Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Bordering on the Otherworld

Some details from a recently completed artwork commission for Otherworld Miniatures consisting of three themed page borders:

Otherworld Armoury Border (detail)

Otherworld Dungeon Border (detail)

Otherworld Armour (detail)

Otherworld Dungeon Border (detail)

Otherworld Wilderness Border (detail)

Otherworld Wilderness Border (detail)

Otherworld Armoury Border (detail)

The originals are approximately A3 - intended to be reproduced as A4 borders. Unfortunately they don't reproduce too well as small web thumbnails after all they are essentially a big white space with some drawings round the edge - but you can see them in the gallery to get a sense of the final pieces.

Richard great to work with as usual and v There are several references to Otherworld Miniatures range hidden in plain sight throughout the drawings which were fun to do - a big no-prize for anyone who spots them all!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Dungeons & Disney: Charm Animal

Sleeping Beauty: Aurora / Briar Rose by Marc Davis and Tom Oreb
Rachel Weisz as Disneys Snow White | photo by Annie Leibovitz
Cinderella giving orders to the Proletariat mice.
It's a weird thing. The Disney Princesses Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping beauty all have the innate ability to Charm Animals. Maybe Pocahontas and Mulan do too, but I don't know. Why they have a supernatural ability to control wildlife is beyond me. Snow White charms the animals to clean up the Seven Dwarfs cottage. Cinderella charms them to do her chores. Sleeping Beauty charms them to well, be a composite agony aunt and surrogate boyfriend / dancing partner.

These animals seem to have no chance of a saving throw, and perhaps the Disney princesses 18 Charisma just ensures small woodland creatures become suggestible, if not totally enslaved to their sweeter-than-thou mistresses.

The "goons" from Sleeping Beauty may have influenced 1e Pig Faces Orcs. Is it possible that somewhere in the back of Gary Gygax labyrinthine mind, the image of the pure-as-spring-rain, sweet-as-sunshine Disney princess sat alongside Poul Andersons 3 Hearts and 3 Lions Swan-may to inform what Druids (and Princesses) should be like.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

One of Our Fimir is Missing

I snagged a copy of Heroquest for £1.50 at a local charity shop (one that doesn't trawl eBay before making pricing decisions). And lo and behold - it was near complete and in excellent condition - the book are a bit crinkly and the box had one corner split, and had just one Fimir missing. 

Three Little Fimir standing in a row, one fell off and... | image via

There's a One-Eyed Fellow Hiding to the North of Kammendun. 

What I didn't realise is that the card artwork is by Gary Chalk. Amazing stuff, also references the Talisman card artwork - the fountain of strength, amulet of lore and genie particularly.

And not that anyone round here cares what Games Workshop do any more, apparently Fimir have made a comeback with their latest Störm ov Magick or whatever it's called:

Fimir Balefiend | via Liber Malefic

So anyone got a spare Heroquest Fimir for a trade?

Sunday, 14 August 2011

A Treatise on thee Nature ov Magick Users

It be commonly known that the Mark of the Witch touches all those gifted with the power to wyld Magick.

There were times in long ages past when Men would slay thee Warlock, or an innocynt Man for thee possession ov such a sign on theyr bode - for yt was deem-ed to be placed there by wicked spirits of evil intent, else before as some sygn of an ancynt Gotts favour. And jn those days the Men wuld hyde these Marks for phear of persecution by the Men of other fayths or those supersitious fules who afear-ed the Deviant as one borne of unnature.

Yet now we know better, that thee Marks are naught but the raw stuff of Chaos manifesting in the very flesh of the Wize, a physical sygn of thee awezome Kozmic Powers which they may bryng under theyr controll, a livyng testament to the infynite diversity of reality.

Thee Haynd ov a Magick~User

Roll on this table once during character creation (after Race and Class have been selected, minimum statistics are not effected) and once again after every 2 levels of character progression.

3D20 Feature Stat Adj
3 Albino CHA -2
4 Animal patterned skin CHA -2
5 Coloured skin CHA -2
6 Geometrically patterned skin CHA -2
7 Sweaty CHA -2
8 Tail CHA -2
9 Two left hands DEX -2
10 Bad breath CHA -1
11 Claws CHA -1
12 Cloven hoofs CHA -1
13 Club foot DEX -1
14 Very ugly CHA -1
15 Cold skin CHA -1
16 Hunchbacked DEX -1
17 Lisp CHA -1
18 One eye DEX -1
19 Sharks Teeth CHA -1
20 Snakes tongue CHA -1
21 Squeeky voice CHA -1
22 Stutter CHA -1
23 Horned CHA -1
24 Very hairy CHA -1
25 Poor eyesight DEX -1
26 Eyes of a cat CHA -1
27 Eyes of a goat CHA -1
28 Bald
29 Short
30 Birthmark - of an animal
31 None
32 Birthmark – Perfect Geometrical Figure
33 Tall
34 Knobbly knees
35 Long neck
36 Pointy ears
37 Pot belly
38 Widow's peak
39 Deep voice
40 Fangs
41 Webbed toes
42 Brightly coloured hair CHA +1
43 Hitchhiker's thumb DEX +1
44 Extra finger DEX +1
45 Extra toe DEX +1
46 Keen eyesight DEX +1
47 Large feet DEX +1
48 Long fingers DEX +1
49 Metallic skin CHA +1
50 Mismatched coloured eyes CHA +1
51 Morton's toe DEX +1
52 Musical voice CHA +1
53 Very thick mane of hair CHA +1
54 Fast reactions DEX +2
55 Excessive beauty CHA +3
56 Hyperactive DEX +2
57 Perfectly symmetrical CHA +2
58 Psionic powers

59 Head of a flaming skull CHA +4
60 Roll twice

Design notes: The theme, of course, is that innate difference or talent must always coincide with some form of physical abnormality - "as above, so below" - and the questionable cause. It's a recurrent theme in the representation of disabled people in the media and important aspect of othering.

The idea of specifically genetic mutations being subject to religious persecutions, is found in John Wyndhams seminal 1955 novel The Chrysalids - in which those with even slight mutations are excommunicated from their deeply religious communities and sent into the woods to fend for themselves, where inevitably they band together into tribes. Of course the influence of The Chrysalids mutants on Warhammer mythos goes without saying, and remembering Warhammers roots in simulating mass battles in fantasy literature, might have been the impetus (although Runequest Broo is equally as likely a source for Beastmen). The protagonists in Wyndhams novel also mutate psionic powers, making them wielders of the arcane arts. The Deviant / Sorcery link also looms large in Pat Mills Nemesis The Warlock. The rather curious similarity between my Thee Haynd ov a Magick~User drawing above and the cover illustration by John Griffiths for the Penguin 1964 print of The Chrysalids is entirely accidental, but evidentially thematic as the same idea was resurrected by Andy Bridge in 2000, so it's not too bad.

Fortunately for magic-users in the present time-line of Bearoak there is no transparent purity movement, and least of all any kind of dogmatic monoculture. In fact the entire place is hugely tolerant - however that doesn't mean that bizarre appearance doesn't shock. Most people may be used to Uruks drinking in their pubs and patrolling the town at night, but the sight of a bright blue human will raise one or two eyebrows. For this reason charisma is adjusted accordingly. However, all magic users have a +4 bonus when dealing with other magic users (including apprentices), whether or not their mutation or status is noticeable, due to the faint whiff of magic they give off.

There is: Ashen the Demonchylde here.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Female Armour X: Snow White

Just a quickie - Kristen Stewart as Snow White, in full plate armour and carrying a shield.

Kirsten Stewart Armour | Schneewittchen

Realistic Full Plate. Yes!
Braided Hair. Yes!

It's early an publicity shot, so there is a chance things could change, but high praise to Colleen Atwood for this excellent design. If I rememver rightly Colleen also did Tim Burton's Alice, which also featured great armour. The hair is especially admirable, and something I was trying to portray with Elyandria. I also love the White Tree of Gondor device on her shield - I  hope the film shows it to be a work of dvergcraft.

Behind the scenes shot - hair let down.



Kirsten Stuart Armour shots at 1:31 - still looking very nice, but they've gone with a more traditional, boring and feminising hair do. There's also some chintzy shots of the mirror looking like a Morbid Angel re-imaging of Terminator 2, only a lot less cool than the image those words might conjure. Be interesting  to see if they use the reflective property of full plate metal in a significant way.

With two Snow White movies and The Hobbit Part 1 in 2012, That's a lot of dwarven folk in the cinema next year.

Exit to: More Female armour posts

Friday, 5 August 2011

Red Box Games Sale

Red Box Games are having a sale ($2 has taken off every figure) - sale ends Monday 8th August - so be quick!

Gregor the Crooked | Half Orc Cleric
Kyrie Brighthelm | Elf Fighter
RBG have an extensive range of amazing miniatures perfect for PC for old-school style games, or fantasy skirmishing, characterful,  finely detailed, realistically proportioned, realistically equipped, play nicely with GWs current LoTR range and Otherworld monstaz.

There are exits to: Red Box Games Shop

Monday, 1 August 2011

dungeon-pop and dragonsurrealism

So if you got the job art-directing D&D 5e for WoTC, what would it look like? My answer below.

5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual Owlbear

5E Dungeons and Dragons: Kenku

5th Edition Umber Hulk

Art by Heiko Mueller

5th Edition Wilderness Survival Guide
Lolth D&D 5e Deities and Demigods

D&D 5e Dungeoneers Survival Guide
Art by Camille Rose Garcia

5e Monster Manual treant

Art by

5th Edition D&D Gryphen

Displacer Beast / Manticore
5th Edition D&D Lolth!

Art by Ben Newman

I often wonder why D&D and pop-surrealism haven't cross-bred into a new and wonderous garden of illustrated game.

Somewhere, in all our minds the Dungeon lurks as a subconscious mirror of our dreams and fears, delving like lucid dreamers for riches and insight, populated by half-imagined, half-borrowed archetypes glimpsed in fever-states from childhood terrors and solving weird incalculable puzzles.

There are exits towards: hi-fructose / juxtapoznobrow