Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Holmes for the Holidays

No, not this Holmes...
This one.

I am far from an authority on Dr. John Eric Holmes' blue rulebook, and in the face of such authorities, perhaps I should keep any thoughts about it to myself.  However, I have been re-reading it lately and struck by various thoughts.  Add to that today's mail: a friend and fellow Rambler -- Capecodmonkey, thanks! -- sent me a copy of Holmes' novel, Maze of Peril.  So perhaps foolhardily, I have decided to adopt the reading of Holmes for this Advent and on this basis offer some occasional Holmesian posts in appreciation.  Be on the lookout!

My Orientation
Just as a reminder, I am a Moldvay kid that quickly went on to AD&D.  (Hey, I was always in the A class at school, so clearly I should be playing Advanced!)  Most of the guys I played with were a little older than me and they were introduced to the game by Holmes, even though we never played his rule-set together.  I remember seeing their box with the red dragon on it and its unfamiliar blue rulebook.  I had to account for yet another D&D book that I wasn't familiar with, and I remember looking it over until I figured out to my satisfaction that it was an earlier version of what I had in my red Basic D&D book.  Ever since then, Holmes' book represented an Ur-D&D to me: somewhat similar, somewhat strangely different and unknown.  And so it has remained, attractive to me in a way the little brown booklets have never quite equaled.  Of my game purchases in the past year, the one I count as the greatest steal was finding the copy above, in good condition, at Half-Price Books, and getting it (Third Edition, Dec. 1979) with my educator's discount for under two bucks.

Hey, in Sarum, blue is the color for Advent.  See how I tied all that together?