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.                    ...

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Ten Years of the Zenopus Archives

Ten years ago today, I made the first post to this blog, "What lies in the (undiscovered) deeper levels where Zenopus met his doom?", which was titled after Holmes' question in the coda to the Sample Dungeon. It was essentially just a teaser post, with just two links, both still active: one to the Zenopus Archives site, which was already under construction, and one to the Holmes Basic subforum on ODD74. But soon after that I started to post regularly, which ballooned to 65 posts in the last four months of 2011, and then 130 the next year, a pace that I have not kept up with since. But I have kept at it, and now it's ten years later, which is almost three times as long as the original era of Holmes Basic, and I have no plans for stopping.


TSR celebrated their 10th Anniversary with a Collector's Set, so I'm doing the same with 10 years of highlights, a sort of "Collector's Set" for the Zenopus Archives:


Caves of Chaos Revealed


Warlock or How to Play D&D without playing D&D?


The Cthulhu Mythos in D&D in the 1970s


20 Backgrounds for OD&D

Fearsome Monsters


Visualizing Castle Greyhawk

Beyond the Door to Monster Mountain


Con Report for NTRPGCon 2016

Gygaxian Orc Tribes


Holmes Ref 2.0

Tales of Peril Book Club


Gygax's "Dungeon Delving" Playtest Reports


The Holmes Basic G+ Community Archive

In Search of the Brazen Head of Zenopus at Gary Con

The Master's Lair, A Play Report


Release of The Ruined Tower of Zenopus 


d20 Unexpectedly Intelligent Monsters in the Monster Manual

Holmes Basic Cover Art: Exhibited!


  1. Well done on 10 years, it's been a pleasure following you. I think you've hit the right level of interesting topics, post length (not too short, not too long) and the persistence and effort to keep it going for far longer than many of the blogs that bloomed in the early days of the OSR and then faded away.

  2. Congrats on the milestone. For some reason, I thought your blog had been around longer than mine (probably because of its more mature, focused content). Quite a nice list of "greatest hits."

    Best of luck going forward!
    : )

  3. Congrats! Thanks for all the great posts.

  4. Congrats and Thank You! Certainly you have created my very favourite gaming blog! Onward to 20!

  5. Congrats. I might have followed you for half that time, but read "back issues". Great work!

  6. Great collection of posts! Thanks for keeping the flame of the Holmes edition alive.

  7. Wonderful collection of work. Thanks for that :)

  8. Congratulations! Like countless others, Holmes' sample dungeon was the ur-adventure for me and I remain fascinated by it 40 years later. Discovering and digging into your site has been one of my great pleasures over the pandemic months, and I continue to find interesting morsels to digest.

    One such morsel is your post entitled, "The Shadow Over Portown," specifically, your breakdown of the name, "Zenopus" (xenos + pous, or "strange foot"). I think your theory of the name's etymology is likely correct (it makes complete sense), but when I started poking around on Google translate, I noticed a couple of other possibilities (and please keep in mind, I am a non-Greek speaker fiddling with an internet gizmo).

    The principal translation of "xenos" appears to be "foreign" (or, perhaps, "alien"?), which lends some flavor to the wizard's presence in town. Perhaps it is the name the villagers gave the mysterious outsider who walked into town one day from parts unknown and erected his tower.

    Another possibility is the word "pous," meaning "foot, with "-pus" being a variation, e.g., "octopus," which means "eight footed." (Why it's not "octopodia" is a mystery to me, but that's language for you.) "Pus" has no literal Greek meaning, but "pos" does: It means "how." Thus, we could translate a slightly-altered name ("Xenopos") as "How strange." A fitting title for such an enduring mystery. :)

    Cheers! I look forward to coming along for your next 10 years of archaeology.

  9. Bravo, Zach! Happy 10th!
    It’s hard to believe it’s been ten years already. At the same time, it seems like Zenopus Archives has been around forever.
    I’m looking forward to the next ten!

  10. Happy blogiversary! I always enjoy your explorations and expansions of the Basic Set that got me into RPGs.

    1. Thank you! You were the first one to ever leave a comment here, 10 years ago today, on my second post.

  11. Happy tenth! Always good value for a visit. Here's to ten more!


  12. Congrats on hitting the 10-year milestone!

    As someone who has followed along since the beginning, I look forward to your next 10 years...

  13. Nice work. Thank you for the entertainment!

  14. Your blog is great andIve really enjoyed learning the history of the game. The Holmes ref sheets are a great simple resource and I enjoy your playful art and 1hp monsters.