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Sunday, 30 September 2012


Yet another monster with those names I either constantly have looked up or be ready to copy paste. Looked up if it was based on or inspired by some mesoamerican monster, but it doesn't seem to be.

These dudes are manta rays with a bad disposition. And that's pretty much the beginning and end of it. When I first saw them I was hoping they were gonna be some kind of aboleth-like creature but they are literally intelligent four-foot long manta rays. The Demon Lord Demogorgon just gathered a bunch of these little fellas up and gave them smarts and a superiority complex. They're not even stingrays (no poison), they're just kinda slippery and mean. I've attempted to give them something a little more to their look so they have tell-tale signs of demonic influence. Some of them are called Vampiric Ixitxachitl, which aren't undead, just a subspecies that can feed off your life energy.

They should make for an interesting early-level enemy for your underwater campaign, instead of relying on kuo-toa and sahuagins. Plus your players may not think too much of the innocent little ray that's lying in the sand. Then come the negative levels.


Especially in areas of intense magical activity, corpses rarely stay dead for long. The Bhut is a result of a creature dying violently and suddenly, far from home. One of the more lively forms of undead, a Bhut is actually a formless spirit with the ability to inhabit dead bodies. Whilst it takes to its adopted form with some vigor it is not known for its finesse, and takes some creative decisions with the flesh of its host. Appearing as a horrible cloud of gristle, blood and bone, the Bhut aggressively attacks any who approach it.

Saturday, 29 September 2012


The Hippogriff is a classic fantasy creature, half eagle and half horse. Not as classic as the griffin. Actually the first time I heard of a hippogriff was in The Prisoner of Azkaban and not really sure if they were for real or not. Seems a bit like the griffin's dorkier cousin. Their eggs are valuable though and they make decent mounts.

Haven't animate anything in a while and I wanted to try out Photoshop's animation function. It's frustratingly basic, but at least I can use its brushes. I animated the basic hippogriff in Flash, then painted it and the background in Photoshop and comped it in After Effects. Finally made myself figure out scrolling backgrounds (with some help).

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Pit Fiend

The Pit Fiend stands twice as tall as an adult human, wreathed in flames and using its wide wings like a grotesque cape. Pit Fiends are the princes of the diabolic realm of the Nine Hells of Baator, chief movers and shakers among the Baatezu. Endowed with monstrous strength and agility, as well as magical power, they are intelligent fighters and tacticians, more than capable of wiping out an entire party of adventurers solo. Luckily for the inhabitants of the material plane, the eternal conflicts of Baator keep the majority of these devils occupied.

Pit Fiend! Simple look, I guess influenced by things like Firebrand and that little blue Devil guy from that NES game that's in Brawl, and also by Chernabog. Mostly influenced by me trying to add tons of details like armour and chains and stuff and then thinking "god this looks terrible" and then removing it. Woo hoo! Art!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Giant Banded Lizard

The Giant Banded Lizard is not a creature of legendary intellect. It doesn't plot; it has no minions; it doesn't hoard treasure; it has no magical abilities. That's because it's literally a big stripey desert lizard of huge size. But it'll still rip your shizzle because this here's a CR 7 creature with a nasty poison attack.

I like to think that those two guys in the bottom have been sent on a quest by the cooking lady so she can make some really lovely striped omelettes. Thems will be some good omelettes.

This monster's from Sandstorm, one of my favourite settings, as I've mentioned before. The monster section can be a little bit disappointing, since it can get a bit samey. Dried up undead monster with dehydrating attack, monster with sand attack, some sandworms, such and such... But there are some other quite interesting beasties there which I shall do in the future.


He Who Sleeps Beneath The Earth; the Great Hungerer; the Tarrasque. He lies dormant, but one day will wake. We await his return, when he will sow such perfect desolation that the worlds will be wiped clean and the land formed anew. We watch for His coming, as we lower our eyes towards his sleeping-place in the heart of the earth. Be vigilant, brothers and sisters; he comes.

I remember when I first picked up a Monster Manual my immediate urge was to scour the thing for the most powerful creature therein. I asked my (more knowledgeable) friend (who had lent me the book) who swiftly pointed me in the direction of the Tarrasque. I was suitably impressed - a legendary, 50-foot bipedal godzilla-esque creature which can't actually die and whose shell rendered it almost invulnerable to both weapons and magic. In fact, it can be said that the Tarrasque has only two good points - it sleeps underground for a very long time in between feeding sessions (or "natural disasters" depending on where you live) and there is mercifully only one of them. Needless to say, neither of these are much comfort if you are unlucky enough to experience it first-hand.

I think my interpretation here might seem a little extreme to some people, as the Tarrasque's appearance is very iconic. I just didn't want to draw the same godzilla/king bowser hybrid that most other artists use. Three principal things strike me about the Tarrasque's described appearance - it is bipedal, it has a shell that can bounce spells back at their users, and it has horns. It is also, curiously, described as "bird-like" in gait. The shell here is based off various pillbugs as well as the amazing Pangolin - this seems to be an element that some artists neglect in the Tarrasque's appearance, and since being practically unkillable is one of the creature's main traits I made a bigger deal out of it.

The beak, eyes and the curled-up pose are sort of a nod towards the Cthulhu mythos, which matches the creature's MO of sleeping for long periods of time. I also like the idea that some misguided apocalyptic cult is aware of the Tarrasque and worships it (despite the creature having only animalian intelligence).

I'm actually genuinely interested in what people think of the redesign here so feel free to let me know what you guys think in the comments.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Ogre Mage

Ogres are a kind of small giant which share common traits of stupidity and choleric temper with most of their brethren. An Ogre Mage is actually a distinct species altogether, of a much greater order of strength and intelligence and with an uncommonly innate adeptitude for magic spells. Rather than the rigorous and constant ritual training required by humans to reach even the lowest level of sorcery, Ogre Magi have access to high-level magic such as flight and transformation as hereditary abilities. Perhaps, as with many races, they were bred long ago by ancient wizards toying with forms of magical life? Their short black horns certainly suggest some level of demonic lineage.

The Ogre Mage's presence in the first 3.5 Monster Manual always intrigued me a little. There are many races capable of taking class levels in, say, sorcerer - in fact, many creature descriptions include an example of a "classed" monster. The Ogre Mage's name is fairly unique in the D&D lexicon - it isn't just an Ogre with a class, but a race of its own.

One thing you can get with very high-level spellcasters is they have ways to turn their spells into spell-like-abilities - the former needing meditation/preparation, the latter simply being something you can spontaneously do - the idea behind this being that once you've cast a certain spell a hundred times it becomes second nature. I like creatures like Ogre Magi who have spell-like-abilities because it's like they have some kind of savage, animalian magic that they can do reliably at a young age, whereas humans have to put on airs and study for decades to get anywhere.

tried to experiment with some Zangief scars and body piercings. some pretty fascinating reference photos out there, folks.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Fire Mephit

Lady, you need to get yourself a new job. Or hire some adventurers.

Despite their devilish aspect, Fire Mephits aren't evil hell-creatures. They're mischevious creatures from the Elemental Plane of Fire that you'll maybe be able to reason with. All the Elemental Planes (and some Quasielemental planes) have mephits in them, with their own set of abilities.

Just realized that I drew this guy as the wrong size category. Let's just say he's a young mephit. Or that this is a really big pie.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Rogue Eidolon

A Rogue Eidolon usually begins as a statue or idol to a deity in a temple or place of power. Whether by the intent of its deity or merely an unintended result of proximity to divine rituals, the statue is imbued with or accrues a spark of divine power from the god it was built to venerate.

In some rare cases, however, this strange power causes them to spontaneously experience a degree of sentience. The result is often catastrophic. The shock of awakening sends the unprepared golem utterly insane, spelling death for its unsuspecting worshippers. Should a Rogue Eidolon escape, there is no telling what it might do, as its movements are frantic and random - it will attack any and all creatures it finds in a mad rage.

Not only does a Rogue Eidolon have all the benefits of being a construct (huge strength, immunity from many forms of damage) but its corrupted divine power gives it some terrifying abilities - its touch sends men mad (and we're not talking 1d4 rounds here, we're talking a permanent Confusion spell that can only be removed with a Wish) and, horribly, it weeps a sort of blood from the divine symbols on its body, which it can regurgitate in a spray at foes. This blood also has a maddening effect that causes its victims to attack their allies.

Those of you who've read the entry for Rogue Eidolons probably realise that I've been a little liberal in my interpretation of the text - technically they only count evil gods as patrons. However, I really like the Rogue Eidolon with an emphasis on Rogue - as in, something that starts out good but "goes rogue". The idea of an evil statue coming alive and doing bad things seems pretty straightforward. But what if the same was possible of a statue dedicated to someone like Pelor? I really like the idea that divine power - even the divine power that comes directly from a good-aligned god - can at some point become perverted, corrupting. It makes the idea of the Rogue Eidolon seem like a really nasty aberration that needs to be stamped out.

The illustration above is actually of a Rogue Eidolon of Pelor who's the villain in a campaign I'm writing. Not only is he murderously crazy, but his Evil Plan actually involves trying to kill Pelor, who he (understandably?) resents.

Trying to develop my style of digital painting some more. Particularly inspired by the art style of Dota 2, which I've been playing a bunch.

Please view the full-size version!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Elysian Thrush

Itty bitty little bird; big song.

The Blessed Fields of Elysium are Ultimate Heaven. It's more good, peaceful and euphoric than Celestia (which while good, is still somewhat grounded). The more time you spend in the Fields, the more you risk never wanting to leave due to sheer bliss. You'll eventually forget all about your past life and simply stay there forever.

Some of the creatures, like the Elysian Thrush magnify this feeling further. In the Fields you'll forget who you were and why you'd ever want to go back home, but if you listen to the Thrush, your happiness could prove fatal. Their song is so enrapturing that you'll plonk yourself down on the nearest soft patch of grass and listen. Until you die of thirst and hunger. Granted, you have to listen to the singing for at least 12 hours for the effect to take place, but I imagine the Fields are just chock full of these guys and it'd be hard to find a spot that doesn't have them.

Aside from the song, they're perfectly harmless, ordinary birds. Just hope somebody with an okay Will save spooks it away before you die.