Art of the Genre

Today I’m taking a bit of a divergence from my standard RPG art reviews because I wanted to talk a bit about building an RPG.  Recently, I had the possibility of a RPG project fall to me here at Art of the Genre and I have to say I’m struggling with it.  Not, per se, the creation of the system itself, but instead what I want from a game I’d take the time to build. 

Back in 1985 I built my first RPG, a post-apocalyptic shout out to Mad Max called ‘Future Warrior’.  It had roughly a hybrid D&D base with some cinema homage stuff thrown in from various movies I’d seen over the course of my blossoming pre-teen years.  I’m going to post some of my own personal artwork from the game today just so you can see how dedicated I was to it, AND, be sure to check out my ultra-sweet logo that is the reverse of the mid 1980s TSR logo, because my full name is Roger Scott Taylor, which of course is RST, so how cool is that, right?

I think something that resonates with me about this particular game is that it takes what was already out there mechanically and then slips it into the creative sleeve of my own homebrew universe.  In today’s RPG marketplace, with the advent of OGL, wouldn’t it make more sense to simply use an existing engine from something like Pathfinder, Savage Worlds, or Fate?  Wouldn’t a proven system with a nice track record, and designed by folks with vast amounts of gaming design experience, be a better way to go than trying to cobble your own mechanic together?  I mean, I’m not Monte Cook, so no Numenera is going to be coming out of my think tank anytime soon.

It is an interesting ‘problem’ to have, and I’m pulled in various directions concerning it as the framing of my next project is moving very quickly and a decision has to be made one way or the other.  I have to wonder what my readers think on this subject, if they’ve had experiences similar to this, or if there is a system out there they feel best represents the marketplace with an ease of play and a strong ability to work beneath the umbrella the creating company provides.

One thing is abundantly clear, however, in the initial week of development, that the art for this particular project will be like nothing seen in the RPG industry in two decades and it will be absolutely stunning.   So at least perspective players won’t have to look at my Future Warrior work anymore! 

And speaking of my Future Warrior artwork, I just have to do an art review! 

Created in 1985 by RST Inc, this game looks and feels like it was created on the 5 cent copy machine at the local library.  Art directed by Scott Taylor, who also happens to be the artist, this thing takes on the feel of absolute thievery from whatever source he must have been into at the moment.

First, let’s look at his cover for the Basic Rules.  I mean by 1985 even garage gaming companies were doing color covers and yet all Taylor can muster here is a b/w illustration that for all intents and purpose looks like he took his G.I. Joe VAMP toy, tilted it sideways, and tried to draw it…

Then we have his Expanded Rules.  Now I’ve heard through the grapevine that Taylor is a huge Jim Holloway fan, but please!  This cover is an almost direct copy of Holloway’s interior image from the Star Frontiers: Alpha Dawn set.  Still, if he did it freehand, it has some merit, but I just can’t get over the copy without proper license to do so.

Then we have the Future Warrior Advanced Rules, with a cover that looks incredibly similar to another Star Frontiers piece, this time by artist Larry Elmore.  I mean, can this guy ever come up with something all his own?

Taking a look inside I’m pleasantly surprised to see some nice maps, a few cool vehicle schematics and finally this piece, the ‘Battle Master’.  Ok, now I know the movie Ice Pirates was pretty cool back in 1984, but did he have to go and steal the robots from that flick, and to top it off, he even nabs a Bioroid sled from Robotech: Southern Cross!? 

Really, this game is either the biggest artist homage ever, or the most incredible example of a lack of artistic and creative ability the world has ever seen. 

Artistic Rating: 0 [out of 5]

And if anyone happened to make it this far, then know that if you comment on this post, I’ll include your name in the list of credits for the RPG, assuming it gets made.

Written by Scott Taylor — July 30, 2013



Look everyone has to start somewhere, and as My old mentor Tex Henson used to say: Trace until you can copy, Copy until you can create and you will have your own style.

July 31 2013 at 10:07 AM


Alexander: Well, it was a really fun project when I was 14, and I had a great time going back and looking at what I’d created. I’m glad I could share it, and although my art days are far behind me, at least I get to work with great artists that I’d admired as a kid, so I do have that going for me :)

July 31 2013 at 10:07 AM


I know the feeling making my own RPG using a core engine called gauges I made from scratch but It’s a long haul process.. Lucky with things like Google docs on the market peer editing is much easier. Oh shameless plug in 3,2,1 ..

July 31 2013 at 02:07 PM


Brian: Well, a part of me thinks just creating a setting is enough, with some guideline notes concerning various mechanical systems so an experienced DM can make the choice they most desire and then extrapolate from there.

July 31 2013 at 04:07 PM

James Hutchings:

Surely this is the lost supplement for Encounter Critical? :)

August 01 2013 at 03:08 AM


James: Good one! :)

August 01 2013 at 05:08 PM

Venger Satanis:

Looks cool. I wrote (or tried to write) a few crazy, mixed up RPGs in my youth. The 80’s were strange times…

I’ve been working on a new task resolution game mechanic called VSd6. Anyone can use it:

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赤見 いよいよゲストをお迎えしてお送りする「太のプレミアムトーク」です。ゲストが誰か、小牧さんもご存じないんですよね?
小牧 はい。昨日ね、ジャパンCの返し馬で、戸崎くんが「小牧さん、ジャパンCに騎乗されるの初めてなんですってね」って話しかけてきたから、「あれ? なんか探り入れてるんかな…、コイツかな?」と思ったんやけど。
赤見 では、さっそくご紹介しましょう。本日のゲストはこの方です!
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内田 こんばんは、戸崎です(笑)。
小牧 実は昨日、偶然ホテルで会ったんですよね。ちっちゃいオジサンがいるなぁと思ったら、内田くんやった(笑)。
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