Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Fifty Fiends

One of the things I've been doing over the last couple of months, as I've had a spare few minutes here and there (between working on Kickstarter stuff, dealing with work stuff, and living up to family commitments), is draw some fiends.

Originally, the drawings were just things I had planned on piling up into the material that may (or may not) eventually become the Creature Compendium II. But having 50 lower planes natives in CC2 seemed a bit to weighted toward one type of creature (since my CC goal has always been a good mix of stuff that fits all types of adventures/campaigns), so my objective shifted a bit.

My new goal was to come up with 50. That's enough drawings to do that alliterative thing that I (and Stan Lee) seem to love so much, allowing me to name them as the "Fifty Fiends," with a potential (but-as-yet unconfirmed book... Fifty Fiends). Some are based on demons from historical sources (like Collin de Plancy's Dictionnaire Infernal), and a couple are based on PD comic book images, but most are just of result of my placing pencil to paper and drawing until I was done.

I was originally planning on dual-statting them (as with the Creature Compendium. However, I realized how textually cumbersome that would become with the need to add resistances, immunities, psionics, etc. Instead, I'm planning on going with the basic B/X stat block, an additional stat block for immunities/resistances (e.g., damage from fire, ice, etc.), and a B/X psionics stat block. This does a couple of things that I like. First, it makes things pretty easy for Oe and 1e players to convert (e.g., I'm planning on including some info so Oe/1e players using first gen psionics can convert the psionic stats). Second, it helps keep things in line with any information that might be included in the Basic Atlas of the Planes (which itself may take years to finish).

So a week or two ago, I finished the drawings. Then, in those spare few minutes here and there over the last week or two, I've been naming them, assigning them a native plane (and planar layer, where appropriate), and noting who (or what) they serve (or their place in an existing planar hierarchy).

So to whet your appetite, here are all 50 illustrations compiled into a handy-dandy visual overview (that is roughly alphabetically by fiend name!

As a side note, if the book does publish, I am considering auctioning off all 50 original illustrations as a single folio.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Really Old Old-School Artist: René Bull

It's been quite a while since I've done one of these posts. But it's also been quite a while since I stumbled across a new artist that I felt like I wanted to cover. I'm not sure what had me looking through copies of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (well, actually I do, but I'd rather not say... yet), but I found an edition with which I was unfamiliar. This one features the art of British illustrator and photographer René Bull. I'll let you go to the Wikipedia link (just there) if you want the skinny on this Dublin-born son of a French mother and British father.

Bull's color work reminds of Edmund Dulac and Howard Pyle, in terms of tone and painting style. On the other hand, Bull's B&W work is, in a lot of ways, the overall "look" I had in my mind for the higher level mystics when I wrote the Basic Psionics Handbook. Particularly the image below that looks like the guy is floating on pillows.

Without further ado, here you go...