Wednesday, 29 June 2011

The One Ring - Characters

Hey! It's been a while, eh?

So more art has been released for The One Ring, so I can share here:

So these fellows are broadly based around a hopefully credible mixture of late Romano British and vikings. All the mannish cultures within The One Ring have a hefty dose of Northern European feel to them, as is appropriate to the material. You won't find any plate armour in what I produced for example. So given the nature of the Bardings as a wealthy and expanding trading culture, and that that are, within the scope of territory the first set covers, the foremost culture with the strongest bloodlines, it felt right to give them that slight feeling of distant Roman-ness. But it's limited to Romano Britain, rather than a truly mediterranean/classical feel. Their closeness to the dwarfs gives that norse feel, and whilst the two cultures don't ever really merge in this way in real history I felt it was something that could be pulled off. And is about as fantastical as I allow myself to get in designing the mannish races. If I recall correctly the idea of using the Romano British influence came about due to the mail of the Bardings being noted for its strength, and using that shoulder reinforcement in the style of the Romano British seemed to fit, and then things flowed from there.
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So the dwarfs to me are almost straight vikings. Short grumpy vikings, but vikings, Highly influenced by norse culture. Actually quite straight forward to do these guys, very little to worry about here.
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Woodwoman of Mirkwood:
The woodmen were probably the culture we struggled with the most, and didn't gel until right at the end of the creation process, where we found a kind of Frankish, Merovingian feel for them, which seemed to suit. The point at which the character below was created we were still working to more directly Germanic themes, which do fit, but are not quite as fully developed as the ideas came to be later in the process. We also played with Welsh and Finnish influences.

These are a mighty tough people living within the shadow of Mirkwood. But I didn't want them to feel primitive - for one that is more the domain of the Beornings, and for two I tend to see a lot of simple sophistication in cultures that inhabit inhospitable places. And so whilst their resources are limited and under constant threat they are a proud and crafty people, able to use what comes to hand with great skill. Finding these kinds of strands of character was an essential part of the process. Whilst we shied away from massive stereotyping of each playable culture, you do need some hooks to hang a character on, whether your character is typical of their origins or atypical, you need something to grab onto. And it's the same for the visual look.

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In other news I have overhauled my website again, adding several new pages showing my youtube videos - both art walkthroughs and video editing work, and a whole new commercial illustration section. Take a look: