As anticipated in a previous post, the latest Elf character has been a kind of creative challenge for me. After having re-designed two classic archetypes, the Archer and the Warrior, I felt motivated to face another one: the Wizard/Shaman/Summoner (call it anyway you want).
Before going on with the details about this crazy concept design, let's see this new addition to our Elf range:
So, to explain this character I have to anticipate you something about magic in general and Elf magic in specific. In this fantasy lore, magic is like a hybrid of oil and nuclear energy: it is hidden underground and needs to be found, extracted and refined before being able to use its power. Moreover, the (many) processing wastes are highly radioactive and peoples of Inneath are not totally aware of it, or better, they think that the game is worth the candle. This processing system of magic resources is called "Industrial Alchemy" and it represents the most modern and "efficient" way to use magic, in Inneath: it is said that, long long long time ago, people were used to controlling magic freely, casting spells by harnessing the magic energies that once permeated the world like winds. Nowadays, however, it seems that Inneath just swallowed all the magic resources and, above all, 90% of ancient knowledge about spells and the classic sorcery has been forgotten or just lost during the ages.
This, however, doesn't apply to Elves.
Despite they also have to deal with the disappearance of magic, once they find a magic deposit they are still able to canalize its power without having to industrially process it: a great convenience, indeed!
Give a pound of raw magic material to one of the many Alchemic Industries of Zorn Uzul, and after a long, delicate and incredibly expensive process, they return to you a couple of ounces of refined magic, ready to be used. Give the same amount of raw magic material to an Elf Shaman, and he will probably kill you, but then he will use any grams of magic power enclosed in it, without producing radioactive wastes.
However, there is still a price to pay, to use freely a magic power, and you can imagine it by looking at this Elf Summoner body: don't you see something a bit weird?
Ok, any Elf is weird, but this one is particularly strange. Probably you're noticing his curved build, or that creepy smile..or maybe the fact that he's 70% made of wood!! It's like a reverse-Pinocchio syndrome.
The more an Elf use magic, the more he becomes part of the magic itself, transforming in a kind of creepy magical creature!
So here is the very first concept idea behind this character: design an old Elf that is patently a longtime magic-user. His body is almost totally turned into wood, but he doesn't care, after all it's the price to pay for being able to summon that awesome little guy!!
Before deciding for this little spirit, I deeply think about what kind of creature to summon and indeed I had a lot of ideas about: some were interesting and I will try to put them in some of the next characters (basically, crazy Daruma Dolls), some others were simply trash. For this specific character, I imagined him like a kind of creepy voodoo-puppeteer, a funny guy that spends his time creating little dolls that work as physical bodies for magical spirts: once these spirits are summoned by this Elf, they animate his dolls and fight/serve their master.
This will open not only a lot of creative opportunities because this is only the first spirited-doll of many, but I think that it will also work great in our future game: imagine being able to summon several spirited dolls, each with its own power (there will be a healer-doll, a fighter-doll, a buffer-doll and a debuffer-doll), and unleash them all around the table. Funny.
In specific, this first spirited doll represents a fiery and angry spirit of the afterlife, a combative and aggressive warrior that you'd better not to underestimate, despite its small size: never, never mess with voodoo spirits!
Its design is quite funny and cute (as you've learned during these years of DPF miniatures, I love funny-weird-cute creatures and mascotte (anybody said Flonzi?!), and it is meant not only to melt your heart and convince you to spend some doubloons on it but also to link the various totem that you probably have seen in our previous characters (on bases, armours, talisman..these Elves love totems!) with the lore: as you may have guessed, all those weird faces/mask worn/sculpted by our Elves represent their deities and "saints" in general.
Elf religion is based on animistic religion/shamanism and in fact, this Summoner, dealing with spirits, may be considered as a kind of priest, in Elf society. Imagine him as a kind of Voodoo Shaman/ Sage of the village.
This character has been a real challenge for us, and I confess that I'm quite nervous/excited about how people would react to it: I think that it adds more grim-vibe to the range, which is what I wanted, and for sure it gives you another view of the particular lore behind this range and, in specific, the concept design of our Elves.
What do you think about it? Would you like to see more creepy-old-woody-voodoo Elves, or would you like to see, for example, the first lady of this range?!