Monday, September 27, 2010

Third Peek at Holmes

I've gotten some excellent feedback and info on my previous two posts. I can't thank everyone enough.

Today I'm going to quote from the Preface.  Yes, I'm going to pick and choose certain pieces. 

This book is based upon the original work published in 1974 and three supplementary booklets published in the two year period after the initial release of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS.  It is aimed solely at introducing the reader to the concepts of fantasy roleplaying and the basic play of this game.  To this end it limits itself to basics.  - I still don't see Storm Giants as "basic" but I digress ;)

This (the minimum necessary rules to conduct basic games) is absolutely necessary because the game is completely open ended, is subject to modification, expansion and interpretation according to the desires of the group participating, and is generally not bound by the conventional limitations of other types of games. - True words of wisdom buried in there

Players who desire to go beyond the basic game are directed to the ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS books. - Wait, didn't the preface say something that this written to simplify D&D play?

Yes, I know TSR was a bit dysfunctional in it intentions for D&D and AD&D.  I do find it interesting that AD&D was found worthy enough to be BOLDED.

I'm very glad they mention that monsters use 8-sided HD.  When I started playing with just the AD&D PH and DMG, i thought HD was somehow HP.  Monsters were pushovers until we got a copy of the Monster Manual :)

Page 22 talks about scaling down high monsters to give a low level party a chance to defeat it.  Okay, I'll accept the Giants into the rotation now.

I just received the Moldavey Basic Set via Ebay.  I'll give that a few thoughts when I finish with Holmes.  Trust me, I still have some more thoughts on Holmes - I just need to gather them.  Hey, doing pretty well staying on target.  Heh

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  1. Oh man, me too. I had no idea what a hit die was. Or Morale. I just handed out 1,000,000 gold piece treasure piles and a few +10 swords that shot lightning bolts.

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  3. The advice on page 22 was for wimps. ;-)

    I do recall DM's letting players get away with clever ideas a lot more often in the old days when there were lot's of high level monsters floating around. Crush em with boulders, smash them with a portcullis, get them to chase you over a pit (and hopefully fall in), flaming oil was your friend, get the monsters to fight each other ("Pardon me Mr. Troll, the Ogres down the hall say your mama wears elfin army boots").

  4. I seem to have been on the same ebay spree as you. I got a copy of Holmes and a Moldvay set a couple of weeks ago. I really just bought them as legacy reference materials - they make fascinating reading. Have to say after looking at them, I have even more respect for the Labyrinth Lord books, which are so much better in terms of overall layout.

  5. Oddly enough, the first RPG I ever owned was 1st ed Gamma World, but the first one I ever played was Holmes Basic D&D. For me, it wasn't the hit die/hit points thing that screwed me up, it was that in Gamma World you rolled a number of dice equal to your constitution to determine hit points for characters. I was rolling hit points for monsters correctly, but they were still push-overs for the PCs!

  6. 1st edition Gamma World was my second rpg owned, and the first one I bought for myself. We played it a handful of times. Hmm, I should really dig that out of storage.


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