Friday, February 28, 2014

Kiortin

Kiortin 


ROUGH DRAFT. I'm not a writer.
Size: Alphas 12' tall in shell and 3' out. Betas 6' tall.
Diet: Kiorin are omnivores with adult alphas losing the need to feed. Adult alphas gain most of their sustenance from photosynthesis,water,fruits and air. Adult alphas have cone-like arms with rings of hard shell that can flex and pull back from the sponge-like tissue underneath. By holding the arms perpendicular to the ground these can catch rain water to feed the alpha or they can flex open underwater to collect nutrients and filter feed. The same can be done to fruits and animals. The shell is also capable of photosynthesis for additional energy.
Natural Habitat: Kiortin have spread to most climes of the world but it's rare to find any adult alphas in swamps and deserts. While they can survive underwater they're too heavy to swim while attached to their shell which leaves them vulnerable to large sea creatures and soft river beds. Deserts are troublesome for Alphas because they use up a lot of energy walking in sand.
Society: They naturally form packs and often those who appear to have used their quills the least are chosen as leaders. The logic is that these members must have exceptional wisdom or cunning to have not used their quills. If an alpha is in a pack, they will be given leadership responsibility. This often seems odd to outsiders that leaders are just accepted as leaders without much dissent or intense social maneuvering. At least one member of every pack needs to be protected from using their quills so that they can grow to be alphas for reproduction.

Kiortin wear clothes but it's considered impolite to cover one's shell entirely. If a beta covered their shell entirely they would be considered barbaric and not worthy of trust.

Kiortin homes usually do not have roofs as the sunlight boosts their energy and mood.

Race Relations: Kiortin sometimes leave their packs due to alpha overpopulation, adventure seeking or to join other groups. They assimilate well with others but betas tend to look to others for direction on important group decisions while alphas expect their directions to be followed. Kiortin will always feel that other races are a bit cold and can misunderstand sarcasm since they can't read others emotional states as readily as their own race. Young kiortin can even believe that other races are psychopathic.

BIOLOGY

Adult kiortins can be divided into two groups;alphas and betas. The rarer alphas are small kiortin living in large symbiotic shells. Betas are tall kiortin's with small growths and many pointy quills.The kiortin hunt and protect themselves with their quills. All kiortin begin life about the same size with a hard lump attached to them somewhere. The growths slowly expand unless the kiortin loses quills. Losing quills stunts the shell's growth and lets the kiortin grow taller. Alphas only exist by not losing or using many of their quills. Somehow the growths thrive on the growth hormone and chemicals used to produce the quills. This results in the alphas usually being the less physically aggressive and more vegetarian members of the race. Alphas are often the wiser members of the race, not having needed to use their natural weapons for defense or offense.

At full size the symbiote has enveloped the kiortin and is connected to the host's senses. A large eye vibrates on the front to create parallax for depth perception and relays the information to the host. This eye is particularly good at picking up a wide spectrum of color. A kiortin's natural vision is heat vision. A kiortin requires their symbiote to reproduce with other kiortin. Despite being enveloped, the kiortin's voice can still be heard due to channels and openings in the shell that give the voice a haunting echo. Kiortin's have extremely sharp hearing but an alphas' hearing and sense of smell is greatly impaired by their shell. Communication with one must be done extremely close to it's head. An adult alpha can often flex muscles under their shell to cause parts of the shell to pull away and allow the kiortin to leave their shell.

Shells are very diverse in their growth patterns and final form. The only consistent features across all alphas are the eye, the segmented cones and a birthing hump. Some kiortin perform exercises much like yoga and meditation to attempt to guide the growth of their shells to a desired shape while others attempt a more direct route of having molds sculpted and strapped to their shells. These molds can cause health problems but the end results are often worth the risk. The cones can become spikes, the upper parts can have a face,etc. They become walking art.

Kiortin shell's are the window to kiortin emotions. Their shells are capable of changing to a wide variety of patterns and colors that convey emotions to other kiortin. Sometimes kiortin will add tattoos to their skin or shells to indicate a more overarching emotional state they would like to convey.

Kiortin alpha's can live to be nearly 200 years old with shells reaching maturity at 100 while betas only live to be 50 or 60 years old. An alpha's shell can continue to live(but not grow) beyond the life of it's host and another kiortin can sometimes use the shell but sometimes are rejected or worse; trapped inside. Most kiortin would find the thought of getting into another's shell disgusting. Even if it weren't disgusting, the new host would find itself very clumsy in the shell. Kiortin usually prefer to die in their shells and are cremated after death.

It is possible for a kiortin to live without it's shell and this is sometimes forced on criminals as punishment. Rare kiortins will remove the shell themselves making it impossible to ever reproduce and making themselves an outcast in kiortin society. They would be viewed as criminals or savages. The benefit of painfully removing a shell would be the increase in height and muscle mass. Kiortin without shells can grow to be as tall as alphas. While the shells are incredibly durable they do require some maintenance as they can suffer from a number of diseases and a kiortin can even lose a shell to disease.

FEEDBACK
I'm still looking for feedback on whether people would support a patreon with this material or if they'd want something different,etc. Please comment.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Creature entry

Guiran


 Biology

Size: 1.5-3.5 tonnes and up to 20 feet long
Disposition: Low aggression
Diet: Mollusks,fish,turtles and carrion
Natural Habitat: Swampland
Sociality: Solitary except when mating. Can be domesticated but always hostile around same sex of it's species.
Life cycle: Much like a frog the guiran is an amphibian that begins life as an egg in water and lacks rear legs early in life. Front feet are webbed at birth. Quickly matures and leaves the water. Guiran in a domestic environment can live to be 80 years old.
Domestication: Some guiran have been captured at a young age,domesticated and used for mounts. Domesticated Guiran have many of  their bone plates removed at an early age.

BIOLOGY

Despite their intimidating appearance guiran mostly avoid conflict and prefer to use as little energy as possible. They use a glowing piece of flesh that protrudes from their chin as a lure for fish in murky swamp water. The mandibles are articulated much like arms and can bend to get out of the way when they aren’t needed. The guiran can emit gas from the mandibles for a brief time which it can ignite by striking them on their teeth. This primarily functions as a method of opening difficult mollusks by cooking them but can always work as a deadly defense mechanism for adults. Guiran can spit highly flammable bile from their mouths and through their flame to essentially throw fire at larger predators. Guiran males have colorful horns which grow into strange designs for attracting mates and battling other guiran for territory. In addition to two normal eyes the guiran has a third sensor in the middle of their head and bumps along their back that are electroreceptory sensors for locating food and predators in murky waters. The loud grunt followed by a rattling throat sound is regularly heard in the swamps. This is how Guiran make sure not to accidentally enter each other's territory.

In cold weather, guiran enter a state of torpor. This rarely happens in their natural habitat but some tribes have tried to take them from the warm and humid swamps and use them in other environments by placing furs on them to keep them warm and removing furs to induce torpor. This makes them unreliable in other environments but they use up very little resources when in torpor so they're valuable for agriculture work in more moderate environments.

BREAKDOWN


 Guiran meat is riddled with fat which is universally disgusting but with a lot of hard work it can be made into a dish someone might consider paying money for.  Their skin makes excellent light armor and clothing material. The electroreceptory sensor on the head is eaten in rare ceremonies and is rumored to cause hallucinations. The colorful horns of males are often incorporated into armor as a sign of higher rank or status. Artists highly value the horns for both grinding down to use for pigment and as a material for sculpting. The highly flammable bile is useful for traps and maintaining fires during troublesome weather. The teeth and mandible are both excellent for fire starting.

THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT I WOULD RELEASE WITH PATREON IMAGES. If this is something you'd be interested in please drop a note in the comments so I can get idea of whether the Patreon is something worth pursuing. I created a FB page so please like! https://www.facebook.com/JoeSlucherArt

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Personal Project


So I've been working on artwork and writing for my personal project with 9 pieces of art completed for it and only a dozen or so pages of writing. Recently I've been doing some work for Monte Cook's The Strange RPG and two or three pieces would have fit in my personal project and I'm a bit sad that that basically means I signed away two personal pieces for a fraction of what they're worth to me. I want to work on pieces that fit my personal project but I don't want to just barely scrape by making those pieces for others projects.

I want to spend more time on my personal project. So here's a plan. Feedback is greatly appreciated.

Why not kickstarter?
The money all arrives at once and then I know I would have an overwhelming urge to rush through the project to put it in backers' hands. I don't want to rush. I want to really like every page of the product.

Patreon or something like it
So there's this website where fans can sign up to be patrons. Which means they choose an amount of money they're willing to give an artist every time they release a new song/painting/short story/podcast/etc. They can choose the maximum they can donate per month as well. I'm thinking this is the best scenario for what I'd like to do.

Project
I want to create series of illustrations of an alien world with low fantasy level technology. Everything should be alien and seem unknown. I would like to begin by fleshing out some landscapes. Then I'd want to move into fleshing out the wildlife and plants. The primary races, one creature and one landscape have already been created. In the end I would put them together into both an art book and a roleplaying game book.

If you're supporting the project because you're interested in the RPG aspect then I will go ahead and provide some of the details here.  The game is about exploration and it's only through meeting new cultures and finding new locations that characters can improve. . In this game, reincarnation is real (although Karma isn't) and characters can remember past lives by triggering memories through treading over the ground of past lives or experiencing things they've experienced in another life. Triggered memories improve skills connected to a particular past life and also cause a physical transformation into a hybrid of the their remembered lives.


Pledge level ideas
Artwork is released to the public and not exclusive to patreon supporters.
$1/image. Thank you! (after 3 images you are signed up to received the PDF at the end of the project.)
$5/image. Get illustration notes. PDF when it's compiled.
$10/image. Illustration notes. PDF when it's compiled. WIP shots. Ability to vote on thumbnails.
$15/image. Illustration notes. PDF when it's compiled. WIP shots. Ability to vote on thumbnails. Chance to win original drawings or paintings.
$10/image/ signed 8.5x11 print.*Illustration notes PDF when it's compiled
$15/image signed 11x17 print *Illustration notes. PDF when it's compiled
$20/image signed 12x18 metallic print. *Illustration notes.PDF when it's compiled

*illustrations notes are where I've written down details on the creature/environment and how it would work in a gaming environment. So for an animal this would be things like; habitat, diet, behavior, and use. For instance some animals might be used as pets or mounts while others have livers that are used to make psychotropic drugs,etc.

After each image is released and the pledges collected, the original sketch for that image will be given randomly to one of the patrons.

If the project goes to Kickstarter for printing the final product , Patreon backers will gain up to the pledge level of getting the printed book if their combined Patreon pledges adds up to the same amount. There would be additional rewards for the KS. For instance, for the base races I often create Zbrush models so I could potentially give backers the files to print them or I could offer 3D printed models of them.

What is exclusive to patreon backers?

  • The notes for the images will not be released to those outside of patreon until the entire project is done. This means patreon supporters have a chance to give feedback on the direction of the world or will have the resources to drop the creature/environment concepts into their current tabletop sessions.
  • Process work. Sketches and walkthroughs will only be made available to patreon supporters.
  • Original pencil sketches and paintings raffled off to patrons.

 How do I get the ball rolling/marketing?
Between July4th and September 8th I will have a booth at three different conventions in three different states. I hope to launch the project right after these and push for people to join a mailing list so that I can let the maximum number of people know on day 1.

Start a facebook page or perhaps a forum or subreddit.
Start a blog exclusively for this project.
Make a short animation of my artwork to get people excited. Something like what Dave Rapoza did with just using some parallax and flashing maybe. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZgSpwPbEPQ&feature=youtu.be&hd=1
Video of myself making an appeal.

Other Issues
The pdf as reward. I want to reward my patrons and make them feel like they're getting things with value but I'd really like to just give the PDF out for free when it's done but I feel like I have to withhold it to use as a reward for patrons helping to make it possible.


Benchmarks
At$200/image I will stream 30 minutes to an hour of process on each piece in a google+ hangout where patrons can ask questions.
$300/image. Graphic designer hired to put together a layout design for the pdf.

Please give me your opinions on this!