Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Torchbearer Beasts

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Luke Crane (game designer of the Mouse Guard RPG) has put out a new RPG book called Torchbearer. It's his game-design-love-letter to original Dungeons and Dragons. While I was traveling in early October, I did a few monster drawings for myself, but also shared them with Luke. He & his team have constructed a mini-supplement with them where they came up with descriptions and stats for each to be used with the game (but may be equally interesting for non-gamers to read).
Luke is calling the supplement the Petersen Beastiary

The original inked pieces are up for sale in my online store.
Here is a look at each of the finished illustrations. *EDIT-I've added background info on each piece*
"Devil Boar"
I started this piece on a very slow day at a convention. I felt like drawing a monster. A booth nearby was doing makeup special effect demos and had several images of their monster work. One of them was a pig-man-creature..and I thought, I could have fun with that. Because I didn't plan this piece out before I started drawing, it end abruptly on the right..and the horns are wildly not semetrical if you looked at this guy from any other angle.It was after drawing this beast that Luke suggested he could use him for Torchbearer and we started this project.

The second monster I drew of the series was without guidance. Well, I should say, Luke didn't give me guidance, and I only used an existing monster's description as a springboard: a Kobold. I looked at crocodile skin and some turtles for texture design ideas. And while not intentional I think the neck bend and the beard/spine extremities owe a lot to the design of Sebulba from Episode 1. I submitted this to Luke as something like an advanced Kobold...the Uruk-hai of Kobolds...but someone on Luke's team created an entirely new species for him.

These guys started out as Goblins and also were going to mimic an Alvin, Simon, Theodore personality/shape design...but somewhere along the sketch, I had just drawn ugly little monsters with their own spirits. In Luke's camp, they decided to make these guys not goblin-kin, but the punk-breed of fay.

"Disturbed Spirit"
Started as a Barrow Wight, but then became more Mum-Ra than Tolkien homage. I tired to fix the inadequacies and simplicity of design with a lot of texture (my normal MO)

My first illustration for Torchbearer featured a pack of Owlbears and I thought it would be fun to round out the group with a larger take on that bizarre hybrid. In my board game Tower, Jesse Glenn drew a rather funny Owlbear (we call it the Owlbear at Pooh-Corner because he's so friendly looking) and since then I've rather like owlbears as an underused RPG species....one that could even have major physical variations...like some with functional wings...or some that are used more as beasts of burden or war-mounts

And it looks like I'll be doing more pieces for the "Petersen Beastiary" down the line. And like these, I'll offer up the originals for sale the day the .PDF is released.

UPDATE: Part 2 of the Petersen Bestiary Monsters Blogpost: http://davidpetersen.blogspot.com/2014/01/more-torchbearer-beasts.html

2014 Appearances:
MSU Comics Forum: February 22
C2E2: April 25-27
Comicpalooza: May 23-25
Heroes Con: June 20-22
San Diego Comic Con: July 23-27
Boston Comic Con: August 8-10
NY Comic Con: Oct. 9-12

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