[OSR] The BLUEHOLME™ Project

Goodness, BLUEHOLME™ is now so old that the thread introducing it must have been in the old forums. Well, I won't bang about it too much, except to note for anyone who hasn't heard of it that it's basically a "what-if" retroclone extrapolating Dr J. Eric Holmes's first Basic D&D set of 1977 to 20 levels, drawing on the hints dropped in the original Blue Book (hence "BLUEHOLME"), Dr Holmes's other writings, and accounts of his games and gaming style.

I'm still working on the final bit of the Kickstarter that paid for the artwork of the Journeymanne Rules - a good lesson in itself never to add unwritten stretch goals. Anyway, what it is is the Blueholme Brochure, a guide to the eponymous city state of the Known World of BLUEHOLME™. Creating this is a complex, back-and-forth affair. I started with a broad concept for the city on an island in the Crystalmist River, followed by a few sketches of what it might look like. Like all the city states in the Known World, there are elements of the real world in its architecture. Blueholme is more British Medieval in look, as opposed to the French-inspired Avermere or the pseudo-Russian Urvekos. I hasten to add that, in architecture as in rules, I am not striving for historical authenticity – this is just a springboard for my imagination. The mysterious fortress – the Blueholme itself – is a completely alien artifice.

Step two was to draw a rough map of the place, indicating major buildings and neighbourhoods (the Wards). After that, it’s basically switching between writing and further detailing the map until, eventually, the thing is done. So far there are several iterations of the map, which gets scanned at intervals as it gets more and more detailed. There will be different versions of the map in the Brochure, each providing different information such as Ward boundaries, businesses, the sewers, catacombs, and tunnels in the rock on which the city stands.

Current progress is somewhere in the middle – I am about to finish the final details on the overall map, before jumping back into the text to finish off descriptions. Next will be zooming in to particular Wards or smaller neighbourhoods within them, and working on the plethora of tables needed to bring the place to life.

WIP 2 KS.jpg