Holmes D&D: The First Basic Set (1977-80)

Wayne's Books

The original Dungeons & Dragons (White Box / Little Brown Books) was a hit in the mid-70s. But the scattershot game rules spread across 3 books and 5 supplements could present an barrier for entry for new players.

Gary Gygax decided to remedy the problem.

“Organizational work was in progress when correspondence with J. Eric Holmes, professor, author and incidentally a respected neurologist, disclosed that the Good Doctor was interested in undertaking the first stage of the project — the rewriting and editing necessary to extract a beginner’s set of D&D from the basic set and its supplements. The result of his labors is the “Basic Set” of D&D”.

Gary Gygax, Dragon #14, May 1978, Sorcerer’s Scroll

I admire the resulting D&D Basic Set. The Holmes edition is complete in one box, accessible to even the uninitiated. Holmes Basic also serves as an introduction to Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, as…

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Why I Chose the PlayStation 5 Over the Xbox Series X (For Now)

In Third Person

For the past year, I’ve been saving up for one of the two next generation consoles. With each passing reveal, I made notes and weighed my options. Recently, I made up my mind and locked in a pre-order for a PlayStation 5.

Really excited to get new hardware in November! While there are a lot of great reasons to pick up an Xbox Series X, from superior hardware, to Xbox Game Pass, better backwards compatibility, and their recent acquisition of Bethesda, here’s why I chose one over the other for the time being.

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What Xbox Series X Games Should You Buy?

The Games Freak

Pre-orders for the Xbox Series X went live last week, and now a lot of you are probably wondering what comes next. Launch day is rapidly approaching and you’re counting down every last second. It’s time to think about what Xbox Series X games you should buy on launch!


The Xbox Series X has a few exclusives on launch (not that it really needs them). Here’s a few you should consider buying to make launch day extra special.

Gears Tactics

Gears Tactics launched on PC earlier this year to critical acclaim, and now it’s set to make it’s console debut. It will launch alongside the Series X on November 10th, and it’s the one console exclusive you’ll have available on launch. With such positive reviews, it’s certainly one of the Series X games you should buy this Holiday.

Gears Tactics changes up the traditional Gears formula, offering a fast-paced…

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Reverse Illusions


Illusion magic in D&D 5th Edition tends to function a certain way. These spells create some sensory effect which a creature can make an investigation check to discern. Here’s a list of spells that work this way (spell level in parentheses):

  • Minor Illusion (C)
  • Disguise Self (1st)
  • Distort Value (1st)
  • Silent Image (1st)
  • Phantasmal Force (2nd)
  • Major Image (3rd)
  • Hallucinatory Terrain (4th)
  • Seeming (5th)
  • Programmed Illusion (6th)
  • Project Image (7th)
  • Illusory Dragon (8th)

Why are these spells built this way? Because they don’t require a saving throw! When you ask players to roll a saving throw, they know something is afoot.

If we move the saving throw on the normal illusion spells to the front end of the spell, then characters who fail the save can perceive the illusion and characters who pass the save will not. It’s a dead giveaway.

But, what if it wasn’t? What if we subverted…

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How long do you log in for?


I’ve been thinking about the cadence with which I play MMORPGs at the moment, one that is probably far away from the stereotype of the genre or what the developers might envisage. Other than the dungeon runs in WoW Classic or Retail, I’ve generally only managed short bursts of gameplay in Everquest 2 (almost daily), plus some brief meanderings in Rift and Elder Scrolls Online. My freetime was very limited so I prioritised fun with friends for the last month to six weeks.

Now I am, almost jarringly, back to normal – no studying and no evening absorbing web-conferences (like Ignite which dominated several evenings last week). I fear I’ve become a bit too accustomed to logging into Everquest 2 for short sessions once or twice a day and having the odd hour to do a different game maybe once a week. How long do you log in for normally?

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D&D Diary – The Sunless Citadel – Session 2

Game Night Blog

Our heroes infiltrate the Goblin Stronghold where they meet a strange, creepy gnome and impersonate a god.

Sunless Citadel 3e Cover 1The artist put twig blights all over this cover but where are they? Well, they’re not in this session either!

When last we left our heroes, they had agreed to help a tribe of kobolds with their various quests; such as rescuing a white dragon and possibly eradicating over a hundred Goblins. The price for all this help; a single iron key. The kobolds are convinced that our heroes are idiots since they would have gladly paid them in gold.

We are playing through The Sunless Citadel adventure presented in Tales From the Yawning Portal. The players are on a mission to find a missing group of adventurers and investigate tales of a magical fruit with healing properties. They are accompanied on this journey by Minsc, the greatest NPC ever written, who…

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3 Topics In a D&D Session Zero

The Nerdd

So, you’re a Dungeon Master, and you’ve found a group of players that want to play in a game you run. That’s great! Sometimes that’s the hardest hurdle to overcome. Now, before you get to playing, you need to have a Session Zero. Again, don’t just suggest a Session Zero, but actually hold one. It can even be on the agreed upon start date, and just the first time you all get around a table, is for Session Zero specifically.

But what is a Session Zero? Whether this is a new concept, or you just want to make sure you’re not forgetting anything, there are three things you need to include, to make sure your game gets off on the right foot.

In Session Zero, all the players (and DM) get around a table to discuss Table Rules (behavior), House Rules, and Gameplay (including character creation).

A brand new source for players of Dungeons and Dragons

Obviously if you’re only…

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