Holmes Basic/AD&D Question
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Post Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 11:43 am 
 

When I started playing, AD&D was not out yet, at all. I remember waiting all summer for the 1e Monster Manual to come out. I bought all three core AD&D books as first printings when they came out.

I also remember that I started by buying the Holmes Basic set for my father at an Emporium in California for Christmas. Then we went to get the White Box "Collector's Edition" for more rules. It was many, many months after that of playing with the White Box with friends before the AD&D books showed up.

My memories may be wrong, but generally they're pretty accurate. So the question I want to ask the community is: is there any way I could have purchased a Holmes Basic set at an Emporium in California during the run-up to Christmas 1976?

  

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Post Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 12:16 pm 
 

The copyright notice on my third print Holmes Book states 1974 (the woodgrain set and its reprintings), 1977, 1978, and 1979 (the three printings of the Holmes book).  I don't believe it to be possible that you bought it in 1976, although stranger things have happened.



  


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Post Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 12:30 pm 
 

I know it says 1977 on the book. I'm just wondering whether it could have been released in time for Christmas 1976.

I know that we played with Holmes basic and the White box for about a year before AD&D came out.

One possibility is that for some reason the Monster Manual didn't come out on the West Coast until late 1978? Is that possible? Did the whole first printing go to the Midwest? That seems weird, since California was part of the early D&D hard core, and Gary knew it.

This is why I asked - it seems like I have contradictory memories. I'm positive I started with Holmes and then bought the White Box because AD&D wasn't out yet. I also remember me and my friends waiting for the Monster Manual to come out with eager anticipation. Hmm...

Maybe there's some sort of Christmas '77 followed by a late '78 monster manual pickup scenario because I was on the West Coast, but that's why I was asking you all, to figure this out.

  


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Post Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 12:40 pm 
 

Calithena wrote:I know it says 1977 on the book. I'm just wondering whether it could have been released in time for Christmas 1976.

I know that we played with Holmes basic and the White box for about a year before AD&D came out.

One possibility is that for some reason the Monster Manual didn't come out on the West Coast until late 1978? Is that possible? Did the whole first printing go to the Midwest? That seems weird, since California was part of the early D&D hard core, and Gary knew it.

This is why I asked - it seems like I have contradictory memories. I'm positive I started with Holmes and then bought the White Box because AD&D wasn't out yet. I also remember me and my friends waiting for the Monster Manual to come out with eager anticipation. Hmm...

Maybe there's some sort of Christmas '77 followed by a late '78 monster manual pickup scenario because I was on the West Coast, but that's why I was asking you all, to figure this out.

Harami's done extensive research on the early OCE print runs, hopefully he can speak to this.  Until he does, I'll feebly offer July 77 as a best guess for the start of the OCEs.  Are you sure it was an OCE, though, or just a white box?  The 4th/5th prints were definitely out more than a year before the MM.  The Holmes box, I have no idea.

 YIM  


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Post Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 1:15 pm 
 

Yeah, I just double checked the listings. Definitely an OCE.

If it came out early enough in '77 it could have been availalble before the AD&D books hit the West Coast - couldn't it?

It's possible that since I was playing every day what I'm remembering as 'a year' is only a few months. So it could have been - Holmes Basic Christmas '76 - OCE say Feb. '77 - MM in late '77 or early '78. But all the print runs would have to line up just right for that.

If it's Holmes Basic Christmas '77 that's fine, but then why on earth were we waiting for all the AD&D books until late '78? This is where my memories don't add up.

  


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Post Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 2:50 pm 
 

Hiya, Calithena :)

Still working on the basis of mid-late '77 for the OCE, cross-referencing from the stock lists in the supplements; viewtopic.php?t=2642 . None of the 'zines have thus far been of any assistance in pin-pointing a date, alas.

Late '77 for Holmes basic (what print do you have?), but shouldn't have taken until late '78 for the Monster Manual to be readily available.

Know I have difficulty figuring out stuff from back, as have many of the game creators (who've been out a whole year on their dates)... Time distortion factor applies :?

02c, fwiw.

  


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Post Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 3:06 pm 
 

My Holmes set had dice and no B1, so it was one of the first three printings. I'm positive I had it by Christmas '77 at the very latest, so that probably means it was a 1st. Long gone now though.

I'm starting, reluctantly, to think it went like this: got the Holmes basic at the end of '77, me and my dad went out to get the OCE in Jan '78. That would fit the pub dates without stretching. If so I've been gaming one less year than I thought I had.

The only thing about this that bugs me is again, the weird memory of waiting for the MM. If someone knew that the first printing either didn't make it to California or only got out there late I suppose we could have been waiting for the 2nd printing in may. That MM is still in a friend's basement though I think, so this question may be answerable, whenever I next go to California.

  


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Post Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:10 pm 
 

Calithena,

I keep having the same dating issues myself. I know I played before I actually got the Basic set, but I always thought I got the Basic set for Christmas 1980... but it was the Moldvay Basic Set, which has a January 1981 date on it.

Was it available in Toys R' Us in time for Christmas 1980? Anyone know?

It's how I measure how long I've been playing, since my memories of the pre-ownership days are very fractured (I had a couple characters, but didn't even own my own dice, and don't remember much more, as I played during lunches with friends at school). I'd like to know if this would be my 24th or 25th Christmas as a gamer...


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Post Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:41 pm 
 

Calithena wrote:My Holmes set had dice and no B1, so it was one of the first three printings. I'm positive I had it by Christmas '77 at the very latest, so that probably means it was a 1st. Long gone now though.

I'm starting, reluctantly, to think it went like this: got the Holmes basic at the end of '77, me and my dad went out to get the OCE in Jan '78. That would fit the pub dates without stretching. If so I've been gaming one less year than I thought I had.

The only thing about this that bugs me is again, the weird memory of waiting for the MM. If someone knew that the first printing either didn't make it to California or only got out there late I suppose we could have been waiting for the 2nd printing in may. That MM is still in a friend's basement though I think, so this question may be answerable, whenever I next go to California.


    "Waiting for the Monster Manual"

    Perhaps it's like a wierd, Jungian sort of shared gamer memory.  I mean, AD&D is like synchronicity squared, right?

    I also think that Waiting for the Monster Manual would make a great title for a one act play about the search for Dallas Egbert.  

:lol:  :lol:


"But I have watched the dragons come, fire-eyed, across the world."

  


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Post Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 8:44 pm 
 

Calithena wrote:My Holmes set had dice and no B1, so it was one of the first three printings. I'm positive I had it by Christmas '77 at the very latest, so that probably means it was a 1st. Long gone now though.

Hmm... almost certainly would have been a 1st :(

Calithena wrote:I'm starting, reluctantly, to think it went like this: got the Holmes basic at the end of '77, me and my dad went out to get the OCE in Jan '78. That would fit the pub dates without stretching. If so I've been gaming one less year than I thought I had.

Looks like the most likely option.
Unfortunately there's no side-effect bonus, if so. (i.e. you're not one year younger than you thought, too! :))

Calithena wrote:The only thing about this that bugs me is again, the weird memory of waiting for the MM. If someone knew that the first printing either didn't make it to California or only got out there late I suppose we could have been waiting for the 2nd printing in may. That MM is still in a friend's basement though I think, so this question may be answerable, whenever I next go to California.

I had a check back through the 'zines and the MM wasn't available in the UK via the official distributors until a few months into 1978, but it should really have been around in CA before then.
Hopefully that basement is nice and dry, and you'll find a first print there. *fingers crossed*


p.s. That'll be a nice, early OCE with the stock list fully priced at the back of the first volume.

  


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Post Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 9:45 pm 
 

Another possibility is that I knew other people waiting for the MM and took over their memory. Yet a third is that I was waiting for the PHB and DMG both later (I know that was the case) and confused that with waiting for the MM also.

One thing that could work with this is that even if I had the MM I still would have had to be playing with OD&D/Holmes rules for six months or so.

All that stuff is beat to hell though. I still have my original Gods, Demi-Gods, and Heroes with the gods my characters slaughtered crossed out in pencil with the word "DEAD" written over them. The cover loose & broken.

Speaking of gamer synchronicity, here are two weird connections from my life that came about without any gaming being involved:

1) I used to live with James Dallas Egbert III's cousin, and attended her wedding.

2) My therapist was Gary Gygax's co-DM for the original tournament run of Vault of the Drow.

Still, all that said, I hope someone comes along and says that actually early printings of these were available in California at the end of 1976.

  
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