Monday, August 22, 2022

Another View of Orcus

While issues 44, 45, and 46 of White Dwarf offered up rules for demon summoning in RuneQuest, issue 20 of Dragon (November 1978) did the same for Dungeons & Dragons, with an article entitled "Demonology Made Easy: How to Deal with Orcus for Fun and Profit" by Gregory Rihn. The article is quite interesting in its own right, but what immediately stands out about it is the following illustration that accompanies it:

That's Orcus, the Demon Prince of Undead, as drawn by Dave Trampier. So far as I can recall, this is the first (and only?) time Trampier ever drew Orcus. The rendering doesn't completely match the demon prince's description in either Eldritch Wizardry or the Monster Manual – his ram's horns, for example, are absent – but I like it nonetheless. Along with Dave Sutherland, Tramp is one of the artists whose work defines D&D for me, so it's always a joy when I discover a new piece of his that I'd previously not seen.


  1. He looks like he was surprised at home by an unexpected caller.

  2. J. Random Nalfeshnee thinks he's hot stuff for filching the Decoy Wand of Orcus

  3. Maybe this was left over from the Monster Manual, and the editors ultimately went with Sutherland's version? Always wondered about the production on that legendary book, and whether the illustrators were assigned specific monsters, or if it was all a fast and loose competitive affair.

    Oh, and the recent revelation that Tramp's DM Screen was originally intended to be a pinball backglass still blows my mind...

  4. My favorite Orcus is Todd Lockwood's, which first appeared in Dragon #42 (October 1980):


  5. Tom Gordon do you have any more info about the pinball machine?

    1. Yes, there's a few fascinating letters from Trampier himself written in 1985, where he goes into that subject (along with many others, such as the Wormy anthology roduction, his choice of artist's tools, etc.) over on this thread here: