Art of the Genre


Other than perhaps the various AD&D core books (yellow/orange spine) I find little that can inspire me more than the art of the classic AD&D module series from TSR.  Today I'm going to give you my favorite 10 images from those heady days.  Enjoy!

How beautiful is this classic Erol Otus drow priestess?  Sublime!

When I think of giants in D&D, this is what always comes to mind. Thank you Bill Willingham, and also thanks for showing me that my tanks don't need pants!

Classic good vs. evil by Jeff Dee!  Did he ever do a Kickstarter for this one?

Certainly one of the most beautiful images Jim Roslof ever created in color.  Lovely!

Everytime I see this image a voice in my head says 'MUST PLAY T1 AND BE A HALFLING!'  Well done Jeff Dee!

Need I say more than red bearded female dwarf?  Nope, Jeff Dee nailed it!

Willingham had a way with the ladies, and lightning apparently!

You didn't think I'd skip over Jim Holloway on this list did you?

Man eating frogs!  Only Erol Otus ladies and gentlemen!

There just aren't enough good monk images on D&D covers, especially ones that are dodging spikes!  Dee wins again!

I hope you have enjoyed these covers, and remember AotG needs your support with our current Folio adventure Kickstarter.  Please help our cause for HERE!



Written by Scott Taylor — March 14, 2016

Great Terrain Builds Eye Candy!

If you think you can build terrain for your D&D campaign, just take a look at these insane builds and you'll feel a bit less awesome, but at least you've got something to shoot for!

Also remember, the bulk of these are Dwarven Forge sets, so help support the cause by joining AotG's Hidden Valoria Kickstarter or Dwarven Forges Castles Kickstarter!



Written by Scott Taylor — March 10, 2016


An interesting quandry, no?  All I remember is my first experience with a druid was the Darrell K Sweet image from Wishsong of Shannara.


I was so moved by it, I created an AD&D druid character named Belmarillian who would eventually go on to become the most powerful character in the Nameless Realms, and always I kept him just like Sweet's Allanon version, cloaked, mysterious, and bigger than life. Still, whenever I see a RPG druid today, they have basically become the chainmail bikini version of a fighter.  So today, I thought I'd show you some images and see if you had an answer for me.

She's have to have a big set of balls to wear that outfit... oh wait, she does, and they are spikey!

Well, at least she's covered, but how much did that dye job cost her?

There is the mid-drift we all know and love, and how about those... eyes, yeah, eyes!

Look, she's riding a wolf ala Princess Mononoke, just without clothes :)

She really decided to 'bear' it all... see what I did there?

She's serious... seriously not wearing enough clothing.

Anyway, just some fun images to consider, and remember, AotG would love your support of The Folio so we can continue to produce incredible fantasy covers like those above.  Help us help Jim and other great OSR artists!  Subscribe today, or come and support our current Kickstarter campaign.


Written by Scott Taylor — February 04, 2016


Hey, with my current Kickstarter Folio trying to put another incredible piece of Keith Parkinson art out for the RPG world, I would be remiss if I didn't do a feature on his work.  I'm not going to gush over his art here, I'll let it speak for itself, but damn, if you don't love what you are about to see, you're broken inside!

Lords of Lankhmar... I have this module, I've never played it, but by god I've stared at this cover long enough to say that I've mastered it heart and soul!

Pretty sure this one is called 'Fistandantilus's last spell', but if you love or hate Dragonlance, this one still inspires a hearty lust for magical duels to the death. 

Shannara, yep, he mastered that as well!

Some of the best Dragon Magazine covers I ever saw had dwarves in them, and Keith just owns this one!

If I was Gary Gygax and I needed a cover for a new game, I'd have called Keith as well, but damn I'm not sure I would have expected something this kick ass!

Star Frontiers? Done, done, and done with epic appeal.

Novel covers with babes in boots and tiny monsters, you betcha!

Keith MADE Lord Soth.. period!

Need to launch the Forgotten Realms, Keith has your back!

Need to launch Rifts?  Yeah, he can do that too!


Space mercs, prostitutes, and aliens are too easy, but outstanding on the eyes.

Want Keith to create Lolth, no problem, just keep the iconics coming!

Cover Gamma World, yeah, Like a Boss!

Break my 12 year-old heart forever, done, and thank you for doing it!

I hope you've enjoyed this nostalgia today, and remember, AotG would love your support of The Folio so we can continue to produce incredible fantasy covers like those above.  Help us help Jim and other great OSR artists!  Subscribe today, or come and support our current Kickstarter campaign.

Written by Scott Taylor — February 02, 2016


Its hard to find a gamer who doesn't like Larry Elmore.  In fact, I've yet to meet one in all my years in the industry.  He's just a great guy, and, like many male artist, he does an astounding job representing what chauvinistic male gamer's love, which is to say cheesecake.  So in honor of the 'Ladies of Larry', AND to showcase some of the incredible prints he's currently got on 20% sale on his website, I'll offer you my thoughts on some outstanding women he's produced over the years.

Honorable Mention:

I got to see this painting 'Caylinn's Journey' in person at GenCon before someone snatched it up. It was stunning, and I'd have little problem coming up with a campaign for this white-clab vixen.


I've played my fair share of halflings, but never did I imagine one being this hawt until Larry showed me the way.  Now I've just got to find a way to put here into my world, but I'm telling you she'll have the last name Thornthistle, one way or the other!


Larry is probably the only artist I've ever seen that can paint a woman blue and make her even more attractive!  This sea elf is more than welcome in the Nameless Realms.


'Avalyne the Life Giver' is certainly one of my all-time favorite Dragon Magazine covers, and to this day it is still stunning.  I've always been intrigued by Larry's feather usage, and I think Avalyne could have a place in the various tribal lands of my world.


My friend Murphy and I played wizards once that were always competing for the same things.  Eventually, we both married Irda, and although I had no great reference for them, in my minds eye this would have been the lovely lady I got.  Sorry Murph, you lose again!


We've all had the two women at once dream right?  Well, I'll take either or both here as there is just no wrong answer to the above riddle.


I have already made a Star Frontiers campaign with this girl in it.  And to answer your question, yes, I married her! :)



My DM Mark can attest that I've got a soft spot for the ladies with questionable moral character.  About 70% of my characters would instantly fall for this incredible drow, but really, who wouldn't?


I've always had a thing for seasonal fairies, and a wood nymph in the winter is so stunning I almost can't tear my eyes away.  Well done, Larry, well done!


I was so taken with Larry's ladies, that I actually had him create the image for a character I'd already played in several campaigns.  Thus, I'm putting Lyssa, my white wizardress, in at the number 2 position.


Aleena broke so many hearts how could she not be #1?  Seriously, I just have to drop the mic and walk of the stage.

I hope you've enjoyed this nostalgia today, and remember, AotG would love your support of The Folio so we can continue to produce incredible fantasy covers like those above.  Help us help Jim and other great OSR artists!  Subscribe today, or come and support our current Kickstarter campaign.


So yesterday I was reminded by artist Brian 'Glad' Thomas the Jim Holloway's first Dragon Magazine cover was actually #41.  This prompted me to take a look at that issue, and as I did, I noted just how many classic artists had b/w (and even color) pieces I'd never really known about before in there.  An hour, and five issues, later, I'd filled a nice little file with some really outstanding images that I thought I'd share with you all today, so I hope you enjoy!

Good old Jack Crane had more than I realized in these issues, and I love his rendering of Tom Wham, who I've had the pleasure of gaming with while at Ernie's place in Lake Geneva.

Yep, you're going to find some Holloway in there, and how much do I love his runed blades!

And his axes!



And his crazed goblins!

Crane again, and boy am I glad I got him into at least one issue of Gygax Magazine before it was no more!

The signature got cut off, but YES, this is a Todd Lockwood from 1980!  Who knew he was that old, right?!

Crane with a little landscape.  It kind of reminds me of some of the art from the AD&D 2nd Edition PHB.

Now I know Jack, and he's really a nice guy who is more known for his whimsical stuff, but frankly, this is pretty bad-ass!

I have no idea who did this, maybe Willingham, but whoever did it, I dig it something fierce.  Note to self, put a huge serpent in an issue of The Folio.

There were a bunch of really fun (and hastily done) images for a game called 'Food Fight' that revolve around a high school.  Jeff Dee and Bill Willingham looked to have shared many of the illos, but nonetheless, this is a Willingham.

Another Food Fight illo, and I have no idea who Mrs. Dunn is, but I'd have gotten nothing done in her class, I promise you that!

Willingham again, for another mini-adventure.

Jack Crane showing off again for a short story I believe.

I don't know about you, but to me this is Willingham's favorite way to pose the ladies, on their back, boobs coming right at you.  Seriously, just look at his work!

Jim Roslof doing a Silkie.  Why its in red tone, I have no idea, but I'll take any Roslof I can get.

And last but not least, a color Erol Otus, and perhaps my favorite of his works ever.  I about died when I discovered it!  Just awesome!

I hope you've enjoyed this nostalgia today, and remember, AotG would love your support of The Folio so we can continue to produce incredible fantasy covers like those above.  Help us help Jim and other great OSR artists!  Subscribe today, or come and support our current Kickstarter campaign.

Written by Scott Taylor — January 29, 2016


I love Jim Holloway's art, so much so that I've gone to great lengths to include him in The Folio series because I believe he's that important to the genre.  He graced the cover of Folio #2, and will do so again with Folio #13, but no matter how many times folks gush about cover artists like Larry Elmore, Jeff Easley, Brom, Reynolds or Lockwood, they seem to discount Holloway.  Still, Holloway might hold the record for most Dragon Magazine covers by a single artist (but Clyde Caldwell would have to be close!).  So, today on AotG, I'm going to let you all see my favorite 10 Holloway covers from a magazine that meant a great deal to me back in the day.

#10: Dragon 151

Jim got to do a LOT of Oriental Adventures, probably because TSR pigeon holed him since he was of Japanese descent.  Nonetheless, he always did a great job with it, so I have to assume he enjoyed the setting.

#9: Dragon 59

I'm sure many of you didn't realize Jim went all the way back to Dragon #41, which was published in September 1980, but this is a more recognizable cover by him from March 1982.  This does, however, coincide with Jim's hiring into the TSR stable.  Although he didn't last long as an 'in house' artist, his legacy with the company all begins right here.

#8: Dragon 161

Done it September 1990, this was the 'Spelljammer' era for Jim.  While he didn't officially work at TSR, he was instrumental in the creation of the genre, and even if this piece isn't exactly Spelljammer, I always considered it to be a nice representation of the mythos.

#7: Dragon 164

Again with the Oriental Adventures, even if the system had already been pretty much shut down by 1991.

#6: Dragon 117

Included in 'things I dig' about Holloway.  A. He did fantastic adventuring parties.  B. He did great stress in his paintings.  C. His bald dwarves RULE! and D. He always had great knowledge of axes!

#5: Dragon 127

Well, Jim does great humanoids, and he also is a wonderful painter of war scenes.  This one in particular always spoke to me.

#4: Dragon 121

WHAT!? They have Jim painting more Oriental Adventures!?  Still, how about this battle, and check out the armor!

#3: Dragon 74

Although an early piece, this one is probably one of the most technically sound I've seen.  The original is lovely, and the action here reminds me a bit of some Middle-Earth Role-Playing, which he was also hired to do around this time in his career.

#2: Dragon 178

Dwarves, dwarves, dwarves, and frozen dwarves!  What could be better?  One of his last Dragon covers, it is certainly one of the best he did.

#1: Dragon 88

The first ever Dragon Magazine I saw in the flesh.  I've written more words on this than I care to recall, but there is a reason I had Jim do another version of it for Gygax Magazine #6 (which sadly was the final issue).  Still, I will love this piece to the day I die, and credit it with me getting into the game just as much as Elmore's Red Box cover.

I hope you've enjoyed this nostalgia today, and remember, AotG would love your support of The Folio so we can continue to produce incredible fantasy covers like those above.  Help us help Jim and other great OSR artists!  Subscribe today, or come and support our current Kickstarter campaign.

Written by Scott Taylor — January 28, 2016


I make no bones about artist Jeff Laubenstein being my favorite fantasy artist of all time.  Maybe that makes me odd, or maybe it makes me a genius, but whatever the case, there is no argument with the fact that Jeff has been doing RPG work for thirty years, and his contributions to non-D&D are astounding.  Today, I look at just random pieces of his that have always brought me joy.

The 'Ladies Laubenstein', certainly a subject matter of his that has always kept my interest

A nice trio of characters, and he certainly has a way with creating distinct personalities.

And the hits just keep on coming, and yes, I posted Postrish twice, but she deserves it

Laubenstein troll FTW!

This shot even has a heart under the sig, how appropriate!

Want him to do the entire Grey Death Legion?  Not a problem!

Color you say?  Yes, he does that too!

Jeff's watercolor is one with the universe

Eastern Bravos from the Folio #1 cover? Check!

MTG you ask?  Why yes, how about a little 'Show & Tell'

I saw this one in person, this shot does not do it justice

He really has a way with characters...

And oddity is something he loves, just check out the hearts!

And what isn't to love about Chantrell's Horror?


It is an interesting question, right?  I've played a lot of D&D the past 30 years and even with a few women, and a couple did play clerics, but in reality, the bulk of clerics played have been NPCs, and of those, I'd say 80% were beautiful women.  Is this common, or am I in the vast minority?

Whatever the case, here are some lovely ones for you to peruse.

Yep, absolutely been there...

She carries a big mace, is this Pathfinder? :)

Yes I played 2nd Edition, and yes, I enjoyed it.

I think one of my characters dated her once... it didn't end well.

'What, you don't like the mid-drift?'

Clarion for the win!

Halfling cleric maybe?  Either that, or the campaign needs aged up a few years.

I know what you are thinking, Monk/Wizard, but that bookmark says cleric to me.  Then again it is Pathfinder, so the first guess was probably right. :)

Aleena... just drop the mic and walk off the stage.

Written by Scott Taylor — September 10, 2015


You could make that argument that Easley, Parkinson, or Caldwell shaped the destiny of D&D and TSR in the early 1980s, but in reality that is like comparing the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, or the Eagles to The Beatles.  At the end of the day, any sane person knows there is no comparison as they are all had a telling impact on the industry.  Below are some pieces from Larry Elmore I think changed the landscape of the RPG industry, and I'd love to hear if you agree or disagree.

Mentzer 'Red Box'... Now if the Red Box isn't as iconic to gamers as the Trampier PHB, then I don't know what is.

'The Death of Sturm', this scene was so powerful I threw Dragons of a Winter Night across my 10th Grade English classroom and Elmore truly did it justice!

Shadowrun, single-handedly brought the dystopian RPG genre to the masses.  You might credit that FASA in general, but as this image graced the 1st & 2nd Edition covers, you know how important it was.

Death of Aleena: Larry broke upwards of a hundred thousand young men's hearts with the death of Aleena the Cleric, and without his rendition of her, I'd so no one would have cared much.

Watch who you hit on... And many folks thought Clyde Caldwell defined vampires with Ravenloft... not so fast Clyde.

Star Frontiers... Before this role-players thought space opera was a black booklet where characters died in character creation.  Elmore opened our eyes to a fantastic and beautiful science fiction universe.

Innocence in the big fantasy city will ever be defined for me by this piece.

Clarion: One of the finest examples of ink-wash you will ever see, Clarion the Cleric from D&D Basic.

D&D Expert, and the definition of character advancement in art

Dragons of Autumn Twilight launched TSR into a fiction publishing house and brought D&D to the pure reading masses.  For me, this image hasn't aged a day.

Remember, AotG needs your support with The Folio: The Storyteller's Arcana, featuring a Larry Elmore cover! Only 48 hours remain! Our current Kickstarter campaign can be found here:

Stretch Goals are ready to unlock! So just click the banner to the upper right of the page!


Written by Scott Taylor — September 08, 2015