The I series of modules from TSR are certainly an interesting line, and one known primarily for Hickman’s Pharaoh trilogy, but that isn’t to say those venerable classics are all the line has to offer.
The initial offering, I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City is pure old school art, featuring the talents of ‘The First Four’, and I3 Pharaoh has entered the full 1980s recast of the TSR pit with all Jim Holloway art, but I2 Tomb of the Lizard King was produced fully in the transition.
It still features the new cast, Holloway, Quinn, and Easley, but they are raw here and it seems as though the TSR art department pecking order had yet to be established. Easley’s contribution is an afterthought, and Holloway and Quinn share the bulk of interiors but the strangest piece of the puzzle is Quinn’s work as cover artist.
Quinn was never known as a cover man at TSR, although his two Gang Busters covers are certainly classics, and this cover speaks to both skill and naiveté in composition. Certainly the action involved doesn’t play well although the detail is very strong.
Easley seems to have phoned in his only piece, certainly not of the quality we saw him debut with for S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth in the same period and I have to wonder about deadlines or if someone was just going through cast offs and decided to use an inked piece off the cutting room floor.
Holloway is well, Holloway, meaning you always know what you are going to get, solid content that applies well to the topic.
The module therefore seems a rather hodgepodge collection, and although it does feature vampire lizardmen, I can’t say I’ve ever had a strong desire to play it and the art would be a primary reason why.
In all, not an instant classic, but it does give it a try.
Artistic Rating: 2.5 [out of 5]