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Tuesday, 31 May 2011


Mercanes are the ultimate salesmen of the universe. They travel across dimensions followed by their entourage of bodyguards and train of merchandise, ready to buy and sell. As completely neutral creatures, they're free to wander where they please. You can find them anywhere from the mortal plane, to the Heavens, to the Abyss.

The winner for last week's which type the monster should be was the outsider. Not exactly surprising, since they're one of the groups with consistently interesting-looking creatures.

The manual describes these creatures as blue-skinned with multi-jointed fingers. Let me tell you, it was really difficult not to make him look like a certain fella from The Thief and the Cobbler.

New poll this week. Hoping to make a regular thing out of this. There's too many cool monsters to pick from.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


Energons are a srare and elusive species. They are born from the essence of various planes, and take the form of jellyfish-like balls of elemental energy. Energons are likely to be found hovering near dimensional portals, as they're attracted to its magical energy, and curious about what's on the other side. The Xac-Yij is the energon that comes from the Ever-Changing Chaos of Limbo, and is powered by corrosive acid. All energons are largely harmelss, being incorporeal creatures and possessing no physical strength, but they each have a preferred battle plan should they have to fight. The Xac-Yij prefers attacking the weaker, smaller creatures, and flee from bigger foes.

I've done a little more work on that goblin model from last week. I'm currently learning how to do some basic rigging in this Maya course, so hopefully I should be able to animate something with it. I'm also trying to decide whether I should model the clothes as a seperate object or as part of the monster. Any 3D people out there with opinions?

Also, check out the poll in the top right corner. Go click on it.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Primal Air Elemental

These are the kings of air elementals and one of the more powerful monsters. Their amorphous soft bodies make them largely immune to many spells and damage from all but the most powerful weapons. As neutral creatures, they have no destructive urges, but their low intelligence means that they can easily be tricked.

Oh elementals. You're so difficult to make interesting because you're literally piles of stuff.

Edit: Modelling a goblin in three-dee, y'all.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Living Blasphemy

Many mysteries surrond the true nature of magic, despite the devotion of extensive resources to its study. One such mystery has been observed to occur in circumstances where high-level spellcasters have (perhaps carelessly) overextended their powers in the casting of a particularly potent spell; over time, the spell can develop in complexity and potency, divorcing itself entirely from its caster and eventually gaining a sort of sentience of its own.

One spell which is lamentably capable of this transformation is the Blasphemy curse. A seventh-level spell favoured by clerics of dark deities such as Nerull or Vecna, Blasphemy affects an area, afflicting all within its boundaries with conditions ranging from dizzied confusion to paralysis or painful death. In the case we see here, a particularly powerful instance of the spell has become sentient, appearing as a twisting, globular pillar of darkness, creeping towards you. Despite its sentience the creature is devoid of any proper intelligence, desiring only death and pain - whoever is struck by its roiling branches suffers the full extent of the spell's original effects.

Sorry for all the delayed posts from me lately, work has been pretty busy for the last few weeks (in addition to me being sort of ill and my computer packing in again). Oh well! I am attempting to catch up.

I do like the idea of sentient spells, I think it's an idea worth applying to more magical abilities. Living Cone of Cold, anyone? I sort of imagine it would be quite cute. Although, if you're feeling brave there are some slightly more epic opportunities if you know where to look.


The Wang-Liang are a race of mountain and forest dwelling giants. They used to be one of the dominant races, but that position has been usurped by the human population. As spirit-like creatures, they have a number of invisibility and shape-shifting powers, which they could easily use to dupe humans. Despite their inherent evil and envy of this younger race, they are very honorable creatures.

Oh Oriental Adventures, you are such an interesting setting. I wish to play a campaign in your world.

The Wang-Liang is one of the weakest of the giant race (CR 4), out of all the giants in the D&D books. The weakest "true" giants, as from the monster manual, are CR 9, which means that you have to be pretty high level to be able to take one on. I guess ogres are CR 3, but they're literally just dim-witted monstrous men that beat you with clubs.

Wang-Liang have a lot more flavour-stuff going on with them. They have the aforementioned spell-like abilities, and they also have a high intelligence score (compare the ogre's 6 to the wang-liangs 16. For the reader's not familiar with these numbers, humans only get an average of 10 for intelligence score). Their signature weapons are double-ended bladed staffs, but then they also have retractable claws.

I'm not really sure where wang-liangs come from as a concept. Folklore, especially oriental folklore, is fraught with shape-shifting spirits and demons. I couldn't find a creature out there that had the same name as the wang-liang, so I can only guess that these are based on some kinda especially tricky oni.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Gilin, Invisible Blade

Invisible Blades are unusual fighters (usually of some confidence or flair) who see that the key to success in combat is not always through big muscles, weapons or spells. Wielding only knives and other small, unassuming weapons, an Invisible Blade relishes being underestimated. He boldly takes on foes, unarmoured, eager to take advantage of their overconfidence, then feints to create an opening and guts them before they have a chance to react.

A more common class choice for the smaller, nimbler races, this prestige class (a class only useable when certain skill conditions have been met) seems to have been built to give Rogues the opportunity for a more in-your-face play style. To the common thug, a dagger obviously does a lot less damage than a longsword - however, Rogues who attack their opponents from behind or catch them off guard get a huge "sneak attack" bonus (hahaha). Invisible Blades, as well as being able to add their intelligence bonus to their AC (to help them out with the whole "not wearing armour" thing) get a better feint, which essentially allows them to sneak attack people from the front.

I'm a huge fan of the idea of classes not being cut-and-paste character types - obviously generalising, whilst fairly safe at first, gets boring quickly. I love prestige classes because they help you specialise your character into a real niche. Not all rogues are the same - a player might want to roll a Rogue who can sneak around like a ninja, or who can fight using spectacular acrobatics, or uses his fists like a street brawler; prestige classes give you further bonuses to help you make those play styles viable. Blanca once wrote a really cool NPC Rogue who was dead shot with a bow (ranged sneak attack, anyone? okay okay enough with the tf2 metaphors). So, yeah. If you like your rogues showoffish and bluffy, the Invisible Blade might be for you.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Xylia Glass, Alienist

Alienists are wizards and sorcerers who have delved to deep into the study of aberrations and the chaotic powers of the Far Realm. They follow their science with religious zeal, slowly descending into insanity and physical mutation as they chase immortality and trascendence of normal dimensions. Even the creatures they summon with their spells are of a warped, unnatural appearance.

This is a pretty good prestige class for players who don't want to sacrifice magical power for specific class abilities, the Alienist being a flavour prestige rather than a strategically sound one. As you gains levels, your character literally begins to go insane; you lose points to your Wisdom stat and take penalties to your interaction with normal people and animals. It's kind of balanced out by a handful of extra hit points and a bunch of damage redutions. But you're also crazy. That's the fun of flavour prestige classes.

And what's fantasy without a little HP Lovecraft thrown in the mix?

PS: I've started a new blog that may be useful to any artists out there. It's called Reference Reference, and I'm going to be archiving my collection of reference/inspirational images. Look at it to see some of the references I used for this week's image.