Bone, Stone, and Obsidian

Robert Adducci and Jesse Heinig talk about Dark Sun from every angle, Dungeon Mastering, Playing, Races, Classes, History, Sorcerer Kings, City States, you name it. It's about survival on the sands of Athas on this show so grab a d20 and get ready to enter the arena.

Episode 26: Tom Baxa

In this episode, Jesse and Robert talk with legendary artist Tom Baxa about his involvement with Dark Sun over the years.

Show Notes


Jesse and Robert talk with Tom Baxa about his involvement with Dark Sun over the years.

Show Notes


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Tom Baxa

  1. How did you get started doing art for Dungeons & Dragons?
  2. How did you get involved with Dark Sun?
  3. What can you tell us about working on the original Dark Sun boxed set?
  4. Did you work with Brom at all or were you two separate?
  5. 10 boxed sets and supplements including: Ivory Triangle Boxed Set, City By the Silt Sea Boxed Set, Dragon Kings, The Will and The Way, Gladiator’s Handbook, City-State of Tyr, Earth Air Fire & Water, Slave Tribes, Terrors of the Desert, Dark Sun Monstrous Compendium 2 Terrors Beyond Tyr
  6. The Veiled Alliance credits you with interior, but it was really Mark Nelson, do you know what happened there?
  7. People love your Thri-Kreen art, did you know that one of the Dark Sun kreen species is named after you? When we interviewed Tim Beech he said he named each species after the artists who drew them. He named the species you drew as To’Ksa, which sounds like Baxa. The other major species is called Jeral after Gerald Brom.
  8. Note from Jesse: What prompted you to diverge from the appearance of the first edition thri-kreen, which were much more upright in posture? Was this an art direction or a personal decision?
  9. Were any monsters drawn first then given stats or did you draw them all from art direction?
  10. 9 Adventures (all but Black Flames): Forest Maker (which you did the cover), Merchant House of Amketch, Arcane Shadows, Freedom, Road to Urik, Dragon’s Crown, Black Spine, Marauders of NIbenay, Asticlian Gambit.
  11. Do you remember the Dark Sun chariot piece? Anything you can tell us about that?
  12. You talked about a custom commission you did of a Thri-Kreen wielding a huge sword on your blog. Have you done any other custom work that could be considered Dark Sun?
  13. The description of Athas varies depending on the piece of fiction in question; for instance, it’s described in one place as having an olive-colored sky, but some of the art is blue-skied. In your artistic mind’s eye, what does Athas look like? What do you see when you imagine it?

Questions from the Dark Sun group:

Luke Swadling

Are there any details he can recall about the art direction given for his Dark Sun work? It’s such an iconic style now, and there wasn’t really a lot in terms of visual reference beforehand?

Frédéric Leclair

There are often races that don’t look like anything in core books. Were their plan for more races or was just freestyle ideas of possible races…?

Jorge Bobadilla III

Hi Robert, can you ask him in which movie or non Dark Sun book did he inspire for his astonishing art?

Christopher Justin Moneymaker

How much time did TSR give him on his average illustration? I know there for a couple of years he was churning out hundreds of them a year. Also I’d like to let him know his black and white Thri-Kreen were awesome. By far the best Thri-Kreen ever drawn.

Geek Gasm

The costuming his characters wore were a combination of bright animal prints, strange masks, and ornate headgear – it gave them an otherworldly feel that drove home how alien Athas was. Where did those ideas come from? * Besides Dark Sun, you’ve also worked on several other RPGS that I love like TMNT and other Strangeness, Torg, Shadowrun, Earthdawn, & GURPS. Any good stories from working on any of those? * These days is it fair to say that you’re most well known for your Magic The Gathering work? * You have a Patreon, which we’ll link in the show notes. What kind of content do you put there? * You sell prints of your work at, are there any Dark Sun pieces there? * Do you have any original Dark Sun pieces left or have people bought those up? * What other work that we haven’t mentioned did/do you do?


Tom, Where can we find you online? @Baxaart on Twitter/Facebook


Robert Adducci (@Raddu76, Patreon) Jesse Heinig ( @JesseHeinig ) Bone, Stone, and Obsidian ( Credits Treasure Hunter by Ross Bugden Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License Edited by Robert Adducci