The Mutant Epoch: Old School art that really does have a place in the future

My old DM Mark gave me a nice birthday present this year, The Mutant Epoch RPG by Outland Arts. Now both Mark and I are big fans of post-apocalyptic settings, so it was with great anticipation that I got this 246 page core book.

Using the Outland System mechanic, creator William McAusland does everything you can do to make a game all by yourself. Not only did McAusland write and design the game, but he also did all the art for the book!

Now I’ll admit, when I first saw the art, and especially the cover, I wasn’t thrilled. However, I know that having been inundated with polished digital color images over the past decade, sometimes even my nostalgic mind can be fooled into seeing things that aren’t there.

So, as I took the game down to do my art review, I started to look at it not from a modern AD role, but instead from a ageless angle and this is what I came up with. The Mutant Epoch is actually a game that slips directly from the printing press of TSR circa 1978.

McAusland’s style is really a version of Erol Otus before Erol became overly stylized in in 1980s D&D module period. I mean, the more I looked at it, the more I was seeing very early Gamma World and feeling like I needed to be wearing some bell bottoms.

Not only that, but McAusland has an inordinate amount of art in this book, and frankly the only way he could have this much is if he did it all himself because there would be no room in an art budget for it. I’m simply blown away by the artistic content, and knowing that he not only did literally over a hundred spot illustrations, but also a dozen half pagers and each chapter as a full-page ink wash is astounding.

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am by this book, both by the art and all that went into the creation of the setting that includes everything a person could want for post-apocalypse included a radioactive kitchen sink. [Note: I did a quick test play and it works very well for beginners with some great crunchy creation content]

If you are looking for some truly old school art and a fantastic game, look no further than The Mutant Epoch.

Artistic Rating: 3.5 [out of 5]

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