My friend The Bunny posted a game on our forum which utilises dice and a set of rules to generate some guidelines for drawing random monsters. Apparently she found it over on the Something Awful forums and helped it migrate it's way around the internet.
I, of course, have been completely taking in by this idea. Generally, I struggle for good ideas for character drawing, so I am finding this an absolute blessing. I've discovered that these sets of rules not only help with the basic shape and features of the characters themselves but, once they begin to take form, I start to get an image in my head of the world in which they live they and general feel for their personal story. This makes placing them in a setting so much easier, so it is helping me with landscape and scene drawing as well.
My skills with the graphics tab are still fairly limited - or perhaps, I should say that my skills with Photoshop and/or Corel Painter X are still limited - but doing stuff like this makes me think more about light and shape, which in turn forces me to discover how to use those functions in whatever program I am using.
Another awesome thing about this little game, is that it not only asks you to be visually creative, but literarily creative as well. Part of bringing a character to life, is to write a little introduction for them - where they are from, what their lifestyle is like, etc - and for me that has been great fun as well. So far, all my characters have been connected through the fact that they live in the same 'fantasy realm', and I'm thinking that whatever characters I roll from here on in will also live in the same place. Maybe then I will have the start of a fairly odd storybook or something.
So following are the 3 characters I have created so far, and their stories. I'll also pop the character rules at the end of this post, just so that any readers can give it a go if they so feel the need.
66 - Body -Looks like a buddha (fat and bald)
36 - Head -Skeletal human with sunken features
51 - Nose - Bird nose; can be shaped like a hawk or sparrow.
25 - Eyes - Large round eyes that are white, pink, pale blue, green or clear like a crystal ball.
23 - Mouth - Human mouth with fangs and sharp teeth.
53 - Arms/hands - Thin and gnarled arms, muscular but misshapen. The hands are skeletal with long clawed fingers.
100 - Legs/feet - No feet or legs, snail-like trunk; slithers.
87 - Other Features - Hunchback.
62 - Skin Colour - Light Blue
Zuldech and he is a holy man of the Iaingath race.
Once a year, Zuldech journeys to the swamp outside his village to make an offering to the goddess Chadastsya. This offering is made to ensure health, harmony and abundance for his people. Whilst in a trance he speaks with the goddess and is granted a gift - usually a glowing crystal of power - to take back to the village to bear witness to the fact that Chadastsya's favour is with them.
95 -Body- Humanoid but giant.
46 -Head- Large and round like a melon
62 -Nose- Animal snout, like that of a boar, hog or fox.
49 -Eyes- Small eyes that are an unnatural red, yellow, or black.
36 -Mouth- Human mouth but twice as large as normal.
85 -Arms/hands- Five arms of equal size and proportion.
61 -Legs/feet- Bird-like, spindly, stick legs and clawed bird feet.
45 -Other features -Lumpy pink or white flesh.
68 -Colour- Light Blue
This is the goddess Chadastsya.
Revered by Osang, Iaingath (of which the holy man Zuldech is a member) and A'kinald alike, she moves largely in the shadows of swamps, forests and caves. She is one of the seven imortals who's task it is to watch over the triple layered realm of Morin and guide it's inhabitants.Gyolanyx
Chadastsya is considered to be the giver of life and the keeper of the harvests. It is through her grace and guidance that the crops of Morin are able to thrive and therefore feed the 3 races that live there
85 - Body -Bird; barrel chested, broad upper body, narrow lower abdomen, short thick neck.
72 - Head - Human but like a rotting skeleton
45 - Nose - Large flat like that of an ape, two times larger than that of a normal
97 - Eyes - One large round eye that is pale blue or violet
81 - Mouth - Large flabby mouth, quivering lips, no teeth
42 - Arms/hands - Muscular human arms that have clawed hands with 2 fingers and a thumb.
14 - Legs - Perfectly human, no claws
62 - Other Features - No hair on body, pale skin
4 - Skin Colour - Brown or Tan
His name is Gyolanyx and he is a villager in the Osang dimension of Morin. Osang are a fairly peaceful race. They prefer a simple hunter/gatherer over the more city-state, civilization hungry lifestyle of the A'kinald or the spiritually mystical Iaingath people. Most Osang are actually quite disbeliving of the fact that there are other dimensions of Morin, with other races and other places occupying the same space/time as them. They prefer to think of the interactions that happen between the races and dimensions as dreams. Or perhaps fairy stories told to frighten or subdue. Osang that actually experience a crossing of dimensions in Morin are usually looked on as slightly mad, and are pitied by their community.
The Osang are a peculiar race. Once a year, they shed all of their skin and muscle, starting at their heads, untill all that is left of them is their thick, heavy bones held together by sinews at the joints. The fact that all of their internal organs are actually held within the bone makes them look like a walking skeleton. They live this way for 3 weeks and during this period (called the Ossein Time) an Osang is celebrated by their family and peers. Each Osang looks forward to their Ossein Time and at the first signs of it they will proudly display their rotting flesh and clean the white bone beneath.
Gyolanyx has just returned from picking Uopehei Berries, so that his wife Kelynxy can start preparing his Ossein Cake
As I said, this is taken from a post on the Something Awful forums, the author of which in turn transcribed it from a role-playing book "Rifts World Book 8: Japan".
You will need a 100 sided dice (or 2 x 10 sided - one for the first digit and one for the second) or you can use this online set of roleplaying dice and clicking "roll" next to the purple d100 dice.
General Body Shape
01-20 Perfectly human
21-50 Broad, muscular human.
51-60 Skeletal human.
61-65 Lumpy blob like a snail.
66-70 Looks like a buddha (fat and bald)
71-80 Toad; large, round, fat and flabby with no neck.
81-90 Bird; barrel chested, broad upper body, narrow lower abdomen, short thick neck.
91-95 Humanoid but giant, 8 feet (2.4 m).
96-00 Fish; long body, complete with scales, fins and tail.
01-05 Wild Boar
31-40 Skeletal human with sunken features
46-55 Large and round like a melon
71-80 Human but looks like a rotting skeleton
81-90 Neanderthal-like with a basic but larger, thicker human skull,
thick eyebrow ridges and square chin
01-10 Normal human nose.
11-20 Bulbous nose three times larger than a normal human.
21-30 Pointed nose three times larger than a normal human.
31-50 Large, wide, flat nose like that of an ape, two times larger than a normal human.
51-60 Bird nose; can be shaped like a hawk or sparrow.
61-70 Animal snout, like that of a boar, hog or fox.
71-80 Tiny nose; can be any of the above types (choose or roll) but two times smaller than normal.
81-85 Snake nose; two small holes or slits above the mouth.
86-90 Rat nose.
91-00 No nose; not even an opening for one.
01-10 Large human eyes with a wild or crazed look to them.
11-20 Huge almond-shaped eyes that glow red like a fire or sparkling gold, yellow, amber, or orange.
21-40 Large round eyes that are white, pink, pale blue, green or clear like a crystal ball.
41-50 Small eyes that are an unnatural red, yellow, or black.
51-60 Snake eyes that sparkle gold or silver.
61-70 Bird eyes the look like jade.
71-80 Normal human eyes.
81-90 Roll again for eye shape (or pick one), but has four of them.
91-00 One large round eye that is a pale blue or violet.
01-10 Large toad-like mouth filled with large, flat teeth in a perfect
row; flabby lips.
11-20 Human mouth and crooked teeth.
21-30 Human mouth with fangs and sharp teeth.
31-40 Human mouth but twice as large as normal with large, pointed, crooked teeth.
41-50 Large monkey-like mouth filled with sharp teeth and large fangs.
51-60 Large toad mouth, no lips, just a long slit for a mouth filled with tiny, sharp teeth.
61-70 Canine-like mouth and short muzzle filled with canine teeth and fangs.
71-80 Large mouth with flabby, quivering lips, filled with large, flat,
81-90 Large mouth with flabby, quivering lips, with NO teeth.
91-00 Tiny slit for a mouth, half the size of a normal human; no lips,
tiny teeth and a thin snake's tongue.
Arms & Hands
01-20 Perfectly human. No claws.
21-30 A pair of large, oversized, muscular arms and a third,
smaller arm with two clawed fingers and a thumb.
31-45 Muscular human arms with clawed hands that have two fingers and a thumb.
46-56 Thin and gnarled arms, muscular but misshapen. The hands are skeletal with long clawed fingers.
57-67 Three-fingered claws (and a thumb) with muscular arms. Monkey- like in shape and length.
68-75 Squirrel or rat-like in shape and length, short and spindly with
small articulated hands and fingers.
76-85 Five arms of equal size and proportion.
86-95 Bird-like clawed hands and powerful arms.
96-00 Octopus-like tentacles instead of arms; twice as long as human arms.
Legs & Feet
01-15 Perfectly human. No claws.
16-25 Monkey-like in shape and length: short, stubby legs; walks in a waddling manner and lopes on all fours when running. Prehensile feet.
26-50 Classic oni: upper legs are powerfully built, lower legs a bit thin. Feet have two large, clawed toes.
51-60 Skeletal shaped legs with the classic two-toed, clawed feet.
61-70 Bird-like, spindly, stick legs and clawed bird feet.
71-80 Human feet with clawed toes.
81-90 Animal-like; hooves or like bear.
91-00 No feet or legs, snail-like trunk; slithers.
01-07 Tail of a rat.
08-14 Skin is covered with tiny scales.
15-21 Pair of small horns.
22-28 Pair of large horns.
29-35 Large mane of hair, black, red, gold or green in color.
36-42 Bushy eyebrows and a scraggly beard.
43-49 Lumpy pink or white flesh.
50-56 Hairy body with tan or red skin.
57-64 No hair on the body; pale skin.
65-72 Boils or scabs cover the body.
73-80 Pot belly, but otherwise muscular.
88-94 Tail of a lizard.
95-00 Covered in fur.
01-10 Brown or Tan
11-20 Reddish Brown
21-30 Light or Dark Red
31-40 Fiery Red
41-50 Light Green
51-60 Jade Green
61-70 Light Blue
71-80 Pale Grey
81-90 Stark White or Ivory
91-00 Mustard/Yellow Brown
I'm off now to roll more dice.