What If Arthur Szyk Illustrated a RPG?

One thing I’ve long wanted to do is to produce different versions of a role playing game – we’ll say Blood & Treasure since that’s my game to play around with – keyed to different artists. The rules would stay largely the same, though it might be fun to introduce a couple optional rules to bring the game closer to a particular artist’s style – i.e. rules that make the Arthur Rackham version of a game slightly different than the Frank Frazetta version of a game.

If I did this with Blood & Treasure, for example, I would create a “basic” B&T – much shorter, simpler, and make the layout serve the art (and be in color!). I think it would be fun to have simple games to play in books that mainly exist to be beautiful. Imagine something about 30 to 40 pages long, with maybe several nice illustrations in color.

Anyhow – I got to thinking about this again because I was perusing the artwork of Arthur Szyk today. Imagine a game with illustrations like these …

Fighter

Cleric

Magic-User

Thief
(No, I don’t know why the thief would wear a chef’s hat … just work with me here)

This might be something worth doing after I finish the NOD 23, Tome of Monsters, Grit & Vigor and the revision of some older works. Of course, the books would have to work off of stock art by modern artists or works  in the public domain (so no Szyk or Frazetta, unfortunately) to make them financially feasible, but it still might be fun. Maybe the basic version of Blood & Treasure could be called Blood Simple (crap, I think I’m starting to really like this idea …)

Images found at the following sites:

Arthur Szyk, The Alphabet of Illustrators

Lehigh University Special Collections

Power of Babel: Arthur Szyk: The Canterbury Tales

5 thoughts on “What If Arthur Szyk Illustrated a RPG?

  1. This is an awesome idea! I hope it's not an April fools joke. I did much the same thing to teach my wife. Main 4 classes only. stripped out a ton of spells, etc. Added in art that she liked and created a little booklet of rules.

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  2. Thinking it through, I think a project like this would require about 20 illustrations, depending on what you could dig up: Scene Setter (something fantastic that could illustrate the requisite “how to play an rpg” bit), Races (maybe 1, maybe 3 if you're including the basics of elf, dwarf and halfling – this is one area where you might tailor the races to the artist), Classes (4, one for each basic class), Equipment (optional, or you could illustrate the alignment concept), Combat and Tasks (maybe one, maybe two), Dungeons and Wilderness, Magic Spells, Monsters (maybe one for each “category”, so perhaps 10 illustrations – again, depends on what the artist has produced), and Treasure (optional).

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  3. So, when will this be available for order…actually when will both be available as well as the Brothers Hildebrandt and maybe even the one with art by Zak from playing D&D with Porn Stars.

    What?

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  4. As an aside:

    Of course, the books would have to work off of stock art by modern artists or works in the public domain (so no Szyk or Frazetta, unfortunately) to make them financially feasible, but it still might be fun.

    Proof our copyright law has gone insane…Arthur Szyk has been dead 52 years. The copyright provision in the US Constitution reads:

    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

    50+ years after a person's death is not a limited time and, as can be seen from your idea, has gone from promoting creating to inhibiting creation that builds on prior works.

    /soapbox off

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