Iziskilanth Winterfrown

Iziskilanth was a minor character in only one or two stories I did for the #Blkdragon*inn, but I thought he was pretty cool. I pulled out my copy of the Canterbury Tales and had this incredibly aged elf speak Chaucerian English, as if he was so old he couldn’t bother to learn how people spoke nowadays.

He’s dressed very fancy, but rather than a King or Prince, he is a Librettist for famous Elven operas. Antequeroth Elmstepper, my more often played Elven ranger was also a writer and scholar, and Master Winterfrown was his mentor.

So now we’ve got quite the collection of the ‘Deepish! From Emissary Innolesse Calipor, Iziskilanth, Antequeroth Elmstepper, and Aethryndel o’ The Wolvenblade. I suppose I’ll have to drawn an Elfdame one of these days…

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Varrio

Varrio is the slightly updated name and design of another old PC I used to play in the #blkdragon*inn on mIRC. Varrio was mad as hell.

As I recall, his background explained the green hair – sort of. He was involved in some mysterious incident in a place of druidic power and emerged scarred all over and his hair turned emerald.

He had been a friend and roommate of Jinnai Halfmoor (as all of my PCs were generally connected, the better to write stories about them) before his madness, but generally I just played him when I wanted to be silly and crazy and have fun.

He is, as you may have surmised, based visually on Ferio from an anime I watched called Magic Knight Rayearth.

Drow Warrior

This drow warrior was never one of my PCs, but I thought it would be interesting to draw a drow with African features (and a garb based on Ethiopian warriors).

Drow are problematic for me. I could go on, but the internet has already delved into this (though not as much as I would have thought), paticularly here: http://blackroleplayersorganization.blogspot.ca/2014/08/cosplaying-drow.html

Innolesse Calipor

There was a period in my time with the #blkdragon*inn when I and my compeers got into political RP. The first exploration was with Reizeau and the Regency Council of Arangoth, but later, mostly after the Regency Council disbanded and Reizeau was exiled, I added Innolesse Calipor as an Emissary to Drache (Capital of Arangoth and home of the Black Dragon Inn itself) from Elvendeep.

Innolesse was another attempt to go against a classic archetype and create a fat elf. He was a powerful wizard, but never used his powers for anything except frivolous causes – it was his mind and his words that I was interested in.

Reizeau

Between AD&D and my high school chums, and my reintroduction to tabletop in 4th Edition (thanks to this guy), I spent many years roleplaying online on the mIRC chat program in the channel called #blkdragon*inn.

After a few years of playing Jinnai Halfmoor, Varrio, Antequeroth Elmstepper, and others, my friends and I got into political roleplay. Arangoth had been without a monarch for a while, and so we decided to create characters for a Regency Council to rule. I created Julaire Reizeau, based somewhat on French Revolutionaries, as a Professor of the University interested in the rights and powers of the people.

We had some good times, but eventually we decided to dissolve the Council and created some upheaval. Reizeau was kidnaped by reactionary elements and held hostage for a while, meanwhile the Council dissolved and one of their number was named Sithire, or Duke. Reizeau was freed, but declared himself and his ideals betrayed at the restoration of traditional feudal control and exiled himself.

I always thought I would start a storyline later where Reizeau found foreign backers and invaded Arangoth with an imposter of the long-lost heir to the throne under his sway – make a full heel turn. Never got around to it, but I had a cool name: The Castling Gambit.

Ask me about the bird!

Bronze Age Elves: Legatrio and Orillion

I’ve had a story in the back of my head for years. It is inspired by work I did for #blkdragon*inn(an old mIRC roleplaying channel) on the nation of Elvendeep, my own education in history and classics, and my love for Jack Kirby comics. It has resulted in this drawing of Prince Legatrio and Orillion, the Dog of War.

Elvendeep was a treat to co-develop with my wonderful collaborators. Together we wrote of a misty pre-history of the world of Tiveth – one in which the Dawn Elves, Primordial Giants, and Ere Drakes emerged from knowledge beyond time. After the giants’ demise, the elves and dragons began warring on one another for centuries.

One idea I was able to develop was the idea of dynamic fantasy. That is, inspired by my own University degree and careers, I love the idea of fantasy worlds that develop along reasonable lines. In high fantasy, Tolkien in particular, you often get thousands upon thousands of year at a relatively stable level of technological development. I’d rather think that if something happened a thousand years prior to the setting, then it was at a time roughly equivalent to a thousand years before the middle ages on our world. Thus: a bronze age. Add to this the high fantasy idea of “ancient races” like dragons and elves. Thus: bronze age elves.

In Elvendeep’s history, the dragon-elf wars were in a bronze age before dwarves discovered steel. Many Elvendeepish families are so ancient that they have parade armour of bronze and trace their lineage (as well as they can, given the destruction of any records that may result from warring with dragons) back to these most ancient of times. Just like Rome traced its history from Troy.

So Legatrio and Orillion come out of this idea in the back of my head to tell a story of bronze age elves encountering stone age humans and coming into conflict with a dragon. An epic story with epic characters.

Recognize them yet?

Legatrio and Orillion are based on Jack Kirby’s New Gods, Lightray and Orion.

I always thought the New Gods’ interactions with humans, with their pride and power, would be a good inspiration for how elves, even then more advanced, would view their human neighbours. Benevolently perhaps, but certainly paternally.

New Gods #6, “The Glory Boat”, is one of Kirby’s finest stories in one of his finest (albeit truncated) comics.

Also of great help was Peter Connolly’s illustrated Legend of Odysseus, a children’s book that was very formative for me and I recently re-purchased. This book included detailed archaeological descriptions of bronze age Mycenaean and Trojan history that informed its amazing illustrations. You’ll recognize Odysseus (centre-left) as the inspiration for Orillion’s armour, while Aeneas hide’ shield and Agamemnon’s tunic also played a role. Legatrio’s design was informed more by Eric Shanower’s Age of Bronze comic series, an attempt to reconcile all the various versions of the Trojan myth into one historical and dramatic account.

Legatrio’s chestpiece was also inspired by ancient Jewish priestly garments, most recognizably found in Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The Sons of Aethryndel

Meet Willifyr o’ the Wolvenblade and Rindolion Stormhowl, the sons of Aethryndel.

These are sort of old D&D characters, but ones I never played. I’ve already introduced you to my first PC, Wolfblade. As young people newly introduced to a fantastic world of shared storytelling can be, I got slightly obsessed with continuity and canon. I started creating characters who would be the sons and heirs of Wolfblade. At the time, their names were Wildfire and Stormwolf (again, reading a lot of Elfquest, and 14).

I was excited to draw them again and update them, the same way I turned Wolfblade into Aethryndel o’ the Wolvenblade. Willifyr is the oldest, and so has inherited the Wolvenblade, an artifact that can become any type of sword (or swords) the warrior wishes. Rindolion doesn’t inherit the blade, so takes on another name.

In their original incarnations, there were epic backstories for each of them. Wildfire/Willifyr, who was inspired by this piece of classic D&D art…

…was half Wild Elf and raised in the woods before being found in a classic King out of the Wilderness arc. Stormwolf/Rindolion was slightly more original, but his blueish black hair was probably inspired by a lot of anime I was watching. Stormwolf/Rindolion was an exiled prince turned mercenary, and forced to wander the world and make his way in armies and wars across the decades before his birthright was restored.

I never played either of them in an actual tabletop game, but they nonetheless still live in my imagination.