Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fire Mage Concepts

Time for some shiney new concept art!

A bit of a firest look at this aspect of the world, we've been concepting on the visual style of some of the combat mages from the world. A lot of their costume design is based on clothes worn by metalworkers and blacksmiths. A key aspect of magic in our scenario is that magic users do not have immunity to the magic they fling around. The prudent (and thus living) fire mages wear appropriate protective gear to protect their hands and eyes from the dangerous heat of their own attacks. Hair is, unfortunately, a common casualty.
A couple early outfit concepts.
Some fire mage war masks based on some of the world's creature designs
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Friday, July 30, 2010

Air Planting Festival

An image I'm playing with for ConceptArt's "Environment of the week" challenge.

The spring Air Planting festival of one of the cities of Ireta, my steampunky RPG. Will likely be updated with a more finished version.
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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Please Allow Me to Damage Your Retinas

Not much to say here. Just playing with how a city might be built up through the fog in BRIGHT ORANGE AND TEAL.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Animal Fashions

Some silly animal sketches, and the silly animal fashions they inspire. Not all of these animals are actually going to be in the world. but they're all exploring directions we might take things.

Using animal parts as a fashion accessory is going to be very common, even in the more "civilized" parts of the world. There's no mysticism behind it in many cases, they just think it looks cool and treat rare/interesting animal parts like gems.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Early Airship Concept Sketches

Some of the earliest concept images for the ships in Ireta. From the start our ideal was to have the ships reflect boat designs, and most would incorporate elements of Zepplins and Blimps.

Some of our other early concepts for ships began by pulling design inspiration from various animals we planned to incorporate into the setting. These were based primarily off of beetles, with some wonderfully silly results. (one of these sketches saw use in a variant for this image)

That's all for tonight, more sketches to follow in the next few days.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Planetrise and a Baroque Building

A fog-level mansion in one of the western Kantori regions. The trendy baroque architecture currently favored by the upper class can be seen very clearly here. Also visible in the background is the planet Ireta orbits rising over the horizon. Always a stunning sight.

We did mention Ireta is a moon, right? Well it is.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

More Monster Illustrations

A finished version the earlier squidwolf wuhrend art. These guys are turning out to be a fun archetype for a lot of our land-based creatures. The extra sets of eyes and split jaws are something we're really enjoying and bringing into other creature designs. This won't be the last you see of these critters.

Another fun monster creation, the Lung Eel. Fast, dangerous amphibious predators that can grow up to 30 feet in length. A serious threat to travelers in the in the southern regions of Ireta, they inhabit brackish and fresh water including lakes, rivers, and swamps.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Another art

Sniping airships is something you will probably be able to do ingame.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Some concept art for the small kingdom with a monarchy that is traditionally very skilled in the whole death magic thing. It's supposed to be very baroque and fancy. Ended up being very pink too. Might keep that, I donno, it's kinda funny.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Monster Naming Contest Winner

We got a bunch of great entries, and (largely because of a lack of explanation on our part) they actually fell into two totally different naming conventions. Deciding between them became almost impossible, it was like comparing Apples to Malus Domesica. The eventual idea that came up was to award two winners, one for common name and the other for scientific name.

Each winner gets a custom-commissioned piece of game-related art and will be credited in the book. You don't need to request your art now, you can hold on until something or someone we mention grabs your interest.

The winner for Common Name is: Wuhrend
Submitted by Tanaxaden (A.K.A. Crimson-Jazz)
You'll be credited as "Wilderness Guide"

The winner for Scientific Name is: Chordasarchus 
Submitted by Snipermander
You'll be creadited as "Zoologist"

Congratulations to both of you. Feel free to contact me or Violet with your art request. :)

We will definitely be doing other contests, and writing releases will resume shortly as school thesis wraps up. Stay tuned!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Name This Monstrously Pretty Critter

We've got a predator in our setting we've nicknamed the "squidwolf", on account of how it looks nothing like either of those creatures. Violet just cooked up this awesome piece of concept art for them, and we think it's time they got a better name.

Thus, our first Ireta contest. Name this critter! If your name gets picked, we'll credit you in the book and you can request a piece of art related to our setting. :)

For information, they are about the size of a mountain lion or large wolf. They hunt in packs, raise their young, and are fearsome ambush predators. They are very difficult to sneak up on or hide from, due to their huge range of vision. They can run upwards of 25mph, and accelerate quickly from a dead stop by using their extra arms to push off. They are adept at climbing and use this to their advantage when possible.

In combat the smaller pairs of central arms are often used to grab and pin an opponent while they use their larger limbs to claw and strike. This also frees up their heads, which have razor sharp beaks and a pair of sharp mandibles.

The art could include a character idea, scene, creature you think might fit, or something that's been in one of our art pieces you want to see more of or see in a different situation.

Post your name ideas in the comments! We will pick a winner a week from today!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

In which a useful reference tool becomes an awesome artifact

After Violet's last post, we decided that having a 3d reference of the Leviathan Centipede would be advantageous. Seeing as they are essentially our "dragon" equivalent on Ireta, they will probably be in a number of illustrations.

So I broke out a copy of Zbrush, and this happened.

Yeah, I know. Pretty awesome, right? This guy is fully rendered and believe it or not, you can get a physical one. We've ordered one just to use as reference, but it would make a pretty cool miniature for a fantasy game, or a cool hanging decoration for a particularly awesome room.

You can buy a 3d printed model here for $45, it's about 5.5" tall and about the same width (the spiraly shape means it's roughly cubic in terms of dimensions). The default $45 material is a solid but flexible white plastic, similar in strength and flexibility to the DnD mini plastic you're used to. For a few dollars more you can get it printed in black, and if you want a more rigid material they're available for even more extra.

There will definitely be more of these in the future. Expect to see airships before the end of the summer, and a variety of other mosters.

Happy sailing,

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Perils of Air Travel

There are no dragons in Ireta. There are however several big flying beasties that will come and fuck your shit up if it suits them. Probably the nastiest of these is the Leviathan Centipede. It's big, carnivorous, and frequently mistakes airships for the large airborne cetacea they prey upon.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Big Picture 2: What Is Going On Here?

So. I've written here about mechanics, alluded to a whole bunch of disconnected race and location information, and shown off some concept art of wildly disparate technologies, races, and locations. You might be asking yourself "What the hell are they doing?!" I'm going to try and answer that basic question. (An excellent question, by the way.)

The Idea of the Game
The hope with Ireta is to create a cinematic, fun, unrestricted steampunk/fantasy setting. We've chosen a system that lets players get creative with their characters, and tends to lead to exciting, character driven stories. There are some great steampunky rpgs out there, such as Eberron and Swashbucklers of the Seven Skies, but none of them quite hit the right note for us. We made our own to fill the gap.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Docking at the villa

Another bit of concept art for the RPG. Our first central airship in a work, and some more development on the color schemes and atmosphere of the world. Here we can see some more of the curly clouds that Violet brought into the world. :)

Here we see a merchant ship, also used as a yacht for a wealthy merchant and his family. Returning home from a trip, they arrive at their clifftop villa.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

City of the Cloud of Life - Temple of the Healers

A landscapey concept sketch.

On Tainena, the mountain which pierces of the Cloud of Life, the Life mage healers of the Kantori people have built their temple. The so-called city of Tainena has formed outside the temple walls.

Over the years, desperate pilgrims have journeyed here in hopes of being healed, most were turned away from the golden temple when they were unable to pay the fees of the Life mages. A hundred pilgrims turned into a thousand, which became ten thousand. Diseased, deformed, or dying souls, all desperate for coin. The city became a slum surrounding the gleaming golden palace of the Life mages. Plagues and pestillience run rampant, kept at bay only by the enormous wall that protects the temple valley.

Occationally, the temple mages will bring individual city folk into the temple for healing, though their reasoning for this selection is mystifying. There is talk of conspiracy and a darker purpose to the Life mages' manipulation of the city of Tainena... especially when some of the "healed" never return.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Oh My - An Assassin!

Another bit of concept work for the RPG. Here we have a Kantori Deathmage Assassin (a suitable profession for the death-magic-inclined nobility) about to take down an Anwar fop. You can tell he's a fop by his coifed hair, which I think is quite stylish.

Some of the things I was trying to tie down here was the look of the more "modern" anwari clothing, the decorative motifs common on various bits of clothing and weapons (inspired by Violet's fashion sketches, of course) and the look of the necrotic flavor of magic present in our world.

If you're curious what the whole magic/tech deal is, it will be addressed in a post later this week that I'm working on right now: The Big Picture Part 2: Basic Concepts of Ireta.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Monster - Squidwolf

The flora and the fauna of Ireta is being slowly mapped out. Split jaws and multiple limbs are a fairly common feature among the creatures of the world, many of which are overgrown insects. Vertebrates like this share a common ancestor with the insects. The extra limbs still proved useful in some cases and were kept, while in others they withered away and can now only be found as vestigial bones.

The Big Picture Part 1 - RPG Systems and Concepts

While the story and idea of a game is critical, I feel that in many ways a tabletop system is the strongest influence on the feel of a game during actual play. Start with a tactical, rules and numbers based system like D&D 4e, and you will likely end up with a game that is big on tactics and rules. Start with an ultra rules-like game like Amber Diceless, and it will be storytime.

For this reason, we chose to focus development around the FATE 3.0 system. Our version includes some major changes, and as of right now I'm calling the variant "FATE 2D". This system contains a number of features we think are key to reach our various goals for the game.

Story is about Character. The Aspect system creates a game where well-defined character-heavy play is rewarded mechanically. It also helps create interesting scenarios by bringing character traits into play as flaws, without making a player feel picked on. This leads to a game that is about characters and their stories without becoming bogged down in lengthy exposition.

Characters should be defined by what they do, now how they're built. By not tying skills to higher-tier attributes, unorthodox skillsets can be combined into unexpectedly interesting characters. We actually playtested a FATE variant that utilized attributes, but found it stifled creativity by locking people into the classic RPG archetypes: The strong warrior, the agile rogue, the smart wizard, and so on. Now we end up with the doctor assasin mage, and the gunslinging swordsman poet. Much better.

Brevity is the soul of wit.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Some early concepts - steampunk, pirates, environments and monsters

Here we have some of my early concept work for this setting. Not all of it is great, but these pieces really started to hit on how characters and places within Ireta will feel.


This fellow here is a pirate adventurer. Here wer were just beginning to nail down the look and feel of our races characters. This here is an Anwar pirate. They are a technologically advanced people, with strong anarchist/communist beliefs. As a group, they are strong willed and individualistic. Visually, they pull elements from the early industrial revolution era, and from the era of high piracy.


Down below the fogline, the Hrafn tribes still use many of their older methods to survive. This young fellow is a bond-warrior who has chosen a walking leech as his companion. 

These warriors make use of a wide array of alchemical technologies to enhance their bodies and minds. They are often seen as "backwards" and primitive, but in fact simply find their own methods more effective. One of their greatest discoveries is a symbiotic fungus that allows the nervous systems of two creatures to be linked. Different subcultures use this brew for a variety of purposes. Linking couples who have become married, forging fighting units into a single organism, and even bonding young warriors to animals, with whom they develop a bond.

Another bit of early character concept. A noble amongst the Kantori people. This culture has become a magical meritocracy, wherein a "peasant" class is ruled by those who own the land, usually by dint of possessing large amounts of money or magical power. (which often go hand-in-hand) Their culture visually pulls from the look of pre-revolutionary france, and the various cultures of southeast asia.

A location within the Kantori lands. This city shows off thier somewhat unique city architecture, which relies heavily on seamless stone buildings made by magic. Since they build their cities above the global fog line, their great metropolises are all on mountain tops. Since the wealthiest individuals tend to live at the tops of the mountains, nearby peaks are often connected by massive stone bridges.

Here we have a Kantori smith crafting a magical weapon at a nexus of light energy.

Magical energy within the world of Ireta is trait that any material can acquire, much like electrical charge or temperature in our world. Different types of materials or energies function at certain "frequencies", which nearby objects can pick up. There are also great bands and rivers of energy that flow across the surface of the world (like air currents or the magnetic field of earth). In places where these currents cross, pool, or merge, objects can be coaxed into picking up a resonance with that particular type of energy. Here, at a sunny spot in an equatorial forest, next to a stream which flows across the great plains to the west, enough energy has collected to let this sword be forged.

 Another early design for a monster. This is an ambush predator which ides among the ridged coral of seaside environments. Theis shell patterning allows them to blend in. The tail up top can extend up to 10 feet to deliver a toxic sting to a target. The creature can then dig in, shredding their prey with their massive fangs before swallowing them whole. Lacking a method for expelling their food, they regurgitate the undigested bits several hours or days later. The pellets of bone and hair left behind by these creatures is a sure sign that danger lurks nearby.

That's it for today's update! Hope you fine gents and ladies have found something enjoyable here.

Coming soon: What the hell is going on?! What is the deal with this place? - An explanation of basic world concepts.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

More Fashion Sketches

Hey, have some more stuff!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sketchpost - The fashion of the Hrafn

Following up on Violet's massive sketchdump of designs for clothes in the world of Ireta, I submit this single page of sketches for a race that wasn't really touched on much in her sketches. The Hrafn, warriors from below the fogline. A bit behind technologically, mostly due to a lack of trade. Definitely not primitive or stupid, though.

Except for that chick who's drawn really big. I was just exploring hat designs there. These guys have a style of clothing that uses lots of leather and natural material, with a "modern" design influence. It is heavily layered, and very much built around practicality; it is very wet below the fogline, and clothing needs to protect the wearer as well as show their status.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


I realize I am mitigating how awesome the first post with by throwing all this crap on here, but I got a little 3x4 sketchbook and had to fill it with something so here are some costume and monster designs.