On a Tasteful Jacket for Dust

I am no longer a child, fully an adult, soon to reach the rest of middle age. Perhaps I don't know what might be attractive to hordes of 14 year old children. I understand, if I were releasing a certain very large important project that they might be my target audience.

Here are some examples of tasteful -- nay, even beautiful book covers:

Bonus related art post
See, the aliens have three genders.

Best book cover in world.


Ringlerun: Magic-Badass
(He's casting in melee with gargoyles)

I own this book. It's awesome.

To me, I want a cover that makes me feel something. Anticipation. A moment before. A mystery. Something that will connect me with a greater something I have yet to discover.

Perhaps that's what these do to the children of today. Maybe this will make them pull it down because of how cool it looks and how they want to be a part of it. Perhaps. It had damn well better.


  1. Trollsmyth expressed my feelings on these covers perfectly last night here: http://trollsmyth.blogspot.com/2014/05/cover-a5t.html?showComment=1400562416436&m=1

    Here's the cover to my free, uncopyrighted, not-for-sale RPG to get a sense of what I consider a nice cover:


  2. How about a better idea: rather than sit back and see whether or not book covers entice a new generation to play, perhaps we as veteran gamers should go out and actively help young, potential gamers discover the game. Let's be more active and not passive. Let's help the kids discover what makes these books really cool: the contents, and the history behind the contents. Let's teach them there's more to these books than cool covers.

  3. I've always liked the 3E D&D covers, though I recognize I'm probably in the minority.

    It's quite a coincidence that on the day you posted about some great covers, I posted about some terrible, terrible covers: Worst RPG Covers of All-Time (Part 1)

    1. Yes, you are. :)

      Honestly, I thought the 3e covers were evocative of nothing. They really did not give a clue to anyone not familiar with the game about its contents. While I'm not crazy about the new covers, I don't think they are terrible. I actually think the 4e covers were pretty good even though I did not like the overall art style in 4e. I was not at all crazy about Wayne Reynolds in Pathfinder at the beginning, but his style grew on me.

      Honestly, I've liked very few D&D covers over the years, so these aren't all that bad all things considered.

    2. If anyone cares, I posted a little about my own misgivings with the new artwork. I don't hate it, but I think it misses the mark in a few ways.

      I was able to congeal my thoughts on the new art in my blog post if anyone cares.


  4. The Dying Earth cover you posted is simply gorgeous. If I saw a roleplaying game with that on the cover, I'd pick it up in a heartbeat.

  5. Sorry about the bum links up top. Try these. These are my idea of evocative RPG covers.




  6. Loving the new D&D art. The uncropped versions are shown on the illustrator's site:

  7. I personally like the cover art (and disliked 3e and 4e art). What bothers me about the covers is the font they chose for the book titles. It just looks out of place for some reason.

  8. The new Hacklopedia had a pretty sweet cover.
    The art on these isn't BAD. The trade dress is pretty meh.

  9. will we be playing? I do prefer paizos covers and 4e a little more

    1. Man, we are playing. There isn't anything in that that isn't, you know, already being done.

  10. The cover that catches my eye is one that can clearly communicate the essence of the game with few elements as possible.

  11. As someone just outside the purview of whippersnappery, I can confirm that they're fairly evocative-- the DMG perhaps more so than the PHB and MM. I dig the resemblance of the Starter Set to the Red Box-- just take off the fighter's shirt and put him in a viking hat and you're practically there.

  12. Okay, I wanted to follow up on this after Escapist Magazine had an interview with the art and creative directors over the covers and new art. They said they wanted the covers to ...

    "..tell a grand story and had to be relatable to the viewer. A player needed to be able to place himself into what we were showing them and WANT to be there and experience it. The art needed enough mundane elements for a player to feel grounded, yet enough of the fantastical to make it enticing."

    Tell a relatable story that entices players to experience it? I can't tell what's going on in these covers. The adventurers seem such a minor part of the covers that I barely noticed them. You cannot even see the face of the adventurers in the Player's Handbook and Starter Set!

  13. Very bad covers on nearly all of his early works were a sore bane to my own favorite author, Jack Vance. They were often quite lurid, or worse rather trite. In translating him to Esperanto (with permission) I search high and low for volunteer artists to do him justice. The whole project is all-volunteer, so please don't anyone go off on a tangent for that. Happily there are two so far who have contributed their skills for free.

    But I note with particular emphasis your specific this: hordes of "14 year old" children. I cannot recall who originated the quote, but I have in a few places read, that "the golden age of science fiction is fourteen".


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