Dark Tower miniatures out!

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Big Mac
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Dark Tower miniatures out!

Post by Big Mac » Thu Aug 18, 2016 1:43 pm

Otherworld Minatures are selling a line of miniatures, from the classic Judge's Guild adventure: Dark Tower, as part of their JG Series - Official Judge's Guild Miniatures.

And the best thing is that, because Jennell Jaquays is an artist, as well as a game designer, she made the concept art used to make the sculpts for her own monsters! You can't get much more authentic than that. ;)

Here is what Jennell said about her "Minion of Set" design on Facebook:
Jennell Jaquays on the Dragongirl Studios page wrote:The Minions of Set were the second set of figures that I tackled for the Dark Tower line from Otherworld games (I had already completed three figures for the Lions of Mitra, angelic guardian spirits associated with three magic artifacts found in the adventure).

The whole Set vs. Mitra mythology was drawn from the Conan the Barbarian fiction, by Robert E. Howard and other authors finishing his stories (L. Sprague De Camp and Lin Carter). Mitra, loosely based on the deity Mithras and Set on the Egyptian god. And of course, my spin on both of them in an adventure that was itself inspired by the conflict in Howard’s “Red Nails” Conan story.

In the original adventure that I wrote, there were no depictions of the Minions of Set. They were powerful human-like warrior creatures who could be summoned to protect the god Set, or his servitors. They were based on a short description found in the original D&D supplement Gods, Demi-gods, & Heroes (the precursor book to the AD&D 1e version Deities & Demigods, and then Legends & Lore for AD&D 2e). There were no illustrations in the book. Jeff Dee had depicted a minion in Deities & Demigods (a book that I also worked on as an illustrator), but that’s not how imagined them back in ’79 and DEFINITELY NOT how I would come to imagine them in 2016.

If it’s not immediately apparent, my minions are greatly influenced by the Jaffa, the warriors serving the alien Ra in Stargate the motion picture and later as the genetically engineering warrior caste of the alien Goa’uld in Stargate SG1. I took influence there, but I didn’t want them to be exactly like those warriors. So I collected a lot of related reference and worked from there.

I drew on a lot of stylized Egyptian warrior armor and weapons, aiming for “is it cool” rather than “Is it authentic.” There was also some consideration given to the way Thulsa Doom was portrayed in the Conan the Barbarian movies (the 1980s Arnold Schwartzeneggar ones). Otherworld had already decided that they wanted to use the two headed serpent symbol on the Dark Tower figures (there’s a reptilian theme throughout the D&D Set mythos).

I rendered my art digitally, using a combo of CLIP Studio Paint (aka Manga Studio) and Photshop CS 6 on my aging Wacom Cintiq drawing tablet.

I looked to other miniature figures for poses that would express the character (and not be too difficult to manufacture … these things have to be molded and the molds hopefully have a longish lifespan). I originally gave the Guardian Minion two of those sickle swords. But Otherworld ask that I stick closer to the description, and changed that up for a sword and shield (and in the process, flipped the drawing right to left to make the character a “righty.”). The shield IS a traditional ancient Egyptian war shield. I added the scales to play up the reptilian theme, and made the two-headed serpent into the shield boss.

The armor is a mix of classic medieval plate mail (D&D is NOT an ancients type setting). As much as possible, I tried to draw on Egyptian inspiration for the styling of chest area, torso, and armored skirt. I originally drew the ears (they’re ears, not horns) on the head dress more vertical, but decided they look less goofy, angled back. The headdress is inspired by the canon head of the god (and is therefore some sort of ambiguous creature, neither jackal nor crocodile). The foot gear was originally draw just as armored shoes. I changed them to be more claw-like (the armor is clawlike, not their feet) after doing the same on the second drawing of the Warrior minion.

My final “style statement” on the miniature was the addition of tattered linen wrappings on the wrists and ankles of the figure. They have no specific purpose except to add a weird “mummy-like” decoration to the creature.

I’m really pleased with the way the miniature sculptor captured this figure in both pose and details!
There is another picture of the concept art of the "Minion of Set: Warrior".

There is a video floating around Facebook. I'll see if I can find one that is not on Facebook, so that other people can watch it.
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Re: Dark Tower miniatures out!

Post by Havard » Thu Aug 18, 2016 5:44 pm

Cool :)

When I first read this I thought it was linked to Stephen King's Dark Tower, but JG's Dark Tower works too.

Will Duck Tower be next? :ugeek:

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Re: Dark Tower miniatures out!

Post by Big Mac » Sat Aug 20, 2016 7:07 pm

Havard wrote:When I first read this I thought it was linked to Stephen King's Dark Tower, but JG's Dark Tower works too.
Did Stephen King's Dark Tower even get converted into a RPG adventure? :?

Jennell Jaquays Dark Tower is one of the things I don't own yet, but I've seen it doing really well in the polls.

I'm wondering if it actually connects to Wilderlands, or if it's a generic Judges Guild product.
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Re: Dark Tower miniatures out!

Post by Big Mac » Sun Aug 21, 2016 9:00 am

Jennell on the "Lions of Mitra" on Facebook:
Jennell Jaquays on the Dragongirl Studios page wrote:I’ve decided to throw all three Lions of Mitra figures together into a single commentary and montage (with teensy bits of #ThrowbackThursday thrown in for good measure).

I’m no longer sure the exact details of how I went about conceiving the characters and contents of Dark Tower, other than that the overview ideas for the adventure came to me as I drove home from my interview meeting with Judges Guild in October of 1978. The ideas for the adventure built on the theme of one of my favorite Conan the Barbarian stories, Red Nails, in which two rival factions of the same people had locked themselves into an ongoing struggle against each other, all the while staying inside the walls of a lost citadel. One of my other favorite Conan themes was the struggle between the evil serpentine cult of Set of the “good” religion of Mitra. The venerable Deities & Demigods expansion of Original D&D had a Robert E. Howard’s Hybora section, giving a brief overview of Conan the Barbarian’s fictional world (this didn’t make the cut to later versions) with entries for the god Set (which referred the reader to the Egyptian god of the same name; Set, god of Evil and the Night, )and also for Mitra as well, described I the books as:
“God of the Hyborians, this being has no know form, but his worshippers like to present him as a perfectly formed human male. Mitra is a 40th level magic/user cleric type and uses the astral spell with no range limitation. He uses plus 3 armor and shield in battle and a plus 4 sword of cold.”
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