Most of the images I’ve posted to Illo-a-Week so far have been pencil drawings. No doubt, that’s my favorite traditional medium to work in, and the one I feel (or felt, back when I was doing this sort of stuff) most comfortable with. It was also a style that suited the Millennium’s End game environment well, conveying the sense of realism the genre demanded. But sometimes a project required something different.

 

From the BlackEagle Operatives Kit

 

This is a piece from the BlackEagle Operatives Kit; specifically, from the main component of that kit, the Tactics and Investigations Handbook for Operatives. (It was later reprinted in the Operatives Kit v2.0, and expanded version of that item.) This book was laid out as though it were the real thing: Nothing but in-game content, written as though for the characters, not the players. (Only the front matter broke this conceit; it was printed in a light blue color on the inside front cover to minimize the breaking of the fourth wall.) Although this made the product very crunch-lite, players seemed to really like it, and it keeps the book mostly relevant for nearly any modern-genre RPG, to this day.

Its tone was very much that of a training manual (though hopefully written in a manner still enjoyable to players; its sales bore that out), and that’s what was required of the illustrations. They mimicked the look of what you might see in an 80s-era Army training manual. Most were simple line-art diagrams demonstrating tactics or investigative/fieldcraft techniques explained in the text. Many were quite bare-bones, by design; this was one of the most “colorful,” if you will. As you might gather, it illustrates technique for a small group maneuvering though an urban combat zone–moving along a wall, maintaining fields of observation, avoiding danger points, and so on.

Compared to their pencil equivalents in other works, these illos were easy to put together, and I think the served their purpose well. But the pencil work, to my mind, simply looks better.

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