Hello, comrades! I know it's been a little while! And funny enough, I didn't really put out ANYTHING over Christmas break. But these guys kind of sprung into existence a couple days ago, and I really wanted to share them with you. Recently, I've had a couple of buddies starting up a role-playing idea, which I got really excited to be a part of. Bear in mind, I don't think the game is actually
D&D, but it takes some pretty serious inspiration from it. The goal is that rather than having individual characters enter into encounters, you control entire groups of people in encounters, and have to make certain more strategic sacrifices because it. Anyway, I was the last to put together a race, which drew its inspiration from a drawing I did based on a friend about a month ago. But when I finished the design, I couldn't really put the idea down, so I asked one of my friends in the game if I could learn some more about his race to do some concept work for them. When I was done with that, did I go back to the Calculus homework I was supposed to be doing? NOPE. I called up another friend, and said "hey, I just finished this one concept race, can I do another for you since I'm on a roll?" His response was "well, as DM, I don't really have a race involved, but let me tell you about three
races my buddies have all come up with." To that, I responded "Welp... okay!" So at the end of the week, I had 5 different race concepts drawn out, and I'm really proud of these guys. But, in typical Mercury Rising fashion, I'm gonna save that for the end. Until then, here's more about each of these guys, since I can't stop talking about them. There's a little footnote that says despite any sort of names, all these races start out as basic humans. Furthermore, these guys are given names in the language of the Zorr'api; in the drawing that's the Elfish looking letters, in the descriptions, that's transcribed in the parentheses and italics.
(Kolpa'stroa, generally, or Ik'ra'ano as a sign of respect
): The Snow Elves belong to the only person in this group I really know personally, Kevin M. This race is inspired by Norse clothing, with Siberian design elements. The Snow Elves (again, human at the moment) hold dragons in high reverence in their culture, and wear them a lot in fashion elements. High ranking Snow Elves even get the privilege of wearing dragon bones in their clothing, although these bones are old and scavenged, and have lost any power they might have once had. The goal of the Snow Elves is to tame dragons for their own uses, but currently they're not powerful enough to do this.
): That's me! Let's go! Sand Runners take most of their influence from Inca fashion, but take the flowy bits from Middle-Eastern/Bedouin culture, and some small undertones from Burning Man fashion (when that fashion doesn't involve being nude
) The Zorr'api are a nomadic people with a fixation on religious relics and old magic. The gloves that they always wear are patterned after ancient magic channeling tools from their homeland. Most of the Zorr'api are Bards, Clerics, Mages, but what this boils down to is that the people are essentially sand hippies. Again, this drew pretty intensely from Burning Man. The fashion of these people draws from a need to be lightweight, and quick on their feet, but also guarded from harsh winds. The traditional gladiator sandals of the Zorr'api play an important part in this, and are passed down through generations as heirlooms.
): Fun note, this family considers themselves the Boar People; in the same way that the Snow Elves fixate on dragons, Usur'kan fixate a lot on boars. But the Zorr'api don't have a word for boar, and have mistranslated this as "Bear People". Whether this was just a translation issue or a covert comment on their massive size will always be a mystery. These folks were brought about by a friend of the DM's named Steven (Stephen?), and have the most backstory of the races that aren't mine. The Boar People are forest dwellers with a goal of taming all the animals in their forest, and eliminating physical weakness from their race. Their fashion is inspired by a mix of Greek/Spartan and Celtic, which are surprisingly similar, in that they're both very drapey! But Berserker fashion has to be shorter so that it doesn't catch on all the leaf litter on the ground. And again, like the Spartans, men and women are in very equal standings. But the men are so busy contending for physical prowess, that women are left to lead the society.
): This race, created by the DM's brother Barrett, was described as primarily northern in fashion, and also "very pale", which would point towards a Norse influence. But everyone in the roster is already a little bit Norse, as is maybe every fantasy race ever. So to spice things up I added a lot of Polynesian into the style as well, as both the Vikings and Polynesians are very famous sailing races. The Fisher Folk, as said on the tin, live their lives out at sea. Eventually, they have the goal of learning to breath underwater, in order to conquer both the surface and the depths of the ocean. Their clothing is very light, in order to facilitate swimming, but the Sea Folk also wear heavy, highly ornamental cloaks and large brimmed hats to keep wind and water away during storms. The traditional Oakyu mark is a trident over a net pattern.
("Even though I f***ing hate pirates" - DM) (Plyar
): These guys, belonging to a mutual friend named Brett, actually didn't wind up making it into the final game due to some sort of complication, but I was already halfway through the design when I got the news, so I left the concept in. Much to my surprise, Pirates really don't have a whole lot of variety on the fantasy scene. I debated using some Somali fashion as an influence, since that's where piracy has been most common lately, but I thought I'd stick with standard Victorian pirate, with a few fantasy and cowboy touches here and there. Now, most pirates are missing limbs here and there, but the Plyar were deliberately designed with a lot
of physical scarring. Because DM didn't like the idea of pirates in his world, it made sense that they'd be worse for wear because of his bias. Plyar prosthetics can be anything from a simple peg leg to pure, concentrated magical energy. But also, in the nature of pirates, it made sense that they'd compensate for having all these physical flaws by having the most killer fashion sense on the high seas. A lot of their gear would probably be stolen from other races; on this specific guy, you can see a Snow Elf knife, and Oakyu and Zorr'api marks.
Okay, flavor text done! Now I can talk about why I actually like the piece! First of all, this gave me an AMAZING chance to practice literally everything about people (except apparently hands, lol). I got to really hone in on both unique outfits and on faces that weren't generic white-people faces. Everything about these characters just continued to build on itself for me, I'd get a little snippet of information, sketch it out onto a napkin, and then have that inspire something completely different later on. And they weren't completely independent either, all these guys, the Zorr'api especially, took lots of touches from older drawings, influenced each other a lot, and even now I can't stop seeing them in future projects. Overall, this was just such a fun piece to pour way
too much time into. And overall, 2017 has already been an awesome year for me artistically! I look forward to putting out more content for you guys, even if it's a little different from what y'all usually expect.