Sometimes browsing imgur for embarrassingly large amounts of time produces useful inspiration.
Posts Tagged “Images”
The best monsters are fresh monsters. Not only because familiarity breeds contempt (which is true), but also because the GM is forced to describe the monster without the crutch of shared understanding. If I tell my players they encounter orcs, then they will understand what I’m telling them, but the inherent “otherness” of orcs won’t impact them. They probably won’t even take the time to imagine what the orcs look like. But if the monster the players encounter is one they’ve never heard of before, the GM is forced to do a little more descriptive work, which ultimately makes the game better I think.
There will always be room for the classics, though. In my mind, the natural progression of monsters is to start out as terrifying creatures. As we become more used to seeing those monsters, they become a little less scary and a little more relatable. The minotaur is a good example of this, I think.
While still able to pull its weight as a monster (and they are one of my favorite classic monsters), I more often use minotaurs as exotic NPCs these days. This painting by Paul Reid gives the viewer a look at the minotaur when it’s not menacing Athenians. It looks almost normal.
I’d absolutely recommend looking at Paul Reid’s gallery, linked above. He works in a classical style which I think is significantly underrated by modern artists. And he’s done a lot of work with classical mythology, including several different takes on the piece above.
Before anything else, I apologize for not being able to find the artist for this piece. The only source I can find for it is an audio essay on the BBC’s website. For all I know it could be 1000 years old, or it could have been created specifically for this particular broadcast.
I’ve been on a bit of an English History kick lately. I started reading up on Edward Longshanks, continued forward through history until I got bored with the Tudors, then skipped back to read up on Aethlestan, William the Conqueror, etc. It’s fascinating stuff, and I’m hoping a better understanding of the realities of that period will make me a better GM to boot. Alfred the Great’s life, in particular, might make an interesting campaign. During his darkest days his resources weren’t too far off from what a mid-level adventuring party would be able to call upon.
While there is some fantastic art of Alfred, as well as some really cool statues, I think this is the most inspiring piece I’ve seen. The bright colors and energetic posing makes it seem very pulp-y, which in turn is evocative of oldschool RPGs for me.