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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.                    ...

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Grotto Iguana (New Monster)

This is a new monster for Holmes Basic, one which is featured in Area 18 of The Forgotten Smugglers' Cave adventure (which is indexed here).

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Grotto Iguana

Move: 90 feet/turn
Hit Dice: 3 + 1
Armor Class: 2
Treasure Type: nil
Alignment: neutral
Attacks: 1 bite + 1 tail whip
Damage: 2d6/bite, 1d6/tail whip

In certain wet and warm caverns of the underworld, strange vegetation thrives under the glow of phosphorescent fungus, and in such places dwells the grotto iguana. Herbivores like their smaller surface-dwelling cousins, these giant lizards can purportedly live for over a century, slowly growing to the size of a horse.

Forming loose-knit colonies, the smaller iguanas will, if threatened, flee and hide among the crevices of the grotto, while the larger individuals will defend themselves with a strong bite and a whip of their long tails, which can be used against a second opponent if necessary. They also scrape their tail on the ground, making a noise that will summon others to their aid.

If approached cautiously, and provided with generous amounts of fruits and vegetables, the largest individuals can be induced to serve as underworld pack animals (treat as a draft horse with a carrying capacity of 5,000 gold pieces).

Monday, June 5, 2023

Things Better Left Alone is a limited time release

Per an announcement by Pacesetter Games on FB, the recently released Things Better Left Alone will only be available for a short time longer:

"This is the last chance to secure your copy of Things Better Left Alone! If you would like to secure your piece of D&D history, click the button below! If you are out of the loop, continue reading to learn more!

In conjunction with the Dr. John Eric Holmes estate, Pacesetter has produced a massive, 76-page adventure module based on Holmes' home campaign adventure from the mid-1970s. This dungeon was also featured in The Maze of Peril novel by Holmes. We were provided with his original hand-drawn maps and notes to create this amazing adventure. It truly is a window into the early days of Dungeons & Dragons. 

Dr. Holmes is the author of the first Dungeons & Dragons basic set; the first mass-marketed version of D&D. We used those rules (which include rules for 1st to 3rd level characters) to create a new set of rule books that allow play through 10th level. These rules are not required to play the adventure module (which is set for 4th-6th level characters), but are available as well. The adventure module is compatible with any classic version of D&D (BX D&D, BECMI, AD&D). But if you would like to play using original the Holmes system, we have the books.

The Physical + PDF version costs $30, and the PDF only is $20! We will be closing off sales in the next day or so. As of now, there are no plans to reprint this adventure. However, due to the great success we have had, we are in talks with the Holmes estate on where to go next 🙂 Perhaps an expansion? Time will tell!"


See my previous post for more info on this release. 

Order it here from Pacesetter Games:

Things Better Left Alone from Pacesetter Games

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Pacesetter Games: Things Better Left Alone


Things Better Left Alone. Cover at by Wonkee.

Things Better Left Alone is an adventure written by Bill Barsh and published by his company, Pacesetter Games, based on four original dungeon maps drawn by J. Eric Holmes, as well as the associated keys, which are mostly written directly on the maps but also include one additional page of notes.

These maps include the areas which Holmes drew on for his novel The Maze of Peril. I wrote about the correspondence between the story and these maps back in my Tales of Peril Book Club (sadly unfinished); specifically, see Scene 6 and Scene 7. If you'd like a copy of The Maze of Peril to read along with the adventure, the publisher is still selling copies from the original print run on Amazon.

This adventure was authorized by the Holmes family and includes art by Chris Holmes and Wonkee, as well as scans of the original maps and notes on which it is based, as well as modern renderings of the maps.

The adventure went on sale today in conjunction with the North Texas RPG Con. Print copies can be purchased directly from their booth at the con, but are also available on the Pacesetter games website, where there are two options: Print + PDF plus PDF alone. The PDF can be downloaded directly after purchasing. Find it here:

Things Better Left Alone from Pacesetter Games