We’re very excited at Varza Games to be getting our 2500th like on Facebook. People are really interested the concept of our core Legendary RPG concept: characters with highly customizable powers that trigger equally customizable weaknesses. We’re right on track for launching a Kickstarter this summer for a lusciously illustrated Legendary RPG core book. As a reward for our many supporters, we thought we would give you a sneak peak on the Kickstarter art we’re commissioning!
We’ve been working with illustrator Randy Hagmann, and it’s been a wonderful collaboration. Legendary is a game that can create all types of characters in all types of genres, so we’re working hard to convey the widest variety we can on our our art budget. We’ve commissioned 3 sets of characters: 1 fantasy set, 1 modern set, and 1 sci-fi set.
Goals for Legendary RPG Art
Our goals for the art have been:
- The characters are larger-than-life heroes as befits a game called Legendary RPG.
- The character art tells a story about a character’s personality, powers, and weaknesses.
- Be as diverse as possible: different character types, personalities, genders, races, ages, etc. This is a game for any character and any player!
The Artistic Process
Meg started us off. Since she’s a fan of logic problems, she worked out how we might get the most diversity our of 3 sets of 3 characters. She considered things like how to maximize diversity in gender, race, character mood, and character role/class across all 9 individual characters, in addition to trying to balance each set of 3. Then Alec worked with Randy to come up with loose character concepts, for example. Here’s an example some of the initial thoughts Alec sent.
Left: black male wizard. Strong physique. Arcane lightning wrapped around one hand, ready to throw it… but also covered in scorch marks (possibly standing on a large scorch mark).
Middle: white female, elf paladin. Attractive, dressed for battle (something more practical than chain mail bikini please!), tired and sore, but heroically defiant/determined. A few different options for her: an arrow sticking out of an Achilles heal, some kind of imp nipping at her heals, or maybe she’s lofting a torch that’s casting ominous shadows.
Right: gypsy dwarf (or Satyr?) female. Very curvy but very confident. Throwing a pair of (enchanted?) dice with a smirk, oblivious to an ominous black cat crosser her path.
Notice a lot of room for interpretation, or different options for characters? This is were Randy brought in quite a bit of artist license and visual story telling to flesh out the characters with his own creative flair. You can see this in his initial sketches:
Having to choose only one version was really hard. For example, the shamanic version A of the wizard has a very different look and personality than the sorcerous, levitating version B, but both make excellent legendary characters! We also really liked the Ursula-esque gypsy B, but we thought that the playful, roguish satyr A added an important contrast in mood from the wizard and paladin. The Paladin was easier for Meg and I to choose; we loved all of them, but there was just something extra epic about the over-sized stag gardbrace/ornament on Paladin C that we couldn’t stop looking aware.
The stag ornament is the a great example of Randy’s story telling. At Varza, we deliberately pick weird mixtures of characters Elf-paladins in heavy armor, buff mages, fortune tellers both controlling the dice and cursed by ill-omens. Despite our strange requests, intended to show case the customizability of Legendary RPG, Randy fuses these strange elements into a coherent character. The elf may have forsaken the daintier elf stereotypes of archers, rogues, and wizards. However, she keeps the memory of her forest elf heritage alive in her own way: an oversized metal stag head on her heavy armor. There’s a back story crying out to be written, thanks to Randy’s artistry.
Anyway, after we’re done oogling at Randy’s rough illustrations for far too long, we pass along our choices and some small clarifications (if any!). Randy gets back to us in record time with the beautiful, full color illustration. For this first set we commissioned a couple different versions of the background, to figure out how to present present the characters on a Kickstarter page.
Fantasy Characters for Kickstarter, Final Illustration
What’s next, you ask?
Marie, our social media guru, is helping Alec work on character backstories and world building for the fantasy characters, which may make their way into the core book as an example story setting.
Randy has drawn up the roughs of the sci-fi characters, and Alec and Meg are drooling over them. Trying hard to select just one version of a character.
Alec is coding up the alpha version of The Deal, the ‘lite’ version of the Legendary RPG that can be played from character creation to story completion in one evening.