Cille's Unoriginal Thread Title

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    Greetings, all.

    I started playing D&D earlier this year, and of course with character creation comes the desire to have pictures of those characters. I’m actually kind of amazed that I didn’t discover HeroMachine when I was first searching for avatar creator sites, but here I finally am. I’m pretty happy with the pictures I was able to make, so I decided to post them here for the world to see.

    I tend to go kind of overboard fleshing out my characters’ backstories, but I’ll try to keep their descriptions brief. Hopefully knowing a bit about them as people will make the images more meaningful.



    Noriel – fire genasi nomad mystic

    This was my very first go at using HeroMachine when I first discovered the site. It’s pretty basic, and at the time I got the impression that the options for things like clothing were kind of limited, but that’s only because I neglected to look through all of the drop-down lists. My great breakthrough moment was when it occurred to me to use a second hair item behind her head so it didn’t look so derpy with only the flyaway bangs. 😀 I also figured out that her face would look less stupid if I resized her mouth. I did have fun with patterns, and I think the surreal-ish setting suits her tendency to connect with her surroundings on a more conceptual sensory level rather than simply through regular sight like us normies.

    Noriel was the result of an ill-fated romance between an elven traveler and the daughter of the powerful fire genasi who had enslaved him and his best friend during a foray to the City of Brass. After her parents were killed by the angry genasi, the child was spirited away by the surviving friend, Ianfir, who entrusted her to her elven grandparents before his grief compelled him to continue his journey through the world. When Ianfir returned two decades later, he found a grown woman in the place of the baby he had left behind.

    Having received training in the mystic arts along with his friend many years before, Ianfir recognized the spark of potential in the young woman, and he took her under his wing as her mentor. They began their own sojourn through the world together, and grew closer as he carefully guided her to a fuller understanding of her mental capabilities. When he came to the troubling realization that his feelings for her had deepened beyond platonic fondness, he resorted to closing off part of his mind to her out of a belief that it was inappropriate and selfish of him to indulge in these feelings. It wasn’t until the fateful moment when he gave up his life to save hers that she realized the depth of his love for her. And then he was gone.

    The mental and emotional blow of this loss nearly incapacitated her, and it would take months for her mind to process all of the ramifications of this traumatic event. She finally emerged from this waking sleep with the certainty that what Ianfir would want most for her was to go on, continue traveling and learning, and make the most of the life that he had wanted so dearly to preserve. And so she does, cautiously making her own way through a world filled with vast wonders.



    Tamrith – human paladin of the ancients

    My second project, in which I discovered frankensteining, masking, and using little gradient bubbles to add highlights and shadows. I spent a ridiculous amount of time on this jigsaw-puzzling everything together, and then went back to it once the burnout had worn off because it really needed more details and the armor was far too pristine. And then went back to it again immediately before posting it because it always kind of bothered me that her eyes were too glam. But now she’s good to go. 😀

    Tamrith’s world was shaped by the ragtag mercenary group that raised her. She learned to fight, learned to do what she was told, learned to do what was necessary to survive. But no matter how much they fought, or how well, even when it seemed like some goal or other had been achieved, it was never enough. The fighting never stopped. And it was never about what they wanted or what she wanted. They were always fighting and dying for someone else’s greed, or petty squabbles, or delusions of grandeur. Even when the group was absorbed into a noble lord’s personal militia, and life became somewhat more comfortable, the fighting just never stopped.

    Finally the time came when Tamrith had had enough. Weary and disillusioned, she left the militia and set out in search of a purpose that she could call her own. What she found, without even realizing its significance, was a wooden amulet left behind by a recently-deceased elderly druid she encountered while passing through a forest. From that point on, the forces of nature seemed to work their magic on and through her, leading her to eventually dedicate her sword and her shield to the cause of fighting to protect whatever good things still exist in this crappy world.



    Mellie Greenfield – halfling wild magic sorcerer

    This image was thankfully much less involved and time-consuming than the previous one, although it did present the unique challenge of building a sheep. By this point I was fairly comfortable with finding and using whatever elements would result in what I was picturing in my head, and hey if something doesn’t look quite right just cover it up with an excessive amount of foliage. I didn’t really bother with shading beyond making her light staff glowy, but I think the cutesy cartoon girl look is fine for her.

    Mellie is a teenaged farm girl going through magic puberty. From a young age she’s had weird magic stuff going on that nobody could really explain, although there might have been some truth to that family fable about Great-Great-Granpappy Japheth and his fling with a nymph. What was at first considered cute and funny soon became problematic, and when she was told to “just hold it in” and couldn’t, she developed an instinctive shame at her inability to control herself. She became functionally ostracized by her well-meaning but nervous community, and spent much of her time in the fields accompanied by her best friend, a sheep named Mabel.

    When Mellie was 12, her parents took her to see the famous traveling wizard Ygaram the Magnificent. After the show, they waited for an autograph – but then took the opportunity to ask the wizard if he could “fix” their daughter. Able to size up the situation and feeling sympathetic toward the girl, he instead became her mentor for an afternoon and taught her to cast her first actual spells. Inspired by this encouragement, she did the best she could to learn about magic and held out hope that she might one day be able to actually use her magic constructively.

    Eventually, at their wits’ end after years of dealing with her disruptive magic, Mellie’s parents decided it would be a great idea for her to go apprentice herself to Ygaram the Magnificent. They sent her out with the fan mail address on his show playbill and an escort from a cousin who ended up ditching her after being zapped by lightning. Still not quite sure where to find the wizard or whether he’d even be interested in having her as an apprentice, she ended up falling in with a group of adventurers and is currently enjoying having actual friends and doing what she can to help stop a mean ol’ dragon cult that wants to do bad things.



    Larken Zooks & Trafalgar Swiftfoot – gnome beast master ranger

    Another jigsaw puzzle that offered some challenges with the desire for an angled pose and trying to get just the right expression on Larken’s face. I wish there were more happy smiling mouths, but this one works as well as any. I went kung-fu with masking over shapes to crop stuff and decided not to overcomplicate things with textures or shading. The background proved surprisingly tricky, as most of the forest or tavern type options felt either too cluttered or too oppressive for Larken’s relatively small features. So I went with a more atmospheric backdrop rather than a realistic depiction of a moment in the pair’s travels, and while there’s a bit of a style clash between the hazy background and the characters’ sharp definition, I’m okay with that since it makes the character details stand out more.

    Larken is one of the few denizens of her hidden forest gnome village to ever venture beyond their secluded enclave. She loves exploring and always comes back from her jaunts with exciting stories to tell and goodies for her nieces and nephews. She developed a reputation for boldness and stubborn self-reliance, eschewing companionship on her outings aside from a series of small animals that she kept as pets.

    One such pet, a squirrel named Fluffernutter, was snapped up by a wolf as Larken watched in horror. Driven by emotion, she set after the wolf intent on vengeance. However, over the course of a relentless week-long pursuit, she found that she couldn’t bring herself to take the life of such a majestic creature – but she also couldn’t accept just giving up after coming so far. When she found herself too exhausted to fend off an attacking bear, the wolf came to her aid and saved her life. She had earned its respect through her perseverance, expert tracking, and benevolent nature, and it devoted itself to her then and there.

    As the two of them subsequently got to know each other better, the wolf (who finally accepted the name Trafalgar Swiftfoot after rejecting a slew of less dignified suggestions) had to adjust to Larken’s goofy demeanor, and she had to accept that her new companion was a bit of a frumpypuss. But they love each other and make a great team. Since they’ve been together her journeys have taken her farther abroad than ever before, and she’s always on the lookout for new adventures that will make for great stories to tell.



    Nice, clean designs!
    I like Mellie’s background (the way you did the sheep is delightful), Tamrith’s pose and Larken’s coat. You’ve clearly got some ideas, I’m looking forward to what you’ll do next.



    Thanks for the feedback. I’ve made good use of your tutorials while learning the ropes here. 🙂



    Tempest – tiefling berserker barbarian

    I spent literally an entire day working on this. Building a pose with body parts seems easier than trying to fit together chunks of clothing, although it’s still a lot of fiddling to make everything fit together properly. I’m quite happy with how it came out, and proud of myself for coming up with some creative solutions to problems that probably nobody but me would notice. (Wait, are those fingers technically missing a joint? Yes, yes they are. Well, we can’t have that.) Once again masking is my friend. I went super kung-fu on highlighting and shading, and I’m glad I did because she looks super buff and badass now. None of the scenic backgrounds really worked for me (I wish there were more townscapes that aren’t modern or Asian) so I went with a frame thing that looks pretty cool.

    Tempest was born into a tiefling slum and raised by whores in a brothel after her father was shanked in an alley and her mother died of consumption. The brothel owner, who had taken Tempest and her mother in off the streets, allowed the orphaned girl to stay there as long as she made herself useful. At first that meant taking care of menial chores, but as she grew older and more capable her duties tended toward thievery and the collection of debts from some of the brothel’s more delinquent clients. As she began to mature, she knew it was only a matter of time before she became the brothel’s newest exotic attraction.

    When she was 16, a night visit to collect from an aspiring politician turned violent when he tried to coerce her into sex. Overcome by rage, Tempest brutally stabbed the man to death before slipping away into the darkness. The local constabulary, looking for a quick fix to the scandal raised by the man’s murder, brought Tempest in for questioning and urged her to confess to a botched robbery without making the man’s connection to the brothel public. When the brothel owner decided his exotic toy wasn’t worth the potential fallout from protecting her, and the town guard tried more forceful means to secure her cooperation, Tempest left a bloody trail behind her to gain her own freedom and repay her “benefactor” for everything he had put her through.

    She spent the next couple of years on the run, until it seemed like the city’s authorities had lost interest in pursuing her. In the 20 years since that fateful incident, she’s been drifting from town to town supporting herself with (usually unsavory) odd jobs and the occasional brawl for money. She never forgets the way the world looks down on her kind, and while her temper simmers just below an outwardly calm and calculating surface, she will never lack for motivation to get angry and slash things up.



    Man, I really need to do a better job of checking the forums more often. Your characters are great.

    I always enjoy a good fantasy character so I appreciate this thread.



    Thanks a lot. 🙂 I probably put more thought than is healthy into developing backstories for my game characters, but it really helps them come to life as people. And of course that leads to character designs that fit who they are as people, even if they’re on the simple side aesthetically compared to some of the awesome detailed costume designs folks come up with.


    Oh man, I can tell this thread is going to be one to watch. Great things going on here!

    And you’re right, I never would have thought there was anything wrong with that hand. Your fix is fantastic. Love a good eye for the details.



    Xanthe Shroudweaver – elf grave cleric

    Although putting together Xanthe’s robe, cowl, and poncho took more finagling than I might have expected, all of the elements came together relatively quickly on this one. Not having to worry about limbs might have had something to do with that, and it was nice having a ready-made background for someone who hangs out in graveyards a lot. Then I got to the shading… and confirmed that backlighting is not the easiest thing to work with. I think it came out okay, although I worry about some of the details being obscured (her hair? the Morticia Addams dress bottom? ah well, at least I know they’re there…). It gets the idea across, which is all I really need with this one.

    Xanthe is the latest in a long line of caretakers of a certain region’s cemetery. Devout followers of the death god Kelemvor, her family has tended to the end-of-life needs of the surrounding towns and settlements for countless generations. Having been raised within the nurturing environment of the graveyard, Xanthe fully accepted the teachings of her faith and the role of death as an inevitable part of life. Along with her daughter and successor, Serafine, Xanthe has been a familiar face in her community and a stalwart protector of the graveyard and its residents.

    The two of them were joined by another apprentice, but they discovered too late that the newcomer had come to them with the intention of biding her time until she could perform a ritual to raise a long-slumbering denizen of the burial ground. It seemed that the dead man had been a powerful lord in his day, and the girl claimed that as the only heir to his bloodline she would harness his power to reclaim her rightful place in the world. Unfortunately for everyone involved, upon tearing his way up from the ground, the “lord” proceeded to rampage through the nearby town before disappearing into the night. Xanthe wasted no time in striking down the perfidious necromancer, but it was too late to stop the undead monster she had unleashed. All Xanthe and Serafine could do in the aftermath was bring what comfort they could both to the victims of his frenzy and to the remains that had been disturbed by his eruption from the ground.

    During this months-long recovery period, Xanthe also prepared herself for the inevitable responsibilities left by the calamity that had occurred under her watch. She left Serafine in charge of the cemetery and set out to track down the undead lord, clean up after whatever damage he had left in his wake, and send him back underground permanently. As she goes, she is continuing to do her duty for Kelemvor and provide aid to the dead and dying wherever she finds herself.



    Lady Corinne Rhistel – half-elf lore bard

    This piece came together in spurts over the course of a couple of weeks. It started with the challenge of making a sitting pose in a dress. Then it was a matter of getting her proportions right and dealing with what a friend dubbed “JJ Watt shoulders” in the armor piece I had chosen. That problem went away when I went ahead with my original idea of draping her shoulders in a cloak, and I try not to think about all the time I spent tweaking stuff that got covered up anyway. Then it was carpentry time building a wagon and figuring out more proportions and angling and I hope it looks at least somewhat realistic. The throwaway peasant wagon-driver turned into a full-fledged little hobbit man, and he cracks me right up. I managed to put together an appropriate backdrop for adventure travel without too much trouble. There’s so much repurposing and cropping in here I don’t even know where to start. (Let’s play “How Many Sleeves Are in That Sleeve?”) The shading came out pretty subtle, but I hope it still adds some depth to the whole thing. Then hey why not throw some textures on there and come up with two hours’ worth of more stuff to change and add and slightly nudge around because hey it’s not like I need sleep or anything.  I get punchy when I’m up late. It amuses me that this is basically a portrait painted by a guy sitting backwards on a horse.

    Corinne and her older brother were the offspring of a happy marriage between an elven nobleman and the lovely human musician who captured his heart. The family weathered scandal and scorn over their mixed race, maintaining their pride and strong internal ties even after Corinne’s mother’s life was claimed by illness. Corinne faced additional derision because she has always been distinctly chubbier than her svelte peers. While her brother acted as her protector against bullies, she found refuge in solitary learning and recalled her mother’s success with being nice as a defense mechanism. She had also inherited her mother’s musical proclivities, and as her education stretched into decades of advanced learning and travel, music has always been a primary focus. While her brother succeeded their father as lord of the family estate, Corinne has been largely free to pursue her own interests, and as their noble status opened doors for her, there was never really a reason to stop “bettering herself.” However, now in the midst of middle age, Corinne has begun to feel that she should do something practical in the world to make use of her extensive education. When her brother encouraged her to “do something with your music,” she astonished him by deciding to become one of those adventuring bards she’d heard so much about. Having made up her mind, she could not be convinced otherwise, and she has boldly set out despite really having no idea what she’s getting herself into.



    And because I know you were all wondering, here’s a backstory for goofy hobbit man. 😀

    Milo Tosscobble and his trusty horse Bobbin have made quite a name for themselves as “the most reliable hoss ‘n’ cart in three counties.” Despite the halfling’s diminutive stance, he is an able hauler and handler of his sturdy steed. On this particular day, his usual humdrum routine of bringing goods to market was preempted by an engagement from a fancy lady who wanted to take a trip to meet up with someone she called an “academic contact.” They struck up amicable conversation along the way, and it turned out she was a bard on the way to some adventure or other. He took the opportunity to teach her every halfling song he knew, excepting of course the most bawdy. He’s back to his usual business now, but his fancy customer will make for entertaining fencepost stories for a good long while.



    Looks good! Sounds like it was a lot of work.

    It’s also clear that you have learned the important art of heromachine smoke and mirrors. Covering the messy parts of a design with clothes,  foreground objects and masking is a good, powerful option. The next step is to learn to see when that is necessary in advance, before spending a lot of time trying to fix the unfixable.

    The cart looks great!  Really good use of all those parts to create an impression of three-dimensionality, the chest was a nice addition.  Heavier shading could help emphasize the depth, but that’s a slippery slope.

    Nice work, all around. I’m looking forward to seeing more.

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