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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.                    ...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Part 34: "Many Monsters Carry Treasure"

Part 34 of a comparison of Holmes' manuscript with the published Basic Set rulebook. Turn to page 34 of your 'Blue Book' and follow along... (page 33 for a 1st edition rulebook)


The material in Holmes' manuscript roughly follows the sequence of the original three OD&D booklets, so the section on Treasure immediately follows the Monster List, as in Vol 2 of OD&D (Monsters & Treasure). 

Holmes starts off with an introductory paragraph that I don't see in the original sources, so I think he wrote this from scratch. There are a few changes from the manuscript to the published version. The first two sentences are unchanged, including the typo that many monsters "secrete" treasure in their lair (so that's where all that treasures comes from...), but the third sentence is deleted; it read: "These tables have been abbreviated from the GREYHAWK supplement for simplicity of use". Holmes' fourth sentence is kept, but "the various supplements" is changed to "ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS". These changes are in line with the general trend to refer readers to AD&D instead of OD&D.

The fifth sentence is unchanged, the sixth sentence is truncated and the seventh sentence is deleted. Here are Holmes' originals:

This material may have been deleted when Gygax added the note about only using the Treasure Tables for large numbers of monsters (see below).


Immediately after this Holmes provides the Treasure Table from pg 22 of OD&D, Vol 2, with a few simplifications. He leaves out the column for copper pieces, and he drops the entries for Desert and Water from Type A, leaving only the numbers for Land as the only option (and omitting the word "Land"). In the published rulebook, Holmes' version of the Table is completely replaced with a new table covering Treasure Types A-T. The Monster Manual would later extend this table to Type Z, so the table in the published Basic rulebook may represent a work-in-progress of the table destined for the Monster Manual.

Use of the Treasure Table

This is Holmes' next section, which means the manuscript is missing the sections "BASE TREASURE VALUES" (covering conversion rates), "Gems" and "Jewelry". Earlier, in the section on "EXPERIENCE POINTS AND EXPERIENCE LEVELS" (See Part 8), Holmes simply included two sentences that stated: "Jewelry and Gems are worth 50 to 500 gold pieces each. Ten silver pieces are equal to one gold piece". I believe this is the sole extent of his discussion of these topics. So for Basic, Holmes intended to simplify coins to just silver and gold, and keep gems and jewelry with simple values. Gygax (or someone else at TSR) went back to OD&D Vol 2 and put back in material from pages 31-32 covering coin conversion rates/gems/jewelry, with a few changes.

Holmes' guidance in "Use of the Treasure Table" is included in it entirety, with no changes except for the addition of one sentence at the end: "It must be stressed that treasures shown are very large and generally only for use when large numbers of monsters are encountered". This echoes the note at the end of the Treasure Table in OD&D Vol 2 (which Holmes doesn't include): "All Treasure is found only in those cases where the encounter takes place in the "Lair". Gygax added similar material to the guidance at the beginning of the Monster List (see Part 20): "The TREASURE TYPES TABLE (shown hereafter) is
recommended for use only when there are exceptionally large numbers of low level monsters guarding them, or if the monsters are of exceptional strength (such as dragons). A good guide to the amount of treasure any given monster should be guarding is given in the MONSTER & TREASURE ASSORTMENTS which are included in the game". The first edition of the Basic Set included Set 1 of the Monster & Treasure Assortments, which included 100 treasures for each of dungeon levels 1-3. So at this point in the history of D&D, Gygax was trying to steer DMs that were stocking dungeons away from the Treasure Tables and towards these lesser treasures for general use.

Maps and Magic Categories

This is Holmes' next section. The 75% chance of magic / 25% chance of map comes from a short table on page 23 of OD&D Vol 2. Holmes leaves out all of the map tables from pages 26-27, but includes the note after the tables that treasures will be "guarded by appropriate monsters". He adds the ideas that maps should be made up in advance by the DM and incomplete, inaccurate or guarded by riddles. This entire section is unchanged from the manuscript to the published text.

In the first edition of the rulebook, this section is followed by a small illustration by David C. Sutherland III of treasure,  including coins, gems & jewelry. This was removed in the second edition.

Next Time: Magic Items! 

Go Back to Start: The Holmes Manuscript


  1. On "secrete", see definition two here.

    1. Not a typo! Good to know. I wasn't aware of that spelling of "secrete" when used as a verb. It seems to have become archaic. I found one usage of Lovecraft spelling it that way in Out of the Aeons: "...trying to secrete himself in the museum at closing time".

    2. Ha! I am now old enough that something that was standard usage in my youth is considered archaic…