WOTC Publishes “New” Endless Quest Books and I’m Disappointed

Wizards of the Coast is publishing new Endless Quest books. But if the cover artwork is any indication, they may be just as uninspiring, sterile and boring as everything else they have published in the past few years.

I absolutely LOVED the originals. I would read them over and over and just adore the cover art as a kid. But I’m totally disappointed by the horribly lame art on these new ones. It’s the recycled trash art that WOTC is putting on all it’s licensed material. The originals had some of the best TSR art of the day. I know that “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover” but I have absolutely no interest in buying these whatsoever. Allow me to go into some more detail.

Of course, these books have not been released yet. So we only have the covers to go on. But it was the covers of the originals that were simply iconic.

First, lets see the new line up:

4 books. Backgrounds are simply the basic colors of yellow, red, blue, and green along with a single character. If you’ve followed D&D 5e and the licensed products, you’ve seen all these characters before many times. None of them have a name (as far as I know) and are some of the worst art in the entire lineup. Don’t believe me?

Here are the originals from the PHB:

Actually, in the original form, I actually like one of these. I always liked this version of the halfling (not the retarded one on page 26 in the Halfling section). But it starts to get old when you see it over and over; look at the 404 page for DND Beyond. It was cute the first time I saw it because this halfling chick is cute and this is a good piece of art that makes you fill in a story in your head (I firmly believe she’s distracting the bartender to get his purse!).

Now, lets look at other licensed products. First, D&D Dice Masters Battle for Faerûn

Yep. Right there on the box, you already see the Dwarven Cleric. Here is one of their banners:

Do you think they use any of this art on the cards? Yep, at least I could find 3 out of the 4 (not a lot online since it’s a crappy game; I’ll have to check my cards to see if I have the elven wizard girl)

How about the Dungeonology Coloring Book? I thought some of these might be there, but I reviewed my video and didn’t see any. I’ll have to re-check the Dungeonology book itself when I get off work. I don’t see them in Rock Paper Wizard either; so at least there’s a limit to reusing the same art. I’ll also have to go back through the Dragon+ issues.

Now, art is subjective. I know that. But I believe “a picture says a thousand words” and I believe that showing some of the original Endless Quest book covers will speak volumes more than this amateur story teller could ever tell:

   
   
   
   

Now, those are some badass book covers! They just make you want to open it up and start reading. There are ~50 books originally published in this series.

I have to be a little fair, some of this TSR art was recycled as well. Here is the  the artwork from Knight of Illusion also seen in Pool of Radiance. But, I’m sorry, this is such an awesome piece that I simply give it a pass.

   
 

For further comparison, now look at the original art from Larry Elmore on a few of these, and compare to the original art used for the “new ones”. I’m no art scholar (again, all subjective…), but THIS is REAL fantasy art!

   
 

These were excellent examples of fantasy art and had a “pulpy” feel (though I didn’t know at the time what pulp was!). But there is so much more to say beyond just the general aesthetics of these pieces and the unnecessary recycling. There is also a whole virtue signaling component as well. But others are much better at explaining these things than I am. After awhile it becomes more and more obvious to me. I think it’s been 5 years now since D&D 5e release; at first I was a little wowed with 5e and I just gave the boring artwork a pass, but now it is hitting me across the head like a two handed Warhammer.

Disclaimer: Of course, all art used here is for demonstration and reporting purposes and entirely belongs to Wizards of the Coast and/or their respective artists (such as Larry Elmore who is a God amongst fantasy artists and the nicest guy you could meet in the GenCon artist gallery).

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3 thoughts on “WOTC Publishes “New” Endless Quest Books and I’m Disappointed”

  1. Ah, yes, damn those sjw cucks for virtue signalling all over… bad generic modern fantasy art? I don’t like a lot of it, I prefer older-school stuff* and can’t stand the WotC 3e-4e-5e/Paizo art styles, but… what the hell is “virtue signalling” about this? Are you that terrified that… you can’t even express what you’re worried about? You mention “the whole virtue signalling component,” you complain about the rubbish covers, but you don’t actually complain about anything except the cover. Are you just saying “virtue signalling” as a form of signalling that you’re politically correct and woke to the importance of keeping the tumblrs away from your hobby?

    You’re not actually stating anything other than “this cover sucks.” You’re just saying “also there is virtue signalling” and handwaving over at rpgpundit as if he’s got an essay explaining why New Endless Quest is terrible. Has he? What is your point?

    although not elmore, he just screams American-publisher extruded fantasy product trilogy trash to me, compared to proper moldvay stuff and a lot of the older British art. Some of the endless quest covers are p. decent though.

    1. Thanks for commenting, you make good points. I’ll explain further:

      Example: There is a tradition in fantasy art to show heroic men doing heroic things and often rescuing stereotypical damsels in distress. Many people (including myself) are stricken by the beauty and thought provoking imagination that this form of art engenders. Of course, that’s a subjective thing. However… This is completely replaced in the 4e and 5e art (as well as MtG art) with an overriding focus on being “inclusive”, to not be “offensive”, and to avoid any risk of being called misogynistic. This is what I mean by WoTC’s virtue signaling in their current art. It is a form of censorship and the consequence is (in my opinion) rubbish art choices that are just plain boring. It’s disappointing to me who grew up with seeing all the great D&D art prior to this!

      BTW, this problem of feeling that I am not great at explaining certain ideas in my head is EXACTLY the reason I have a blog. To force me to practice putting those things into writing…

      The link is to a video that further explains how these behaviors have led to a decline in quality within this genre as a whole (expanding to the RPG hobby as a whole which is obviously tied to fantasy art and books). And that this isn’t new; goes back to when the religious right were culprit in censorship back in the 80s. Now it is the regressive left. In my opinion, this isn’t so much a political problem as a control problem (which I believe is his point as well). And, yes, pundit is MUCH more eloquent at explaining these things than I am; that’s why I referred to it, and applies to the problem overall, of which this is just another example of it. I could have pointed to many videos complaining of this; that was just the last one I’ve watched and thought it was interesting to share.

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