An ongoing project by Blanca Martinez de Rituerto and Joe Sparrow.

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Monday, 10 December 2018

Myconid (Redux)






Sometimes, in the darker regions of the forest, you may catch sight of these creatures as they ponderously shamble among the trees. Famously shy, myconids stay far from the bustle of human civilisation, serving as stoic watchers over their hallowed groves. Whilst their bodies may seem weak and pallid, they are quite hardy; a clan of myconids will not hesitate to gang together to protect their young and their weak from outside attack, aided by the poisonous spores they continuously shed.

I'm gonna cop to some influence here from the mushroom in Hollow Knight, but this also makes me think of the mushroom-people from the Dark Souls series, the way they travel in packs of children and adults. Also the design trope of a monster lumbering about with a bunch of weapons lodged in its hide is a real favourite of mine, the way it sort of tells a story, like - many have tried to kill this thing, but all have failed.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Dungeons & Drawings book 3 and bundle!

 




DUNGEONS & DRAWINGS VOL. 3
*NOW AVAILABLE TO ORDER!*

At long last! The third volume of Dungeons & Drawings can now be purchased online at our Etsy store:

>>> https://etsy.me/2rdBvUa <<<

Featuring a fresh batch of 40 new illustrations from the Dungeons & Drawings archive, this book combines imaginative and colourful monster designs with easy-to-understand stats and well-researched folkloric history. Ever wondered why a ghoul’s called a ghoul? Ever wondered where angels come from? With this book, you need wonder no more!
Whether you’re a tabletop dungeon master looking for monster ideas, or just a fan of cool illustration, Dungeons & Drawings: Volume 3 is a must-have. And for a limited time only you can pick up all 3 volumes (that’s 120 whole illustrations!) for just £24! Dang! What a hot deal!
Ships globally from the UK. Packages to UK addresses are sent 1st class and should be expected next working day. International packages sent by international standard - see https://www.royalmail.com/personal/international-delivery/international-standard/ for details regarding delivery times.

Green Hag

Don't go into the woods after dark.

Make offerings at the temples of the travel gods, hold onto your talismans, wear your shirt inside out and carry a hazel stick.

Don't got into the woods after dark.

Do not acknowledge cute little old ladies, beautiful women or lost children. Do not heed the weeping in the trees, or the laughter, or the cries for help. Do not follow the swaying of lanterns in the darkness. If your friend left the path, they are gone. That is not their voice you hear.

But most of all don't go into the woods after dark.


Monday, 26 November 2018

Goblin


By many, goblins are considered less a race of small humanoid creatures and more a universal constant or a force of nature. Noisy, smelly, and worryingly numerous, they are a constant nuisance to any and all around them (though never catastrophically so). With nests across the multiverse, they have been likened to the common cold - in that what they lack in raw destructive power they easily make up for in hardiness and resilience to extermination (much to the chagrin of the more "cultured" civilisations who they revel in bothering).

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I think my favourite goblins are Magic: the Gathering goblins, mainly due to the extent of their ineptitude (there's a running gag where goblin cards will do... like the opposite thing they ought to do - see Goblin Diplomats) and also their propensity for infighting and (*cough*) self-sacrifice. Plus, they're one of those creature types where you can easily flood the board with them, and my inner timmy lights up at the thought of swinging for lethal with 10,000+ goblins as facilitated by someone like Krenko.

Anyway! These goblins are inspired by Blanca's old 3d designs for goblins, which are slightly puggy, but also by the miniblin enemies from Wind Waker. I guess with the knobbly bits on their heads you might mistake them for some lesser devil or other, but from a folkloric perspective I think goblins/imps/bugbears/devils are all cut from kind of the same cloth, so I don't really mind.

Joe's tumblr






Monday, 19 November 2018

Storm Elemental


Storm elementals are pretty much perky air elementals. They may be slower, but they pack quite a bit of zap, especially when you get to the bigger ones of the bunch. The little fellas can be pretty useful as a summoned ally, since their attacks actually deal sonic and electric damage at the same time. If one bit of hurt can't get through, the other one probably will.

They may well be the reason why airplanes and such never quite took off in fantasy worlds. Magical airships maybe have some kinda magical protection against storm elementals coming along and puncturing their balloons.

I like to think of these guys hanging around blue dragons, thunderbirds and the other big electric beasties of the sky, just hanging around them like remora on a shark.



Monday, 12 November 2018

Mimic (Redux)



Of all the aberrations that have squirmed their way from outside time and space onto the material plane, there are none quite like the Mimic. It is certainly not the greatest of them, nor the most powerful (either in raw strength or intellect). Yet it is (at least to the average adventurer) one of the most feared, and rightly so.

The thing that sets Mimics apart from most of their alien brethren is that most aberrations come into our world with little to no understanding of it; or, if they do comprehend our ways, they simply do not care. Creatures like the Gibbering Mouther, the Grick, or the Choker - these fiends hunt, kill and feed almost mindlessly, making full use of their evolved weaponry but without the slightest concern for the humanity that fears them.

The Mimic, however, is more insidious. It has learned the habits of humans - particularly the foolhardy breed known as "adventurers", who are fond of going out into the world in groups of only five or six - and is capable of... well, mimicking any object that might serve to disguise itself until prey draws close, ensuring a quick death to any who fall into its trap.

Some have claimed that the Mimic is like any other camouflaged animal - that its transformations are merely opportunistic, dumb imitations of form simply to hide from prey. But seasoned hunters swear differently; that within each Mimic's actions there lurks a streak of genuine malevolence, or, even worse, dark humour. What's more, survivors of one Mimic attack will often become obsessed by the threat of another - every pot, chest and chair becomes a potential threat that must be investigated thoroughly. More than a few such adventurers have descended into madness.

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This one's inspired by the various breeds of octopus that can alter the colour of their skin (as well as - seemingly - its very texture) to more effectively camouflage themselves. There's a specific breed known as the Mimic Octopus that adds another layer to this subterfuge by actively pretending to be other creatures - poisonous sea snakes, flatfish and lionfish to name a few examples - in order to scare off predators.

I spent a while trying to grade the transition from tentacles into wood so that it was sufficiently smooth. I'm not sure if I like it 100% but I at least enjoy looking at it for the colours right now! For some reason I really like using blues and purples for wood.

Joe's tumblr

Monday, 5 November 2018

Spectral Mage


Okay so you can have ghost, but what if the ghost was, like, magic? I mean, I guess you could just tack on some spellcaster levels onto a standard ghost. Or you could use the somewhat superfluous spectral mage template!

Honestly there isn't that much difference between the two types of ghosties. Except maybe that spectral mages are a bit more consistent as poltergeists since they don't have to take breaks between levitation spells.

Mostly I like the idea of a wizard spending just, like, ages trying to figure out the elixir of life, or how to become a lich or worm that walks, only for them to accidentally blow themselves up and become a ghost.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Wyvern



Any village swineherd who has heard more than a single story about dragons is likely to come away with some half-formed impression of their grandeur. There's an argument to be made that this plays into the scheming of the dragons themselves - famously vain creatures that they are - but there is simply no denying that, by and large, drakes are a noble breed of great physical beauty. Chromatics: vast, snarling, scheming creatures, studded with scales of scarlet and topaz... Metallics: even larger in size but wise and meditative, sheathed in lustrous snakeskin like spun silver and gold... even the so-called lesser breeds, shoots that deviate from the stem of dragon-kind, usually retain some faded glimmer of their more magnificent cousins. Usually.

There is, they say, no beast that will quicker dispel the illusion of dragons as creatures of nobility as the Wyvern. Like a gangly, embarrassing cousin they are rarely acknowledged by the "true" breeds, yet they are far more numerous, which speaks, perhaps, to their pigeon-like success at populating the world.

Compared to the average Chromatic, the Wyvern is a stunted, bony parody of a dragon. Its body is barely larger than an elephant, its intelligence subhuman. Its scales range from mottled brown, through half-formed greens to pale, sandy yellows and whites, depending on its surroundings - the idea of camouflage is anathema to full-blooded dragons, but Wyverns will take their advantages wherever they can get them. Finally, and most markedly, Wyverns at some point deviated from their greater kin in the loss of their draconic forelimbs. This seems not to have affected them much, however, as they continue to scramble about deftly using their wings.

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Wyverns are great! This was fun to draw. I hope you like it!

Joe's tumblr

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Hopping Vampire

 
Here's Mr. Vampire himself! Mr. Hopping Vampire. Don't laugh, coz he'll get ya.

So while they're called vampires and have the teeth to back it up, they're not your typical suck-your-blood types. They're psychic vampires, breathing on you and draining your chi. The big ol' claws are just a good way to make you stay put while they do that sweet chi draining. 

Also, unlike regular vampires, they don't have that whole shape-shifting thing to make themselves look sexy. It's the moldy rotting corpse look that they've got going on. Not that they could lay some seduction on you with words either, because they're not too bright either. These dudes are also completely blind, and detect their prey by sensing their breath. But they're reeeeaaallly good at sensing breath, can feel it from quite far away, so you'd better put some distance between you and Mr. Vampire.

So that should make them easy enemies, yeah? Well, sunlight doesn't harm them, so you can't just whip aside some curtains or come back to their hidey-holes after sunrise to kill them. They'll be awake and they'll be waiting. Or maybe they'll just be following you. And don't let them get you with the claws either, because pretty soon after you'll feel your muscles seizing up until you can only move at a hop-hop-hop.

Hop-hop-happy Halloween to you.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Kraken (Redux)

"...Child of dark! Herald of void!
First-created of the gods, or else their elder!
We know the truth: the world above the waves is nought but wan reflection of thy realm,
and we merely its fragile custodians.
O! Drown the world! Snuff out the stars!
We beseech thee, Great One, that all might hear thy song
Borne endless 'cross the sable deeps!"
- Extract from the Holy Book of the Water-folk, Chapter 27 

So this is actually a redo of an old Dungeons & Drawings design that I did waaaaaaayy back in 2011! Go look at it if you want to see an example of the old slightly janky pixelart I used to do! I didn't think it was very good, even at the time, so I decided to redo it but still try and sort of... aim for the same feeling that I was going for before? If that makes sense? I think I succeeded to some extent.

I've always had a pretty deep-rooted fear of the sea, which I don't think is uncommon. I don't know if this was fuelled by anything (I suspect it was influenced by something I saw on TV or in a film) but I used to have a lot of nightmares about the sea, particularly tidal waves (like, cartoonishly large ones) and just the idea of big creatures either emerging or (sort of worse) lurking immediately underneath the surface. I actually went through a period of not wanting to do back-stroke at my swimming classes because I kept visualising something big "behind" me, under the water (yes, even in a swimming pool).

Krakens, Leviathans and other giant sea-creatures are likely to be encountered more as an environmental hazard than a traditional D&D fight, but I think their sheer scale makes them a fun (if terrifying) element to chuck into your game. I love giant monsters. I'm not, like, a big kaiju fan or anything like that, but I find there's something really compelling about a creature so big that it could destroy your life, your house, your city without even realising. Krakens also have the benefit of having a certain Lovecraftian mystique to them, emerging as they do from the inscrutable deep.

There's a persistent fringe theory about either octopi and/or squid being somehow descended from extraterrestrial life, and while I don't buy it myself, neither species does much to properly disprove it. They're pretty weird.

Joe's Tumblr

Monday, 13 August 2018

Deep Dragon


As one would expect, deep dragons are found deep, deep in the earth. It's not completely certain whether deep dragons are their own species, or some kind of mutated version of a true dragon. Regardless, they're just as powerful as true dragons. Surface dwellers may now give a sigh of relief as it's made known that deep dragons have no interest in leaving their dark world. They sometimes make pacts with drow, but that's mostly to keep an eye on them and make sure that whatever the drow do, it won't interfere with the deep dragon's well-being.

Deep dragons cannot be trusted. They’re especially tricky creatures, and similarly difficult to fool. Even a wyrmling is born with innate true seeing, making them immune to the effects of illusions and invisibility. Older deep dragons become more attuned to their cavernous and stony environment. They start out being able to easily burrow through stone and worm their way though small cracks. By the time end of their lifespan, deep dragons can command the stone to open, close and warp as they please.

Why fight some repugnant humanoid skulking in the tunnel you've left behind when you can simply command the tunnel to seal itself, crushing the intruder?

Blanca’s Tumblr

Monday, 6 August 2018

Hell Hound


Hell hounds are the canine companions of the servants of the denizens of Hell. Bred for size, viciousness and trainability, hell hounds can grow large enough to be used as mounts in the eternal wars between Hell and the Abyss. Wild hell hounds can also be found in wandering in packs throughout this evil plane, and while they're scrawnier than their tamed bretheren, they're also much more cunning.

Evil wizards and warlords will often summon or otherwise procure a hellhound for their own destructive needs. However, the hound's fiery breath and sulphurous smell makes them extremely hazardous to the very flammable Material Plane. Summoning, though only short-term, is probably the more sensible option if you have the means. Otherwise be ready to build stone pens. And make sure that you use good lucks; though beastly, hell hounds are smart enough to work out simpler locks.

Other wizards, fervent seekers of higher truths, also summon hell hounds in an attempt to answer a frustrating question:

Can this hound be a Good Boy when they are, by definition, a Very Bad Dog?

Blanca’s Tumblr