I’ve been sick as a dog for the past week with the worst head cold of my life, so I haven’t felt particularly inspired… but somehow managed to drag my sorry ass out of bed long enough to do a few things (including attending a 5 hour event at MOCAD — by the end of which I swear I was going to pass out).
First up is another creature in a possible series from Mandeville’s travels; a cynocephale (dog-headed man). Some of the period illustrations of the cynocephales showed them as having fur all over their bodies, others illustrations show them with fur only on their heads. I opted for the fur body — he isn’t wearing anything other than a bracelet. I had a hard time deciding whether or not to give him a tail, but none of the period illustrations I looked at had tails, so I left it off.
I’ve been using felt tipped markers on a sketch pad paper rather than my regular pen, brush and ink on Bristol and am still trying to get the feel for these new tools. One of the advantages is that I can work anywhere and traveling with a couple of felt tips and a pad is easier than needing a bottle of india ink, pens, brushes, cleaning supplies, etc. I’m less happy with this one than the picture of the Blemmye I did earlier — mostly because the legs look fucked up. But I like using a paper with a less smooth surface than the Bristol, although I miss the brush a lot.
Next up is a headless zombie, and she’s coming right down the sewer tunnel at you! This is from an adventure idea I had based on one of the characters from “The Oz” series of books. In one of the books, there was a character named Princess Langwidere who had a palace in which there were cabinets containing many ‘swappable’ heads. Langwidere could just take her head off and replace it whenever she wanted with another head from her collection. When Dorthy Gale wandered into the picture, Langwidere decided she wanted Dorthy’s head and offered her another from her collection in exchange. I don’t remember quite how it turned out (other than Dorthy retained her head), but I always liked the swappable heads idea.
The adventure idea might be a city/town location where all female visitors are carefully inspected when they arrive at the gate… and, if they have an attractive face or a nice head of hair (or are even interesting or exotic looking), they are summoned to the castle for a royal audience where the Princess/Duchess/Baroness/etc., will demand they swap heads with her because she wants their head for her collection. She wouldn’t be interested in bearded female dwarf heads or tiny hobbit heads, but human or elven heads would probably strike her fancy.
I haven’t worked out how the heads are removed — perhaps a magic axe that severs the head without all the blood and gore and death? Then the user can just put the head on the stump of the neck and it sticks like Velcro. Langwidere probably wears some sort of a choker to cover the seam. I might rule that if you ever put your own “original” head back on, it will immediately graft itself into place and the only way to get it off again (without getting killed in the process) is to use the magic axe. If, after having their head severed by this magic axe, the user does not place a head of some kind on the body, they will eventually turn into a ‘headless zombie.’
One of the possible adventures could be that the party might either have to return to the palace to either free their female companions (who might be trapped in a dungeon for having refused to give up their heads) or they might want to break into the palace to retrieve the original head of their female companion if they have been forced to relinquish their original head.
One of the ways into the castle is through the sewers… but the sewers are inhabited by the animate corpses of the Princess’ former enemies or women who made a nuisance of themselves by demanding their heads back.