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. Some still find Holmes Basic, as the rules are popularly known, to be a concise 48-page introduction to OD&D or AD&D, and others have been inspired to use it as the basis for expansion to an entire game of its own. Many gamers involved in the current "Old School Renaissance" (OSR) started with the Holmes Set.
J. Eric Holmes Bibliography and Historical Information
Blue Book Printing History and Trivia
Modules, Scenarios and Settings
The Artists of Holmes Basic
Holmes Ref - Reference Sheets for Holmes Basic Referees
Draw Your Own Floor Plan (map gallery)
6/18/16 Holmes Ref 1.0 - 10-page pdf compilation of reference sheets
5/30/16 Cleric Spell Reference Sheet Levels 1-6 - sheet with 1st to 6th level Cleric Spells.
5/20/16 Magic-User Spell Reference Sheet Levels 1-3 - sheet with 1st to 3rd level M-U Spells.
5/16/16 Holmes Manuscript blog series complete; index of posts is here
2/21/16 Character Creation Worksheet - A single page worksheet for creating a Holmes Basic character
5/17/15 - Beyond the Door to Monster Mountain - one page introductory adventure
3/25/15 - First Level Pre-Gen Party added to Ref Sheets page
2/1/15 - Backgrounds for Human Characters added to Ref Sheets
1/23/15 - Third Level Spells Sheet added to the Ref Sheets page
Art by the late David C. Sutherland III from the Holmes Basic rulebook
Note the eyes in the skull!
Links of Interest:
Follow the Zenopus Archives blog for the latest discussion
Join the Holmes Basic G+ community
Blog Roundup (index of Holmes-related posts on other blogs)
Forums for discussion of Holmes Basic
Holmes Basic Testimonials
Maze of Peril by J. Eric Holmes for purchase from Space & Time books
(original publisher, requires a check)
Grodog's Greyhawk - Greyhawk Online (one inspiration for this site)