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Old 10-13-2009, 08:34 AM   #1
b-dog
 
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Default Art for the DF series

I think of all of the genres in RPGs, Dungeon Fantasy is one of the most dependant on art. To tell you the truth, if I hadn't played GURPS before and wasn't interested in the system above all else, I would have never bought any of the DF series. There is too little art and most of it seems to have little relation to dungeon delving . I really think that art is very important to fantasy in general because it stimulates the imagination. I have the Fantasy Folk 2nd edition and there is an artist named Shea Ryan wh does a good job with fantasy art.

The early AD&D was had tons of great art in books like the Monster Manual, Dungeon Masters Guide etc. And the covers on some of the modules was outstanding like the one for The Temple of Elemental Evil. I bought In Search of the Trollslayer by Chaosium and I will say the art was amazingly good. So, I think that the GURPS DF series should possibly consider getting some better art because I think people who see the products would be a lot more interested in buying them.
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Old 10-13-2009, 09:00 AM   #2
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Default Re: Art for the DF series

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Originally Posted by b-dog View Post
There is too little art and most of it seems to have little relation to dungeon delving.
Really? I've just gone through the first few DF volumes, and it all looks pretty relevant to me: guys with swords, guys with bows, guys in armor, guys casting spells, monsters, fancy weapons, piles of treasure, mystical tomes, equipment that looks like the kinds of items being discussed on the same page. The only possible problem I see there is that when a scene can be clearly identified, it's as often as not outdoors rather than in a dungeon.

That said, I agree that the DF series is, as is par for the course with SJ Games, a bit light on the art side and the quality isn't up to the standard set by, say, any WotC/Hasbro product published over the past ten to fifteen years, though SJ Games's art production has improved considerably in 4e (I'd say HS:Renaissance Florence has about the best art anyone could ask for, but that's kinda cheating). A big problem here, though, is that it brings us back to the same old dilemma of cost. Art is expensive. I would not be at all surprised if the cost to create completely new illustrations for a book would approach what they pay the author. It also requires a lot more editorial time to contract with an artist (or artists) and review and get revisions on said illustrations and to deal with delays which inevitably arise when you add more people to the critical path.

So, then, would I like to see shinier art? Sure. Do I want to pay appreciably more for it? Maybe not so much. And since the DF line is doing really, really well with the current art specs, I don't think they've got a huge incentive to change.
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Old 10-13-2009, 10:08 AM   #3
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Default Re: Art for the DF series

I'd gladly trade my orichalcum rotulas to provide some DF art.

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Old 10-13-2009, 12:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: Art for the DF series

I would rather have solid, well-edited content over flashy artwork any day of the week. I stopped purchasing products from a certain Other Company, because I felt although the books themselves were pretty to look at, the writing was low quality and unimaginative and the editing was haphazard at best, with the eye clearly on getting the product out the door as quickly as possible. I have yet to be disappointed by the content of a GURPS product (and I buy just about everything that comes out on e23) and if the art wasn't much to look at, well, that's what imagination is for, right? The show that our game group can put on inside our own heads can never compare to any printed book.
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Old 10-13-2009, 01:08 PM   #5
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Default Re: Art for the DF series

Sincerely, I couldn't care less about the art. Layout? Yeah. Boxes and quotes breaking the big blocks of text into manageable chunks? double yeah. Art? Who cares.
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Old 10-13-2009, 01:21 PM   #6
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Default Re: Art for the DF series

On some reflection, I would like to come out a bit more in favor of art. Good art is (for me, anyway) inspirational. Frex, one of the reasons I found Tales of the Solar Patrol so utterly charming was the gorgeous period artwork. It gave me a tone and feel for the setting which words alone wouldn't have. I could say similar things for GURPS Goblins and early Paranoia with its spot-on Jim Holloway illustrations.

Ironically, though, DF is a genre for which I don't actually need illustrations. It's the single most popular gaming genre there is and it's infiltrated the mainstream enough that I can easily get my fantasy art fix elsewhere. I can browse the D&D web site, look at Warcrack-related pages, or just do a Google Images search for "sword," "castle," "dwarf," or whatever else I want. And that's to say nothing of my own library of archaeological, historical, and art historical texts. If DF gives me crunch, I can find my own pretty pictures to go with it.
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Old 10-13-2009, 02:00 PM   #7
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Default Re: Art for the DF series

OK, I understand about the price issue but still I think that having better art would appeal to more people. I remember when I saw the Dungeon Masters guide, I picked it up just because the cover looked cool. The same is true of a lot of old D&D modules and the Stormbringer/Elric series. The art didn't make me buy it but it did pique my curiouslity and make me pick it up and look through the book.

I think that if a GURPS DF book had a cover like the one on the Temple of Elemental Evil, which is of an ominous temple with leering gargoyles and lightning filling the sky, then people might take a pause and look through the book. Then they would find out that GURPS is a really good system with excellent editing and format.

Here is a link to the cover http://home.flash.net/~brenfrow/dd1/t1-4.jpg

And here is a link to the Stormbringer cover
http://www.stormbringer.net/images/elric/elric11.jpg

EDIT: I would also like to add that I personally love to see good art depicting interesting situations so I am biased in favor of it.

Last edited by b-dog; 10-13-2009 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 10-13-2009, 02:59 PM   #8
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Default Re: Art for the DF series

I'm more into interior art, still I know the ToEE cover in every minute detail.

And Elric. Here in Italy those books have just been re-printed in cheap new editions. Nobody cares about them, while on ebay everyone is trying to grab the old editions from the seventies, the ones graced by those M.Whelan illustrations.

Of course, even after 20 years, nothing compares to the old warhammer volumes - Realm of Chaos Slaves to Darkness & Realm of Chaos the Lost and the Damned. They still make my jaw explode every time I leaf through them...
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Old 10-13-2009, 05:02 PM   #9
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Default Re: Art for the DF series

For the pdfs on e23, people aren't going to be influenced to by the book by the art, since the only way they are going to be able to see the art is if they've already bought it. There is no flipping around browsing a pdf.
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Old 10-13-2009, 05:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: Art for the DF series

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For the pdfs on e23, people aren't going to be influenced to by the book by the art, since the only way they are going to be able to see the art is if they've already bought it. There is no flipping around browsing a pdf.
Yes and no ... there's still the cover art, of course, and each PDF usually has 2 or 3 sample pages for a browser to skim through, which could present an opportunity.

If it could be done at a reasonable cost, I'd be curious to see how the experiment would prove out. That said, from a personal level, the art is usually only a minor selling point with me. For me, it gets absorbed into the larger issue of presentation -- "Has the publisher put this together in an attractive, easy-to-use format?" Pretty pictures can be one aspect of that, but I don't see them as the only indicator.

On the other hand, poor or sloppy art CAN drive me away at times. Again, it's often a sign of a larger problem.
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