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

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Sunday, 1 April 2018

LeShay


The LeShay are to elves what elves are to humans. Which is what this game needed: a more hoity-toity elf. It's possible that LeShay are even the true ancestors of elves, having seeded the Material Plane with their progeny. They're adept shapeshifters, able to appear as any humanoid, but their true form is that of a white elf-like creature with deep black eyes. And despite the unsettling appearance, looking at them give one a strange sense of longing and camraderie. 

LeShay are not put off by locked doors. They will get in.

LeShay cannot be stopped by armour. They will get through.


I've been a little ehhhhhh about drawing lately. Artist's block. It happens somethings. Nothing I've drawn recently I've especially liked in anything beyond the thumbnail stage. The Halite animation I did was pretty much because I just couldn't make myself design and draw something new, so just animate something that somebody else has designed. Sometimes this loosens up my brain, sometimes it doesn't. I'm still kinda stuck, but it'll stop eventually.

I've been using Manga Studio for a while but mostly stuck to the same pen (the turnip pen does really nice crispy lines). After several attempts attempts on this I accepted that no matter what I did I wasn't going to be happy with it as a proper illustration. So experiment a bit with other styles of colouring. The colouring in this is mostly done with the flat marker tool for a more smudgy look. It's probably not something that I'm gonna add to my usual drawing style probably, but at least it looks kinda interesting.

Also I treated the LeShay like a little bit as a fairy fantasy version of what the Engineers were in the Prometheus movie. The illustration in the Epic Level Handbook is a little bit boring. Just a grey elf in some brown clothes. But I liked how the description had a bit of that alien-y fairy feeling.

(Not included in the image, but these dudes can manifest +10 keen brilliant energy weapons out of their own life force.)


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Sunday, 25 March 2018

Cavvekan


Cavvekan is the Undercommon name for the cavedog or bat-faced dog. Despite this name, it's likely that cavvekans are not canids at all, but a type of large rodents. Regardless, they fill a similar niche that jackals or coyotes would; they're small onmnivorous mammals who hunt tiny prey and fungi, or scavenge food from more capable predators.

As subterranean creatures, their sense of sight is so diminished that they are practically blind. They instead rely on their sense of smell and hearing. If regular clicks are heard in a dark cave, it's likely that what you're hearing is them using echolocation. The cavvekan is completely hairless except for it's whiskers, though the dark, velvety skin on its body can be confused for fur.

They're very skittish creatures, perfectly aware of their position as a possible lunch to the large predators that live underground. However, the drow occasionally manage to capture enough cavvekan pups to start breeding programs. They're good guard animals, but not often used as attack beasts. The drow tend to have access to more lethal options.

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Sunday, 18 March 2018

Firenewt

 

Firenewts are relatives to lizardfolk, but their environment and behaviour is different enough for them to be confused with salamanders. Unlike lizardfolk, firenewts thrive in environments of extreme heat, with some tribes even living near or in active volcanos. Oftentimes, a creature so comfortable with fire would be a native of the Plane of Fire, but firenewts are completely native to the Material Plane.

Firenewts are extremely aggressive to both other firenewts and non-humanoid races. If a warband of these creatures is spotted, it's a sure thing that they're participating in a raid, possibly to smash the eggs of another firenewt tribe. They're also a highly religious people, with the most important members of society often being clerics in service to evil fire gods.

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Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Gem Scarab


Gem scarabs are cat-sized beetles found primarily in deserts, though some miners claim to have seen them in especially rich caves. These scarabs are actually a pretty big problem for any occupation that relies on the collection of metal or precious stones, since they're the beetles' main source of food. As well as being big enough that their bites would leave a significant mark, the gem scarab is, of course, magically competent.

The colour of the gem is indicative of the scarab's spell's element; diamonds for light, emeralds for acid, sapphire for cold, etc... The spells are relatively weak and primarily used as a distraction so the scarab can fly or burrow away. However, if feeling especially territorial or threatened, the scarab can prove dangerous to common people and inexperienced adventurers.

So did you know that living beetle jewellery is actually a thing? Apparently the maquech beetle is this really docile little buddy, so some people have taken to attaching rhinestones and golden chains to them to make them into living brooches. It's kinda pretty, but it seemed weird to use a literal live animal as personal decor. Apparently you can keep them alive for 2-3 years if you make sure to take care of them, feed them, house them in a nice vivarium... But I really don't know how many people who'd buy a bug for a brooch would go through that trouble.

If you want a beetle brooch that badly, just go get yourself a piece of the bajillion insect-themed jewellery items that exist, geez.

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Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Succubus

Of all the demonic denizens of the Abyss, the succubus is admired by mortals because it usually appears in the shape of someone especially desirable. Of course those mortals are very, very stupid if they think they're going to get a good time from this demon without having to give anything in return. The succubus is, after all, a soul-sucking monstrosity. They feel like ice. You will not have fun. Then you'll die.

Every culture has its version of the succubus, that is to say the seductive, disease-bringing, man-eating demon that serves as a warning against getting yourself some strange. The male equivalent, the incubus, isn't quite as common and usually extra rapey.

Some Christian texts claim that the incubus and succubus are the same demon shape-shifting between male and female forms. Angelic and demonic beings are supposedly unable to procreate the biological way. To get around this, the succubus steals semen from her victim, then shapeshifts into an incubus to impregnate a female victim. Despite the human source, the demonic transportation ensures that any child born of this union isn't completely human. Merlin is said to be the result of a union between an incubus and a human woman.

Something I really resent with depiction of succubi/incubi, especially modern depictions, is the focus on the sexiness of the demon. It's very much an "ooooh nooo, I'm getting seduced by this hot chick/dude with horns oh wellllll..." with none of the "btw this is sexual assault it hurts i'm literally wasting away please call a priest" part of the legends. These sex demons were associated with nightly emissions, sleep paralysis, sexual anxiety, rape... There's a reason these guys go after you in your sleep. So I really wanted so create a really repugnant image. Something that really showed the predatory sexual horror that this demon is supposed to represent.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Ahuizotl


Lurking in swamps, watery caverns and murky rivers, the ahuizotl hides just below the water's surface, hoping to exploit the altruism of anybody nearby by calling out like a lost, scared child. When someone rushes towards it to help, this creatures grabs them and drags them into the water. The hand at the end of its long, prehensile tail is especially strong, and used as a primary weapon. Even those who escape the ahuizotl are often blinded forever, since its first moves tend to be an attempts to rip out their victim's eyes.

While the ahuizotl feeds on people, it's very particular about which body parts it prefers. Corpses are found floating on the water, skin bruised but untouched, missing their eyes, teeth and fingernails.

You may have heard about this creature from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, but the ahuizotl is a creature of Mexican myth. Meaning spiny aquatic thing, it's described as a dog-like creature with monkey- or raccoon-like paws and a human hand at the end of its tail. It's a bit up in the air as to whether it's smooth (as stated in the Florentine Codex) or spiky (like it's name implies).

In the mythology, the ahuizotl is an agent of the rain and water god Tlaloc. Those killed by the ahuizotl were either chosen ones transported to his afterlife, or sinner punished for hoarding. In D&D, it's implied to be a completely independent aberration. I don't know why they chose to make it an aberration instead of a magical beast or outside, since aberrations tend to be tentacley, squishy alien things.

Most drawings of the ahuizotl tend to play up the dog aspect, but a few other people have thought the true water dogs: seals otters. But I didn't base this on your squeaky cute Redwall river otters or cuddly (but distressingly horrible) sea otters. I took my inspiration from the 5-foot long, nightmare-eyed, caiman-and-anaconda-eating monstrosity that is the South American giant river otter.

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Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Animated Object

Animated objects come in all shapes and sizes. And while, say, suits of armour, weapons and doorways may be of more obvious value, sometimes smaller objects are the ones gifted with motion. Though maybe one can see how living bobbins and needles would be useful to an especially busy tailor.

These objects aren't technically alive, making it somewhat easy to maintain them. So long as one has the relevant skill (sewing, carpentry, metalworking...) keeping your animated servant going is relatively easy. The difficult part may be finding a spellcaster with the relevant magic ability for it. Or maybe you can come across the leavings of a ravid.

Animated objects generally aren't sentient, but faerie magic and children's wishes can alter that.

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