Art of the Genre

Today I’m going to take a look at Dragon #174 from October 1991. Now what was I doing in October 1991 you might ask? Hmmm, well, I was in my junior year at Indiana University, living in my first off campus apartment with two roommates, and probably playing WAY too many RPGs. At the time, I’m pretty sure I was doing a good deal of Shadowrun 2nd Edition, some Darksun, Dangerous Journey’s, and of course a bit of D&D in the Forgotten Realms.

I was not, however, reading Dragon Magazine, which by that point had fallen off my radar because it just didn’t inspire me anymore. The same could probably be said for many gamers, and certainly Magic the Gathering was starting to burn down the RPG industry so why not take magazines with it?

For me, the artwork from issue #174 is about as ‘blah’ as white bread dipped in milk. You can taste it, but really, why would you want to?

Cover artist Kevin Ward isn’t someone I’d heard of then, and haven’t heard from now, but I have to say his work is lackluster on this cover. The figures lack depth and the tones are too muted to catch my attention.

Inside, only Tom Baxa holds any water among the few illustrators used, and most of his work is simple creature catalog stuff, nothing that really bends to his particular talents.

I really can’t recommend this issue, even the articles seeming bland and uninteresting, especially for a Halloween issue. ‘Things that go bump in the Night’ for late night campaigns is tired, ‘Are you having bad thoughts’ concerning Psionics is a throw away because Psionics are so rarely employed, ‘Out of the Mists’ is another Psionic article as if one wasn’t bad enough, and ‘Cry Wolf!’ is only a monster supplement. My one enjoyment inside this issue comes from the fiction by Rob Liddil called ‘The Blue-Eyed Thief’.

Anyway, all told Dragon #174 isn’t worth remembering.

Artistic Rating: 1.5 [Out of 5]

Written by Scott Taylor — April 28, 2014

Comments

Bruce Heard:

. . . except of course for the fun Princess Ark article (with/without its illo). :-)

May 01 2014 at 10:05 AM

Sal :

I did enjoy decoding the runes on the tombstone, though.

May 01 2014 at 12:05 PM

Scott:

Bruce: Of course not my four fastest ships ;)

Sal: At the time, my then girlfriend, now wife, wrote me a love letter with those runes, so yes, they are always fun to decode :)

May 01 2014 at 01:05 PM

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