Tuesday, 20 September 2016

If Romantic-Era Artists Ran D&D Campaigns (AKA 'a thin excuse for an image dump')

Giovanni Piranesi (1720-1778): Loves megadungeons. Claims to have run a 'wilderness hexcrawl' once, but this actually just turned out to be a vast network of interconnected dungeons several dozen miles across. His floorplans give the party mapper a headache, but pushing monsters off catwalks never gets old.

Image result for piranesi

Image result for piranesi

Image result for piranesi

Hubert Robert (1733-1808): Took the notes from one of Piranesi's unfinished campaigns and ran with them, eventually developing them into his own distinctive 'ruinworld' setting. His games are much more mellow than Piranesi's, whose version of D&D always seem to devolve into paranoiac nightmare fuel after a couple of sessions.


Image result for hubert robert ruins

Image result for hubert robert ruins

Image result for hubert robert ruins


Heinrich Fuseli (1741-1825): Runs weird, creepy horror campaigns. Uses the 'Insanity Points' system from WHFRP and gives them out like candy. No-one ever has any idea what's going on in his games (partly because their PCs are usually insane), but it always seems to be extremely ominous.

Image result for fuseli huon

Image result for fuseli huon

Image result for fuseli nightmare

Francisco De Goya (1746-1828): Runs super-disturbing, ultra-violent horror games. Widely agreed to 'have issues'. Keeps 'accidentally' traumatising his players. Most of his games end in TPKs.

Image result for goya

Image result for goya black paintings

Image result for goya disasters of war

Image result for goya disasters of war


William Blake (1757-1827): The games he runs are super-weird. Once ran seven sessions set in a world inside the heart of a possibly-imaginary guy that the PCs met after Satan invaded their back garden. His players are very, very confused, but the freaky monsters make up for a lot.

Image result for william blake monsters

Image result for william blake monsters

Image result for william blake monsters

Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840): Loves wilderness adventures. Claims that all the weird and creepy stuff in his games is 'symbolic'. Won't tell anyone what it's supposed to be symbolic of.

Image result for caspar david friedrich french soldier


Image result for caspar friedrich

Image result for caspar friedrich french soldier


John Martin (1789-1854): Runs non-stop action scenes. Everything is always BIG and EPIC and IN YOUR FACE. His players joke that any time they arrive in a city, it will inevitably be destroyed by invasion, disaster, or the literal wrath of god before the session's end.

Image result for john martin

Image result for john martin babylon
This one is his Fall of Babylon, which really has to be seen full-sized to be believed. (Those tiny white blobs near the middle? Those are war elephants.) You can see a big version here.

(Reserved for a possible sequel: Joseph Gandy, Samuel Palmer, Eugène Delacroix, John Flaxman, JMW Turner, Benjamin West.)

27 comments:

  1. Hogarth only does city books. One of those writers where everyone has a funny name and neatly fits one stereotype or another.

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    1. 'The Rake's Progress' is like watching someone roll their way through a lifepath character generation system while suffering from really, really bad luck. They start off with a promising young aristocrat, and eight dice-rolls later they're stuck with a naked penniless lunatic, instead...

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  2. Epic post! How about Thomas Cole? The Titan's Goblet is just begging to be an adventure setting.

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    1. Hey, good suggestion! I don't know much of the American art of the period, so thanks for the tip!

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    2. I couldn't resisting making one for Cole:

      Thomas Cole, DM

      It focuses on his European landscapes & more fantastical works.

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  3. If Goya was my buddy, I would not let him DM. He can keep playing his multiclass bard/fighter half elf, sure, but he does not get to call the shots.

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    1. I think that would be an extremely sensible decision. Otherwise things would probably get really creepy really fast.

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  4. Very clever and a great bunch of artists. Can we see surrealists next?

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    1. Hm! Max Ernst's 'Une semaine de bonté' is actually a big influence on how I imagine the Wicked City, spiritually if not visually.

      Maybe I should just stomp forwards through history, one artistic movement at a time...

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  5. Replies
    1. Thanks! And thanks for commenting, and thus giving me a chance to discover your blog. With the volume of OSR material out there, the more judicious reviewers we have, the better!

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  6. Géricault runs really grim WFRP-style campaigns where every NPC is dark and brooding if they're not horrible. If you buy or even see a horse he stops the game for 2 minutes to roll all its traits and characteristics up on a table of his own devising.

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  7. I like that Friedrich but Martin FTW.

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    1. I KNOW RIGHT

      Fun fact: the Brontë siblings decorated their living room at Haworth Parsonage with John Martin prints. So if you've ever wondered what Emily was looking at while writing 'Wuthering Heights', well, now you know!

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  8. Blake told me in a rare vulnerable moment that he believed HE was the Heart of Satan, and we were all inside HIM...

    Still got some kick-ass loot, though: A grain of sand that let you see AN ENTIRE WORLD!

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    1. That flower that lets you look into heaven is a total trap item, though.

      HEAVEN LOOKS BACK.

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  9. Replies
    1. Thanks! And I like the Callot post you wrote on your blog in response. I think I've seen all those images at one point or another, but never realised that they were all by the same artist...

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  10. You should check "L'ange du bizarre. Le romantisme noir de Goya à Max Ernst", an exhibition that happened in 2013 at Orsay museum in Paris, lots of good stuff here

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    1. Wow. There's an exhibition I'd like to have seen. I'll have to see if I can get hold of the catalogue!

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  11. I really love this post (and the sequel). It's a really fun thought experiment.

    However, I think one of the pics here is misattributed. Isn't the first pic for Friedrich actually Johan Christian Dahl's View of Dresen By Moonlight? It mean it IS similar to some of Friedrich's paintings, but I'm pretty sure it's Dahl's.

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    1. Ack! You're quite right! (This is where incautious use of Google Image Search will get you, kids.) I've swapped it with Friedrich's 'Chasseur im Walde', instead.

      On the plus side, this has introduced me to the works of Johan Christian Dahl...

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  12. Hi! This text is awesome! Would you allow me to translate it to portuguese? (with all due credits, of course!)

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  13. By way of approaching things from the critical end of the artistic world, I put together this....http://worldbuildingandwoolgathering.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/john-ruskin-rolls-up-character.html

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