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

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Sunday, 20 May 2018

Redspawn Firebelcher

Like the bluespawn godslayer, the redspawn firebelcher is a mutation brought about by Tiamat's magic. Entirely lacking the dignity and majesty of true red dragons, the redspawn firebelcher is the stupidest of Tiamat's spawn. That doesn't make them any less dangerous, since the firebelcher is driven entirely by hunger. Other spawn might be able to control the firebelcher to use them as mounts and warbeasts, though they risk being eaten themselves. Despite the danger, Tiamat's spawn purposely starve the firebelcher in order to guarantee maximum ferocity.

Like all of Tiamat's more animalistic spawn, they exude an aura which protects nearby spawn from certain effects. In this case, it provides immunity to fire. This makes them potentially excellent mounts for whitespawn, since it can cancel out their weakness.

It's been a while since I've done anything for Dungeons & Drawings. I've been having a really really bad art block for the last several months. I didn't seem to like anything I drew. And while I still don't feel like I'm completely back to my comfort zone, I am gradually liking the last few things I've been drawing more.

Anyway, the firebelcher. Their entry describes them as often swimming around in lava pools. Well the first thought that came to my mind was crocodiles, but I really didn't want to go in that direction. The old red dragon illustration was vaguely mammalian anyway, so I went with basing this guy off a hippopotamus. Because hippopotami are horrendous nightmare beasts.

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Sunday, 1 April 2018


The LeShay are to elves what elves are to humans. Which is what this game needed: a more hoity-toity elf. It's possible that LeShay are even the true ancestors of elves, having seeded the Material Plane with their progeny. They're adept shapeshifters, able to appear as any humanoid, but their true form is that of a white elf-like creature with deep black eyes. And despite the unsettling appearance, looking at them give one a strange sense of longing and camraderie. 

LeShay are not put off by locked doors. They will get in.

LeShay cannot be stopped by armour. They will get through.

I've been a little ehhhhhh about drawing lately. Artist's block. It happens somethings. Nothing I've drawn recently I've especially liked in anything beyond the thumbnail stage. The Halite animation I did was pretty much because I just couldn't make myself design and draw something new, so just animate something that somebody else has designed. Sometimes this loosens up my brain, sometimes it doesn't. I'm still kinda stuck, but it'll stop eventually.

I've been using Manga Studio for a while but mostly stuck to the same pen (the turnip pen does really nice crispy lines). After several attempts attempts on this I accepted that no matter what I did I wasn't going to be happy with it as a proper illustration. So experiment a bit with other styles of colouring. The colouring in this is mostly done with the flat marker tool for a more smudgy look. It's probably not something that I'm gonna add to my usual drawing style probably, but at least it looks kinda interesting.

Also I treated the LeShay like a little bit as a fairy fantasy version of what the Engineers were in the Prometheus movie. The illustration in the Epic Level Handbook is a little bit boring. Just a grey elf in some brown clothes. But I liked how the description had a bit of that alien-y fairy feeling.

(Not included in the image, but these dudes can manifest +10 keen brilliant energy weapons out of their own life force.)

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Sunday, 25 March 2018


Cavvekan is the Undercommon name for the cavedog or bat-faced dog. Despite this name, it's likely that cavvekans are not canids at all, but a type of large rodents. Regardless, they fill a similar niche that jackals or coyotes would; they're small onmnivorous mammals who hunt tiny prey and fungi, or scavenge food from more capable predators.

As subterranean creatures, their sense of sight is so diminished that they are practically blind. They instead rely on their sense of smell and hearing. If regular clicks are heard in a dark cave, it's likely that what you're hearing is them using echolocation. The cavvekan is completely hairless except for it's whiskers, though the dark, velvety skin on its body can be confused for fur.

They're very skittish creatures, perfectly aware of their position as a possible lunch to the large predators that live underground. However, the drow occasionally manage to capture enough cavvekan pups to start breeding programs. They're good guard animals, but not often used as attack beasts. The drow tend to have access to more lethal options.

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Sunday, 18 March 2018



Firenewts are relatives to lizardfolk, but their environment and behaviour is different enough for them to be confused with salamanders. Unlike lizardfolk, firenewts thrive in environments of extreme heat, with some tribes even living near or in active volcanos. Oftentimes, a creature so comfortable with fire would be a native of the Plane of Fire, but firenewts are completely native to the Material Plane.

Firenewts are extremely aggressive to both other firenewts and non-humanoid races. If a warband of these creatures is spotted, it's a sure thing that they're participating in a raid, possibly to smash the eggs of another firenewt tribe. They're also a highly religious people, with the most important members of society often being clerics in service to evil fire gods.

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Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Gem Scarab

Gem scarabs are cat-sized beetles found primarily in deserts, though some miners claim to have seen them in especially rich caves. These scarabs are actually a pretty big problem for any occupation that relies on the collection of metal or precious stones, since they're the beetles' main source of food. As well as being big enough that their bites would leave a significant mark, the gem scarab is, of course, magically competent.

The colour of the gem is indicative of the scarab's spell's element; diamonds for light, emeralds for acid, sapphire for cold, etc... The spells are relatively weak and primarily used as a distraction so the scarab can fly or burrow away. However, if feeling especially territorial or threatened, the scarab can prove dangerous to common people and inexperienced adventurers.

So did you know that living beetle jewellery is actually a thing? Apparently the maquech beetle is this really docile little buddy, so some people have taken to attaching rhinestones and golden chains to them to make them into living brooches. It's kinda pretty, but it seemed weird to use a literal live animal as personal decor. Apparently you can keep them alive for 2-3 years if you make sure to take care of them, feed them, house them in a nice vivarium... But I really don't know how many people who'd buy a bug for a brooch would go through that trouble.

If you want a beetle brooch that badly, just go get yourself a piece of the bajillion insect-themed jewellery items that exist, geez.

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Wednesday, 14 February 2018


Of all the demonic denizens of the Abyss, the succubus is admired by mortals because it usually appears in the shape of someone especially desirable. Of course those mortals are very, very stupid if they think they're going to get a good time from this demon without having to give anything in return. The succubus is, after all, a soul-sucking monstrosity. They feel like ice. You will not have fun. Then you'll die.

Every culture has its version of the succubus, that is to say the seductive, disease-bringing, man-eating demon that serves as a warning against getting yourself some strange. The male equivalent, the incubus, isn't quite as common and usually extra rapey.

Some Christian texts claim that the incubus and succubus are the same demon shape-shifting between male and female forms. Angelic and demonic beings are supposedly unable to procreate the biological way. To get around this, the succubus steals semen from her victim, then shapeshifts into an incubus to impregnate a female victim. Despite the human source, the demonic transportation ensures that any child born of this union isn't completely human. Merlin is said to be the result of a union between an incubus and a human woman.

Something I really resent with depiction of succubi/incubi, especially modern depictions, is the focus on the sexiness of the demon. It's very much an "ooooh nooo, I'm getting seduced by this hot chick/dude with horns oh wellllll..." with none of the "btw this is sexual assault it hurts i'm literally wasting away please call a priest" part of the legends. These sex demons were associated with nightly emissions, sleep paralysis, sexual anxiety, rape... There's a reason these guys go after you in your sleep. So I really wanted so create a really repugnant image. Something that really showed the predatory sexual horror that this demon is supposed to represent.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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Tuesday, 30 January 2018


Lurking in swamps, watery caverns and murky rivers, the ahuizotl hides just below the water's surface, hoping to exploit the altruism of anybody nearby by calling out like a lost, scared child. When someone rushes towards it to help, this creatures grabs them and drags them into the water. The hand at the end of its long, prehensile tail is especially strong, and used as a primary weapon. Even those who escape the ahuizotl are often blinded forever, since its first moves tend to be an attempts to rip out their victim's eyes.

While the ahuizotl feeds on people, it's very particular about which body parts it prefers. Corpses are found floating on the water, skin bruised but untouched, missing their eyes, teeth and fingernails.

You may have heard about this creature from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, but the ahuizotl is a creature of Mexican myth. Meaning spiny aquatic thing, it's described as a dog-like creature with monkey- or raccoon-like paws and a human hand at the end of its tail. It's a bit up in the air as to whether it's smooth (as stated in the Florentine Codex) or spiky (like it's name implies).

In the mythology, the ahuizotl is an agent of the rain and water god Tlaloc. Those killed by the ahuizotl were either chosen ones transported to his afterlife, or sinner punished for hoarding. In D&D, it's implied to be a completely independent aberration. I don't know why they chose to make it an aberration instead of a magical beast or outside, since aberrations tend to be tentacley, squishy alien things.

Most drawings of the ahuizotl tend to play up the dog aspect, but a few other people have thought the true water dogs: seals otters. But I didn't base this on your squeaky cute Redwall river otters or cuddly (but distressingly horrible) sea otters. I took my inspiration from the 5-foot long, nightmare-eyed, caiman-and-anaconda-eating monstrosity that is the South American giant river otter.

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Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Animated Object

Animated objects come in all shapes and sizes. And while, say, suits of armour, weapons and doorways may be of more obvious value, sometimes smaller objects are the ones gifted with motion. Though maybe one can see how living bobbins and needles would be useful to an especially busy tailor.

These objects aren't technically alive, making it somewhat easy to maintain them. So long as one has the relevant skill (sewing, carpentry, metalworking...) keeping your animated servant going is relatively easy. The difficult part may be finding a spellcaster with the relevant magic ability for it. Or maybe you can come across the leavings of a ravid.

Animated objects generally aren't sentient, but faerie magic and children's wishes can alter that.

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Friday, 8 December 2017

Crystalline Troll

Some trolls are described as having especially stone-like skin, and the crystalline troll is this to a particular extreme. Like most other trolls, they're capable of regenerating their injuries, but their crystal structure makes them immune to acid, the standard troll-hunting aid. Of course, this monster isn't without its weakness. Sonic attacks disrupt the healing ability. So if you're going up to the mountains where these guys live, pack a bard.

The description called for crystalline trolls to be more glass-like, but I took inspiration from tourmaline clusters. When I rolled this creature I was a bit disappointed that it was pretty much just a troll made of shiny-stuff. The illustration in the book isn't really that interesting. But I liked the idea of maybe making it so the crystalline troll looks kinda normal (albeit smooth) on the outside, but if you cracked it you'd get these really bright solid gemstone inside. No guts or bones, just solid stone.

Also apparently you can choose these as player characters? But with level adjustment and starting hit dice, you'd only be able to play a 1st level crystalline troll in a 15th level campaign.

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Sunday, 26 November 2017


The Hecatoncheires -- the hundred-handed ones-- are one of those creatures from the dawn of the universe, when the gods were birthing freakish horrors all willy-nilly. There aren't that many of these creatures out there, which is fortunate, since the Hecatoncheires has one of the highest CRs in the game (57!) They don't have much in the way of magic, the way a lot of the creatures at that level of play tend to have.

It just has a heck of a lot of arms.

Good for you if you're a human-sized creature, because this fella'll only be able to get its arms in order to hit you twenty times in a turn (and it probably won't miss).

Okay, so I said they don't have much in the way of magic, but that doesn't mean they're completely non-magical. For one, on the very small chance that it feels it needs help, the Hecatoncheires can summon another one of its kind. So now you're dealing with 200 sword-wielding arms wanting to chop you into hamburger meat. Also, they can make themselves fly.

An average intelligence combined with the madness of 50 arguing heads means that they have little in the way of ambition outside smashing stuff. Probably the best way to get rid of a rampaging Hecatoncheires is to get yourself a really really powerful wizard to teleport it to an empty spot in the universe every couple of centuries.

In Greek mythology, the Hecatoncheires (there are three of them) weren't benevolent per se, but they were definitely less evil than the version in D&D. They got locked up in Tartarus by their father Uranus when he feared that they would usurp him. Later on, Zeus busted them out to get their help in his war against the Titans. As a reward, the Hecantoncheires now guard Tartarus, where the Titans are imprisoned. There's probably some poetic justice there.

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Wednesday, 8 November 2017


The hollyphant is a celestial creature primarily associated with Chaav and Lastai, two gods of joy, acting primarily as their messengers. Most of the time a hollyphant is seen, it will appear as a petite flying elephant, about the size of a small dog. But if it needs to attack, it will shift into a giant, more threatening shape.

While small, the hollyphant is immune from all spells. It loses this protection when it shifts into its larger form, trading defense for offense. Despite the size change, it remains just as nimble both on ground and in the air.  It has as many magical spells, but it's main attack is it's trunk. As well as knock enemies about in it, the hollyphant can either release a shattering bellow or spray a shower of light (deadly to evil).

Note that both forms of the hollyphant are it's true form. If viewed through a true seeing spell, both its large and smaller selves will be seen at the same time.

This is one of those creatures that I always kinda rolled my eyes at when I saw it. The illustration of the big winged elephant thing is not that good. But then I noticed there was a CUTE TINY GOLDEN FLYING ELEPHANT hiding next to it and I was like yesssssss.

I chose to do this as two illustrations instead of one because the CUTE TINY GOLDEN FLYING ELEPHANT deserved to be more noticeable than it is in the book. Some liberties were taken with the design of the big form. It's supposed to have wings, but I like to think it can still fly with its ears. Just a huge bulk kept aloft by vigorously flapping tiny ears.

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Tuesday, 31 October 2017


Sometimes ghouls get lumped together with zombies. They're dead, they eat flesh, they're just a bit meaner, right? Well, zombies happen because of external circumstances (spells, curses...) and are mindless, so that's not right. They're not the same as revenants, another species of intelligent undead, since they're not motivated by revenge, anger or any sort of emotion.

The ghoul rises from the dead because it's hungry.

Those who practice cannibalism risk becoming ghouls. Now, this seems like an easier path to immortality than, say, discovering the philosopher's stone or going through all the tedious rituals to become a lich. Just eat a few orphans and homeless people and that's eternity for you, baby. An eternity of being hungry. But if you're the sort of person that would happily chow down on your fellow man, then you're probably not the type to be disappointed in the results. You don't get magical powers, but you get some poisonous claws so that's neat I guess?

Did a buncha research on ghouls, because I know they're a folkloric beast that's undergone quite a bit of transformation over time. I already knew they were an Arabic beastie (a ghûl), with them appearing in the Arabian Nights stories -- spooky monsters what hide in graveyards and eat corpses. What I didn't know is that that version of the ghouls are a mistranslation-slash-fabrication by the translators of the original texts. Early ghouls were more like demons or evil jinn that lived out in the desert and lured travelers to kill them. They were also often feminine, shapeshifters, and used as boogeymen to scare kids. Pretty much a generic monster that appears in every culture in the world.

But the Westernized version has stuck so that the ghoul as a skulking male/genderless grave-robber functions as today's definition. Lovecraft went in a bit of an interesting thing with them, making them appear less and less human the more time the ghoul has spent unalive.

Happy Spookoween, peeps.

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