Thursday, April 9, 2015

Lazy Blog Post - Erol Otus!

I can think of worse things to dedicate a blog post to than the Master of Green & Purple! Erol Otus, being the primary artist behind my first RPG ever, Moldvay's Basic set, literally imprinted on my mind for all time what D&D is "supposed to look like".

Otus never even dabbled in stereotypes - his fantasy creations are like something from the mind of a Derleth or a Lovecraft, fever dreams made real in lurid shades of green, purple, orange, and yellow. And yet each horned helm, oozing monster, and writhing-robed priestess felt so right, so completely at home for their milieu.

Here's hoping some dedicated fan puts together a scratch version of the new 5E basic rules with exclusively Otus art.


  1. The color shades on some of these pics are unusually vibrant, and a bit different than I remember.

    Speaking of artists, I have had a chance to read through most of WotRP, and think the B/X inspired simplicity, unique spells/ science, and of course the art are great. Especially, the back cover that looks like layers of water colors with ghost mountains in the back ground and rust-effects on the peaks in the mid ground. Inspired. The visuals from the effects on victims of the 1st level "Spider" psionics had me busting up. The pink gum was great, too. Still more to read.

    It's a good thing you have Tom of Denmark doing the artwork for you, and not Tom of Finland. As he has recently, Raggi, would probably sense an opportunity for yet more cynically Manufactured-Controversy-as-good-marketing-publicity, and begin posting links for buyers to go fill the coffers of whatever he perceived as a neo-fascist site.

    I notice there's 4 blank pages at the end of the book, any chance of using those pages for an Index, or table of contents, in future editions?

    There was an encounter example with a Great Albino Ape that got me wondering... could you write an article as to how lethal you stage encounters? That encounter had me thinking the PCs might expect to have at least one death or more. Since it was basically an ambush, I wondered if there were any rules of thumb you used to run an adventure, regarding balance of challenges and survivability? I think it'd make a great article(s) kind of like the Episodic Play with the examples of going across country to face Yetis in a cave. Or a monster hunt with a single strong adversary, requiring multiple attempts (possibly) to defeat it.


  2. I think its terrible that with so many companies paying homage to 'old school', especially in terms of art, that no company has put together a collection of Erol's art. A nice coffee table sized book is what we need and it should be done NOW while he's still alive as opposed to some memoriam edition after he dies.

  3. Every day is a good day to stop and appreciate the work of Erol Otus. I may not be a fancy man for art techniques or word smithery, but I know what I like, and I likes me some Otus I tell you what.

  4. I recognize some of these Otis pics, but not all of them. Can anybody fill in the gaps for me on the ones I can't place?

    1. Moldvay Basic Cover
    2. Dwellers of the Forbidden City
    3. Dungeon Crawl Classics Module?
    4. Keep on the Borderlands
    5. Tomb of Horrors (later version)
    6. Dungeon Crawl Classics Module?
    7. Vault of the Drow (later version?)
    8. bugbears in Vault of the Drow?
    9. Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth
    10. Moldvay/Cook/s Expert book
    11. Castle Amber
    12. unknown skull tentacle thing?
    13. unknown source.aboleth
    14. cloaker? unknown source
    15. Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan. (later version)
    16. no idea what it is, or from where.
    17. Palace of the Silver Princess
    18. Rhemorhaz that Rob Kuntz named and started up.
    19. Expedition to the Barrier Peaks
    20. Cthulhian horror from Dragon Magazine.

  5. Why can't someone create an OSR game based on Otis's visions. It could be epic.

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