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BLUEHOLME™ Journeymanne Rules
by XERXES L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/04/2020 18:05:16

After years of looking for an RPG system to play with my friends, the "definitive" system, I think I found it. The BLUEHOLME ™ Journeymanne Rules has everything I need! But before I start using it, I will end my campaign with D&D Basic (Black Box). I am only sorry that no Brazilian publisher has proposed to make a translation into Portuguese.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BLUEHOLME™ Journeymanne Rules
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BLUEHOLME™ Prentice Rules
by Frank W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/07/2020 07:37:57

Better cover art than the original it strives to emulate. Still has some errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation throughout (much like this review). Suffers from not having an index. Decisions in formatting makes it difficult to determine when you have left one section of book/pdf and moved to the next. Fantastic public domain art throughout. Rules are much clearer and succinct than the original it’s based on. Section on campaigns and the art of the referee aren’t fleshed out as well as the original. Better/clearer tables and charts than the original its based on. Could have benefitted from example dungeon with maps and a walkthrough for new referees. Great that a blank character sheet was added for immediate use. Worth the buy. Will investigate the Journeymanne Rules based on this purchase.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
BLUEHOLME™ Prentice Rules
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BLUEHOLME™ Prentice Rules
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/25/2019 15:14:30

Full review posted here: http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2019/07/review-blueholme-journeymanne-and.html

The Blueholme Prentice Rules came out first as a preview of the Journeymanne rules. These rules cover the basic rules as the Journeymanne rules, save only to level 3. In this respect it is actually closer to the Holmes set than the maine (manne?) rules.

In character creation, the choices of Human, Elf, Dwarf, and Halfling are given. The same basic four classes of Cleric, Fighter, Magic-user, and Thief are here.

From here the Prentice rules parallel the Journeymanne rules, there is just less of them. This is a truly Basic set of rules with everything to get you started for the price of dice.

The Prentice Rules has the same cover art, albeit in a monochrome format (not unlike Holmes) and features Public Domain art inside from Henry J. Ford. Now personally I LOVE the art. These old images from old fairy tales really sets the mood for me and gives this game a different feel.

Bluehlome Prentice Rules are a perfect solution for someone wanting to get into an Old School game and does not know where to start or what to do, and maybe not spend a lot of money upfront. For a PWYW PDF and print copies under $6, it has replaced Basic Fantasy as my OSR game of choice to hand out to people I want to introduce to old-school play.

Blueholme is a great addition to the vast and growing library of OSR games. It might be one of my favorites, to be honest.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BLUEHOLME™ Journeymanne Rules
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/25/2019 15:13:47

Full review posted here: http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2019/07/review-blueholme-journeymanne-and.html

Blueholme is a retro-clone / what-if of the first Basic Set edited by John Eric Holmes. Sometimes called "Blue Box Basic" or "Blue Book Basic". At 118 pages it is a complete game. If that sounds light, then you are right! Blueholme is a "rules" light old-school game much in the same way that Holmes was. Don't let it's light-weight dissuade you. This is a feature, not a bug. On the surface, the Blueholme Journeymanne Rules (BJR) looks like any other retro-clone in the OSR. Once you dig into it you will see the differences are from the source materials.

Foreward. We start with a foreward (not forward) from Chris Holmes, the son of John Eric Holmes and the reason why there was a Holmes Basic set to begin with. It gives these rules a bit of gravitas if you ask me.

Part 1: Introduction covers what you should expect to see in this book and the general tone of the book. Like everything else it is short, sweet and to the point.

Part 2: Characters deals with character creation. All game developers should have a look at these first two pages to see how the economy of words pays off. In the first two pages, we cover all the steps in creation. Rolling stats (3d6 in order), choosing a species (I prefer this over "race"), class, and everything else. The six ability scores are covered and what they do. SURPRISE they do much less here than in other OSR games. Essentially these are the means to get a bonus when leveling. Eg. Strength provides no bonuses in combat. Constitution does aid in hp it points, Intelligence still helps in learning languages. But that is about it really. Only Dexterity helps to hit and then only + or - 1. Dexterity is central to combat, but more on that later. For species, there is nothing specific listed outside of humans. For anything else have a look in the Monster section and pick something! Want an elf, dwarf or orc? Go ahead! Goblin? Yes! Dragon? sure, work it out with your GM. Black Pudding? Sure...work it out with your GM. It is very much the way the original D&D and Holmes D&D games worked. Classes are the basic four; Cleric, Fighter, Magic-user, and Thief. Fighters do not get more attacks as they level up, but can cause more damage. There are rules on Combination Classes or what we also call Multiclassing. If your base creature type has more HD then there is a table of adjustments. Alignment is broken down to just five, Lawful Good, Chaotic Good, True Neutral, Chaotic Evil and Lawful Evil. Coin and Equipment is next. Note that all weapons do 1d6 points of damage per hit as per the OD&D and Holmes BD&D rules.

Part 3: Spells covers all the spells that can be cast by Clerics (1 to 7 spell level) and Magic-Users (1 to 9 spell levels). These are not huge lists and some spells are different than other books representations of them. Make sure you read before you assume a spell does what you think it does.

Part 4: Adventures covers just that, what the characters do and where they do it. This section is very reminiscent of the similar sections in both Holmes and Moldvay Basic. The breadth of the information is wide, but the depth is low since it depends on the Game Master to make calls on what is happening in certain situations.

Part 5: Encounters would be called Combat in other books, but the name change fits. We start with lots of tables of monster encounters at various levels and various locales. Combat, damage, and healing are also covered. The initiative is determined by Dexterity score. If there is a tie then a 1d6 is rolled with highest going first. AC is descending with an AC of 9 meaning unarmored. We get tables of attack matrices and saving throws too.

Part 6: Creatures deals with all the creatures you can encounter as friend or foes. There are plenty here and brevity is the key. For example, Demon gets a single entry and some tables to determine what it looks like. You can also choose your character specifies from these entries. All the usual suspects are here. I in particular like the "pumpkin-headed" bugbear; a nod to the OD&D rules. There are a lot of Lovecraftian monsters here as well. They are the ones credited for creating the vast "Underground" where the adventurers find their fortunes. There are also plenty of "Appendix N" style creatures like intelligent apes and monsters out of Pellucidar and of course dragons and dinosaurs and undead.

Part 7: Treasure has both individual and hoard types with plenty of magic, and cursed items.

Part 8: Campaigns is a guide for Game Masters. We end with a character sheet and a solid index. The PDF is bookmarked, but the Table of Contents and Index are not hyperlinked (minor thing really).

The book is well laid out and easy to read. The art is all new and works fantastic with the book. Solid old-school feel to it., if slightly better than what we actually had back then. It reminded me more of Moldvay era art than Holmes, but that is fine really.

Blueholme is a great addition to the vast and growing library of OSR games. It might be one of my favorites, to be honest.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BLUEHOLME™ Journeymanne Rules
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BLUEHOLME™ Prentice Rules
by Itai G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/13/2019 03:31:45

If you're a fan of the OSR movement, you should definitely give this product a look, you will like what you see.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
BLUEHOLME™ Prentice Rules
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BLUEHOLME™ The Necropolis of Nuromen
by Itai G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/13/2019 03:30:26

Classic introductory adventure, great if you're starting a new campaign, although I would love it if they tried to expend on the area and the story in future products.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
BLUEHOLME™ The Necropolis of Nuromen
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BLUEHOLME™ Prentice Rules
by Benjamin B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/15/2019 16:13:56

Amazing. I started with Holmes "blue box" in '78 or '79; mine had the "chits". My friends and I had no idea what we were doing (at the time), but it was a hoot! That lead to 1e by the late '80s. Recently I went through the 5e basic rules; and liked it, but it wasn't the same. Blueholme hit the spot. Perfect. Easy and fast to play: the mechanics, once learned, fade into the background so the "RP" in RPG can come to the fore. There are plenty of OSR games out there to choose from, but this one really captures the essence of the late '70s game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BLUEHOLME™ Prentice Rules
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BLUEHOLME™ Character Records
by Dwight F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/31/2018 16:46:53

Something here for everyone. Class specific and general. Nicely done.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BLUEHOLME™ Character Records
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BLUEHOLME™ Character Records
by Sébastien G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/10/2018 03:38:05

Exactly what i want. This is a must for my Blueholme Prentice Rules!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BLUEHOLME™ Journeymanne Rules
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/30/2017 14:04:13

Blueholme Journeymanne Rules was a Kickstarter by Michael Thomas. It extends his retro clone of the Holmes Blue Box Basic from 1977, Blueholme Prentice Rules for levels 1-3. The Journeymanne rules extend things to level 20. It is fitting that this was in 2017, the 40th anniversary of the Holmes Blue Box.

I got my start with the Holmes Blue Box way back in 1977, so this is my 40th year of D&D! Like many who backed this Kickstarter, it was for the nostalgia, and to finally get past level 3. Back in the day, we didn’t make the connection to the OD&D books, or we would have gotten them. The Holmes basic text told us we needed AD&D, so anything else was “basic,” and for little kids. How wrong we were. Had we ignored that, we would have gotten the original books and perhaps gone beyond 3rd level before the Player’s Handbook finally came out in 1978.

I backed at the level of the PDF and hardback. The PDF was completed a few months ago, with several weeks allowed for backers to read. I wish I had time before the cutoff to read this, I had too many Kickstarters deliver from November to December, and I ran games at two conventions the first two weeks of November. I found a couple of issues I will report elsewhere. I’m kicking myself for not digging in and reading the PDF.

The printing and shipping was via Lulu, and the quality is what I expect from Lulu. It is a serviceable book, and the cover and text look good.

All the basics are covered, species instead of races, classes, abilities, equipment, spells, monsters, treasure, adventures, encounters, and campaigns. This is 117 pages with table of contents, index, backer list, and OGL taking up 5 pages, and one more for a sample character sheet. With the PDF, it is easy to print out character sheets, or use one of the many basic/OSR character sheets, or do it old school and write it out on notebook paper or index cards.

What I Liked:

  • Art – A gorgeous cover and many interior illustrations.
  • Classes have all the information for a class in one place:
    • Description
    • XP table
    • Spell table
    • Other class specific tables, like turning undead, and a paragraph or two on strongholds.
  • The Introduction ends by pointing out that there are no “rules,” but rather guidelines.
  • Old School
    • Initiative is based on DEX. Roll off on a d6 to break ties. (This is how Metamorphosis Alpha does it.) This was also in Holmes.
    • Both magic users and clerics have spell books, and the books are so big, they can’t take them adventuring.
    • Looser rules on what levels magic items like potions and scrolls can be created, like in Holmes.
    • Less fiddly bits on spells.
    • Streamlined combat.
    • The monster section mentions that the listings are the average or typical of the type. Players can find some much tougher or weaker than what is listed.
    • The Class section mentions “non-standard” races, and in fact any “monster” can also be a classed character, although weaker and having to advance in levels.
    • Weapons all do d6, but there is a variant rule.
  • Many new monsters, or variations on the standard ones.
  • A section on Unusual Treasures, whether magical or mundane.
  • The section on campaigns is far from comprehensive, but hits key points to keep in mind for designing your own campaign setting.

What I’d Like to See:

  • More
    • I really struggled trying to decide what is truly “missing” or poorly executed here. This is a well executed retro clone of what a “complete” ruleset might look like from Dr. Holmes. This is meant to be a light set of rules for quick play. Characters are easy to generate in a few minutes, and play can commence right away.

Adding to this would have to be done carefully to avoid bloat. It is OSR, so monsters, spells, and magic items are easily available from multiple sources, many of them free.

Conclusion Whether your interest is the nostalgia for the early days of the hobby, or a simple rule set for quick play, or for the kids to run their own games, this fits the bill.

I first posted this review on my blog: http://followmeanddie.com/2017/12/30/blueholme-journeymanne-rules-review/



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
BLUEHOLME™ Journeymanne Rules
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BLUEHOLME™ Journeymanne Rules
by Mark C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/09/2017 17:27:54

I've taken a keen interest in the OSR again and I've been exploring what separate Holmes' Basic from B/X and BECMI. Thanfully, Michael Thomas of Dreamscape Design allowed me access to a PDF copy of his Blueholme Journeymanne Rules for review purposes.

For those not in the know, Blueholme Prentice and Journeymanne Rules are based on Dr. Holmes version of the first Basic DnD published by TSR, which only went to 3rd level (as so do the Prentice Rules).

The Journeymanne Rules go all the way to 20th level.

Some key aspects of Dr. Holmes and the Journeymanne Rules are that weapons only do a d6 of damage, not all Ability scores modify things in the game, Races and Classes are separate, there are far more spells than in B/X by Moldvay and Cook, and nearly any Race or Creature in the game can be used by a player.

First let's talk about the look of the book, which is 121 pages. The blue cover is well illustrated and find the imagery inviting. It channels the feel of it's inspiration very well. The interior art is all black and white and I find it's quality to be exceptional and for the pieces to hit the right tone.

What drew me to read the Blueholme Journeymanne Rules was that it delivered a complete ruleset across 20 full levels. And it fully delivers on it's mission.

If you are familiar with DnD or most retroclones you know what to expect for Ability scores. However, in Blueholme Strength and Wisdom Ability scores provide no bonus.

Races are not specifically laid out, because with some advice in Chapter 6 any monster can be used as a Race for your game and it's up to the Dungeon Master to determine what Classes are open. Additionally, the Monster descriptions provide a good overview for the DM to use.

The Classes are the Big 4 we all know and love. The biggest change I've noticed is that Fighters get a damage bonus starting at level 4, which I approve of as a fitting class feature.

Combat is as you expect with Descending AC and AC that defaults to 9 unarmored, but a section of siege weapons is included.

The Creatures section is very extensive and takes up nearly 30 pages.

The Spell section is much longer than what I've seen in DnD B/X or Labyrinth Lord and also covers nearly 30 pages. I'm very impressed with the amount of Spells presented and they go up to 7th level for Clerics and 9th level for Magic-Users.

One of the bright spots for me, as a tool for newer DMs, is Part 8's focus on running Campaigns and breaking things down by Setting, Goals, Villain, Sub-Plots, Factions, and Rumors. And further defining the setting by the Underworld, Wilderness, and the Realm.

What impresses me about Blueholme is that is very much draws inspiration for the very roots of our hobby, but it's treatment highlights how playable those roots still are, while fleshing them out and extending the game itself.

I really can't recommend Blueholme Journeymanne Rules enough. The Prentice Rules are free if you are intrigued and if you like what you read then please pick up the full rules.

Michael's work has shown me why 30+ years later Dr. Holmes version of DnD is not merely relevant but very, very playable and of a style we often don't associate with other editions.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BLUEHOLME™ Journeymanne Rules
by Alan P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/24/2017 07:08:00

I rarely read a rulebook cover-to-cover (especially while watching college football), but when I bought the Journeymanne Rules yesterday, I simply could not put it down. Now, in the interest of fairness, I do own a (signed) copy of the Prentice rules, so I knew where this is going, but this is the first time I have seen my beloved blue box rules exanped to its fully potential.

And something unique: I loved the author's interpretation of the Underworld as a vast complex carved out by Lovecrafitan forces. This, I believe, brings the dungeon back to the forefront of a series of game rules sets that has gone too far (in my opinion) into complex GOT-like plots. I love dungeon crawls... I sometimes wonder if I'm part of a growing minority. Nonetheless, this is a superb interpretation of D&D.

I hope a hard-copy will be available soon... I'll buy two.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BLUEHOLME™ Prentice Rules
by David B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/08/2017 16:30:21

A very well crafted retroclone. One of the best on the market.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BLUEHOLME™ Prentice Rules
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BLUEHACK™
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/08/2017 08:29:37

Solid translation of the old D&D rules to the Black Hack.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BLUEHACK™
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BLUEHACK™
by Luca C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/06/2016 16:59:07

This is exactly how a "condensed" RPG must be written. Very light and easy to understand, very well organized, without lacking any important information and updated at the speed of light!!! Well done! It's a pleasure to pay for products like this; and even more pleasure to play it; just read it and then free your thirst for adventures :)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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