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

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Monday, 28 January 2013


Xorns are curiously neutral within the food chain of the world. Strange, elemental creatures of rock, they have little interest in soft-fleshed creatures, consuming instead the raw materials of the earth to sustain themselves. Hardly encountered by any except earth-digging races like Dwarves and Gnomes, a Xorn's voracious appetite for gold and gems, coupled with its extraordinary ability to glide through rock and earth without leaving any sort of disturbance, can make it a huge nuisance. In Xorn-populated areas, Dwarves are wise to line their treasure-rooms with lead or steel - Xorns are unable to pass through metallic substances in this way - although the fearsome strength of an Elder Xorn will still make short work of such defences.

The description of a Xorn in the first Monster Manual makes it sound almost like an earth elemental or a construct - a "stonelike" body, "stone-lidded eyes" - so I thought I'd take it away from the twisted, frog-like depiction in the illustration and more towards my preferred chunky, geometrical look. If the arms were segmented they'd remind me of those Laputa-esque robots in the fleetway Sonic comics.

The description of the Xorn's Earth Glide ability is kinda weird as to how you might visualise it. As with the Phase Spider I'd need to animate that blue-edged glow to properly communicate how it's meant to look! Maybe one day.

- Joe

Thursday, 24 January 2013


Lycanthropy is a magical affliction, transmitted through contact with cursed creatures known as Werewolves. The hapless subject experiences a painful and spontaneous transformation into a bestial form resembling a humanoid wolf either upon experiencing physical harm or being exposed to the light of a full moon. In time, the subject may learn to control his condition, eventually becoming able to suppress the more animalian urges that accompany the transformation and in some cases to effect the change at will.

Werewolves are dangerous foes, mixing the ferocity of a wolf with the best traits of the host creature. Their resilience, too, is legendary - foes attacking with anything but silvered weaponry are unlikely to kill them.

I wanted to do the werewolf because, like dragons and other famous monsters, I find most depictions of them take a similar sort of route. I've shamelessly plagiarised the red face/blue lips from Blanca's sublime Red Dragon but otherwise tried to take the monster away from the usual lithe, brown and muscular form and into something that belongs in a game like FFIX, big and colourful and blocky.

Also, it might not be immediately obvious but the host creature in this case is a dwarf - this was something that always made me curious. Do bigger creatures make for bigger werewolves? I like the idea that conservation of mass would make a dwarf into a rather short, stocky wolfman. Pleased with the painting quality I got for this one - make sure you click it to see it full-size!

- Joe

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Worm That Walks

So while being a Lich is the classic way to live forever: magically binding your soul to a corpse while keeping a piece of it soul in a seperate object for protection. The other way doesn't keep the soul attached to a corpse or jewel; it binds it to a million squirming maggots.

Becoming a Worm That Walks is a much more obscure spell and ritual that sometimes requires the assistance of another similarly high-leveled wizard. The grave site must be tended for over a year before the death of the person to be transformed by watering it with blood and sowing it with meat. This focuses the magic and guarantees a healthy population of vermin. The dead spellcaster is placed in the grave, and his companion finishes the ritual by casting a spell that attracts all sorts of beetles and worms to feed on the body. After a week, the flesh, organs and bones of the deceased are consumed by the vermin, and they become a hivemind controlled by the spellcaster's soul. Assuming the ritual is performed correctly, there's still only a small chance that it will work. The spell requires a massive amount of magical energy to be in the recently deceased, which means that it's primarily epic level spellcasters that successfully become Worm That Walks.

So why become something as icky as a Worm That Walks rather than the comparatively less icky Lich? Potential increase in survivability. Yes, a Lich with a well-hidden phylactery will survive dying, but a savvy adventurer will destroy the phylactery before doing to fight the Lich (see the Harry Potter franchise). A Worm That Walks contains its lifeforce in its squirming mass. If it feels threatened, it will take the risky but potentially rewarding course of breaking its body apart, sending its bugs squirming everywhere. Since its body is made up of so many of these little critters, there's a good chance that at least one will survive and reproduce to create enough worms to form a new body.

Also, its attacks are pretty horrifying, especially the one where you get wrapped up and eaten alive by its body (100 points of damage per round). It's smart enough to disguise itself too, either preparing several extended disguise self spells or purchasing a hat of disguise.

Good against players with Scoleciphobia.

Sunday, 20 January 2013


Wo Jia, Illustrious Scion of the Divine Kingly Bloodline and Peace-Loving Defender of the Sacred Light, reigned over the great Lowland kingdoms the better part of a century. His reign was an eventful one - he oversaw many great changes during his lifetime to which he always adapted in a way both harmonious and supremely willful, with the interests of the common man ever at heart. 

Despite the Lowlands being sandwiched between the aggressively expansionistic Dwarvish Commonwealth and the fervorous hordes of Kord, his Kingdom saw no war for the entire duration of his earthly reign. Indeed, he was so well-loved by his people that when he neared his end during an illness in his 117th year, there was panic among the nobles of his court. There was no heir to succeed him! How would the Kingdom continue to prosper without Wo Jia?

An agreement was reached. The ritual was performed in secret by a wizard - better for the public not to know, really. The ruse was faultless. At first, the difference was barely noticeable, since his flesh was already wasted away. They bathed him daily in perfumes, and incense was always burned in his presence. Over the years, though, it was clear to any onlooker with eyes to see; his skin was tanned like leather now, taut over bone like some delicate drum. If the people suspected, however, no man ever spoke of it. The King yet reigned, and the Lowlands flowered under his guidance. 

So, 200 images! Well, this is the 201st, I think. Blanca and I thought we'd celebrate by posting some of the most iconic creatures in the entirety of D&D - both ever-popular villains - the Red Dragon and the Lich (neither of which, miraculously, we've done before!). So, another big soppy thankyou (the second in a row) to everyone for sticking with us.

The Lich is pretty much the go-to guy for a scheming villain these days. Whether it's the eponymous villain of WoW's second expansion or Order of the Stick's cliché-embracing Xykon, a malevolent dead sorcerer is going to tick most of your boxes. Which isn't to say the formula isn't open to reinvention - one of the most popular villains of the last decade is actually a Lich! Who, you ask? Well, a Lich's defining characteristic is that he stores his immortal soul safely in a small trinket, called a Phylactery, in order to shield it from harm, rendering him unable to truly die. Can you think of any bad guys of recent years who would do something like that? Hint: he does it more than once!

Anyway, another big post. I'm not 100% fond of the image, but the idea of a Lich made out of good intentions is something I've been rolling about in my brain for a while. Enjoy!


Sunday, 13 January 2013

Red Dragon

Happy 200 images!

We mostly keep away from dragons and such to do some of the more obscure creatures in the D&D bestiaries. Those ones are usually a bit weirder and a bit what, but they're sometimes pretty cool and need more love. But in special occasions like these, you need to go back to the classics. Specifically, the classic final boss of the campaign and proof of your heroicness.

Among all the dragons, the Red Dragon is the one you really have to watch out for. They are the classic dragon: fire breather, gold hoarder, maiden eater, town razer. They are cruel, vindictive, greedy creatures and amongst the most powerful of dragons (only a fully grown gold dragon is stonger than a fully grown red). Even straight out of the egg, they're already the size of a human and are capable of taking down bears and similar dangerous animals. When they reach the Great Wyrm stage of their life, they're the only chromatic dragon to reach Colossal size, about 70ft in length. Even the main head of Tiamat, the chromatic dragon goddess, is that of a red dragon.

The first famous red dragon was Tolkein's Smaug from The Hobbit, who is the template on which all modern dragons come from. Which is a shame in some ways, because it feels like it limits them to a flying crocodile-dinosaur kind of form. I tried going in a more medieval direction with the Red Dragon, giving it some more leonine features, though he's still quite scaly and bat-winged.

Sunday, 6 January 2013


A grotesque caricature of a human head crossed with a bat, the Vargouille is an awful creature hailing from the nether plane of Carceri. At a meagre 18 inches high (excluding its wings), it might seem little more than a pest to the experienced adventurer - yet it is endowed with the ability it shares with its greater cousin, the hideous Vargouille's Kiss and will often attack in swarms. Ranged combat with these horrors is recommended!

Happy New Year! 2012 was fun for the most part. We saw our pageviews skyrocket on a number of occasions (helped in no small part by certain websites COUGH COUGH) and all our statistical graphs exhibit healthy, upwards-pointing slopes. So a big THANKYOU to everyone who visits Dungeons & Drawings, particularly to those who check back weekly and who provide us with feedback and Facebook likes and such! This helps us to get the word out on our blog so that more people can check out what we do. So don't forget to comment, tweet and facebook anything you see that you like - we've even made it stupidly easy for you by adding a set of buttons below each post SO YOU DONT EVEN NEED TO COPY AND PASTE THE URL. You can LITERALLY do it ONE-HANDED. With a MOUSE. This means if you buy a second mouse you can use the other hand to tweet about TWO POSTS AT ONCE. THIS IS SOME 2013 STUFF HERE, KIDS.

So what can we expect of 2013? First and foremost a ton more monsters.

But I'm also looking into ways to increase the amount of viewer feedback we get from y'all, things like polls to let us know what you want to see more of - creature types, challenge ratings, maybe colours or something. I've been talking to Blanca about the possibility of opening a separate Tumblr blog - is this something any of you would like to see? We're also getting together some stuff for merchandise which will be on sale somewhere later this year. PLUS WE WILL BE AT ONE OR MORE CONVENTIONS IN THE UK (stay tuned for news).

So, yeah. That was a bit of a long post, but I guess I had a lot to say. Hope you like the Vargouille. Here's to another great year!

- Joe