Design & Development06/02/2006

You Choose the Concept

We're hoping this column becomes your window into roleplaying design and development -- or at least the way we approach these things here at Wizards of the Coast. We'll handle a wide range of topics in weeks to come, from frank discussions about over- or underpowered material, to the design goals of a certain supplement, to what we think are the next big ideas for the Dungeons & Dragons game. All of this comes bundled with a healthy look at the people and events that are roleplaying R&D.

It’s time! Time to select the winning concept for You Craft the Creature! Last time, we asked you to provide your concept for "Baker" (codename for our developing creature), a concise description that will then be submitted to our artists.

Our distinguished panel (composed of David Noonan, Jesse Decker, and Bart Carroll) thoroughly reviewed your submissions, and have chosen the following concepts to put to the vote. Please note that these concepts have been only very lightly edited.

Our thanks to everyone who took the time to contribute to the message board thread! And good luck to Baker -- soon to gain his identity as an official D&D creature!

Let the Concepts Begin

From a distance, this creature appears to be an abnormally tall, slender elf. When approached, however, the lines of its body sharpen and portions of its flesh seem to sheer off from the body for a moment before abruptly returning to their original location.

While at its best off the battlefield, twisting events to its will through fey proxies and manipulation, this creature functions best in the midst of its foes when attacked. Its focus in battle is upon redirecting the strengths of its opponents back against themselves, distorted and magnified like an image in a cracked mirror.

Nearly ten feet tall, this creature seems to be glowing with dark energy. Its long, unnatural arms end in seven-fingered, red-clawed hands. It moves oddly, having backwards knees, which enable it to run faster and jump higher. Its face is resembles that of an elf in that it has pointy ears and no facial hair, but its eyes glow a deep blue, radiating power.

In battle, this creature commands hordes of fey to destroy its ancient elven enemies. It prefers not to enter combat itself, but if it does, it uses its array of dark powers to great avail.

The light in front of you bends, refracts, and twists upon itself like a thousand spinning pieces of glass. Slowly, through the confused image, you spot delicately curved horns and cloven hoofs, and a beautiful, sad face with blank fiery eyes. You see the broken image of what must've once been a satyr, now twisted and wreathed in flame and madness.

The [Baker] was once the powerful spirit of the forest. In its zeal and arrogance, [Baker] summoned beings from the far realm, a world beyond all worlds, and bound them to fight and destroy nearby settlements of humans loggers. The aberrations from the far realm could not be contained by a single forest spirit and escaped their bindings only to corrupt the forest, the fey, and most of all, the forest spirit who summoned them. The aberrations were then banished back to their far realm by a cabal of powerful elf wizards who had heard of the attacks and the forest’s corruption.

A slouching humanoid shambles through the scrub, the seven arms on each side knocking through bushes. Its skin color is ever-changing, and stripes on the chest and shoulders, in the pattern of bark growth, shift colors to mis-match the main color. Glowing white spines constantly grow out of its body and fall off, leaving a trail of sap which evil Fey find nutritious... and mind-controlling. Two eyestalks grow from the top of its head, and a single black hole in its deer-like head must surely form the mouth...

[Baker], an intelligent, cruel, and tactical-minded adversary leads hundreds of evil fey through the woods on a campaign against elves and druids. It believes elves in particular are actually a scourge upon the woods, representing some ancient hatred it harbors for a slight upon nature or its wizard creator's mad schemes. Whatever the origins, [Baker] sends its minions out to destroy all elves, and if a good enough defense is mounted, joins the fray itself using it's skewed vision of justice to manifest strange defenses.

This writhing mass of thorny vines hangs above the ground. Thin tendrils snake out from its body and seem to connect it to all nearby living creatures. Where flowers would bloom, tufts of mottled fur or pale feathers sprout, and translucent sacs of flesh hang from it like fruit. One sac holds a human-sized brain, and in another are a number of floating eyes.

The [Baker] only fights in its home forest, using its abilities to change the shape of the battlefield and to separate its opponents so that its minions can pick them off one at a time.

In appearance, [Baker] is a clear gelatinous mass in a roughly humanoid shape, it’s body filled with materials from its environment: sticks, vines, stones and even flowers arranged and styled by its fey servants to give the impression of bones, sinew and even ornate accruements, though the creature distains anything that suggests skin, preferring to leave it’s ‘insides’ exposed.

When combat is expected, it makes every effort to study its opponents from afar and prepare accordingly. Once in combat, it attacks at range, directing minions while staying just close enough for its special abilities to influence the battle.

Shifting cogs and shining spindles comprise the body of this creature, but as they revolve to grip the surrounding trees they become… unnatural. They ripple like flesh, passing through each other like smoke. And in the middle of it all is a single glaring eye.

When this living mechanism tried to calculate nature, its very reality shattered into contradicted insanity. Its retinue of evil fey is intoxicated by its loathing for instinct and life. The [Baker] draws attention by striking directly and openly, employing powerful defenses that protect it from most attacks. This frees its minions to harass opponents.
--Slagger the Chuul

Suspended within the branches of the trees is a churning mass of what looks like tightly twisted bright violet ropes. A hazy shimmering in the air makes it difficult to discern whether all parts of its body are even connected, but a translucent glowing green eye seems to move with freedom around the [Baker], locking onto its surroundings.

Conceptually, this creature serves to shutdown conventional tactics with its special abilities, while its fey allies fight under its protection. They fight for it because in some twisted farscape dimension, this creature was the equivalent of a fey itself.

Before you stands a humanoid giant whose body appears to be ever-shifting patchwork of emerald flesh, black bone, and starry sky. Three flaming blue eyes peer from the creature¹s featureless face. The surrounding air begins to hum as the creature approaches you.

A [Baker]'s primary role in combat is to undermine an enemy's resources. It's wild magic aura upsets the spells of unprepared spellcasters and its body's geometry makes melee attacks less than effective. Should it be outnumbered, it can summon extraplanar allies through spells or dimension door from battle.

This creature resembles a floating 4-foot tall wooden mask of a beautiful elven female, haloed in an ever-shifting cloud of dark green energy flecked with orbs of the darkest purple. The 'wood' seems to rot or blossom and change hue, depending on the creature’s displayed expression.

Its primary role on the battlefield is as a commander of evil fey and corruptor of the woodlands. It uses its powers to summon and augment its allies while directing them to the most dangerous targets with malicious glee.

This creature has a tauric-like form, which it constantly changes. Its lower body alternates between beetle, ant, scorpion and spider-like shapes, while its upper torso changes from furry to scaly to chitinous. The head is always in the shape of a skeletal animal (bear, cow, moose, etc.) with a big pair of antlers. Its arms also change from furry, to insect, to branch, to tentacle-like with small claws.

The creature uses its magical abilities to beat evil fairies into submission and uses them to combat elves and druids.

Who's concept is your favorite?
Slagger the Chuul
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