Exploring the Underworld of Holmes Basic Dungeons & Dragons

Note: This is the website. Click here to read the Zenopus Archives blogwhich is updated more frequently.

In 1977, TSR published the first introductory set for Dungeons & Dragons. This Basic Set included a monochrome blue rulebook (the Blue Book) edited by Dr. J. Eric Holmes from the original D&D booklets (the Little Brown Books) by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, and the first supplements. Holmes also created a Sample Dungeon for the rulebook in which novice adventurers from Portown explore the dungeon beneath the ruined tower of the wizard Zenopus. This set served its role ably until 1981 when it was replaced by a revised Basic Set. Holmes Basic, as the rules are popularly known, remains a concise 48-page introduction to OD&D or AD&D, and can even be used as the basis for expansion to an entire game of its own. Many gamers involved in the "Old School Renaissance" (OSR) started with the Holmes Set.


10/16/20 Added a recording of a Holmes lecture to the Audio Recordings page.

4/29/20 Update the Social Media for discussion of Holmes Basic Page (formerly Forums)

4/28/20 Rolling Up An Adventurer Reference Sheet (direct download); Read more here

4/1/20 Equipment Reference Sheet (direct download); Read more about it here.

9/10/19 Holmes' 1983 Review of the Call of Cthulhu RPG available in Bayt al Azif #2

4/17/19 Peruse the Holmes Basic G+ Community archive (2012-2019)

Previous Updates
         Art by the late David C. Sutherland III from the Holmes Basic rulebook
                                            Note the eyes in the skull!

Links of Interest:

NOW AVAILABLE: The Ruined Tower of Zenopus, a 5E D&D conversion of the original dungeon, available on DMs Guild for just $1.99!