Last week my wife and I walked you through some of the most godawful terrible covers in the history of RPG artwork. How could we possible top such horrendous abominations as the sad goth beholder and Space Infanmry? Oh don't worry. We saved the best (worst?) for last.
Let's get down to business. We'll start with the worst RPG of all time which not coincidentally also has one of the worst covers:
This next one requires a little context to understand why it's so bad:
Now it's time for more cock...
Next up, major props to Steve Jackson Games for putting out a book called "Scarlet Pimpernel:"
"We need something that says 'France' and 'Swashbuckling.'"
"Okay cool, let me call up an artist..."
"We're due to the printer in five minutes."
"Ah fuck it. No one's going to buy a game called 'Scarlet Pimpernel' anyway."
Speaking of terrible and lazy...
In all fairness most Palladium covers aren't bad (and a few are very good). It's usually the parts inside the cover that's the problem.
Okay, anyone familiar with bad RPG cover art knew the Avalanche OGL books were coming. Hold on your hats (and one of your lower appendages) because this is going to get rough...
Oh yeah, that captures the style and grandeur of ancient medieval China perfectly. Of course we can all agree the only problem with his cover is that she's holding a holding an obviously Japanese sword.
Let's see how they tackle fierce viking berserkers...
I'm not sure if historians agree on what sort of clothes and armour the Norsemen wore (though there are some who suggest that the vikings were very concerned about their appearance - recent archaeological finds include tweezers, nail clippers, ear cleaners and so on), but for some reason I question the protective qualities provided by electrical tape. Does it protect against the fierce cold of Scandinavian winter as well as it turns away the blades and arrows of your enemies? Could you even buy electrical tape in 1000 A.D.? Is that why they traveled to North America 500 years before Columbus? Were they looking for a Home Depot to pillage for supplies for their kinky sex costumes?
How about the Aztecs? All those bloody human sacrifice ceremonies should provide kick-ass, if gory material for a cover...
Or, you know. You could go another route and use Pocahontas' half-sister who was disowned for her questionable life style choices.
How about the Middle East?
On the plus side, I bet J.J. Abrams would cream all over that bitchin' lens flare.
Without question though, here is hands-down the worst Avalanche cover, and ergo one of the worst RPG covers of all time:
I know I only took an introductory archery course, but even I could tell you that's really not the way to hold a bow. And what is that sword on her back attached to? Is it pierced through her spine? Is that why she looks so pissed off? Or is she angry because she was attacked right in the middle of taking a dump?
Yeah, I don't know who was working in Avalanche's design department, but he must have had a big stack of dirty magazines and a lot of tracing paper...
Here's a great cover from a super-heroes game:
Unfortunately, HeroQuest is not a super-heroes game. I guess no one told that to Ram Man and Fire Girl up there.
This one really pisses me off:
Finally here it is, probably one of the worst RPG covers of all time:
I want to you look at that cover for a moment. I mean really look at it:
Figure 23a: Detail for your benefit.
Exalted is supposed to be a high fantasy RPG, but I could understand your confusion if you thought this was some sort of gynecological textbook. Now, this is not like TSR when they didn't know any better and were slapping naked chicks on its covers back in the day. This is not even a case of Avalanche using cheap porn art for its covers. White Wolf is an established, respected gaming company that really should have fucking known better than putting a snatch with a doily on it front and centre on their goddamn cover (not to mention those inhuman boobs above it). This is entirely an example of them using the most offensive art they could find in a desperate attempt to drum up interest around their book.
Please, White Wolf. Stick to vampires and werewolves. Make a True Blood licensed game or something.
What about you, oh loyal readers? What are your favourite terrible RPG covers? I'm sure we missed some goodies, and I'm also sure someone is itching to step forward to defend one of more of these monstrosities.
Come on, do it. I know you want to.