Sunday, January 18, 2015
Blueholme Prentice Rules Review
Dreamscape Designs has produced their first instalment of a series of "retro-
clone" rules and supplements designed to recall the flavor and gaming style of
one of the oldest of Dungeons and Dragons editions, the Eric Holmes"Bluebook"
Basic Dungeons and Dragons Rules, circa 1978. And from what I can see,
Michael Thomas, Blueholme's creator and the pilot of Dreamscape Designs, has
done a fantastic job!
For those who don't know what a retroclone is, it is essentially a reproduction or
imitation of an old D&D edition that is no longer being printed and exists largely
as a relic of the gaming past. Retroclone editions represent a tribute to the old
game on the part of the authors and an attempt to connect new generations of
gamers with "old school" game styles---a style or feel that often (but not always)
gets lost amid newer games which, according to the feelings of many old school
gamers, are more akin to D&D inspired modern video games than to the original
table top Dungeons and Dragons experience concieved of by the creators of
D&D, Dave Arneson,Gary Gygax, and the players who took part in those
The gaming community is wide and diverse, and times change, so it should not
be construed as an insult to say that new games aren't old school.
That said, the Holmes Bluebook D&D rules are mana to the minds of those who
came of age playing D&D in the late seventies and early eighties, and Blueholme
successfully distills Dr. Holmes' game essences into a very well crafted
retroclone that you can get started playing quickly without weeks of laborious
rules studies. This is a game designed to throw players old and and new into the
arena of fantasy action and drama quick as a flash!
Blueholme Prentice rules are designed to introduce characters of levels 1-3 to
the fantasy world of your own making. One can play the part of Fighter, Cleric,
Thief, Magic User, Dwarf, Elf, or Halfling. The book is filled with pages of magic
spells, enchanted relics, mythical monsters, and dice tables and rules to cobble
it all together into exciting hours of dungeon exploration amid realms of ice and
The game is very well designed and formatted. The rules are easy to read and
understand. The art inside consists black and white fairy tale illustrations that
go back a century or more. The copy I received was "perfectbound" and well
constructed with the very attractive painting you see pictured above as the
Blueholme Prentice rules is designed as an introduction to the Blueholme
Compleat Rules which will take characters to the highest levels, accompanied by
a line of published fantasy adventures which are in production and soon to be
released. The material in Blueholme will allow you months of play without these
other supplements, however. When you are ready for the other supplements,
there is enough material on the presses to ensure that a Dunegon Master can
run a full campaign for his or her players using Dreamscape Design's published
And being priced right at five dollars as of this writing, the game can be
ordered with shipping and handling for under ten dollars, a bargain to say the
And how does Blueholme measure up to re-creating the 1978 Bluebook D&D
game? As someone who ran games with the Bluebook for a few years, there is
virtually no difference. Michael Thomas has innovated the odd magic item,
monster or magic spell, and the art is different, but Blueholme Prentice is a very
faithful reproduction of the the sort of campaign and games that Eric Holmes
would have played and refereed.
In conclusion, I highly recommend it for people who desire D&D without
entire chapters of rules--quick start up, quick play, and still plenty of room to
navigate the fantasy genre for endless games of the imagination.
Good job, Michael!