I posted a while ago that I liked the concept art for the new D&D. Now the final product is finally delivered and we get the real thing. I can only say that it is probably what I like most of this new edition.
I’m a hard sci-fi fan, and I don’t think fantasy is equivalent to half-naked female elves, or swords longer than a glaive. There is a minimum of “reality” required to hook me into the story. I don’t need a full genetic study of elves, or a linguist to design every single language of every single species. I just don’t like illustrations to look too cartoonish.
Two good examples
Dwarves. Dwarf women were a joke among fantasy fans. I doubt anyone has ever played a female dwarf, and if someone has, the character probably had a beard.
This is a huge improvement over most of the fantasy illustrations I ever saw. I want to play one of those female dwarves, they are not just funny, they now look ready to be the center of epic adventures.
The same with general adventurers. Conan is Conan. Great character, great stories, totally recommended. But not every single warrior is a huge mass of muscles. And the slender types are not just elves.
Scimitars wielded by cultures not used to face heavily armored opponents. Compound bows built in dry climates, because they fell apart in humid regions. Cultural diversity in clothing.
A trend I support
The truth is Paizo is the company who I believe initiated this trend. Their Pathfinder roleplaying game and adventures did include different cultures, colors and complexions. Diversity to make our imaginations fly.
The only challenge I think they both have not properly addressed are non-human cultures. All dwarves belong to the same culture, as elves do. Let’s see the final Player Handbook, which we can buy this August.