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Savant and Sorcerer Cover Art Discussion

Shataina's review didn't even touch on my biggest quarrel with this book, which is the cover illustration. I've had to paper over it in order to feel comfortable reading SaS in public. Silliest lingerie this side of an ecchi manga. And what the hell are those wristlets with the big iron balls dangling from them? Not to mention that the poor girl seems to have contracted a bad case of WanderingNippleSyndrome at some point; the damn thing's nearly in her armpit. --MF

Dude, they're manacles - this girl clearly (to me, at least) Exalted as a slave concubine and then decided to wreak some Death of Obsidian Butterflies on, well, on someone. My only issue is with the perspective - I would have preferred it elsewhere, somewhere in the region of "not focused on the woman's vagina" --notsoangrydave, who generally likes seeing sexy art for Exalted

Well, the perspective is the reason why it is called the Minge manuel! So, Does anyone know what else Hyung-Tae Kim (the guy who did the cover art) has illustrated for? -FrozenHermit
Whatever. I thought the cover was rather uglier than sin (God knows I'd never be caught dead in that thing she's wearing), but hey, I've never seen art for "Exalted" that I thought was that good (with one or two notable exceptions). And yeah, sure, it is kind of blatantly sex-fanservice-ish, but frankly I thought "Abyssals" was worse in that regard anyway. And like ... the cover is so unimportant. You can cover it easily, it has nothing to do with any of the content, etc. I'm much more bothered by, for example, the incredibly gratuitous sex scenes Richard K. Morgan writes into his otherwise-fantastic novels, because those can't be as easily ignored or cut out. I guess it does reflect a side to our good wholesome hobby of female characters being reduced to gratuitous sex objects, but what else is new?
~ Shataina
To be honest, I liked the cover art for Abyssals. (Hey, I dig goth Amazons, what can I say?) But it wasn't as silly as the SaS cover art. Also, the artist was more competent. As for Mr. Morgan, from context I assume he wrote one or more of the Exalted novels, but I can't comment on his sex scenes, because I don't read gaming novels. Well, not unless they're written by Greg Stolze. --MF
(side comment placed above others for neatness): Richard K. Morgan does not write gaming novels, which I don't read either. He's just a good example of an absolutely fantastic artist who puts gratuitous sex in his work that makes me wince. Sort of like the entire "Exalted" set, really. (Seriously, though, he's really awesome. Go read "Altered Carbon".)
~ Shataina
Reminds me of Masamune Shirow, who is a brilliant artist who's becoming dirtier and more fetishist with each new picture. Not that I mind pinups, but everything he does these days are pinups. I wish he'd keep it seperate. Resplendence
I'll second having liked the Abyssals cover art. The SaS cover, though ... that was too out there for my tastes. Abyssals was more subtle than that -- Wandering-Nipple-Lass just looks too overt, and yes too childish, for me to be willing to deal with. Abyssals didn't get funny looks at work; SaS sure as the hells did.
(There's been some sex-object male art in Exalted; one piece that somes to mind is of a young slave in Manacle and Coin.)
More importantly, imo, is that the cover for the book, any book, is important. Given the negative reactions to SaS, I think one could make the argument that covers like these would certainly have a negative impact when seen on store shelves -- especially when / if seen by a prospective new player or Storyteller who would be displeased by them. In this regard, Abyssals is also a similiar if perhaps lesser example. -- Taichara
Although I can't help but ponder whether in the case of the Abyssal book, a faintly titillating cover is a deliberate safeguard; for anyone sufficiently prudish to overlook it on those terms, actually reading the book in question would be somewhere between 'enraging' and traumatic'. Although S&S's cover struck me as frankly quite silly, manga and anime (which, let's face it, are the key inspiration for the game style and setting) are hardly renowned for their realistic portrayal of anatomy, so I'm willing to let a few things slide...DeathBySurfeit, who will continue purchasing Exalted books regardless of how much softcore pornography makes the cover
You prefer a symbolic sheating of a daiklave instead of gratitious sex scenes, eh? :P Resplendence

I didn't react to the Abyssal book at all as much as to S&S, which is just tasteless exploitation. Abyssals, although just a step removed from being silly, is fitting with Exalted themes. If you can stylize and exaggerate the hell out of any concept for drama or coolness, why not female physique? A goth warrior babe in a skeletal bikini with breast levitation powers is OK with me. The problem with Abyssals is the lack of variation among female signature characters, IMO. Hence my first Abyssal character drawing. Resplendence

You know? That's what turns me off about a lot of anime. It's silly, it's dull, and it's kind of demeaning when all of the female characters are so damn... bouncy. Take the character on the back of Alchemicals, the one using Transcendent Boustier-Enhancing Methodology. I thought that was a little gratuitious. Honestly though, it doesn't matter all that much to me. While I did tape construction paper over my S n' S cover, that was only so I could read it on the bus. -- OhJames is very, very sorry he has nothing important to add to the conversation
I dunno, the S&S was, I dunno, so bloody gratitious. Never did more than look through Abyssals(and didn't really look at the cover much)...I thought some of them were supposed to get uglier as they got older, or maybe that's only the male ones. ;) I got told Mr. Kim also did the cover for Cult of the Illuminated. Seems likely, but WW doesn't list author credits. -FlowsLikeBits, So, can we draw women from a normal perspective sometime?
Western animation isn't much better. Though, it seems more like it's equal opportunity, since He-Man ran around in a little fur speedo while She-Ra got her revealing outfight. Super Man's super bulge is just as apparent as Wonder Woman's wonder cleavage. I feel pretty damned in adequate that I can't match up to the male characters in Western animation. There's no way I could get shoulders so broad . . . and I'm fairly certain they have muscles that do not even exist on the human frame.
Males don't seem to get off much better in Exalted. They tend to be buff and toned and have had plenty of manscaping. The ones that get pictures, at any rate, and the only exception I can think of is signature Wood Aspect nick-named the Slug. But look at the Orichalcum and Jade Alchemicals in the Caste section. Doesn't that scream 'I'm too sexy for shirt . . . so sexy it hurts'? And the Moonsilver guy? That see-through shirt thing and the stockings are hot, baby. The Jade one? I'm noticing his sly grin and a thumb pointing at his groin. I know what that means. Panther and Demetheus are prime examples of beefcake. There are ugly men and women in Exalted, though . . . neither get artwork committed to them. ~Andrew02

FrozenHermit... if you want more of Kim Hyung-Tae's art, check out www.hyung-taekim.org/ ~Iceberg

Thanks for the Iceberg. His other drawings aren't too bad, although I have to say 'WanderingNippleSyndrome' is still common in some of his women. - FrozenHermit

Of course, there are even ugly female signature characters - remember that Night Signature (Appearance 1)? And if I look at Abyssals, there are a lot of women I don't think of beeing sexy (except the cover, of course). However, I think that it is common in roleplaying to portray good-looking characters - I know a lot of people, whose characters have to have an appearance of at least 3, especially when the characters is the opposite sex of the player. Nevertheless, there was only one character I played that had an appearance below 2 and that was a Nosferatu Vampire. To SaS: I really like the art of Tae-Kim, I think it's great, but the SaS-Cover goes a little too far in the ecchi direction. If she only wore a skirt or throusers. - Jiba

I don't think Huyla's really good at showing off what Appearance 1 is . . . or maybe my standards are just too low for Exalted. ~Andrew02
It's just art. I happen to like a lot of the Exalted artwork for what it is, over the top and dramatic. It's pretty unrealisitic, and depiects characters of unrealisitic proportions but hey, I don't care. If I don't like the artist's depiction of a character, I describe the character to my players however I please. It's a resouce in the books like any other. And as WW's golden rule goes, if you don't like and don't want to use in your game, toss it. ~ImaginalDisc
So you're saying that I should cut the cover off my book, then? --MF
If you really hate it that much, then yes. But only if you hate it that much. Otherwise, just don't worry about it. You're being melodramatic. -Suzume
ImaginalDisc--We're talking about a game about the scions to the Gods. Who took their dap from the things that created them. Yes, it's going to be over the top. Check out Christy Chung, anything that Sonny Chiba, Gordon Lau, or Tsui Hark has ever done. It's all over the top. That's the point. When you mix up wuxia inspired gaming with chambara, Yakuza films, other anime and manga, what were folks looking for? Jeebus Frist--look at Lone Wolf and Cub for over the top. Look at Once Upon a Time in China. That's the genre. That's what it's about. Heck, look at Greek and Babylonian myth for that matter, and Aztec and Maya as well. You're talking about Mile High Figures of Derring Do, Creatures of Legend. Don't wimp out, and just say you like the pictures, just because they're pretty. They set the tone for the series of games, and they are supposed to be a little over the top.
That's their job. WW has long held a tradition of letting the art help set the tone for the game, when they got Tim Bradstreet to trace his way into their hearts, with the assistance of a few model friends. This isn't anything new for them, and it amazes me that folks could get hett up over a picture of a scantily clad gal, when the game is inspired by Ninja's Scroll... Jakk Bey
I'm with you on that, Jakk Bey. I left Exalted for a few years, during which S&S came out, and I stumbled upon Hyung Tae Kim's work for some video games. I fell in love, and I guess I got used to his hyper-exaggerated style. His costume designs are truly unique, and his ability to color is awe-inspiring. When I came back to the game, and saw the S&S cover, I was like, "Wow, nice, Mr. Hyung (or Mr. Tae or Mr. Kim, never can tell) got commissioned by White Wolf! I'll be durned!" and then proceeded into the book, oblivious of the naughtiness of the cover. Then I was doubly surprised to find such heated hatred for it online. I guess my biggest difference is I'm mildly embarrassed to bring my RPG books ANYWHERE in public, regardless of their covers. Cuz I mean, seriously, rolling dice is for NERDS. :) UncleChu

Y'know, I never noticed the aforementioned "Wandering Nipple Syndrome" until it was mentioned to me, though when I first got the book in the mail I was all "holy hell White Wolf sent me Exalted pr0n". But as an aside, seriously, take a closer look at the cover of the Abyssals book. More specifically, look at that poor girl's EAR. Or even the placement of her face on her skull. She's hot until you realize that she has a monkey head. ~ WeepingStar

Well, the Sidereals have had Citrine Poxes of Contagion style for a good few millenia now. Obviously they got very bored, and had a contest to see who could come up with the silliest disease. And we all know how THAT sort of thing ends.
-- Darloth
Either that or there's a "Grotesque Detachable Hover-Ear" charm somewhere in the Awareness trees and I just didn't notice it there. ~WeepingStar