One D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide cover art delivers some big 80s nostalgia

We’re now six months out from the release of the new One D&D (or D&D 5.5) DMG, and the cover for the 2024 Dungeon Master’s Guide has just been released.

Despite marking a refresh for Dungeons and Dragons as part of the game’s 50th anniversary celebration, the art for this revised DM sourcebook (as revealed via the Daily Mirror) is pointedly embracing the history of one of the best tabletop RPGs too. In particular, the cover art for the 2024 Dungeon Master’s Guide is giving some love to a selection of more unsung characters. 

In a surprising twist, the folks at Wizards of the Coast have opted not to feature the most iconic villains from across the best D&D books in this new cover. No doubt they had plenty of heavy hitters to choose from – from Xanathar to Tiamat – but instead the new Dungeon Master’s Guide cover kicks it old school with Venger, the Big Bad from the 1980s Saturday morning D&D cartoon. Furthering the nostalgia, this single-horned archmage appears alongside Skylla and Warduke, two minor villains who were introduced all the way back in 1e. The front cover’s villainous lineup is rounded out with an army of skeletons and a dracolich which leers behind all the action. Spooky. 

(Image credit: CBS)

The 2024 Dungeon Master’s Guide cover is a tad more subdued on the back, but no less steeped in an air malevolence and villainy. This was an intentional move on Wizards’ part – as Head of Art, Josh Herman explained in conversation with the Daily Mirror, “this cover is all about Villains.” Of course, given that DMs frequently take up the mantle of embodying (and rolling as) the fearsome opponents to their party, having a major focus on baddies is a choice that meshes well.

Rather than showing adventurers actively engaged in combat, the rear cover takes more of a focus on exploration. It shows a Mind Flayer temple, with a group of adventurers delving into its shadowy depths. Over this fantastically atmospheric artwork, an invitation for DMs to “weave fantastic adventures” is printed. This, despite D&D One’s current preoccupation with the Greyhawk setting, is something I choose to believe is a cheeky little pun on Mystryl’s Weave. 

While the 2024 Dungeon Master Guide cover reveal gives plenty of clues of what we can expect from its contents (as well as how pretty it’ll look on our bookshelves), we still have a good while to wait until we can get a full picture of what changes have been made. Specifically, you won’t be able to pick up the new DMG until November 12, 2024. 

Want something else to play while you wait? Check out these board games for adults or the best card games. Or, if you’re spending time with your family, give one of the best board games for families a try.

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