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

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Sunday, 27 March 2011

Topiary Guardian

The topiary guardian is a creature used by druids and noblemen as sentinels for their glades and gardens. Unlike true golems, which are purely animated by magic, topiary guardians have a summoned spirit that moves their bodies. They are able to stand perfectly still, blending perfectly among the other similarly manicured hedges. Their soft leafy bodies make them invulnerable to attacks from non-edged weapons, making arrows and clubs useless, but mean that fire is their worst enemy.

Sorry for being late with this stuff; it's been a tiring week. The reason the creature's shaped like a stag is because the job I've been working on involves me animating a stag, so I've been looking at lots of videos of bouncing deer.


Varakhuts are the elder, stranger kin of the Kolyaruts , both members of a mysterious family of mechanical creatures known as "Inevitables". Inevitables are the very incarnation of law and order, forged in the pure heart of Mechanus and sent out as agents of balance to bring order to chaos and prevent specific occurances which might harm the natural harmony of spacetime.

Each class of inevitable is responsible for a different aspect of order - Kolyaruts punish oathbreakers, Maruts kill those who unfairly avoid death - Varakhuts are responsible for the defence of deities against those who would depose them. Inevitables are not creatues that engage in worship of any god but understand that the destruction or deposition of these divine powers would bring only chaos. Varakhuts are as such the most powerful among the Inevitables as their natural opponents are strong enough to threaten gods.

We're a week late this week, so we'll be doing a mid-week post at some point to make up. Varakhuts are pretty cool, I like them because I imagine they are from a system older and more fundamental than the gods they protect. Like, the gods will come and go, but the Varakhuts will always be there to protect them.

Monday, 14 March 2011


The Harpy is a demonic woman, hideously ugly. Her looks are counterbalanced by her voice, which is beautiful and alluring, capturing the wills of any who listen to it and drawing them to their deaths.

I almost went for something more bird-like, but I stopped when I realized my ideas were too close to the World of Warcraft harpies. The head of this one is still based on that of one of the ugliest birds in the world, the turkey.

Sunday, 13 March 2011


Vampirism is a dreadful magical curse which spreads, virus-like, from one creature to another. The curse is passed onto any creature whose life is drained by an existing vampire, and only creatures of roughly human physiognomy are succeptible. When the afflicted creature dies, it rises again as a creature of the night, driven by tortuous necessity to drink the blood of the living. Vampires vary in temperament and style as much as the diverse races they hail from, but by the nature of the curse itself are predestined towards acts of evil.

Vampires are such an old and complicated myth, it's a shame that the rampant popularity they've enjoyed culturally over the last few years does little to acknowledge the weird shit that inspired them (one part of necrophilia, one part cannibalism and one part sexual predation and rape, for starters). The most well-known incarnation is probably still Béla Lugosi's, but it's a little too visually hammy for my tastes. Much scarier for me is the Max Schreck version, this scene in particular.

Sorry for the sort of sparse illustration this week, it's actually part of a poster design that I did reworked without the text. German expressionism, go!

Sunday, 6 March 2011


Of the many deities and demigods across the planes, only a fraction of real knowledge is held. These beings, unknowably powerful, defy rational thought; they live indefinitely, apparently drawing some power from the faithful acts of their followers.

Knowledge of the creation and destruction of godly beings is thus incredibly hard to come by. One story, however, is sometimes whispered of by the eldest and most knowledgeable archmages: it is said that sometimes, when a god comes into being, some fault or flaw corrupts its manifestation and the god perishes in the instant it is born. These stillborn gods, still powerful in their own right, instantly rise as gigantic undead beings called Atropals. An abomination in the truest sense of the word, the rise of an Atropal dooms worlds.

This is the first creature we've done from the Epic Level Handbook, a fun volume that contains everything you need to make an adventure for characters at 20th level or higher (at level 20 characters pretty much become demigod superheroes). All the creatures in the ELH are really imaginative and cool, and most of them stats that would make a 5th level paladin cringe. The above creature is surrounded by a 30-foot aura that kills most creatures outright then resurrects them as undead minions a few turns later. Yipes!

and yes, it's pretty much an aborted god-fetus. sorry!


The halls of the dwarven kings are the sombre grave of a great civilization who met unfortunate doom. In it's great halls, there is first the quick patter of a thief's feet, followed by the wail of spirits still defending the ancient ruin.

A ghost is what's known as a "template" creature. You know how you can have a dragon, or a griffin, or an elf? Well you can also have a ghost dragon, a ghost griffin, or a ghost elf, by applying a certain set of stats to that creature. Something I like about D&D is its customizability through sheer number of templates for every situation conceivable. Because --gosh darn it-- if I want the players to fight a two-headed T. Rex that breathes acid and is made entirely out of goo, then my players will fight a two-headed T. Rex that breathes acid and is made entirely out of goo.

Those ghost were originally meant to be part of the Valkyrie image from a couple of months back, being the spirit of a dead warrior being taken to the enternal battlefields of the afterlife. But I couldn't find a way to draw the ghost that didn't take attention away from the Valkyrie herself, so he had to be scrapped.

Thursday, 3 March 2011


Born from the branches of ancient oak trees, dryads are the protectors of forests and plantlife. They are peaceful creatures, lacking the mischievous instincts of her faerie brethren, but can become a fierce opponent when she finds her home threatened.

This image is inspired by Ivan Bilibin, a Russian illustrator best know of the images he did for the tale of Vasilisa the Beautiful. I think it's a crime that there don't seem to be any books collecting his artwork.