D&D 5E There Will Be No More Hydro74 Alternate D&D Covers

Hydro74 has confirmed that Vecna: Eve of Ruin was their final alternate cover for D&D.

For the past 10 years, there have been alternative covers for the Dungeons & Dragons hardcovers available at local game stores. These covers were usually designed by artist Joshua M. Smith, aka Hydro74.

Hydro74 has confirmed that Vecna: Eve of Ruin was their final alternate cover for D&D.

Just got my copy of Vecna, Eve of Ruin from D&D in. The Gold & Silver really are fantastic. Sadly [Wizards of the Coast] said this was my last book since they are changing direction, which is disappointing but freelance life! Was a fun ride!


Photo by Hydro74
Here's a look at just some of Hydo74's alternate covers over the years.




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That sucks, his alt covers were what made me get alt covers. Before, never had an interest in alt covers, for anything really. Never saw the point in them. it's a book, the cover will get worn eventually, might as well just by the regular one. I got ONE of his alt covers as a gift, and I now understand the appeal. Sad that they didn't keep him on. I don't really like the whimsy and child-like watercolors of the new ones. I won't be getting them. They remind me too much of kids books, the covers at least.

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A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
No, it's a cartoon. I'm ambivalent about them removing jokes and cartoons from the core books, but cutesy art direction turns me off. I do not want cute goblins or funny mimics or silly looking dragons.
Me neither, but the great thing about the game is that, as long as I like the rules, I can portray my monsters and NPCs in whatever manner I want. In the last 10 years, I've only run one WotC adventure book. Not so much because I have anything against the WotC ones, but there are some great third-party settings and adventures I wanted to run and I tend to run multi-year campaigns.

That said, so far I like most of the art for the new books that I've seen. None of them capture the kinds of games that I run, but they don't need to. I fully expect that most of the art in the monster manual will not be "cute" or "cosy".

But if you want a fantasy game with a grimmer tone, and mechanics to support it, check out Warhammer Fantasy. Or, if you like the 5e mechanics, then look at third party setting and adventure material.
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Steve Bonario

IMHO, the best were the trio done for the core books. I have all three and protect them with plastic removable cover sleeves. It's stupid that the cover somehow enhances my enjoyment of the content, but they do. There's no difference in the content, yet I prefer using the alt covers when i'm prepping my game, and use the standard versions at the table. The stylized fire giant for the PHB cover is my favorite of all.


Well, that might explain why their art choices don't reflect your preferences, but so match up with current trends in fantasy art instead.
Yes. As it should be. I am not saying they should do things differently, and they certainly shouldn't be catering to my cohort. I'm just saying that I really dislike cute in my D&D. That stupid pink elephant in Avernus was the last straw.


What's your point? Why are you trying to argue against the idea that the art direction has changed over the years? What difference does it make if you can find a couple examples from the past? I don't care what you like and I am not asking for things to change, so what do you care how my preferences may or may not align with yours?
I just find the idea that D&D didn't used to be cutesy too bemusing.

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