“Cutting Things Down To Size”
Artist: Jeff Easley
This week I wanted to take a fun look at the most prolific of all the TSR/D&D artists, Jeff Easley. Mr. Easley has produced literally hundreds of works for several of the most important books and adventures in D&D history. While you may not recognize his name off the top, go do a search of his work and I'm sure you’ll recognize more than a few pieces.
In particular, I've always been a fan of this piece listed as “Cutting Things Down to Size”. I believe that this work was featured in either the 2nd Edition Player’s Handbook or Dungeon Master’s Guide. Either way, I find it to be a fun depiction of what happens when a character/NPC/monster thinks it can have its nasty way and then it learns otherwise. As a DM, I find that you have to give your players opportunities from time-to-time to assert how talented they are. This is not to say that you allow them to get egos the size of New Jersey, but it is fun to let
them flex their muscles occasionally. For me, this painting shows one of those times perfectly.
Looking at the piece, we can see that a Hill Giant thought he was going to have an easy time with a female human. Based on the slices of his club and the shards of his shield covering the ground, I’d say he bit off more than he could chew. The fact that he’s now on his butt with his nose ring at an uncomfortable angle says to me that it’s just about time for the negotiations to start. What do you think our woman Fighter/Ranger might want from our large and obviously outmatched friend?
The only unfortunate part about this piece is the cliché scantily clad woman. Although she’s in a position of power, she is still showing a lot of skin and I’m not too sure how much protection that tiny leather shirt is going to provide (AC! Hello!). Regardless, she sure does seem to be in charge of the situation and that it is a lot better than the standard “damsel in distress” motif.
Overall, this piece reminds me of almost every time I’ve seen that glint in my players’ eyes that says “Is that so?” and they go on to teach some NPC or monster a lesson. I like seeing their excitement in those moments but I also make sure to never let them think that they can bully all of their encounters around. That leads to arrogance and that’s the one thing I always hope players never achieve. Thanks Mr. Easley!