Friday, May 7, 2010

A New Look For 4E?

Is this the new look of Dungeons and Dragons 4E?

I was mentioning in several earlier posts that one of the features missing from later versions of D&D is a sense of humor. This seems like a rather humourless lot.

I'm also more used to a realistic art style. I'm curious whether this artwork is a harbinger of the direction that 4E "the game" is taking.

24 comments:

David J. West said...

I'm unimpressed with it. Give me Lockwood any day.

Cameron said...

They're going for the preteen "Teen Titans" crowd, or so I assume.

Roger the GS said...

Funny you should say "humorless." The art is by Penny Arcade webcomic artist Mike Krahulik. Tabletop D&D often features in the comic, although it's mostly about computer games, so I'd say this is an attempt to capitalize on that potential crossover.

Lord Gwydion said...

Although I've got limited experience with 4E, that style of "Clone Wars" American anime art seems to fit 4E to a T.

I'll stick to the Elmore art.


WV: decoin (verb describing the action performed by an arcade game machine)

Trey said...

Let me perhaps be the (slightly) dissenting voice here and say I like art like this in certain context.

It is not the art of my D&D (though even my D&D permits varying art-styles depending on the flavor of the campaign), but I see nothing wrong with the artwork instrinsicly and notihng wrong with it being the artwork of somebody's D&D.

abhorsen950 said...

I think they might be trying to attract new people through calmer art.

I prefer other stuff though.

Steve

Barking Alien said...

First product I've seen from 4E that looks interesting to me. Aside from liking the artwork, another thing that later editions lack over the originals is diversity.

All the art in a modern D&D product looks the same. That's boring. In the old days Jeff Dee had a very different look from Larry Elmore, who looked nothing like Bill Willingham, who looked nothing like Erol Otus.

At least this isn't the same old new thing.

Sean Robson said...

It looks like a Saturday morning cartoon, which is suggestive of the audience they are trying to attract.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

A smart move, it being by Mike Krahulik. Tapping into the penny arcade crowd is good cross-marketing on WOTC's part.

I'd love to see a new D&D cartoon, though if they were using the characters portrayed in this pic, it would likely be a rather somber series.

Give me the corny, slapstick version of the original series over something like Teen Titans with all the teen angst.

Telecanter said...

I don't care much what style the art is in if it would only tell a story. I'm pretty tired of fantasy art meant to show how badass and extreme the characters are by showing them posed.

You want to convince me they're badass, show them doing something badass.

Was it the latest Fight On! that showed a party deciding whether to go down a hole? That's my kind of fantasy art.

JB said...

Fu**...just adds more distance between 4E and the "original ADULT fantasy RPG" (RIP Holmes). As 4E attempts to market itself to newer (and younger) players, can we expect to see some sort of Spongebob characters gracing the cover?

Ugh.

The Lord of Excess said...

I agree Paladin ... its a good move on WOTCs part as was 4E in general. As people have said that is the work of Penny Arcade webcomic artist Mike Krahulik. I would have just made a quick comment about the art ... but since there is so much hate going on ... I might as well give my two cents. I think that the reaction (not from you Paladin your post was simply musing the question) is indicative of the "I hate all 4th Ed no matter what" knee jerk reaction that many old school gamers have. On that note I find almost without exception those people haven't even tried 4E and if they have it was a quick ... let me try this once so I can find things to make fun of/grip about ... type of games. On the artwork ... Penny arcade is HUGE its massively mainstream by comparison to any Indie/Old School Clone RPG ... those fans outnumber fans of Old School RPGs by hundreds of thousands to one. I know many hermits don't care about that ... but people who actually care about seeing many of these beautiful Old School Clone systems catch on might. I like both 4E and old school D&D in all their forms. I started as a wee lad on Red Box and that always holds a special place in my heart. There is room for both and I will continue to say 4E is good for even Old School fans because its bringing new players who have never played RPGs into pen and paper gaming. "Spongebob" and "Teen Titans" is far more appealing to younger people than stinky old trolls and difficult to access rulesets ... they will choose video games and other pursuits over that stuff 8 times out of 10 ... but if they are given a chance to see how cool pen and paper gaming can be more on their own terms ... well ... you might have a new life long fan. Eventually the smart ones will try cool indie RPGs and Old School games. Seeing people make negative comments about younger players makes me laugh but its also sad too ... I guess my response is go back to your basements with all your 50 year old friends I guess. I'm 35 and I damn enjoy RPGing with people my age but its fun to game with 22 year olds as well and I hope to be an old, old man 60 or 70 and still be gaming ... I hope pen and paper still exists then. A big thing that many 4E haters don't realize either is that 4E is an easier sell to mini gamers. I have been able to get mini gamers who scoff at RPGs to try out 4E ... its alot more intuitive to them than say 1st Ed would be. After they are hooked on RPGs ... they'll freely choose whatever version of the game the like. Anyway the hate is lame ... if your game is superior tell people about your game ... don't hate and make fun of games others enjoy you'll lose all credibility you have immediately.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

To be fair, i'm ALSO not fussy about the art on this guide, nor 4E generally. But it is a good move, on WOTC's part, from a marketing perspective.

I would say most in the OSR are merely ambivalent to 4E. It's just not their D&D. I find most of the OSR bloggers are gainfully employed adults with wives and kids, who are rediscovering D&D again. That is certainly my profile.

Having said all that, this is the internet ... a place where every minor annoyance is re-framed as an affront of epic proportions.

Sean Robson said...

Telecanter said...

I don't care much what style the art is in if it would only tell a story. I'm pretty tired of fantasy art meant to show how badass and extreme the characters are by showing them posed.

I'm with you. I'm weary of static "poses of awesomeness." I miss the cover of the AD&D Player's Handbook - there was so much going on in that picture; it told a story and explained in a glance what AD&D was all about.

Sean Robson said...

The Lord of Excess said...
don't hate and make fun of games others enjoy you'll lose all credibility you have immediately.

Ah, sweet irony. Lord, yours is the only post that is hateful and mocking, and name-calling is hardly constructive. But you are right about the credibility thing.

I think I'll retire to my basement now, old hermit that I am.

The Lord of Excess said...

Your point was constructive? "It looks like a Saturday morning cartoon, which is suggestive of the audience they are trying to attract." Perhaps rebuild your home in another material than glass. Its clear that you intended that in a mocking way ... your attempt at irony perhaps ... or perhaps a demonstration of your disdain for younger gamers. You can call it ironic Sean ... but there is no hate what so ever in my post. If you choose to see that fine, clearly you will never have a positive thing to say about people who aren't like you or don't like the same things you like. My point is pen and paper fans regardless of whether they are "old school" or new school have more in common than not. In general most mainstream society would scoff at all of us for the hobbies we love and that's been the case since old school D&D was first released. Its sad to me that gamers ... who normally are very accepting and open people. Get into these really senseless version wars ... its like politics or religion or something. I'm starting to realize though there is little point talking to most self proclaimed "old school" gamers ... they view themselves as perpetually superior ... you demonstrate that. I did less name calling and mocking than you did yet that's what you point to. You've reviewed my post as you apparently have reviewed 4E. You found what you wanted, used it to frame your biased argument and then moved on. Clearly I like 4E so you dislike me and feel superior. So anything I say is wrong and "ironic" which is your way I assume to feel smugly superior ... good for you dude ... way to take the high ground ... or not. Thanks for helping prove my point.

Tim Brannan said...

This is just a one-shot 4e book with some humor.

It is designed to help players with their characters.

At best it is useful role-playing guide, at worst a min-maxer book.

I have not seen of any other books in the upcoming 4e catalog that use the same art or style as this book.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

I had a quick look at the new essentials line, but as far as I can tell its not the same artist. Can't comment on the contents (at least not authoritatively).

Hey, i've had my hyperbolic moments, only to be accused of being the poster child for everything that's wrong with the OSR.

Jay said...

Could it be sort of an experiment? A one-off to see check it's appeal?

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Could be a bit of marketing spam

limpey said...

I know the kind of art I like and this isn't it --- but I don't think I'm the one they want to attract with it.

labsenpai said...

I wouldn't expect any game company with marketing gold to prowl through portfolios to find (unknown) new talent. Penny Arcade has become the "spongebob", as suggested, for a big audience...note their coastal conventions. Personally, I don't think any RPG publisher considers that comic a source for inspirational visuals...crude jokes maybe.

Aos said...

I like the art just fine. I also have no beef with 4e or those who play it. I've played it and enjoyed it, but I find combat too time consuming for my lifestyle. The hate is old and boring.

steelcaress said...

Ironically, as much as I like Penny Arcade, I don't care for the art style. It is fairly Teen Titans-ish, and I have a beef against that cartoon anyway for mangling what was a great comic in the 80s. But I digress...

Give me Elmore, Roslof, Russ, Otus, Dee and Willingham -- I'll take those any day over kiddie cartoon.

And I'm 40 and still game with all ages. :) The only requirement is that you "mesh" with our group. No hazing allowed.