Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Surreal Humanoids

I stumbled across this image by surrealist painter Jarosław Kukowski recently and it really made me want to DM. I'm bored by orc-like humanoids but these would be creepy to encounter in the underworld.

I've been thinking about them, decided to call them the Unborn, but have no desire to explain their origin. The only sound they make is the quick inhalation of breath, as if surprised. Some say this is them realizing, over and over, that they live. Cutting their flesh open reveals dry, gristly meat almost like sausage.

I went looking for more, for similar artist's visions I could warp into dungeon creatures and came up with these:

Another by Kukowksi:

And three by Chet Zar:

These interest me as realistic, but strange and frightening. I can't wait for players to encounter the Unborn. What would you call these others?


  1. The second Chet Zar image makes me want to call it "Jawful", but that's rather silly. How about the Malignant Backbiter?

    The third Chet Zar looks somehow like it's Lawful Neutral or Chaotic Neutral depending on the time of year, somehow.

    Oh, and your description of the unborn is creepy.

  2. Thanks! I think recently my games have been more aimed at unnerving players- trying to make them feel like they're in the Underworld and not Kansas any more. With all the darkness, the tight spaces, and S&W's high mortality, this has been easy to do.

  3. Each of these last three creatures is a specimin of a race simply known as 'flatheads'. Very little is known about them, but what sources exist generally agree on the following:

    The first is known colloquially as a 'ponderer' and serves its race as a repository for long-term memories and a maker of long-range decisions. Ponderers are rumoured to have some sort of psionic ability.

    The second is known as a 'puddin' and is a nearly mindless drone worker. Puddins are massive, and massively strong, but generally slow and easily confused.

    The last is called a 'kewpie' and is an example of the warrior caste; it can make no long-range plans, but is frighteningly good at short term battle tactics, and is a vicious melee fighter.

    There is assumed to be a fourth 'caste', one that serves a reproductive function, but no sighting of one has ever been recorded.

    Flatheads are subterranean by nature, and fiercely territorial. Consider yourself warned!