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Cover Art: "Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in."


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#21 Slartibartfast

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 10:09 AM

Some lovely covers there. Particularly like the way some of them pull you straight into the right frame of mind for the game in question. Warhammer was brilliant for that.

 

I totally agree with you there.  I find that the artwork of a game book seems almost to force on me the look and feel of the game, whether it is to be light-hearted tomb delving and a bit silly or gritty splatterpunk.  When it is coordinated well with the theme and atmosphere that the games designer is trying to sell the game it adds a lot to the overall experience for me.

 

Re: Games Workshop's illustrators, much of my teenage bedroom wall was plastered with recycled GW calendars and posters of art.  

 

Jon Blanche has already been mentioned but deserves another.  His Sister of Battle is one of my favourites

 

300px-SOB.jpg


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#22 Dr_Jomster

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 11:36 AM

While we're giving the love to Warhammer, I'd like to give a shout out for this iconic cover for 1E. Simple, straight to the point, draws you right in to how the game's going to be. Nice. :)

WFB-1st-cover-front.jpg
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#23 lordof1

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 12:39 PM

I had forgotten the fantastic image that started this whole hobby off for me in the first place - how about this for drawing you in! Anyone else (in the UK) tempted by such an image?

 

Fighting-Fantasy-Gamebook-3-Forest-of-Do

 

My mum, who was a teacher at the time, had been given the book as a free sample by a rep, and she wanted to use me as a guinea pig to see if it was suitable for her kids in the classroom. It was a decision she may have regretted... one look at Iain McCaig's cover art and I was sold.


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#24 BigJackBrass

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 12:46 PM



... one look at Iain McCaig's cover art and I was sold.

 

I loved his picture of the Bloodbeast on the cover of FF#6, Deathtrap Dungeon.


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#25 Dr_Jomster

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 01:29 PM

I had forgotten the fantastic image that started this whole hobby off in the first place

I think you might want to add the words "for me" at the end of that to avoid people mentioning early versions of D&D or even finding a book earlier in that series and helpfully posting a picture of its cover... ;)

the-warlock-of-firetop-mountain-2a8tbzw.

Lovely book apart from that s*dding maze at the end! :)
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#26 lordof1

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 01:47 PM

I think you might want to add the words "for me" at the end of that to avoid people mentioning early versions of D&D or even finding a book earlier in that series and helpfully posting a picture of its cover... ;)

 

 

Good point :) Done!


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#27 Slartibartfast

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 04:10 PM

I have a soft spot for the Mutant Chronicles wrap-around cover:

 

500px-Mutant_chronicles2.jpg

 

Everyone looks so keen!


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#28 Hal

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 11:57 AM

I think for invoking a feeling of the game in the cover, we should not overlook some simple and bizarre designs like Chill

 

Maychill.jpg


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#29 BigJackBrass

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 12:19 PM

And let's not forget the less bizarre first edition!

 

pacesetterchillbox.jpg

 

It's not the greatest piece of art ever, but it does a bloody good job of letting you know what you're dealing with. This is proper "It's behind you!" bumps in the night screaming horror we have here!  :D


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#30 Hal

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 12:54 PM

I really like Chill. It has one of the best beasties ever thought up for an RPG. The Mean Old Neighbour Lady :)

 

Hal :hal:


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#31 bodhranist

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 08:51 PM

I never actually did end up 'writing my own fantasy games for my microcomputer', but finding this book in 4th grade in my elementary school library was excellent for me. The cover image is okay, but I could probably have sketched out rough drafts of the interior images now, two and a half decades later.

 

Write_Your_Own_Fantasy_Games_for_Your_Mi

 

writefantasygames-monsters.jpg

 

c64_fantasy2b.jpg


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#32 Slartibartfast

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 01:48 AM

That looks amazing - I wish I had found that when I was in school! 

 

Libraries are where it is at though, at school I had access to Fighting Fantasy, Lone Wolf and Tunnels and Trolls solo adventures - and could probably have done more homework than I did...


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#33 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 03:53 AM

It was originally called Orgasmic Ninja Maniac Chainsaw Vitamin Junkies, but Niels and Lou thought that might upset people  :D

 

What a shame. That is an excellent name for a Splat Book. ;)


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#34 vhesper

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 06:01 AM

One I enjoyed...

 

JOL005.jpg


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#35 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 07:46 AM

RPG.net has a similar thread about Inspiring RPG Cover Art.
 

#1 Exalted, 1st Edition
Who the hell is this woman? Why isn't she a white dude with a sword? Oh, wow, check out the people behind her.
Snap. This game is going to be different and awesome.

Exalted_00Cover_zps0656fffa.jpg

#2 Legend of the 5 Rings, 1st Edition
A burly samurai beset on all sides by... zombies? Monster-ashigaru? I dunno, but this looks action packed and fantastical.

l5r_zpsa54cd7f1.jpg

#3 Dungeons and Dragons Rules Cyclopedia
Lookit the size of that thing! Is it a dragon? Man, that guy looks cool too (for a white dude with a sword, see #1 for details).
Boring dungeon crawl with torches and murder-hobos? Hell naw! High fantasy chase scene going on here! WOooOo!

cyclopedia_zps8f274e17.jpg

#4 Paranoia
This cover explains exactly what the game is going to be about and how the players will react to preposterous violence. It is awesome and ridiculous.

paranoia_zps3d4dcd19.jpg

#5 Eberron
Yeah, technically cheating on this. I recall this is the first splash page art of one of the books. It spells out perfectly how strange and excellent Eberron is. It is not your normal Tolkien-esque fantasy. Lightning trains, airships, swashbuckling/carefree operations, robots, airships. Maximum awesome.

eberron_zps77cf5294.jpg


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#36 Daniel

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 01:35 AM

For me it has to be the set that got me into gaming, way back when.

 

Black%2BBox%2BBasic.jpg

 

The contrast of colours between the background and the dragon make it almost leap from the page.  It immediately draws your attention to the lone warrior, with his axe, waiting to ambush the beasty.  Marvelous!


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#37 Hal

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 03:57 PM

Actually the red dragon is a pretty strong cover to be honest. I like how it is emerging from the shadows all chiaroscuro-like :)

 

Hal :hal: 


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#38 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 20 December 2013 - 02:42 AM

69.jpg

Dragon (and Dungeon) magazine boasted oodles of excellent cover illustrations over the years, as well. They're putting the new electronic version of Dragon magazine on hiatus, apparently, and posted a gallery of the first hundred magazine covers in the article about it.

97.jpg
 


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#39 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 16 March 2015 - 07:34 AM

After Sir Terry Pratchett's recent passing, it may or may not be a fitting time to commemorate one of his finest contributions to roleplaying games: the GURPS Discworld RPG. Since this is a thread about RPG book covers, let's focus on that.

The cover image - made by the amazingly talented Paul Kidby - is both beautiful and striking. It's an unusual representation of the Grim Reaper, which is sure to lure in gawkers unfamiliar with the Discworld, whilst highly recognizable for anyone who's read Soul Music. Kidby's work on the Discworld franchise has had an enormous impact, with his wonderful renditions of the many much-loved characters being far more widely accepted by the fandom than the works of Josh Kirby, who - despite being a fairly skilled artist, himself - never really captured the spirit of the Discworld. Kidby's paintings, on the other hand, are truly captivating, and the more heavily-illustrated stories, such as The Last Hero, are absolutely delightful to simply sit and page through.

(Granted, Pratchett himself has mentioned that he wasn't entirely pleased with Kidby's Clint Eastwood-esque version of Sam Vimes - apparently, Sir Samuel looked far more like Peter Postlethwaite, in the author's mind.) :)

cover2_lg.jpg
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#40 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 04:55 AM

tumblr_o109sfDxdC1sndzdgo1_500.jpg

On the left, Frank Frazetta’s work. On the right, Howard Chaykin tackles the same concept. I break it down here, in an incredibly specific lesson — The Taxonomy of Crazy Fantasy Art: A Visual History of 1970s Polar Bear-Drawn Sleighs.

Note the harnesses. Or the lack of them. To the dismay of any fantasy-loving engineers, Frazetta is entirely unconcerned with the nitty-gritty of his transport. To be fair, anyone who picks the polar bear as their beast of burden is clearly more concerned about looking hardcore than they are about basic logic.

[...]

If there’s a moral to be taken from this incredibly specific visual history, it’s to embrace the idiosyncrasies of crazy fantasy art. There’s no need to bother harnessing your bear steeds when a simple dead-eyed stare and a menacing grip on your bloodied sword will do the trick.”

What’s your favorite illogical piece of fantasy art?

Ian Banks: I love Morningstar by David Gemmell, but a rather subtle error has me annoyed whenever I see the cover:

morningstar-david-gemmell-paperback-cove

Which way is the wind blowing?

Joel Cunningham: Maybe the horse uses a lot of hair gel.

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