There is a Character Creation Challenge going on where you’re encouraged to make a character a day for the month of January. That’s a lot of characters and I doubt anyone wants to see me make 31 characters. Still, I do want to make make use of a reduced version of this challenge as an opportunity to make characters using game systems I own, but don’t know when I will get to play them. So I have printed out character sheets for Blueholme, Labyrinth Lord, BECMI, Basic Fantasy, Old School Essentials, Adventures Dark and Deep, Swords & Wizardry, and Low Fantasy Gaming. Those are the eight-game systems for which I plan to examine the character creation process (a more relaxed 2 characters a week instead of one a day!). It will be a great way to compare and contrast races and classes in these various systems. First up, Blueholme.
This is a retroclone of the Basic D&D set of 1977 (the first of the Basic sets). This is a much simpler form of D&D and one for which I would love to participate as a player just because I could sit down and play and not have to puzzle over lots of rules (e.g. races only have 2-3 traits, and all weapons do 1d6 damage).
Following the Generating A Character, step 2, I took out my Game Science dice (you’ve got to use dice that Louis Zocchi has been making dice since 1974 for this retroclone, right?), rolled 3d6 and wrote the numbers down as I rolled them down the line from top to bottom. This meant that the results of my rolls would determine what the species and class of my character would be. You can also see from my character sheet below what the attribute adjustments are – not much to write down – just some extra followers and two extra languages! Like I said, a very simple system!
With good rolls in strength, intelligence, and charisma, and with my lowest score in wisdom, I looked at my species/class options. Blueholme has four classes: Fighter, Cleric, Magic-User, and Thief. There are also four species: Human, Dwarf, Elf, Halfing. I chose to utilize my high scores in strength and intelligence to make an Elf Fighting Mage (mixing elements of the Fighter and Magic-User classes). This is one of the more complicated combinations you could probably make for Blueholme, and yet it was effortless. If you look at my character sheet, it took but a minute to write down my three Elven racial traits, the fighter class gave me nothing special (except saving throw numbers and the ability to use weapons), and for magic-user I just had to write down that I have one spell.
I then picked my alignment. Alignment is simplified in Blueholme: lawful good, lawful evil, neutral, chaotic good, and chaotic evil. I chose chaotic good. I do like this simplified alignment system, it isn’t as bare-bones as the lawful, chaotic, and neutral options you find in other early D&D games, and yet not as (sometimes) cumbersome as the nine alignment system. I sometimes wonder whether I should simplify my Castles & Crusades game from nine to five (I think I would want to playtest this in a Blueholme environment to see how it works out in game play). Of course, being a philosopher I do have a bit of an obsession sometimes with morality and alignment and I love to see these challenges play out in game play, but perhaps the challenges could be more fun with five instead of nine alignments?
I then rolled my wealth (3d6x10), got 140 gold pieces and then went to the one page equipment section to buy basic things an elven fighting mage might need. When I was finished I had 77gp remaining. To be honest, I think picking equipment took the longest for this character and all I got for him was a sword, bow, backpack, rations, torches, rope, wine skin, and a tinder box. Lastly, I came up with a name – Elyon – worked out my experience (you add the fighter and magic-user requirements together, so Elyon would advance slowly, however, with a high attribute in strength, he would get a +5% XP bonus), and then I wrote down my saving throws (you choose the best from fighter and magic-user).
The whole process was quick and easy. There is something elegant in such a simple system. I used the the Blueholme Prentice Rules, which covers levels 1-3 (just as the original Holmes D&D Basic Set did). However, there is a Journeymanne Rules set that takes the Holmes rule set from 1977 and allows character to go from levels 1-20. So Blueholme is a game system that you could use to run an entire campaign. I hope someone will run Blueholme at a convention like GaryCon or GameHole, because I want to give this a try!
Well, I had fun with this and I hope you did as well!