Sunday, 29 August 2010

My John Blanche Swords and Wizardry White Box

One of the neat things about much of the OSR being PDF-based is the way that people have taken the their PDFs and made their own physical books from them - changing the layout to booklet format, boxing them up that sort of thing.

My PDF of the S&W "White Box" version is the older download with the Pete Mullen cover of the giants ambushing the party in a snowy landscape. Now I have to say I love this piece of artwork, but it always struck me as more of a The Hobbit illo than a D&D rulebook one and so it never really inspires me like his work on S&W Core Rules does.

Still, with PDFs and print-outs this is a easily resolved situation. Find something that does inspire and replace. I had a furtle through my folder of random RPG pics and found out a copy of John Blanche's work for the McDeath Warhammer supplement back from the days when we loved the Workshop. Five minutes work to copy the logos from the PDF, invert the colours and turn them into transparent layers and we get...

(This is a much smaller version of the original which is a 2MB .png file, hence not posted here. Shout if you want it.)

That's an awesome Britart image from the Master of Blanchitsu himself.

As for my actual physical copy I have traditionally bound my PDFs in ringbinders with clear sheet pockets, putting two pages back to back in one wallet. The trouble is that now I have several of these they don't store very well being an awkward sort of wedge-shape and can't be stacked easily in the games wardrobe.

I've accordingly gone over to plastic folders with 20 or 40 clear sheet pockets in as these stack flat and fit on bookcases better when stored upright. This is the White Box I put together using the new cover and a 40 pocket folder.

Transparent plastic is a difficult thing to photograph but here you can see the first wallet with the colour print-out of the Blanche cover in it and the thick frosted plastic front page open to the left.

As you can see the folder stays open at a double-spread with no difficulties.

I prefer to bind the rulebook like this as it means individual pages can be removed and replaced for tweaks, changes and replacing any damaged ones - something that can't be done with a properly-bound or stapled book.

For the record, replacing the front cover of a D&D rulebook with a John Blanche illustration has a respected history - it was done back in 1977 for the GW UK-exclusive printing of the Holmes Set.


  1. Just my two cents, but I think you're cover is much better than the proposed 'new' one. Nice work.

  2. Oh that's beautiful, and such a very good idea.

  3. Top job! Mullen does some great work, but the McDeath cover definitely scores old-school cool points.

  4. I love customized rulebooks!

  5. You don't happen to still have the larger size cover PNG, do you?

  6. Yes I do. Drop me an email at o_cooperATyahooDOTcom and I'll pass it onto you.