Friday, July 15, 2011

First Isle of the Unknown Art Preview!

Two mages from the Isle:

The mages on the Isle have all been illustrated by Jason Rainville (who is also doing the map). Amos Orion Sterns is doing 109 monster pics, and Cynthia Sheppard is doing the cover.

Each of the mages will have unique powers (not tied to spell lists or the usual magic system), all of the monsters are new and unique. And everything's in color!

Depending how layout ends up as far as the page count, there will definitely be an index of monster listings (a bit challenging as none of the creatures has an actual name), but I'm hoping there's room to present all the monster stats as a mini "Monster Manual" style section for ease in poaching them for your home setting.

It will rock, this book.


  1. It's great to see an update about this adventure. I'm really looking forward to it.

  2. Wow, full color and what nice colors they are! I am looking forward to seeing the Isle in all its glory!

  3. Panning on using this for a Vancian by way of Lyonesse OD&D campaign, so the sooner the better!

  4. Wow, nice art. The feeling is "ancient" -- how will it fit with the Renaissance mood of LotFP? -- Unless of course it's on purpose :)

  5. By illustrations alone I expect them both to be horrifying perverts with access to polymorphing spells. Nasty ancient vibe that makes me think of Odyssey's part with Circe.

  6. Looks neat! So what can you tell us about the setting, or at least the general flavor, influences, etc.?

  7. The presentation is pure sandbox.

    There is a civilization on the island with towns and cities, but these are pretty much not detailed other than noting that they exist. They're not even named. Geoffrey had a 13th Century French culture in mind when he was using the Isle in play, and that will probably influence the graphic design of the book, but the text is very much vague enough that it could be whatever the standard culture is in your campaign.

    These mages here are *not* a part of this civilization; the Greek/Roman look of these mages are supposed to seem out of sorts with whatever civilization is on the island.

    I'm sure Geoffrey will be along soon to correct anything I've gotten wrong and to add details if he wishes.

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  9. The single biggest influence is Clark Ashton Smith. I imagine the island feeling like CAS's Averoigne cycle of stories, set in a medieval fantasy France. (James got everything correct with one tiny exception: early 14th century rather than 13th century.)

    The monsters found on the isle, though, are not your typical werewolves, vampires, and such. Instead, they are unique and bizarre monsters that could have been in CAS's weirder stories set in Hyperborea.

    I like the juxtaposition of a "tame" 14th-century French isle with outre creatures and magics.

    The most important thing about the Isle of the Unknown is that (aside from the mundane backdrop), EVERYTHING your PCs encounter will be new to them. There are NO standard monsters, magic items, or spell-casters on the island (unless the referee wishes to add them, of course). The players will never have a reaction of, "Oh, one of those. We know how to deal with it."

    Each and every monster (over 100 of them) and every single spell-caster (about 40 of them) that is included in the product is entirely original. Your players have never seen any of them before. (One exception: One of the monsters saw previous publication in Fight On!)

    Plus there are over 150 weird and magical locations of various sorts (glades, copses, statues, tarns, etc.) that will be new to your players. Think of the Room of Pools in module B1, and turn that all the way up.

    The map is drawn on a hex map with 400 numbered hexes. 70 of those hexes consist entirely of water. Each of the other 330 hexes has a point of interest described, almost all of them something out of the ordinary. The only ordinary hex encounters in the book are the 15 towns and 1 city. Thus you get 314 magical things (whether monster, spell-caster, location, statue, or whatnot).

    It's a D&D book I was wishing someone would write. Since I got impatient waiting for it, I decided to write it myself. And let me tell you that every single piece of art (all in full-color) that I've seen thus far for the book has impressed me. No one's looking forward to this book more than I am. :D