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

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Sunday, 16 July 2017


Illurien of the Myriad Glimpses is a mysterious creature living in a secret location in the Outlands known as the Atheneum Nefarious. Little is known about her or where she came from. Some theorize that she was created by the lich god Vecna, but this is unconfirmed. Those who have seen her describe Illurien as a silvery woman dressed in simple robes which seems to be made out of water. Her face is blank save for two penetrating blue eyes. She does not speak, but her voice patters like raindrops inside her head.

She is also one of the most knowledgeable creatures in the multiverse and her secret library is only second in size to Boccob's own. Each drop that makes up her body and floats around her represents a piece of knowledge that she's gathered over an indeterminate amount of years. The fine mist that surrounds her can daze nearby creatures by bombarding them with thousands of factoids at once. She can extend her body in a strike that sucks out the memories and thoughts of an opponent, leaving them a brain dead husk. Illurien's knowledge of combat techniques and psychology make her especially adept at dodging attacks simply by calculating the location of greatest advantage.

Ilurien of the Myriad Glimpses can be summoned to answer questions, but she must be treated with the same level of caution one would treat a demon. She cannot be trusted.

It was very very hard not to design Illurien in such a way to make her look like Blue Diamond from Steven Universe. Robed watery (blue) lady? Come on now. Eventually I came upon a design that made her look a little bit more alien and possibly ghostly, but I'm happy.

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Sunday, 9 July 2017

Earth Whisper

The town has an old man with a story. When he was young, he was part of a group of miners going to explore a nearby cave. No bears or wolves entered there; no drow appeared on night-time raids; there wasn't the sound of dwarf, kobold or goblin pickaxes.

He describes going in with a dozen other young men, seeing the green and blue copper veins in the walls, the faint light of quartz reflecting lantern light. He describes a feeling that overcame him , the rushing ice-water and sinking guts of fear. All of them starting running, not to the mouth of the cave, but deeper, deeper into the darkness. He doesn't know how it happened, but they got separated. It must have been the panic that disoriented him, that made him forget where cavern openings were, what made him miss the pits that seemed to suddenly appear beneath his feet.

He remembers hearing voices in the dark, the voices of his friends shouting on the other side of walls, angry, afraid. He heard whispers in his ears that tell him it's their fault he was trapped here, that they're getting rid of him.

He doesn't know how he escaped. But don't go in the old cave, the cave with no animal prints, the cave that houses no bats. There's something evil in that cave and it can't be seen.


The earth whisper in an earth elemental that uses mind-altering effects to drive people into caverns, which it reshapes using the stone shape spell, trapping intruders in tiny pockets until they either starve, suffocate or kill themselves. If more than one person is there, after trapping them it gives them a sudden rush of gold lust which makes them fight each other over whatever meager riches the other holds. The earth whisper is incorporeal (though not invisible) and hides inside the stone walls of its cave while it drives others mad.

This kind of monster has really great potential for a more psychological campaign, I think.

It has a really great concept, but boy is it difficult to come up with a visual design for. It's an incorporeal earth elemental sooooo... a ghostly lump of dirt? Ghost are easy to draw since it's easy to identify a translucent human, skeleton, animal, whatever. But here you have to communicate that it's this weird type of creature and also by the way you can't touch it.

I'm fairly pleased with the result which I think does the whole intangible thing okay. I wanted to make an earth elemental that looked different from my earlier attempt. Though I kinda pat myself on the back for making it not a lump of grey-brown stuff and basing it on malachite, I find that it looks a bit more watery than earthy (the foam-like dust mane doesn't help either). With this one I took inspiration for pyrite and bismuth minerals. Not terribly spooky, but I like colours.

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Sunday, 2 July 2017


The barghest is the particular flavour of hellhound that stalks the ashen slops of the Bleak Eternity of Gehenna. The barghest is especially ugly, looking like a bulky mangy wolf with goblinoid facial features. This beast is capable of shifting between a fully lupine and fully goblinoid form, but primarily stays in its hybrid body.

What makes the barghest a challenging opponent is its stealth capabilities. While it can't fly, it can surpass obstacles by levitating. It naturally leaves no marks of its passage and high-level spells are needed to detect nearby individuals. Larger barghests can also render themselves and members of their pack invisible. A barghest grows by consuming the corpses of humanoid victims, eating flesh and bone so nothing is left. The scant availability of puny mortals in their volcanic dimension means that any unfortunate interloper will find themselves greedily sought after.

The Barghest is one of the many names that the ghostly black dogs of British Isles. This particular name originating from Yorkshire. Other national variants include the yeth hound (Devon and Cornwall), Gwyllgi (Wales), Moddey Dhoo (Isle of Man), Grim (Lanchashire) and just so many spelling variations of Black Shuck. Black Shuck may be the most famous of these names, but I can't be sure. All of them are large ghostly dogs, black-furred with glowing red eyes, and death omens. The Hound of the Baskervilles was inspired by these legends. The name "barghest" is the one I was most familiar with because it was in a book of mythical creatures I had as a kid. I can't remember the title though. I had a lot of these books.

I'm not sure where the whole shapeshifting into a goblin thing exactly comes from; I've only found once instance of a legend that claims that black hounds can shapeshift. My closest guess is that somebody read the term goblin-dog ("goblin" meaning "monster" rather than your contemporary fantasy Tolkein goblin) and went with that.

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