My foray into the wold of gaming came in 1995 with a large freelance assignment from Last Unicorn Games to do 35 cards for their new collectible card game (CCG) called Heresy, Kingdom Come. I was asked to design and draw two types of cards, the Alephs, or magic items, and a group of archetypal forces personified called Celestial Powers.
The image above is the Holy Grail, which I made rather idealized. I know I should have probably drawn a clay or pewter cup, the kind a poor carpenter might have used. But for me, this was the archetypal Cup, and thus somewhat romanticized. I did ask an Israeli friend to translate the phrase “Blood of Christ, Cup of Salvation” (which is said at every eucharist when drinking from the cup) into Hebrew. (Thanks Liora!)
There were many artifacts I had to draw, but several were of biblical origin. This card, Asser Criel, is the Breastplate of Moses. Again, I used a real Hebrew phrase on the breastplate, but I’m not sure what it says now! I think it is just a translation of Breastplate of Moses….
Another cool artifact is the Crown of Solomon, again taken from the Hebrew Bible. Behind the crown is a seal, filled with arcane sigils and designs. I did this mainly because there is a legend from the Testament of Solomon that says that Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem by enslaving a legion of demons by the use of a magic ring given to him by the archangel Michael. Solomon employed magic to build the temple, and after he was finished, he sealed the demons in a jar and threw the jar into a deep lake. That would have rid the world of demons, but unfortunately some thieves saw Solomon cast the jar into the water. They thought that there must be treasure in the jar, so they dove down and recovered it, and when they opened it, they released all the demons back into the world.
Finally, the ultimate biblical artifact was the Ark of the Covenant, in which the tablets containing the Ten Commandments are kept. I did some research, and the Ark was covered in designs of pomegranates, grapes, and figs, representing the bounty of the Lord. It was also topped with figures of two Cherubim with flaming swords (Indiana Jones had it right!). Finally, I again put some Hebrew lettering on it, denoting the name of God, YHVH.