Location: Dragon Warriors Wiki (Roleplaying) News
Item: Blood, fire and iron
Blood, fire and iron
Nov 5 2011, 4:01 AM EDT (view original item)
Alan Craddock is nowadays probably best known for his amazing coloring work on the Doctor Who comic, but back in the dim and distant he was famous among fantasy gamers as one of White Dwarf's top cover artists. Buxom girls in mithril thongs grappled with sweaty demons, and adolescent lads reached into their pockets every month for - no, titter ye not; for 85p, I was going to say.
Alan was Oliver's and my first and only choice to paint the covers of the Dragon Warriors paperbacks. As our customers for that series spread a little younger than the WD readership, the art director probably requested fewer girls and more clothing. The only buttocks on show, in fact, belonged to a Trojan-style warrior fighting a centaur on the cover of book 6.
Here is Alan's first pencil rough of the painting for book 1. It's on tracing paper and I can pretty much guarantee it has never been published before as I only just came across it while turning out my attic. Or cleaning the Augean stables; one of the two. You can see the Thor-style helmet there which later evolved into full-blown Asgardian costume including the upswept shoulders of the cloak.
Jon Hodgson famously revisited this idealized view to show what the real adventurers of Legend look like - hard, gritty and pragmatic. They can be heroes, but in Legend honor has to be alloyed with politics and compromise. It's not all wingèd helms and divine rewards for honest dealing. If you release the Grey Host from their oath, for example, don't expect the story to bend around and pat you on the head - not in Legend. You might simply find you've thrown away a vital weapon. It's not a fairytale world of neat moral payoffs, you see - which is the reason I still prefer it as a role-playing setting, actually, because what are courage and honor worth if you expect them to come with a lollypop?