RPGaDay 2015 – Day 12: Favourite RPG Illustration
Short Answer: Eberron cover art, Wayne Reynolds.
Long Answer: When Wizards of the Coast released 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons, I remember being impressed that they’d gone to the effort of making the books look like something you’d find in a wizard’s library or half-buried in a pile of treasure. That was great… for a while. Some of the supplements followed this design, while the rest featured art related to their contents. They were okay, but most of the images were pretty simple – one or two heroes facing off against a monster.
Then we got our hands on Eberron and Wayne Reynolds’ cover art. Gone were the posed scenes, replaced with action, flashing steel and flying arrows. You didn’t have to read the back cover to learn what to expect from the setting, they showed you right there on the front. Of all Wayne’s covers, my favourite was the one for Sharn: City of Towers. In Eberron, Sharn is a coastal city built high into the sky. To save themselves from having to return to ground level or one bridges between towers to get around, the inhabitants use sky ships imbued with magical energies.
You can probably already see the scene forming…
After years of traditional D&D tropes, this was a condensed shot of badassery straight into our collective gaming consciousness. It’s no surprised that Paizo used Wayne’s artwork for their Pathfinder range. His style has become a little too exaggerated for my liking, but his Eberron work is still great, and probably always will be.