ZENOPUS ARCHIVES


Exploring the Underworld of Holmes Basic Dungeons & Dragons


Note: This is the site. The blog is here.

Art by David Sutherland from Holmes Basic.

Note the eyes in the skull!

Introduction (Click Here to Read)

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.

Updates & Announcements

3/31/21 Converted the Site to the new Google Site format (in progress; this requires major layout revisions).

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


7/24/20 The Haunted Keep (1981) in A Chronology of Sample Dungeons


5/20/20 New page for Audio Recordings of Interest, including podcasts I've been on.


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


4/28/20 Updated Creature of Rhyl scenario page.

4/28/20 Rolling Up An Adventurer Reference Sheet added to the Holmes Ref page. Read more here.

4/1/20 Equipment Reference Sheet added to the Holmes Ref page; Read more about it here.

1/23/20 The Ruined Tower of Zenopus 5E D&D Conversion

Previous Updates & Announcements