D&D Larry Elmore TSR

You could make that argument that Easley, Parkinson, or Caldwell shaped the destiny of D&D and TSR in the early 1980s, but in reality that is like comparing the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, or the Eagles to The Beatles.  At the end of the day, any sane person knows there is no comparison as they are all had a telling impact on the industry.  Below are some pieces from Larry Elmore I think changed the landscape of the RPG industry, and I'd love to hear if you agree or disagree.

Mentzer 'Red Box'... Now if the Red Box isn't as iconic to gamers as the Trampier PHB, then I don't know what is.

'The Death of Sturm', this scene was so powerful I threw Dragons of a Winter Night across my 10th Grade English classroom and Elmore truly did it justice!

Shadowrun, single-handedly brought the dystopian RPG genre to the masses.  You might credit that FASA in general, but as this image graced the 1st & 2nd Edition covers, you know how important it was.

Death of Aleena: Larry broke upwards of a hundred thousand young men's hearts with the death of Aleena the Cleric, and without his rendition of her, I'd so no one would have cared much.

Watch who you hit on... And many folks thought Clyde Caldwell defined vampires with Ravenloft... not so fast Clyde.

Star Frontiers... Before this role-players thought space opera was a black booklet where characters died in character creation.  Elmore opened our eyes to a fantastic and beautiful science fiction universe.

Innocence in the big fantasy city will ever be defined for me by this piece.

Clarion: One of the finest examples of ink-wash you will ever see, Clarion the Cleric from D&D Basic.

D&D Expert, and the definition of character advancement in art

Dragons of Autumn Twilight launched TSR into a fiction publishing house and brought D&D to the pure reading masses.  For me, this image hasn't aged a day.

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  • Nick Etlar Eriksen on

    Apart from making all us teens at that time have these fantastic images help materialise the world, helping us to live the same fantasy, Elmore also had a profound influence on everyone who strived to draw, paint and be creative in many ways. What he does is so hard. It does not exist, but it looks real. It’s not a copy of a photo but a collage of incredibly hard elements to paint so lively. To get the light/colours right and make it believable. This is what he achived. Elmore is one I always dreamt of meeting – I would have so many questions and little tips that I would like to get from an expert. He has been a defining character for my own development as I strive to be able to be better at my art. This, to me, is the one part of my life I look back at and it shines. I loved this period of my life. If I could have one of his paintings or artwork on my wall it would mean something that probably not everyone would understand. Perhaps a few in this forum would. I love the Death of Sturm – but there are so many others. I still look up Elmore’s paitings once in a while and I cherish the moments.

    Sorry for being sentimental. I think that an artist would not just like to be appreciated for skill alone, but for making a difference. And he did. He impacted many peoples life with dragons, dreams and fantasies and inadvertedly helped bring young groups together to explore, develop their minds and creatively – and just have a plain good time. It has been priceless. As an artist he is an aspiration. Thank you so much, Elmore – you have no idea what your art meant. The countless hours inspecting and admiring the little details, the book covers, the calendars.

  • Herb Cavanaugh on


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  • Mark on

    Larry is easily one of the best ever. For me it was “Waiting For Shadamehr” and the one with the female knight on horseback charging the futuristic warrior in front of a Stargate-like doorway (don’t remember the title). Both were just so good. Something about his beautiful women warriors (with face paint) just jumped out visually for me. Still works for me today. Timeless stuff.

  • Orrion on

    These images captured the High Fantasy aspect of the Genre, with a vividness and a clarity that captured the reader before the first page. The quality of the artwork, help propel TSR to super-stardom, sure they were making sales before then, but Larry’s art helped launch it to new heights, the selected images for this article are truly iconic.

  • christopher simpson on

    I love this art I wish I could have the originals.

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