TORG: When Axioms Collide, 1992
Though the majority of my illustration work for West End Games was in their Star Wars RPG line, they occasionally threw other assignments my way. This was one of them.
TORG was another game series in their stable, a genre mashup played in a “cinematic” style that took place on an Earth beset by inter-dimensional invaders. A player’s character could come from just about any time and place and was categorized as a “storm knight.” The game was founded in 1990 and was popular enough to keep going through 2010 when West End closed down. Another company picked it up in 2018 and I presume it’s still around today. (Read much more about it here and here. See a publication index here.)
All of that was unknown to me right up until I looked it up for this article. I wasn’t a gamer, so all that mattered was that West End wanted to pay me to draw some more funny little pictures. Not a tough call.
This was during a stretch of time when I was earning my inking chops on the comic book side and getting a firm grip on brush techniques. A brush is an organic drawing tool (whereas a pen is mechanical), and mastering it expanded my ability to more effectively render organic objects. You know, like people and plants and animals and such. That paired well with a TORG game, which had a much more organic feel than the machine-heavy SF I was accustomed to.
They gave me a list of illustrations to capture and a general idea for four “sample characters” to feature in them. Before I knew it, I was drawing zombies and swashbucklers and haunted houses for the first time and actually doing pretty well at it. My figure drawing had come a long way and I suddenly found skills that I’d never used before. It’s kinda nice when you can feel the gap closing between what you aspire to do and what you can actually accomplish.
The cover painting has nothing to do with the game. No idea why they went with that.