Ten Candles: Art Refresh

I've had a difficult time with Ten Candles Art.

When I was originally putting Ten Candles together, short of a couple icons, and some great cover art, I was sort of at a loss for interior artwork. The only thing I settled on was character art, because all roleplaying games have character art, right? I was a sad summer child, and didn't understand a lot of things back then, so I set to work hiring a photorealistic charcoal artist to do some character art for me, and I added a art-specific Kickstarter reward. Essentially, if you backed at $250 or above you'd appear in the game as artwork.

Now, my plan had also been for both myself and my wife to appear in the book - myself with a facemask to appear sort of gender-neutral, and my wife because she's awesome. Sadly, with the money we raised, I was only able to include the three $250+ supporters.

So, I encountered several problems here. The first was that all of these backers happened to be white CIS men. The second was that one of these individuals went on to publicly support political and personal beliefs that are against what I and by extension what Cavalry Games stands for. But then, even if they were all totally stand-up guys, the fact that they're all just white dudes is problematic.

Over the past two years I have become exponentially less of an idiot when it comes to certain things, and upon realizing the error inherent in this artwork apropos of nothing - no complaint or mention whatsoever - I proactively posted a public response and sincere apology for what I had setup as the artwork. You can read that here.

So, where do I go from here?

Character artwork is expensive, and the three images included in the first edition printing of Ten Candles cost $600 of the money raised in the campaign. However, I simply could not in any good conscious continue producing Ten Candles with non-inclusive artwork. So, I have a few options.

  1. Add additional character art to the game such that the majority of characters presented are diverse.  Or,
  2. Remove the artwork entirely, replacing it with something else.

My main issue with option #1 was cost. Even though I was getting a better overall cost value for my initial images (by continuing to use them), the additional character art would be incredibly costly, and I would be looking to bring in 4-5 new characters. Even if I wanted to do this, I simply didn't have the approximately $1000 for this investment.

So, replacing the art seems like the avenue to take. I'm out $600, but I can move forward with full pride in the artwork in the book. But of course, we still encounter the cost issue, because purchasing new art of SOME kind is absolutely critical to the game.

In the end, I've decided to do away with character art in Ten Candles. Even setting the price point aside for a second, Ten Candles has never really felt right with having character art. The game is intended as a toolbox for a huge number of possible games and stories. Seeing some standard post-apocalyptic folks makes no real sense if you're playing your session on a moon base, or during WW2, or as a pack of dogs. Instead, I've reached back out to one of my favorite artists, Scout Wilkinson, to have her design small icons and corner-art for the book instead.

Here are some examples:

I really love these images because they are more abstract and representative of the game as a whole, rather than an individual story. These images will be included in the full second print run of Ten Candles which I hope to have on hand for PAX East this year.