in Moldvay Basic. However, earlier in the manuscript Holmes included references to the rules for non-human thieves in AD&D, so I don't think too much should be read into this with regard to Holmes' views that the non-human races are classes. Notably, the revised paragraph changes "seven basic classes" to "four basic classes and races", which is the only appearance of the word "race" in the first printing (the second edition adds the word to the new entry for Troglodytes).

(4) More examples of "anything" classes! Holmes original reads: "Thus, an expedition might include, in addition to the seven basic classes, an African witch doctor/magic-user, a centaur, an Amerindian medicine man/cleric, a lawful werebear, a Japanese Samurai fighting man and a half-human, half-serpent Naga". TSR cut out half of these, leaving the sentence as the familiar "a centaur, a lawful werebear, and a Japanese Samurai fighting man". All of these alternate classes were used by Holmes in his own games and are mentioned in one or another of his writings.

African witch doctor/magic-user: A witch doctor is part of Boinger and Zereth's party in The Adventure of the Lost City: Part One, Alarums & Excursions #17, November 1976.

Centaur: A centaur is a minor character that Boinger and Zereth meet in The Maze of Peril (1986, written earlier), and Holmes also mentions a centaur PC in his article "Confessions of a Dungeon Master" (Psychology Today, 1980).

Amerindian medicine man/cleric: An American Indian Cleric plays a prominent role in The Adventure of the Giant Chameleon, Alarums & Excursions #14, August 1976.

Lawful Werebear: A Beorning character is also mentioned briefly in the The Adventure of the Giant Chameleon. A Beorning character class appeared in The Manual of Aurania.

Japanese Samurai Fighting Man: A samurai is also part of the party in The Adventure of the Lost City. A samurai character class appeared DRAGON #3 (Oct 1976), and also in the Manual of Aurania.

Half-human, half-serpent Naga: A Naga PC is also mentioned in Confessions of a Dungeon Master. Nagas first appeared as a D&D monster in the Strategic Review #3 (Autumn 1975), but alternately Holmes may be referring to the Naga of Indian mythology, which have a mix of human and serpent traits but are not necessarily a human-headed snake.

UPDATE: Here's a relevant quote from Holmes from Dragon #52, when he was reviewing the new Moldvay Basic Set:

"Character classes: Player characters are restricted to being a Fighter, Cleric, Thief, Magic-User, Elf, Halfling or Dwarf. This probably covers the roles most beginning players want to try, but I am personally sorry to see the range of possibilities so restricted. The original rules (the three little brown books) specifically stated that a player could be a dragon if he wanted to be, and if he started at first level. For several years there was a dragon player character in my own game. At first level he could puff a little fire and do one die of damage. He could, of course, fly, even at first level. He was one of the most unpopular characters in the game, but this was because of the way he was played, not because he was a dragon. I enjoyed having dragons, centaurs, samurai and witch doctors in the game. My own most successful player character was a Dreenoi, an insectoid creature borrowed from McEwan’s Starguard. He reached fourth level (as high as any of my personal characters ever got), made an unfortunate decision, and was turned into a pool of green slime."

The rest of Holmes' article can be read at Sword & Shield.  

Continue on to Part 5: "Lawful, Neutral or Chaotic"
Or Go Back to
Part 3: "Elves Must Decide"
Or Go Back to Start: The Holmes Manuscript

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Part 3: "Elves Must Decide"

Part 3 of a comparison of Holmes' manuscript with the published Basic Set rulebook. Turn to page 6 of your 'Blue Book' and follow along...

Fighting Men: No changes to the text, other than the very last sentence, where we see the first reference to AD&D inserted by TSR:

This sentence illustrates two general points about the manuscript:
(1) As I have speculated previously, the references to AD&D in the text are made just by changing Holmes' references to "D&D", or a supplement, to "AD&D".

(2) There has been some speculation in the past that Holmes' original draft may have gone to higher levels, but was cut down by TSR. This sentence is the first in the manuscript showing that it only covers levels 1-3. I haven't seen Holmes' earlier drafts, so I can't rule out that one of them went to higher levels.

Magic-Users: The only change here is in the parenthetical aside in line six about the ability to cast spells, which Holmes originally had as "(shared with elves and clerics)" and TSR changed to "(shared with clerics and some elves)". Possibly TSR corrected this because Holmes also makes reference to Elvish thieves, which if single-classed would not be able to cast spells. Or they were anticipating single-classed Elves in AD&D.

Clerics: No changes.

Thieves: The only change in this section is the replacement of "GREYHAWK" with "ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS" in the sentence about special rules for non-human thieves:

So again we see that TSR has simply just replaced a reference to OD&D with AD&D.

Dwarves: Two minor changes here. The words "about one-third of the time" have been inserted following "new construction" in the list of features that can detected underground. And the languages (Gnomes, Kobolds, Goblins) were capitalized in the manuscript. 

As might be expected, Holmes' original contains the sentence about the +3 Magic War Hammer, which made it into the first print rulebook:

This was later deleted because it didn't make sense - there was no +3 Magic War Hammer described later in the published rulebook. I can now report that Holmes' section on Treasure does describe this magic item. More on that later.

Elves: In the first paragraph there are just minor changes similar to that of Dwarves: "about one-third of the time" after the note that they can detect secret hidden doors, and the languages they speak are de-capitalized. 

However, in the second paragraph several sentences were deleted, bringing about the most significant change to Holmes' version of the rules so far. Here it is in whole:

The deleted sentences are: "Elves must decide before an adventure begins, however, whether they are going to act as fighting men, in which case they can wear armor but can not throw spells, or assume the role of magic-user, gaining the use of spells but forfeiting weapons other than the dagger. For each adventure the elf can change his role but once the adventure stars he must not change". The last sentence was retained, forming the entire second paragraph in the published version.

Holmes' deleted sentences reflect the rules for elves in Men & Magic, Vol 1 of OD&D, pg 8:

Elves can begin as either Fighting-Men or Magic-Users and freely switch class whenever they choose, from adventure to adventure, but not during the course of a single game. Thus, they gain the benefits of both classes and may use both weaponry and spells. They may use magic armor and still act as Magic-Users

The original rules allow elves to wear magic armor when acting like a magic-user, implying they cannot wear normal armor when acting like a magic-user. Holmes is more explicit about the trade-off between the use of armor/weapons and spell-casting, and does not specifically provide any exception for magic armor.

The Greyhawk Supplement (early 1975)  seems to change the "alternating elf" to the standard "multi-classed elf" that works in different classes simultaneously. This version was used in AD&D, so TSR probably decided not to include the earlier version in the Basic Set. So why did Holmes include it? He probably hadn't seen the AD&D rules in progress, and even Greyhawk is not entirely clear that the earlier rule has been replaced. Also, Holmes may have used the "alternating elf" in his own games.

Holmes' novel, The Maze of Peril, published in 1986 but probably written earlier (he mentioned it in a 1979 interview), has a scene where Zereth the Elf removes his armor so he can cast an invisibility spell:

"As the halfling [Boinger] watched with interest, the black elf divested himself of sword, helm, chain mail, and jacket, and boots until down to soft linen tunic. Then he washed his hands in the basin beside the bed and put on a long sleeved robe. "Can't have iron touching the body anywhere," he explained, "no iron, even nails in the boot heels. It drains the flow of force from the other world" (pg 34). 

Boinger and Zereth were two of Chris Holmes' first characters and their stories evolved from the games that Dr. Holmes ran, so this scene may reflect the rules they used.  On the other hand, there's a Boinger and Zereth story from 1981, "The Sorcerer's Jewel" (Dragon #46), where Zereth casts spells and uses scrolls, while also fighting with a sword and probably armored. This may have been written later and reflect the AD&D rules.

Hobbits: No changes.

Continue on to Part 4: "...And a Half-Human/Half-Serpent Naga"
Or Go Back to
Part 2: "Fearsome Monsters, Fabulous Treasure and Frightful Perils"
Or Go Back to Start: The Holmes Manuscript

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Part 2: "Fearsome Monsters, Fabulous Treasure, and Frightful Perils"

Part 2 of a comparison of Holmes' manuscript with the published Basic Set rulebook. Turn to page 2 of your 'Blue Book' and follow along...

PREFACE & FOREWORD: These two sections, on pages 2 and 3 of the published rulebook, are not found at all in the manuscript, suggesting they were added by Gygax/TSR.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: The manuscript has three TOC pages. Holmes' entries, including the wording, are followed for the most part, with some deleted or condensed. I won't go into detail right now, but may mention some changes when I get to the appropriate sections.

INTRODUCTION: The numbered pages of the manuscript start with the Introduction. Holmes' text is largely unchanged in the published version. In the first line, Holmes has "Dungeons and Dragons" which was changed to "Dungeons & Dragons" and bolded when published. The remainder of this section is word-for-word identical in the manuscript and the 1st printing of the rulebook, including the use of "hobbits", with the exception of the very last sentence, where Holmes originally had:

The published rulebook shortens this to "...20 sided dice which come with this game". Holmes probably didn't know whether or not TSR was going to include dice in the set; the original D&D set did not include dice. An irony here is that Holmes' original text refers to "numbered chits", a form of which infamously appeared in later editions of the Holmes Basic set during a dice shortage.

HOW TO USE THIS BOOK: Identical, except that where Holmes uses "a random number generator", TSR changes it to "the set of dice".

CREATING CHARACTERS: No changes, other than "three six sided dice" to "three 6-sided dice" and changing underlining to italics, a standard for publishing in the era of typewriters (see Desert Scribe's comment below).

One interesting aspect of this section is the minimum scores of 9 constitution for dwarves and hobbits, and 9 dexterity for halflings. As far as I can tell/remember these minimums are not in the original D&D rules, so it appears that Holmes added these. He may have been influenced by his familiarity with the Warlock supplement, which has more extensive racial minimums for demi-humans. In Warlock, for example, dwarves must have at least Str 11 and Con 13, and "hobbits" must have at least a Str 9, Dex 11 and Con 11. 

TABLE OF BONUS AND PENALTIES DUE TO ABILITIES: Identical, other than some minor punctuation/capitalization changes.

This makes it clear that the limited selection of ability score bonuses/penalties, lacking those for Strength or Charisma found in OD&D, comes via Holmes. With the caveat that he may have discussed this material with Gygax prior to writing the manuscript under consideration.

ADJUSTING ABILITY SCORES: No changes here other than capitalization and underlining to italicization. As with the published version, Holmes does not mention elves in this section, leaving it unclear whether they are treated separately as fighters & magic-users, or do not have a prime requisite at all.

That's it for tonight. So far, remarkably few changes between Holmes' manuscript and the published version. The published rulebook uses the vast majority of what Holmes wrote, word-for-word, in these sections. In the next section on the various character classes/races we will see the first significant change.

Continue on to Part 3: "Elves Must Decide"
Or Go Back to Part 1: "D&D for Beginners"
Or Go Back to Start: The Holmes Manuscript

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Part 1: "Dungeons & Dragons For Beginners"

What I referred to yesterday as 'The Holmes Manuscript' is actually the third draft of this material, which Billy described in a post at the Acaeum earlier this year:

"This [1st] version is a huge folder stuffed with handwritten pages, typed pages, photocopies, lots and lots of corrections as well as some crude illustrations by JEH and some great illustrations by Chris Holmes (which were submitted to TSR and I am surprised they were not used in lieu of some of the art that was) ..."

In the above photo you can see part of a Displacer Beast drawn by Chris Holmes.

"The 2nd is an intermediary stage between the one directly above and the one in the initial post. It is a cleaned up photocopied version of the above with numerous hand corrections/notes. Still includes a rough layout and illustrations by Chris."

"The 3rd [pictured at the top of this post] ... is a clean typeset document with no corrections or illustrations (other than the dungeon layout). There are multiple copies of this version with at least 2 colors of outer cover (blue & gray). The Holmes family retained one for their master set of Holmes material. I have 2, one of which will be up for grabs at some point this summer. And 1 (or possibly more) would have been sent to TSR where it was probably lost or destroyed since none have surfaced yet."

Based on the multiple copies, this is most likely the version that Holmes sent to TSR. When I spoke to Billy last week he told me about a sheet he had found with Holmes' order of multiple photocopies from U.S.C., where he worked. I am hoping there is a date on this.

The 3rd version of the Holmes Manuscript is 138 pages in length, which includes a title page, a dedication page, a three-page table of contents, and pages numbered 1-132. Of the numbered pages, page 37 is duplicated, page 67 is missing, and there is an inserted page 119A with the map of the Sample Dungeon that I posted yesterday. Billy wrote back to me that all of the copies of the 3rd version of the Manuscript are missing page 67, which covers the entries in the Monster List for Doppelganger and Dragon (1st half). This page was either removed from all copies, or more likely went missing before photocopying. The missing material is hopefully present in the earlier (2nd) version of the draft.

The title of the manuscript is "Dungeons and Dragons For Beginners", followed by the words appearing on the cover of the original D&D books, with the addition of "Complete Rules in This Volume", and then the names "Gary Gygax and Eric Holmes". The subsequent Dedication page simply says "for Jeff and Chris", Holmes' two children at the time.

The published version combines these two pages, placing the dedication below the credits. TSR dropped the "For Beginners" from the title, leaving it simply "Dungeons & Dragons"  here and on the cover, and using "Basic Set" instead on the corner of the box cover. As far as I can tell, the term "beginner" does not appear anywhere in the published version, rulebook or box. Holmes would later resurrect the title "D&D for Beginners" for tournaments that he and Chris ran at Gen Con in 1978 and 1979

TSR also dropped the "Complete Rules..." statement from the title page, moving this concept to the back cover of the box, which says (at least in the 3rd print I have): "This Box Contains Your Complete Dungeons & Dragons Game".

TSR also corrected the credits to add Dave Arneson's name, and gave Holmes an "Edited By". I personally think he should have also been credited with "additional material" based on his Sample Dungeon and other examples, which as we shall see are present in the manuscript. 

Continue On to Part 2: "Fearsome Monsters, Fabulous Treasure and Frightful Perils"
Or Go Back to the Index: The Holmes Manuscript

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Holmes Manuscript Series: Index of Posts

The Sample Dungeon map from The Holmes Manuscript.

Original Introductory Post: 
At long last! I now have in my 'hands' a scan of The Holmes Manuscript, which is what I am calling the manuscript for the Holmes Basic rulebook that J. Eric Holmes sent to TSR.  The scan comes courtesy Billy Galaxy, who this year has been running auctions of material from Holmes' collection. I plan to blog my way through the manuscript, comparing it with the published version.
Index of posts in the Holmes Manuscript series:
Part 1: "D&D for Beginners"
Part 2: "Fearsome Monsters, Fabulous Treasure and Frightful Perils"
Part 3: "Elves Must Decide"
Part 4: "...And a Half-Human/Half-Serpent Naga"
Part 5: "Lawful, Neutral or Chaotic" (alignment)
Part 6: "Fully Armored and Heavily Loaded" (movement, encumbrance)
Part 7: "Something Has Come Strolling Along" (wandering monsters)
Part 8: "Successively Deeper Strata" (experience, class tables, thief/cleric abilities, "levels")
Part 9: "Zombies are Poisoned by Salt" (magic and saving throws)
Part 10: "Book of First Level Spells"
Part 11: "Book of Second Level Spells"
Interlude: "Who Edited the Editor?"
Part 12: "Clerical Spells"
Part 13: "Melee is the Most Exciting Part of the Game" (Intro to Combat) 
Part 14: "A Curare Tipped Blowgun Dart" (Poison, Oil, Holy Water) 
Part 15: "Hits With Arrows" (Missile Fire, Cover, Magical Weapons)
Part 16: "An Exchange of Two Blows with Ordinary Weapons" (Attacks Per Round)
Part 17: "Highest Dexterity Strikes First" (Melee)
Part 18: "Bruno Dies a Horrible Death" (Combat Examples)
Part 19: "If One Wanted to Use a Red Dragon" (Intro to Monsters)
Part 20: "Monster List - Bandit to Zombie" (Bandits, Basilisks)
Part 21: "Always Hungry and Always Dangerous" (Berserkers to Bugbears)
Part 22: "Fierce Fighters If Cornered" (Carrion Crawler to Cockatrice)
Part 23: "Shy and Beautiful Female Tree Sprites" (Dervishes to Dwarves)
Part 23.5 "There Are Many Kinds of Dragons" (Doppleganger to Dragons)
Part 24: "Winged Beasts of Hideous Aspect" (Elves to Gelatinous Cube)
Part 25: "Horrors Are Naturals for Dungeons" (Giants to Gnolls)
Part 26: "Always Attack Dwarves on Sight" (Gnomes to Green Slime)
Part 27: "Mules Can Often Be Taken Into Dungeons" (Griffon to Horse)
Part 28: "Thus We Find Weresharks in Polynesia" (Hydra to Manticore)
Part 29: "They Usually Inhabit Tunnels, Mazes and Labyrinths" (Medusa to Nixies)
Part 30: "It is, Of Course, Ochre-Colored" (Nomads to Owl Bear)
Part 31: "This Inoffensive Looking Little Creature" (Pegasus to Rust Monster)
Part 32: "Commonly Found Near Graveyards..." (Shadow to Troll)
Part 33: "Spectral Armored Warriors" (Unicorn to Zombie)
Part 34: "Many Monsters Carry Treasure" (Introduction to Treasure, Treasure Types Table)
Part 35: "A Potent Weapon in the Hands of a Dwarf" (Magic Weapons & Armor)
Part 36: "They May Dare a Tiny Sip" (Potions)
Part 37: "Any Ring Spell Except Wishes" (Scrolls)
Part 38: "Rings Can Be Used by Anyone" (Rings)
Part 39: "The Wand Produces a Fire Ball Which Will Travel" (Wands & Staves)
Part 40: "Acts Like a Cannon Blast on Walls" (Miscellaneous Magic Items)
Interlude: "Skull Mountain by Tom Wham"
Part 41: "Dungeon Mastering as a Fine Art" (DM Guidance, Sample Cross Section)
Part 42: "Sample Floor Plan, Part of First Level" (a forgotten map by Holmes)
Part 43: "Zap! You're Dead!" (DM Guidance) 
Part 44: "Knights Talk in Flowery Phrases" (DM Guidance, Example of Play)
Part 45: "Roll the Number and See What Happens!" (DM Guidance)
Part 46: "Zenopus Built a Tower" (Introduction to the Sample Dungeon)
Part 47: "The Occupants are Goblins" (Rooms A-E) 
Part 48: "The Shadow on the Gnomon" (Rooms F-I)
Part 49: "Will Drop on Unwary Adventurers" (Rooms J-M)
Part 50: "The Dancing Dagger is Hard to Hit" (Room N)
Part 51: "Indescribable Odds and Ends" (Room P) 
Part 52: "No End to the Rats" (Room RT)
Part 53: "The Room Contains a Giant Snake" (Rooms S and S1)
Part 54: "An Ape in an Iron Cage"
(Room S2 and the Coda)
Part 55: Summary of Changes
Appendix A: Manuscript Copy Order Form

Appendix B: Chris Holmes Manuscript Artwork

"...I persuaded Gygax that the original D&D rules needed revision and that I was the person to rewrite them. He readily conceded that there was a need for a beginners' book and "if you want to try it, go ahead". I went through the original three rule books and the first two supplements, Blackmoor and Greyhawk, of which Greyhawk is the greatest help. Trying to use the original words of the two game creators as much as possible, I edited a slim (48 page) handbook for beginners in role playing, published by TSR in 1977 as Dungeons and Dragons and usually marketed as "the basic set".” 

--- J. Eric Holmes, Fantasy Role-Playing Games, 1981