Sunday, June 12, 2011

Holmes Roots

David C. Sutherland III's dungeon from the blue book.
Since July last year I've been working with a couple people on a little project that requires us to comb carefully through the text of Doctor John Eric Holmes's Dungeons and Dragons blue book from 1977, a work that launched many of us into our D&D hobby and still excites our imagination.

In the process, we're discovering where various rules and concepts in the Holmes blue book come from - which ideas go back to Chainmail or to the original Dungeons and Dragons set, and which were innovations by the good doctor himself. For those of us interested in the details of our game, how it came to exist, and how it was originally played by the first-generation gamers, I'm going to be posting a series that traces these individual game mechanics and concepts.

For the rest of you, alas, this will not be your cup of tea, but boy howdy is it mine.

I hope that late this year, about the time this series concludes, I'll have something more interesting to say about the underlying project that's motivating this exploration, but for now let's just treat that as one of the many mysteries to be found deep in the dungeon toward the end of our journey. For now, let's focus on the journey itself, on the analysis of the blue book.


  1. I'm looking forward to this, Rick. I'm always up for some blue book analysis. Also, good to see you back and posting!

  2. I am also looking forward to this, given my own current interest in everything Holmes...

  3. @Sean Robson. Thanks. I'm emerging from a workaholic stint and intend to remain a presence here more often.

  4. @FrDave: I'm working on a post about vision and light in Holmes to kick things off. I expected to have it out earlier, but I ran into a few surprises during my research that required rethinking what came before.