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Friday, October 4, 2013

What I Like About Holmes

I started playing a variant OD&D, but never saw the books, just mimeographs of the tables. The first book I saw and owned was Holmes Basic. But unlike many, I can't remember every tiny rules difference of every edition. So what I mainly remember about Holmes is that it was D&D for levels 1-3.

But there are two rules in Holmes I definitely remember and like. One is the rule that extends scroll creation to Magic-Users of any level. The other is Dex-based initiative. I definitely allow 1st level Magic-Users to make scrolls. I don't use straight Holmes initiative, but I do make Dex an important factor, and I don't dice for initiative.

Holmes has had a significant impact on the way I play.


  1. "what I mainly remember about Holmes is that it was D&D for levels 1-3" That's pretty much all I remember too. I found the dense blocks of text in the blue book to be nearly impenetrable, and still do to a certain extent. If there was a rule in Holmes that wasn't illustrated with a table or list or something to visually set it apart amongst all those monotonous columns of text then it probably didn't see the light of day at our game table. Initiative: Never heard of it til AD&D. 10 second melee rounds: Is that something we needed to know? 100 GP MU Scrolls: definitely a cool rule, but I first heard about it 30 years later. We were on board with alignment though cuz it had that handy graph.

  2. If you haven't seen the original D&D books, you can imagine what they were like from reading Holmes - even without chapters or sections the Blue Book was already a huge improvement! ;-)