Posted by : David Guyll September 25, 2014

As I mentioned a few days ago I've been talking with people about artists, and yesterday I reached out to a few of them, letting them know how many illustrations I was looking for, as well as the general content for each: landscapes, creatures, scenes, etc.

I'm still waiting on responses from a few of them, but I figured that as long as I'm waiting I should start sketching up a kind of "art bible" for the setting. This way I can just show them the look I am going for (or at least generally what things look like), and let them tweak it however they like.

Part one was island sketches, and part two is the cthon.

Back when I was running A Sundered World with 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, these guys would have just been genasi. I'm not sure if they're considered "intellectual property", but I really don't want to end up having to deal with any shit from WotC, so at some point I renamed them as the cthon, and then at another point I took it a step further and changed them into creatures that are universally made of stone, and imbued with various elemental forces.

Originally I envisioned them as looking like basically humans made of stone, maybe with the glowing lines or cracks showing off the elemental energy inside; again, genasi by another name. But after a while I started thinking that maybe that wasn't necessarily the case. These guys were made by the primordials, entities that not only pre-dated humans (or what amounts to a human in this setting), but have never (and will never) see one.

But, maybe the primordials look more or less like humans? After all I certainly don't describe them all in the setting, and if that's the case then they could just be modeling them after their own appearance, right? Fair enough, but even assuming their shape and appearance are identical to humans I still don't think that they would have gotten it right on the first try (or second, or third, etc), and that's not even counting any primordials that would tweak the form for...whatever reason.

Ultimately I don't care what your cthon looks like. You want to look like a human? That's totally fine, and I am sure many do. I mean, here's the cthon's Look section right out of the book:


I just don't want people to think that they're "officially" locked into that concept. Maybe the primordial that crafted you thought that more eyes would look neat. Maybe another was just experimenting and assembled you out of random blocks, making you look more like some kind of 50's sci-fi robot. Of course, you could go a bit more subtle: are your features perfect, or are your arms elongated? Is your face a, well, stony mask that never changes? Have you been eroded over time? Restored using different materials?

Want to go even further? Well, here are some sketches I whipped up after dinner last night:


You got one guy that's basically a cylinder with some arms and legs attached, wearing scrap armor, and bursting from the seams with crystallized essence, some kind of weird fish effigy-thing that I wasn't going to include (not happy with the design) but Melissa insisted, a fairly humanoid shape with normal looking limbs and all, and then something with more elongated features that are connected by ball joints.

Oh, and it's wearing it's head on a necklace, because these guys don't have organs.

So, lemme know what you think. Again, these aren't the only appearances, or even the standard ones, really; they're just some of the kinda stranger ones I cooked up.

{ 3 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. Grr... it ate my comment... I think. So, I'll try to reproduce it.

    I like the concepts shown, but was hoping for some less humanoid ones. I was thinking of things like a hermit crab-like cthon that has multiple limbs and can withdraw into its stone shell, or a energy being imprisoned/possessing/lashed to a stone, several stones, sand, ash, etc. (sort of like a broken golem/robot held together by its elemental energy; and as I wrote the description was reminded of Xerath from League of Legends).

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  2. @Svafa: Ooooh, I like the idea of the crab one! I'll go check out Xerath and make another post with some more. Thanks for the ideas! :-D

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