Fellow gamers extoll the virtues of Holmes Basic. Started in 2012 on Feb 16th, the birthday of the late Dr. Holmes (1930-2010), updated on the same date in 2013.

Zenopus Archives blog post & comments

Archived content from previous years:

2017 update: Today John Eric Holmes would have been 87. And 40 years ago this month, in Feb 1977, he had just finished editing the manuscript for the Holmes Basic rulebook, as shown by the early Feb date on the Manuscript Copy Order Form. This summer in July we will mark 40 years since the publication of the Holmes Basic set.


A few notable tributes from the past year:

-Chris Holmes read from his father's works on a John Eric Holmes Reading Panel and Discussion at the 2016 North Texas RPG Con. Partial audio of this panel is available on the Save or Die site as the Side Adventure 12

-In May on a Dead Games Society podcast, Jeff Talanian (author of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea) spoke about the influence of Holmes Basic on his work

-In July I was on the Save or Die podcast, Episode 124: Save vs. Zenopus

2015 update: Today is the 85th anniversary of the birth of J. Eric Holmes, Feb 16th, 1930. I'm reposting this testimonial thread for anyone who wishes to express their appreciation. Feel free to comment again if you added one previously.

A few months ago I heard from Chris Holmes, who wrote: "What a bunch of touching tributes you guys wrote.  I was delighted and moved to read them.  I liked the mention of Dad’s enthusiasm and style.  He was infectiously enthusiastic about many things, not surprisingly he was one of the most popular professor's at USC med school ...  I have enjoyed the Zenopus Archives a lot and you should thank your contributors for me."

On Chris Holmes' behalf, as well as my own, I thank you all for reading and commenting on this thread and the rest of the blog.

2013 update: If you haven't contributed previously, or want to add more, please leave a comment below. I plan to bump this post annually on this date. Thanks to everyone who  responded last year!

And some great news: Thanks to Dave at There's Dungeons Down Under, I was just alerted to a tweet from Steve Winter a few days ago that the original artwork by David Sutherland III for the Holmes Basic set has been found in a crate at the Wizards headquarters! I'd never heard anything about this art before and just assumed it was lost to the sands of time. Steve comments: "I'm pretty sure it's going to get a beauty treatment (new frame, protective glass, etc.) and hang in the gallery by #DnD R&D."

Original Post in 2012: Today marks the birthday of J. Eric Holmes (1930-2010). As a tribute I was hoping everyone could tell us why they like the Holmes Basic Set. To facilitate this I've added a new section titled "Holmes Basic Testimonials" to the Zenopus Archives website, which will link to threads (this post & various forums) where you can talk about the Bluebook.

Tell us how you started with Holmes Basic, or remember it fondly for other reasons, or came to appreciate it later, or are using it now, or just plain like reading through it.

Why do I like the Holmes Basic set? Well, it was my first D&D set, and left an indelible impression on my psyche. But I also like it because because it's a concise edit of the original D&D invention by an enthusiastic volunteer who was both a player of the game and long-time fan of fantasy literature. It's not necessarily perfect but has a strong vibe of "this game is awesome so I want to share it with as many folks as possible, so here's an introductory version". 

I could go on and on, but I'd like to hear from everyone else.

OD&D Discussion forum thread

Dragonsfoot forum thread

Acaeum forum thread

Knights & Knaves forum thread

G+ Holmes Basic Community thread (must be a member to view)