Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Thousand Words

Thunderspire Labyrinth comes with a chunky handful of art to jump-start your imagination and bathe players in raw atmosphere. Pictured above is the Chamber of Eyes Narthex, the first area of that mini-dungeon.

Module-specific art is a fantastic resource. Wizards' access to the world's best fantasy artists is one of its greatest advantages over the competition, and it's always a pleasure to wallow in the sumptuous graphics that come as part-and-parcel of Dungeons & Dragons.

It's a little unfortunate, though, that the art in Thunderspire doesn't always match the module. Take the picture above. It represents the following descriptive text:
Two fearsome looking statues squat on either side of a stairway leading up to double doors. Inscribed upon the doors is an image of a great eye with multiple eye stalks, as well as a symbol of a circle with a crossbar rising out of it.
Well, the statues are there, and so are the stairs (sort of). We've got an eye, but where are the eye stalks? And the circle-crossbar motif (the symbol of Torog) is nowhere to be seen. Much like with the map of the Labyrinth, it seems the artist wasn't working from the final text of the module.

The image is also a little disappointing in that it doesn't depict the most important feature of the room. A balcony runs along the room's northern edge, terminating at a second-storey door that opens into the hobgoblins' lair. It's a deliberately-placed opportunity for players to try an approach other than just bludgeoning their way through the front door. It's sad, then, that the front door is the sole emphasis of this picture.

Luckily, the remainder of the art is pretty solid, and with the un-troubling exception of a picture of the Horned Hold that doesn't quite seem to match the battlemaps, players and DMs can look forward to a selection of great images to enhance their Thunderspire experience.

1 comment:

Maelora said...

Yep, I think having art to show to the players is one of the few 'old school' things 4E gets right. I'm not a great fan of the art in 4E, as I find it too 'cartoony' for the most part (some shocking examples in the PHB) but most of the art in Thunderspire is decent.

The art not quite matching up with the module happens quite a bit, though. In 'Trollhaunt', the troll chief wears a magic gem that is clearly drawn and described as a yellow, catlike false eye... And yet one of the artworks shows it as a being a big ruby-like jewel. This happens a few times over the series. Still, better we get incorrect art than none at all, I suppose. Players just love this stuff.