News — Erol Otus

I1: Dwellers of the Forbidden City is a little discussed artistic time capsule

AD&D Modules Erol Otus Harry Quinn Jim Holloway Jim Roslof TSR

Do you ever have one of those moments when you have to make a choice and it is nearly impossible to do so?  You know, like when someone asks your favorite movie and you can’t possibly answer, then you counter with ‘how about action movies, or horror movies, etc.’ and then when faced with that it is still almost impossible to answer?  Yeah, well sometimes choosing pieces of artwork from classic AD&D modules is just like that for me. It was no different for TSR’s I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City. Produced in 1981, the module is an interesting study...

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The Basic D&D Magenta Box: The last ride of the first TSR art 'pit crew'

Bill Willingham David LaForce Erol Otus Jeff Dee Jim Roslof TSR

In 1980, TSR once again released a new version of their Basic D&D Boxed Set.  This one featured new cover art by Erol Otus, and an eye-catching magenta box.  Its creation certainly didn’t revolutionize gaming, but it did show a steady evolution from small press niche publisher to mid-range gaming company. Written by Tom Moldvay with revisions done from the original text by J. Eric Holmes, this particular rules book used the core group of the first TSR ‘pit’ for the final time. Covered by Erol Otus, who got the call for both the Basic and Expert boxed sets from...

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Top Secret: It's no secret that this game is packed with old TSR artistic talent!

Erol Otus Jeff Dee Top Secret TSR

In 1980 TSR had already started to expand its role-playing brand with the addition of Gamma World, but they didn’t stop at the post-apocalyptic market. Enter the espionage role-playing game Top Secret.  Written by Merle M. Rasmussn [probably a fictitious character] and edited by Allen Hammack, this boxed set featured a full game book and adventure that would become the standard arms for most TSR boxed games until the mid-1980s. I played the game only once, but would have loved to give it a nice campaign shot if the DM was right for it [someone who could run a Bond-like...

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Nothing revolting about Revolt on Antares

Bill Willingham Erol Otus Jeff Dee TSR

Back in 1981, just before the TSR art department turned on itself when it began to ‘grow up’ and terminated the contracts of Jeff Dee and Bill Willingham, moved Jim Roslof to art director, and relegated Erol Otus to the role of random freelancer, the company created a number of very fun pocket games. One of these, Revolt on Antares, came to my attention when my friend Mark laid hands on a box from his older brother’s gaming collection.  Inside, the pocket game awaited, and on four occasions during my late high school days we had a chance to play...

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