## Monday, October 30, 2017

### Using Blogger

We might see posts from some of the other Bookhouse Boys eventually. To that end, here are few fine points on using Blogger.

## CSS

To tweak the CSS, go to

Theme | Customize | Advanced | Add CSS

## Whitespace

Avoid putting two spaces after a period. The Blogger line-breaking algorithm might put one of the spaces at the beginning of a line.

## Fonts

The Compose editor is convenient for the most part, but don't use the font or the text size drop downs. They insert inline styles, making it impossible to control the look of the site with CSS.

## Code

The Compose editor does not provide a way to insert a code block. You could set the font to Courier to get a monospace font, but this uses inline styles and Courier isn't the monospace font you want to use.

A better method is to insert the text in the Compose editor. Then switch to the HTML editor; surround inline code with <code>...</code> tags and blocks with <pre><code>...</code></pre> tags. Indent the code by adding two spaces to the front of each line.

## LaTeX

To enable LaTeX, switch to the HTML editor and insert this snippet:

<script type="text/x-mathjax-config">MathJax.Hub.Config({tex2jax: {inlineMath: [['$','$'], ['\$','\$']], processEscapes: true}});</script>
<script src="http://cdn.mathjax.org/mathjax/latest/MathJax.js?config=TeX-AMS-MML_HTMLorMML" type="text/javascript"></script>

Mark off math equations from the rest of the text with doubled dollar signs: .

For inline math, set the text off with single dollar signs: \$\$. Use a backslash to escape two dollar signs in a line.

## Links

When creating a link, check the "open this link in a new window" box.

## Footnotes

Switch to the HTML editor. Put this after the text to be footnoted:

<a href="#1" name="top1"><sup>1</sup></a>

Put this at the bottom of the post:

<a name="1">1.</a> Gary Gygax, <i>Dungeon Masters Guide</i> (TSR Games: 1979), p. 10<a href="#top1"><sup>↩</sup></a>

## Labels

Labels are used to categorize posts. Separate multiple labels with commas.

## Stray Whitespace

When editing, be careful not to add extra blank lines to the end of the post. They will be rendered when the post goes live.

## Monday, October 16, 2017

### The Lost Book of Holmes

A few years ago we ran a campaign with the Holmes rulebook. We customized the rules a bit. Our house rules have finally been written up as a PDF and are available for download. I'm calling them the Lost Book of Holmes.

We are biased because of when we started playing, but we like the Holmes rules. There isn't any bloat there.  While it's true characters are limited to 3rd level, most of the monsters are there, even if you can't hope to fight them.

The Holmes Companion fixes the level limitation. The author of the companion is minimalist and fits his additions into 4 pages. Like the Holmes rules themselves there isn't any bloat so we used them as a starting point for our house rules.

Our campaign was run with the Holmes rulebook, a printout of the Holmes Companion, and few pages of handwritten rules.

Our first rule addition was variable weapon damage. In Holmes every weapon does d6 of damage, which is simple and befits a beginning version of the game. However, we like variable weapon damage. It makes the players think about trade-offs such as do I use a shield or a two-handed weapon? Should I be a fighter who can use the best weapons, or should I be a cleric or magic-user?

Universal d6 damage is perhaps a throwback to a time when the polyhedral dice were hard to get, but the box set came with the dice as you will remember.

We also removed the rule in Holmes where daggers strike twice a round and two-handed weapons strike every other round.

Although we did not use it in our play, the Lost Book of Holmes includes a optional WEAPON ADJUSTED COMBAT section in which all hits do d6 and the attacks per round of daggers and two-handed weapons as in the original Holmes rulebook are used. To make this sensible a variety of "to hit" bonuses and penalties are introduced.

We used d6 dice for monsters. I'm not sure how I feel about that in general, but we played with a small party so it worked well in our campaign. Incidentally the manuscript Holmes submitted to TSR used d6 monsters. The d6 dice for monsters rule is removed from the Lost Book of Holmes, however, to be compatible with the Holmes rulebook that was published.

We added to the list of monsters. The Holmes rulebook doesn't have many monsters a party might encounter in the wilderness. The Holmes manuscript shows they were originally there, so we added them back. We also added elementals, efreet, and a few more dragons. Monster descriptions were taken from the Holmes manuscript, OD&D, or the 1977 monster manual.

So the players could go deeper, we expanded the WANDERING MONSTER TABLE from 3 to 6 levels.

We added rules for generating NPC characters. If you look at the description for Bandit,  you will see some short rules for generating high level NPCs. These rules call for a magic-user as high as 11th level! Anyway, generating NPCs quickly is something published versions of the game have never provided good rules for. The tables cover alignment, class, race, level, weapons, armor, equipment, magic items, and even names.

We added rules for brawling, capturing, mounted combat, and sea battles. Each of these was motivated by a specific encounter in the campaign.

That summarizes our house rules, but there are a few more extras in the Lost Book of Holmes:

• WILDERNESS ENCOUNTERS
• TOWN ENCOUNTERS
• RANDOM DUNGEON GENERATION
• SAMPLE WILDERNESS
• SAMPLE TOWN

We had equivalent stuff for some of this in the setting I ran, but I wanted Lost Book of Holmes to be a bit more generic. The SAMPLE WILDERNESS and SAMPLE TOWN are supposed to fit with the Sample Dungeon from the Holmes rulebook.