Sutherland's cover for the original Dungeon Masters Guide (TSR, 1979)

David C. Sutherland III (1949June 6, 2005) was an early Dungeons & Dragons artist. He is best known as the cover artist for the first edition rules of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide. Other illustrations include the scene of a dragon, a wizard and an armored archer on the first Dungeons & Dragons boxed set and the first edition cover for the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual. Sutherland was a prolific artist and his work heavily influenced the early development of Dungeons & Dragons. His involvement in the game art began in 1974.

Life and Career[]

Sutherland was born in 1949 in Minneapolis, Minnesota and was a graduate of Minneapolis' Roosevelt High School. He served in the U.S. military as a military police in the Vietnam War in 1969-1970. His artistic talents were nurtured and developed by his father, a fellow artist. David C. Sutherland II worked in the paper industry and encouraged his son by bringing home creative materials and supplies.

He became involved with the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) in the early 1970s. He spent his free time drawing sketches and cartoons regarding these pastimes. Through a mutual acquaintance in the SCA, Sutherland was introduced to Professor M.A.R. Barker at the University of Minnesota in 1975. Barker was designing Tékumel; an imaginary world for use with Dungeons & Dragons game published by TSR, Inc.. Soon after, Sutherland was working for TSR. Sutherland worked as TSR's artistic director, but felt more at ease doing his own illustrations. He worked at TSR until 1999[citation needed] when the company was purchased by Wizards of the Coast and he was not offered further employment.

After his relationship with TSR ended, Sutherland found it difficult to find work and, according to friends, felt abandoned by the gaming industry. Recently divorced, Sutherland became despondent and his health began to fail. An auction of Sutherland memorabilia—including artwork, miniature sculptures, games, and game memorabilia—was held in 2004, raising USD$22,000, used to set up a trust fund for his two daughters.

He died on June 6 2005 in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. He was buried with full military honors at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is survived by his two daughters, Susan and Heather, and his mother, sister, and brother.

Notable works[]

  • He is the co-author with Gary Gygax of the adventure module Queen of the Demonweb Pits (Q1).
  • He created the wemic, a Dungeons & Dragons lion-centaur.
  • He drew the famous and popular orthogonal maps of Castle Ravenloft for the 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure module Ravenloft. As the newly revised version of the module, Expedition to Castle Ravenloft, explains in the introduction, these maps were "such a powerful aid to play that a generation of Dungeon Masters still fondly recall them and reemploy them whenever possible." Sutherland is even honored in the story of this newest version of the Ravenloft module, as there is a mention of a "Dhavit Uthurlan" as the designer of the castle.

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