Concept: The Babylonian Plague Whelp It was around 585 BCE when the first mention of the Plague Whelp was made in a letter written by Uhsus, a Babylonian priest and scholar whose description of "a six-limbed leviathan covered in boils that rose from beneath the earth" encountered near the border of Persia would later be connected to reports of entire merchant convoys being reduced to wreckage. The only witnesses to such incidents were the occasional catatonic servant on a severely distressed or injured mount. Many such animals were immediately slaughtered, due to the plethora of as yet unheard of diseases festering in every wound such as rabies and hepatitis.
It would be almost a decade later that widespread belief in the beast was substantiated by a series of sinkholes swallowing whole farms overnight, leaving behind nothing but a few sick and dying livestock. Curiously, the only crops never touched were chickpeas and other legumes, which by sheerest coincidence the Plague Whelp suffered an apparent allergy to. Traps using buried bean plants were later successfully used to corral the monster; however, the creature lay trapped beneath the private gardens of Amytis of Media, the wife of king Nebuchadnezzar II.
The monarch decided to erect a perimeter wall and a series of massive stone columns shackling the beast's protruding horns to the ground where every available bean plant in the city-state was transplanted. To make up for the loss of his wife's ground-level gardens, the king had his engineers design a gargantuan system of layered gardens upon the pillars, which were dedicated to the legendary Assyrian queen Semiramis. What we now know as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon stood for over four centuries on top of the beast's makeshift grave, while the roots of the toxic legumes entwined and entrapped the threat.
During the second century BCE it is commonly believed the gardens were brought down by a series of earthquakes. It is unknown at this point whether the quakes were real, or if the rumblings were a desperate play for freedom by the enormous prisoner, although the remaining wreckage never yielded evidence of the creature. To this day, residents of certain tribal settlements in the region still whisper of the legend whenever the earth shakes or the animals fall mysteriously ill.
The Following User Says Thank You to Weird.Is.Wonderful. For This Useful Post:
Buried in the catacombs deep beneath the many rebuilds of the Mausoleum of Hacicarnassus, the parasitic Annelida Rethamus rides within the body of the last of the Golden Dragons.
The word ‘anarchy’ comes from the ancient Greek αναρχία in which αν meant ‘without’ and αρχία meant first a military ‘leader’ and then ‘ruler’. Anarchist society is one ‘without rulers’: a classless, non-hierarchical society.
“You need people like me.
You need people like me so you can point your grubby fingers and say, "That's the bad guy."" SKETCHY Book
The Following User Says Thank You to lkjhgfdsa For This Useful Post:
during the early construction of the roman Colosseum around 70AD a group of slaves discovered a dark chamber underneath the site. upon finding it they heard a faint voice that said not to come in but to get their ruler. Vespasian (the emperor of the time) was sent for. Vespasian entered the chamber to discover a frail but immense creature that could speak to him. the creature claimed that if Vespasian didn't create a passage to the above ground from his chamber, and feed him the blood of his people, he would destroy Rome by a series of devastating earthquakes.
Vespasian decided it was wise not to disobey this formidable beast and complied, hiding the beast and barring anyone under his rule from entering its chamber. his plan being to hold great gladiator battles above and to feed the blood to the insatiable giant below.
upon Vespasian's death in 79AD, the blood supply stopped with him. soon after a curious slave entered the forbidden chamber after finding a piece of fabric with a drawing on it (pictured above) in Vespasian's old chambers. the creature having fed for the last 9 years decided to make the slave his last meal, sucked him dry of blood, and went back into the ground from which it came, to hibernate for 2000 years when it would need to feed again. collapsing the chamber on its way out.
recently a team of explorers discovered the collapsed chamber, finding one full set of human bones, dried blood remnants from over 10,000 different humans (deciphered through DNA testing), and the small piece of fabric with the drawing and the words Cruentus Deus, latin for "blood god".
Alexandria was home to much of the ancient world's knowledge; any curious scholar would find themselves at home among the countless scrolls kept in the libraries of that great city.
Some of the city's scholarly inhabitants, however, were not human. To keep the fires in the city's great lighthouse burning, Alexandrians would lure powerful dragons from the East. These majestic creatures were fascinated by the writings of western thinkers. They would happily use their magical fire to light the beacon of Alexandria's lighthouse, as long as the were provided a dedicated chamber in the lighthouse, and selected manuscripts to study. Here, a young T'ien Lung pores over an ancient manuscript as the lighthouse beacon blazes overhead.
I wish I had more time to complete this.... WIPs are in the other thread.
Last edited by lordarka; September 1st, 2010 at 05:04 AM.
The Following User Says Thank You to lordarka For This Useful Post:
Concept: Xolotl Cryptozoologists had long hoped for evidence of the creature which inspired the numerous representations of Quetzalcoatl at Chichen Itza. In 2012 a team from Dammstadt University received funding for the purpose of exploring the Chichen Itza site in hopes of discovering traces of the long-lost beast. They fixed their hopes on the massive Kukulkan Pyramid, it being the most obvious and prominent landmark on site. Much to their disappointment, not only did they fail to find any physical remains, but they found no records or documents which could be considered conclusive. With heavy hearts they turned their instruments on the rest of the site...
It was Professor Jermyn who found that ill-fated stone tablet, written in the same pictoglyphs commonly associated with the Popol Vuh. It detailed a massive sliding apparatus, a stone altar placed on smooth runners which was used to cover a subterranean prison - the so called Platform of Venus. With more enthusiasm than forethought the team eagerly began excavation, believing that any creature must surely be dead by now. What they discovered was a beast beyond their wildest predictions, over 30m in length with fantastic plumage - the feathers often extending 2m or more. It was a disaster, the team was slain and the surrounding area torn up in great furrows for kilometres around. Hundreds have been eaten, thousands displaced... if only the team had heeded the stone tablet:
"Xolotl of the one golden eye,
jealous lover of the morning sun.
His cruel dog's head, his reaching claws,
furious rage and boundless hunger.
Xolotl of the crooked leg,
who would devour the very skies,
were he not buried in earth."
On a personal note - there's a lot I would change about this in retrospect (like the final size, the scale drawing, and much of the lighting techniques), and I am terrible at backgrounds, lol. But I also learned a lot while doing it, so my next COW will be all the better
The Following User Says Thank You to shoomesh For This Useful Post:
The Golden Yekal inhibited northern China and was worshipped as living gods walking the earth. They had long and slender bodys, short velvetlike fur, strong limbs and horns that kept growing their entire life. It was punishable by death to harm one and numerous altars was built to leave offerings for them. Over time these altars were connected and formed a Great Wall where the Yekals lived a lazy life in luxury. The wall served as a playground for the playful Yekals and there was plenty of food offered at the altars and the houses gave the creatures warm and dry space to sleep and to raise their youngs. It is belived that they became so spoiled that when the majority of the people in northern China was killed in the wars that ravaged the country between 3d and 5th century CE and the offerings stopped they either perished or moved on. The last recorded sighting of one was in december, 582 CE.
The Following User Says Thank You to porcupine For This Useful Post:
Concept: Camazotz The beast of Machu Picchu. Legend has it that the vampire bat desmodus rotundus was spawned from a larger cousin now extinct. Natives say that these bats whom are decedents of Chamazotz may chew the heads clean off there victims. The Bat people of Machu Picchu whom base their life style off the large vampire bats give sacrafice to their beloved lord when the Chamazotz return to nest.
Kudurru means an inscribed stone deed in the ancient Babylonian tongue. The ivory beast Nebuchadnezzar II discovered in an oasis in his conquering of Judah was never named. It was only known as Nebuchadnezzar's property. The beast possessed a keen ability to read people's thoughts and intents. As a horse knows when it's master is afraid, the beast knew when a man was lying, deceitful, hostile. Nebuchadnezzar fell in love with the beast and it became his chief test for those accused of treason. He built the beast a great garden of the plants found in its oasis, to act as it's court to judge those accused of treason and heresy. The gardens were nicknamed the Hanging Gardens. Publicly it was because the gardens tiered structure caused a hanging of much ivy, vines and trees over the ledges of the structure. In truth, the court was called such because criminals sent to be judged by the beast were hung for their crimes, usually in the chambers beneath the garden. Amyitis, his wife, became jealous of Nebuchadnezzar's favoring the beast over her and plotted against it. Before she could be tried for plotting against the emperor and his pet she snuck into the hanging gardens and slit it's throat. The psychic energy released at it's death had a traumatic effect on Amyitis and she went insane over the next month. She eventually died by jumping from the highest point of the hanging gardens into the city below.
Tasounaes is the creature living in the Chichen Iza. It's started with a group of anthropologists tried to examine what's inside the dome. Before that tourists around said they heard some kind of noise inside. When the anthrolopologists went inside there, found the creature. It seemed so hungry and easily grabbed 3 of their team members. Now, military took over the area and dealt with the creature.
It uses spider web like net to capture whoever on its way, and swallow it.
Concept: Tiamat Tiamat, an elusive and chaotic goddess, who appears in the form of a huge dragon, or a malevolent queen. She comes and goes as she pleases by laying her eggs upon the earth in hopes of entering the adult form of a dragon in which she instills her ethereal wrath. She is truly a hideous beast of ancient and primordial world. When she appears the world is left reeling in destruction, or flourishing from the ousting of other opposing deities. Her followers are wild at heart and kneel before her great, rash power.
Her last visit to this material plane was to the great kingdom of Babylon, where she lived in luxury as a queen with the great King Nebuchadnezzar II. However their affair did not last. She was further shamed and enraged to hear of the beautiful hanging gardens he built for his new queen Amytis. Tiamat swore revenge and laid one of her dragon eggs in the bowels of the gardens sewer. In these rank depths, her spawn grew until the day it would grow large enough level the gardens and the city of Babylon for the King's insolence towards Tiamat.
Last edited by Droog; September 1st, 2010 at 04:59 AM.
Reason: Did not add surrounding box on first entry, resubmitting image
Hey all. It was a tough round to decide on, but I finally chose lkjhgfdsa. Some creatures I truly felt were wonders in themselves, others I felt the wonder was more in their residence than the creature itself. With that in mind here are a couple of comments:
Weird.Is.Wonderful - The grandios scale of your piece made the title of whelp confusing to me, but nevertheless. I like the concept, but I feel like certain parts could have been better tied in. The roots are disjointed abd should come from above, spreading outwards. The mouth could use some heavier application of lighting to give them some more form. lkjhgfdsa - Another really strong creature added to the plethora of entries I've seen from you. The rendering looks damn solid on the creature, but the background feels very rushed in comparison to the creature's crisp style. I felt that you had a really creative interpretation of the concept with the creature residing inside wondrous creatures. I gave you my vote based on a solid and creative concept with great execution. (lark - You've pumped out another strong entry and it was really cool to watch you problem solve over the course of the round. I don't really feel that the diagram was all that necessary, though. I had the whole tunnel system in my head perfectly without it. The design of the creature with the mood you've created lend themselves to creating the creatures environment without aid. lordaka - You have a strong sense of scaling, space and rendering on certain areas, but there are certainly some problem areas. The creature itself has confusing anatomy. It's one arm looks like it's emerging from the creature's head, but then has an extension leading back to the body, creating an awkwardness. The hair and back spines could have received more attention given how well done the scales are. Other than that I guess I'd just like to see more of the creature. shoomesh - You've got a nice crisp style, and pushing that would really be to your advantage. It's very readable, and almost comic-y. I would;ve really liked to have seen the creature in an environment. Until I saw the scaling I thought it was about dog-sized. This would also help establish a setting for the creature, give us more intrigue on things like the scar on its face etc. porcupine - Your rearrangement of the piece has really helped establish a space and has given a lot more depth in a spacial and conceptual sense. I loved the description that went along with the creatures, my only real issue I have with them is that I feel the colouration of the creatures could have been more varied. I like the use of imperial yellow, but I always feel like having some areas of lighter and darker tones of their colouration really helps make a creature more believable. You have a start with the darker spots, pushing it further would make the piece just shiny. skullbeast - It's good to see you creating pieces for COW again, your creatures always look really good. I really get a grand scale from your beast, but I feel almost that the choice of machu pichu was arbitrary and that the beast could have been anywhere being just as big a badass. A little more suggestion of location in the background would have helped this a lot. tmyohlaing - It's cool how you've used a more modern look at an ancient creature with the nightvision. Nightvision usually has some really intense lights, though. If you'd like some really good example for creatures seen in nightvision, scorge's piece from the Cave Dweller COW round is an excellent reference. I think that more highlights would really give us more details on the creature and help establish some of the more ambiguous areas, such as the net/tongue/projectile. pinpointte - Like I said before, you have a really intense sense of scale here, but it could have been very easily enhanced by application of some atmospheric perspective. It would have helped the city seem grander and the creature all the more massive. The problem is really that it's very raw, the lighting is unrefined and areas like the wings and the crushed material beneath its hand feel rushed. I'm also having trouble seeing how a creature of that size would reside within any of the wonders. It seems far to massive. sozo - Your hellhound looks pretty damn good. Your rendering is solid, but has a few areas which feel inconsistently rendered. The eyes in particular feel flatter than they should. I suppose I just don't see the really 'wondrous' part of your creature... Rich3 - Part of the reason that I had such a hard time critiquing your piece is because it's very difficult to read. The colours and the tonal quality doesn't have enough contrast to be able to clearly see the image. It's really a shame because I can see some awesome bird design in there, it's just difficult to see and appreciate. shockowaffel - You have some beautiful texture and rendering on the creature itself, which is too bad because the rest of feels so rushed. The rocks in particular don't establish a locale, so I feel like this creature could be in any old cave. I enjoyed how in one of your previous sketches you had clear reference to the pyramids of Giza. Try and avoid black as much as you can. In the background it's not awful, but the back shadows of the people are totally flat because of it. Other than that I guess I would just maybe want to see a bit more of the creature just to get a better impression of anatomy. JanJager - I really like this one. I felt it had a creative design and it went with the wonder it was portrayed in. the people look a little rough, but it's not a huge deal. I would've like slightly more info to go with in the description, maybe. It has some really quality rendering and an excellent palette, though. kevinpool - There are elements of your piece that are striking in their beauty. I love the elements of the water where the cyan reflection creates patterns and the calm grace there seems to be about your creature. I do feel that some more effort could have been put into establishing a space, especially since establishing a scale for this creature is very important and the hint at the lighthouse seems a bit too raw to really do the job. Some rim lighting on more elements of the creature would also help establish it in space.
Cheers everyone. Here's to next round.
Last edited by Si_Swe; September 6th, 2010 at 02:12 AM.
Weird.Is.Wonderful: Nice background story, interesting colours and skin texture. More detail and anatomical complexity would have improved the creature.
lkjhgfdsa: Cool creature and concept with great detail and values. The pillars in the background look a bit flat, not sure if this is intentional though. The green/orange contrast is too strong imo, maybe less of the orange would be good?
(lark: Very nice lighting and details (the blood looks realistic). The creature's form might be better with more specialization towards it's feeding habits.
Lordarka: Excellent detail and lighting, well rendered. Not all of the creature is shown though, and the design could have been more developed.
Shoomesh: Good use of colour and an interesting design. The anatomy, in particular the limbs could use some research to make them look more believable.
Porcupine: Nice sense of depth, interesting creatures and good use of colour. The creatures could probably use more varied values to make them look more 3D.
Skullbeast: Nice colours, lighting and texture. The creature could probably have used more development to make it feel like less of a combination of features.
Si_Swe: Cool creature design, nice palette. The animal's left arm looks a bit too flat and the horns seem insubstantial, more like hair i guess.
tmyohlaing: Pretty unique design, good back story. The piece looks too dark however, and the net mouthpiece seems too angular to fit with the rest of the design
Pinpointte: Interesting story and nice creature design. The rendering of tiamat looks a bit rough though, even if some areas are meant to be textured.
Sozo: Good use of colour, very good render overall. The hellhound design is similar to those I've seen before though.
Shockowaffel: Decent use of colour and value, the design of the head is good as well. The rest of the body seems too basic and different compared to the head.
JanJager: Interesting idea with good use of colour and a good environment. The creature could probably use more development though and more time spent on rendering it.
Kevinpool: Nice use of colour and values, the rendering style fits the concept. Perhaps the creature could look more like one of a kind?
The Following 8 Users Say Thank You to Rich3 For This Useful Post:
Went with lkjhgfdsa for this round.
(as a side note, I still have no idea what his tag is or how to pronounce it, and I have been checking these out for a while now)
Anyway, lkjhgfdsa always seems to put out some really unique ideas, followed up by really admirable execution and style. Hence why they got my vote this time, and many times before.
Weird.Is.Wonderful - I like your idea, its really cool and seems well thought. I think it would have looked better if you added more different hues of color.
lkjhgfdsa - As always your images are so clean and crisp. The creature fits the description as wonder and overall the image is really nice. The only thing I dislike is the human, it looks kinda mushy compared to the rest.
(lark - Another great creature that fits the description. I love how his lower jaw looks like hands and I can easily imagine how he later drinks the blood thats collected between the tentacles. Maybe a little more contrast in the shadows would have made him stand out even more.
lordarka - I love the mood in your piece and the perspective and light is really good. It looks warm and cosy inside compared to the night outside. The creature looks wise but it would have been interesting to see more of its body and shape.
Shoomesh - I like the creature and the colors, and the text is interesting. Suppose you could work some of the anatomy, especially with the legs.
skullbeast - I love that rendering-style, the creature looks great and and wonderous. Theres something with that tuft of hair(?) between his legs that looks off I think.
Si Swe - Amazing stuff. It really looks like a wonder, the story is great and seems like the kind of story that would never be forgotten, I love the jealousy, the justice in her suicide and the image is beautiful. Perhaps little more highlights here and there would make it even better, still it gets my vote!
tmyohlaing - Different and cool rendering and creature. The web-thing probably could have used little more work tho.
Penpoint - It does look like a wonder and I like the city. I think creature would have look even better with little more detail.
sozo - I love this one. Its beatifully rendered and the colors are great. Only thing I feel is bad is it looks more like some sort of lesser creature or minion than a wonder.
Rich3 - Your bird looks beatiful, light and joyful. Shame its little hard to see it against the light background.
shockowaffel - Another really good image. The texture and light is really nice, and the story is good. Would have been interesting so see some more of the creatures anatomy tho.
JanJager - Original and alot of charm, Really nice one!
kevinpool - A nice image but maybe it looks too much like an ordinary whale.
The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to porcupine For This Useful Post: