Art of the Genre

There is no question that I hold a special place in my heart for Star Frontiers, so it is with great pleasure that I can talk about a randomly chosen module from that old TSR classic; SF4 Mission to Alcazzar.

The first thing that strikes you about SF4 is the inspired Larry Elmore cover.   Now certainly in 1984, what wasn’t inspired about Larry’s work?  He was truly in the beginning of his prime and this piece is no exception.  I well remember seeing it for the first time and dreaming, literally dreaming, about having my characters own/posses/drive one of the ATVs that appear under siege in this piece. 

Inside the cover [and who doesn’t miss removable covers!?] Stephen D. Sullivan has created both a world map and a great topographical map to help the adventure along, and all other artwork is done in classic black and white by artist Jeff Easley.  Unfortunately, many of Easley’s pieces looked rushed [go figure with the TSR deadlines in those days] but there are still a couple very solid pieces that contribute to the space/adventure genre.

The module itself is a 32 page romp around the world of Alcazzar and is well-written and conceived by one of my favorite TSR adventure writers, Douglas Niles.  Still, it doesn’t hold the precision and solid mission parameters you see in some modules of the time, using instead a more open feel while allowing the gamemaster to expand or contract things as the group calls for. 

Whatever the case, having both Easley and Elmore work on anything between 1982 and 1990 will automatically get you 3 stars, so everything else this book brings is icing on the cake. 

Artistic Rating: 3.5 [out of 5]

Written by Scott Taylor — May 15, 2013

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