News — TSR

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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Dragon #136: Cities, Merchants, and Golems from August 1988

Dragon Magazine Janet Aulisio TSR Valerie Valusek

In my continuing series of posts on old Dragon Magazine art, I’m going to be going over Dragon #136.  I’ve owned two copies of this Dragon, not because I particularly loved it, but because fate decided I should have two.  However, that isn’t to say there aren’t some very cool things in #136, as I found when rereading it for this article.  So before I get into the artwork, let me just give gamers a quick rundown of what resources they might enjoy inside. First, you get a great look at gaming cities, with a fantasy city builder by Thomas...

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Spelljammer: The final work of Golden Age TSR

Easley Jeff Easley Jim Holloway Spelljammer TSR

There are a number of reasons to hold Spelljammer as something ‘special’.  The primary of these should certainly be the originality of the setting, but for a lover of the history of RPGs, there is something much more fundamentally intriguing about this product to me. Produced by TSR in 1989 and written by Jeff Grubb, this is what I would consider the final product of TSR’s ‘Golden Era’.  Some might argue that moniker belongs to the Forgotten Realms, but that is a bit too early, and Dark Sun a bit too late. Spelljammer, however, falls perfectly in the wheelhouse of...

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Planscape: The art of the Modron March

Planescape R.K. Post TSR

When people who know artists think about Planescape, they typically think of Tony DiTerlizzi.  That makes sense, as he pretty much made his name as a fantasy artist with this TSR product line, but certainly he wasn’t the only artist to participate in it. Today, I’m going to look at another artist who helped define a small piece of the game, R.K. Post.  Now certainly Post isn’t known for Planescape, as Magic the Gathering is his bread and butter, but he did do some great work for many TSR products as one of the final members of the TSR ‘pit’...

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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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