One of the things in 3E that hit me out of left field was the dungeonpunk art. Understand that I'm officially over bitching about dungeonpunk. I'd even be willing to admit that some of the things done under its aegis have been wicked cool. Case in point: the warforged. But I'm still left asking myself some questions about dungeonpunk. Who came up with the idea? Why was this design ethic selected over, say, an anime look or the traditional Elmore/Easley/etc. "photo-fantasy" art approach? Here's one possible clue I came across recently:
To me that looks kinda proto-dungeonpunk. And on the cover of a Monte Cook work, no less. While I am not ready to point a finger at Cook and shout "J'accuse!", I am intrigued by this find. Dark Space dates back to 1990 or so. These days I tend to think of the early nineties as the Time of the Vampire, but the World of Darkness was not the only thing going back then. Another big factor in the world of RPGs was the re-convergence of sci-fi and fantasy. In talking about things like Rifts, Shadowrun, and Dark Conspiracies. This grim-n-gritty science-fantasy trend is where dungeonpunk might have its beginnings. Think about it this way: Before D&D 3E where else could you get away with a leather jacket, a faux Maori tatto, and a sword?