From: Michael O'Brien (MOB)
Date: Thu 21 Nov 1991 - 09:56:33 EET

As you would know if you've read of my previous "How to Get Your manuscript Published By Avalon Hill" articles, I submitted a complete RQ-Glorantha manuscript to Nick Atlas at Avalon Hill nearly two years ago. Well, after several years of trial and struggle (and a new editor at AH), my book SUN COUNTY is out, and, having finally gotten a look at it (I had to actually *buy* copy as my author copies from AH haven't arrived yet!), I'm pleased to say that it was well worth the wait! IUm absolutely knocked out about the way it's finally come out!

As the author, I was always had confidence in the written quality of SUN COUNTY, but when you think what the finished product could've
*looked* like if Nick Atlas had still been at the helm... the crappy
art, the dull non-layout, the lack of editing... it could've looked pretty awful. I shudder when I think about it! Would you believe that Nick was seriously considering using Dave Dobyski for the art, not just the maps (which he has done a creditable job of in SUN COUNTY)? He was also going to publish the manuscript I sent him without any playtesting, and the only editing he wanted ME to do was to rewrite "room descriptions" so they were "more like a D&D module"!*

In contrast, Ken got his cronies to exhaustively playtest SUN COUNTY, and together we fine-tuned the manuscript (in the process we added about an extra 30 pages!) More than anything, RuneQuesters have been disappointed with the poor quality of the artwork in the Avalon Hill releases from TROLL GODS onwards. Because graphics and visual presentation of information was one of the key features of Chaosium RQ, Ken now hopes to match or even better this in Avalon Hill RQ by using professional-standard freelance artists, and giving them plenty of direction. He asked me to write an art design guide for the SUN COUNTY artists to ensure the details of clothing, structures and setting fitted the text and accurately captured the atmosphere. My guide eventually ran to dozens of pages, including pencilled sketches, computer-generated graphics, written descriptions and xeroxed reference photos from art and history books.

Such an approach has obviously paid off, because the artwork in SUN COUNTY is a beautiful thing. The cover art especially, is wonderful. Roger Raupp took my pathetic pencilled sketches and long-winded written description and turned it into something quite beautiful. Merle Insigna's picture of the nasty vampire (p.116) is a knockout, and truly warrants a full page, unlike the pathetic full-page art in everything else released since TROLL GODS. My fave pic of Merle's though, is the Sun Dome Templar on p.46, attacking a giant scorpion. Even Dave Dobyski, whose come in for some hard knocks in his time at AH (some of them from me), has really shown us what he can do, as the graphics and mapwork in SUN COUNTY are fine. I especially like his Map of the Town of Garhound on the inside back cover.

So, as you can see if you go and buy SUN COUNTY, under Ken's masterful direction, RQ off the ropes and is on the way back to a brighter future.

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