Joseph Erwin – Freelance Dungeon Master

Join in the Adventures!

Art to Inspire 3

Once again we stand upon the field of art-gushing! One should never underestimate the power of visual art in creating effective inspiration for RPG sessions. Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Steampunk! Generally I think the artistic genre is overdone, or so hyper-stylized that it becomes meaningless (gears on hats, goggles everywhere, idolizing Victorian aesthetics without thinking of the cultural implications, etc.). However, this one has some nice touches which make it appealing as an NPC (or better, a world element idea)!

The costume reminds me of imperial Japanese uniforms from the early-mid 20th century, and the implication that there are special wrist-mounted shotgun devices for officers creates a neat implication for the nature of the world of play. How bad can it get when even commanders have to be ready for imminent attack?

This piece resembles some of the art of the snake-people from All Tomorrows, that now-famous piece of speculative science fiction about human evolution. What I like most about this piece is that it just oozes unique world design. Everything in the image implies something about the culture, artistic heritage, and needs of these creatures. I would use this image as a source for detailed room descriptions when meeting these beings.

Adventure! Frank Frazetta! Robots and Warrior-women! This is the stuff of great fun. This could easily serve as a seed for a unique army, fuel for a setting (scanty dress on a mysterious world), or even NPC fuel, if you could manage make the lady’s personality go beyond her stance. Cool she might be, but It would be a nice challenge to try to make her more than just and eye-candy NPC.

I love the color use on this one. The warm, aggressive colors used for the inside of the cockpit contrast nicely with the cold, vicious blue of the outside, were the monster looms. The stance of the pilot is nice too; you can really see his tension.

This would inspire a “moment” for me. Armed with this image in my mind, I would have an easier time building and snapping the tension with a group of characters in a similar situation. Again, it’s all in the subtlety. Which direction are they facing? What details can they make out? How much of the monster is apparent? These are questions that artwork helps me to answer.

“I’ve come to warn you! Don’t invest in-“

It’s a simple enough piece, but there is some real horror conveyed in the hairless, mottled features of the apparition. Who is it? Well, it could be adapted to be anyone.

I would use this primarily as fuel to describe a portal or vision-scene. The rippling of the air and the strange colors paint a vivid image. Ah, how now to articulate that to players easily? I could always just show them the image, I suppose…

Published by Joe Erwin

I am an independent creator and GM with a deep love of storytelling and adventure! I desire most to share these things with others, and I hope to do that through my work and my writing.

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