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Endless Realms

The author says:

Endless Realms is a Pen & Paper RPG system built from the ground up. We built a system that was easily accessible to newbies, but had that deep complexity longtime gamers enjoy. Our world does not fall into typical fantasy, even though we are a high fantasy game. We created everything from the ground up, and that means our races, classes worlds are all built from scratch. We did away with all the typical fantasy tropes and did something new and different. In terms of lore, our universe is rich and diverse, and expands far beyond the traditional RPG tropes of the genre. It borrows from real-world science, as well as mythology and history from all across the globe.

Nathan says:

I think the cover has the right mix of D&D-style design with original elements to signal to a browser that this is an RPG book.  My only beefs are with the type.

As you can see in the thumbnail, even the large words of the title get lost, because the partial band behind them aren’t enough to separate them from the background.  I would try putting them title in a white font with a dark border, not unlike how you’ve got “Core Rulebook” now.  You might still want the light band as a design element, but at least it won’t be the only thing separating the title from the background.

Apart from that, you’ve got three distinct ornate fonts — that’s at least one too many.  My rule of thumb is “the smaller the type, the simpler the font”; I’d put “Roleplaying Game” in something readable like a Garamond or Roman-influenced font.  “Core Rulebook” is also too pretty for its own readability.

Other comments?


  1. Also on the ‘Core Rulebook’ font, I swear I’ve seen that font on an RPG book cover before. If you continue using it, double check that it is a public domain font or that you have an appropriate license. RPG books don’t have a lot of heavy hitters in the market, but Wizards of the Coast at least is a bit sue-happy. You don’t want to end up in a fight against a dragon.

  2. So, basically a dungeon-master’s guide, except this isn’t Dungeons & Dragons? Fair enough. There’s nothing wrong with the imagery so far as I can see; as our host says, the main trouble is the readability, and you’re using too many fonts.

    Since most of the imagery is amethyst lavender and sapphire blue with just a touch of ruby red, making the title the same colors provides no contrast, making it difficult to read even with that mother-of-pearl bar behind it. For best results, try making your agreeably ornate-yet-simple title topaz yellow with some emerald green highlights. The Core Rulebook sub-title you’d do best to put in the same font and colors, and the “Roleplaying Game” tag you can simply drop altogether; the imagery and cover ratio being typical for such guides and the sales sites sorting everything by genre anyway, no one should have any trouble figuring out what kind of book this is even before clicking on the thumbnail to go to your sales page.

    Really, with this kind of book, one cool font is enough; trying to do more than one when you’re only doing one kind of caption (all titles and no byline) is the artistic equivalent of bragging and showing off, and only tends to hint to the prospective user that the artist and/or writer have a somewhat overinflated ego. Using just one font, on the other hand, assures the reader you’re confident enough in the awesome quality of your art that you don’t need to hype it any more than it already hypes itself. Especially for a market so limited as traditional pen-and-paper RPGs, you need to appear confident rather than desperate about making the sale.

  3. The blurb and cover art don’t match. The blurb promises different and new. The art is nice but very typical. Nothing about this cover says different and unique. What about this game is different then the others like it? Can you show it on the cover or hint at it?

    also, what’s the pink/purply thing in the right lower corner? its coming across as a low resolution image to me, not a purposeful graphic

    1. The cover art does lend itself toward infinite spaces and other dimensions pretty well, though, which does mesh well with a title like ‘Endless Realms’. Might evoking greater scale than D&D be enough?

  4. Ditto on the choice of typefaces.

    The art is done well enough, but it lacks focus: there is really no center of attention. Every element is pretty much of equal value with the result that the eye simply drifts all over the cover. And in thumbnail form it is simply incomprehensible. The whole thing comes perilously close to falling into the kitchen sink school of cover art, in which the designer tries to include everything of importance into a single image and, worse, making them all of equal weight.

    I think you might want to consider redoing the art, zeroing in on just one element to be dominant—for example, a group of people facing a dragon—with everything else subordinate to that. The nebulae and whatnot, for instance, could all be relegated to the background.

    In any event, settle on just one major visual element.

  5. S Savoy nailed what I was going to say. If this were supposed to be a D&D clone, this cover would be perfect. But your blurb keeps emphasizing that this is a completely unique and different system with no fantasy tropes.

    So why do I see Eberron-ish fonts, a title that evokes Forgotten Realms, and art of a party of four fantasy-looking people facing a dragon creature? As an RPG player, everything about this cover says “familiar and same,” not “new and different.”

    If your selling point is new and different, show us that. Show us one of your unique new races fighting a unique new monster in a unique new setting.

    (Another note: Both the cover and your blurb suffer from being informed: You’re telling us how unique and exciting the system is, but the actual description is very generic. On the back cover, give us some bullet points explaining what, exactly, is so unique: “Innovative D12-based gameplay,” “design your own custom classes,” “fight demon space kittens on a floating jungle island,” whatever. Don’t just tell us “trust me, it’s really unique.”

  6. Alrighty! As an official not-player of RPGs, I’m likely the worst person here for critique, (of a cover meant to attract players of those games) but…as someone who is not biased, at all:

    1. I agree, 100%, with the contrast comment made by RK. There’s not a central focal point, unfortunately, so your eyes go to a) the gate/temple thing, or b) that white-electricity face thing. That’s not ideal. I agree that you should try to use color, perhaps, to emphasize the—is that a fuzzy Phoenix, maybe?–to be your central element. Look at RK’s post, for his color suggestions.
    2. AND, yes, the fonts. I would nuke the title font, and find something stronger, that could hold some color, to make it stand out. There are TONS of “fantasy” fonts, or “elvish” or whatever you want to convey, feeling-wise. This screams D&D to me, but that’s not my problem with it–it’s that it’s not got enough weight to really carry the color, and if you want so say “hey, we’re UNIQUE!,” then I think you should go for it with the titling, too. S. Savoy and katz both spoke to this.
    3. And picking up with S. Savoy and katz, yes, that’s kind of my issue, overall, with it–you’re saying it’s different, but you’re not showing us, which is a cardinal sin in writing and the same in cover design. As a potential RPGer, why should I choose your new game, over the tried and true? What’s different about it? Your cover colors look the same, your fonts look the same, and the guys here think it’s a dragon, there, on the cover (which looks like a Phoenix to me, BTW, kinda).

    So: what’s different? Seriously, not trying to be dickish here. I just want to see what you’re selling, I want you to sell what you’re selling, too. If you’ve put all that time, that effort, into making this truly unique–then SELL IT. Show me–don’t tell me.


  7. As one who actually has played a number of tabletop RPGs, this is – as mentioned – definitely too generic, and borrows too much directly from classic covers, with the band over the top and the fonts. It reads as a clone, not anything original. There are a lot of ‘Fantasy Roleplaying Games’ already, and actually there are a lot of niche ones too, from oriental settings to scifi to wild west with zombies or whatever, so you should really showcase why this game is special. Where is the science and history, for example, from the blurb? Or the unique classes?
    The picture is also OK, but not good, I am not truly very interested when looking at it – the people I might be playing are too small to make out, the monster is quite good, but the set is very familiar seeming – like similar has been in some 80’s album cover or fantasy book already.

    On purely visual front: think of the colour scheme, then stick to it. It is now just mostly purple, with few other cold colours sort of swirled in. Most existing covers make use of some sort of contrast, and a colour scheme to establish identity, like the red-green-black of Vampire the Masquerade. Many of the books use the dark, often blue or green cover picture with a golden yellow text, to make the title stand out (while this is probably getting overused now). Conspiracy X series has some lovely covers that are almost black and white: all in all, these colour schemes were very intentional, using colour and contrast to highlight some aspects of the cover.

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