Happy Friday, Friends! Today we’ll be looking at one of the monsters featured in our recent Monster Design and Combat article, “The Devourer” by James Cornell. If you’d like to see these Highlights early (or talk RPGs and any other number of topics with us) hit us up on our Discord, and be sure to check out the Kickstarter preview page so you can be ready to join us on September 29th!
Today, we are going to talk a little bit about monsters, and specifically this nimble fellow.
A lot of Lovecraftian monsters have, over the decades, worked their way pretty heavily into larger pop culture, not the least of which is Cthulhu himself, a combination squid/dragon/humanoid…. thing. Others have also worked their way into mass culture, Wilbur Whateley, the Mi-go, the Innsmouth Deep Ones, etc. Not as many as you think have tentacles, but enough of them do to have it be something of a trope.
Not directly pulling from Lovecraft opened the monster design up to a lot more exciting possibilities, but also removed a lot of reassuring framework. I knew exactly what I didn’t want, but not a lot about what I did. After a lot of trial and error, I was able to establish some ground rules for what I wanted from the monsters, which I was able to mostly stick to.
First rule was, no tentacles. Second was, try to avoid any real-life animals as possible. Our monsters aren’t from Earth, they shouldn’t look like human insects or canines or anything too recognizable. With that in mind, I was able to start thinking about what I DID want. I have always been a fan of Wayne Barlowe, and his incredible Inferno illustrations, and his work on the Kaiju for Pacific Rim was an excellent start. I also looked at, for some of the stranger monsters, a lot of the work Hideki Anno and Gainax did for the Angels of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
This particular fella came about literally head first. I wanted a creature that looked like if a city itself was a living creature, which lead me to create the imposing tower-like head for him. After that, I roughed in more and more ‘tall’ shapes for his limbs, with gash-like mouths as opposed to trying to make a huge mouth with rows of sharp teeth. I also tried to work outside of my comfort zone a bit, strictly defining his form with the lasso and fill tools in Photoshop, as opposed to line-art heavy work, which is my norm.
There’s still a long way to go with the monsters, and I’m still figuring out my design rules for the rest of TnT’s menagerie, but I still feel like this one is a good start. I hope you guys like him as much as I do, and I’ll be back with more next week!
Have a great weekend and we’ll see you next week for the last of our Kickstarter preview articles before going LIVE on September 29th!