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Day 2: Holmes Basic

Now that we’ve started at the hobby’s beginning, let’s move on to my beginning in the hobby. My first copy of Dungeons & Dragons was the rulebook edited by Dr. Eric Holmes. I only got the rulebook the week after Christmas in 1977. Toys by Roy in Beaumont, Texas, was sold out of the boxed set so I got the book alone. I also had to get dice, which we’ll talk about tomorrow.

In character creation, Holmes is essentially OD&D with Greyhawk. So, same as yesterday, we’ll start with 3D6 in order for Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Constitution, Dexterity, and Charisma. I got the following:

ST: 9
IQ: 7
WS: 12
CN: 17
DX: 15
CH: 11

This time I rolled a thief. The 15 for dexterity will give me the maximum 10% experience bonus for my prime requisite. It will also give me a +1 bonus with any missile weapon. The 17 in constitution will give me a +2 to each hit die.

Again, I won’t trade any points to raise dexterity as it would not increase any bonuses.

Holmes does hit points next. In Greyhawk, and thus Holmes, thieves have a D4 for hit dice. I actually rolled a 4 getting a total of 6. That is the maximum hit points on two characters in a row.

Next up is the 3D6 for gold. A roll of 10, multiplied by 10 is 100 gold pieces. A thief can only wear leather armor and cannot use shields. We’ll pick up leather armor for 15 gp. Given our advantage with missile weapons, I’ll add a short bow and a quiver with 20 arrows, for a total of 35 gp. That’s half of our 100 gp gone.

One unusual feature of Holmes is a rule borrowed from Warlock, the rules from CalTech. As a result, they have the following point quote:

Each round consists of an exchange of blows with ordinary weapons. Light weapons such as the dagger allow two blows per round. The heavy two-handed sword, battle axe, halberd, flail, morning star, and most pole arm can be used only once every other round.

Holmes Basic pg. 20

We’re going to buy six daggers for 18 gp. This allows us to use them as missile weapons as well as for backstabbing.

With 32 gp remaining, we’ll pick up 50′ of rope, 24 iron spikes, five small sacks for loot, a leather backpack, two wineskins, 12 torches, a tinder box, a quart of wine, and a week of iron rations. We’ll skip the 10′ pole to avoid larges things that’ll make it hard to maneuver. That totals 21 gp leaving us 11 gp for future needs.

Something I forgot to do yesterday was alignment. Hengist is lawful. In Holmes, we have neither the three-factor (law/neutral/chaos) of OD&D and BX/BECMI/RC nor the nine-position alignment of all AD&D descended games. Instead, Holmes includes the version from “The Meaning of Law and Chaos in Dungeons & Dragons and Their Relationships to Good and Evil” from Strategic Review #6. Thieves do notSo, have alignment restrictions in Holmes but are stated to normally be evil or neutral. Since he’ll be playing with an updated to Greyhawk Hengist we’ll choose neutral.

For languages, we get common and our alignment language, but our intelligence is too low for extras.

I need a name so a bit of search found this list of famous thieves. I hadn’t thought about Belle Star in ages, but Belle sound like a perfect Holmes thief. Instead of Starr we’ll use Vedette, which is French for star in the celebrity sense. Sounds a bit like Autolycus from Xena and Hercules.

As I noted yesterday, we’ll be using an index card for our thief.

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