Ghouls

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doofus-01
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Ghouls

Post by doofus-01 »

This thread is for ghoul portraits. As noted in LordBob's 2020 Grand Portrait list, the single image we have shouldn't be forced to cover three units, so we need at least two more.

This first one is a WIP for the ghoul, a naked thing that used to be a person and is ravenous for flesh. I'm still trying to figure out what to do about the groin, probably just make the belly bigger. Current plan is for it to become more monster, less humanoid, as it advances. The existing portrait is a bit comic, but maybe that's OK, it will probably fit in somewhere.
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Vyncyn
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Re: Ghouls

Post by Vyncyn »

Not a huge fan of that. Judging by the sprite the lvl1 ghoul is already far removed from human.
I think the current portrait could cover both lvl 1 and 2, since they are pretty similar, but maybe we can have one for lvl 3 and then find a middle ground between that and the existing portrait and use it for the necrophage.
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HonzaCZ
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Re: Ghouls

Post by HonzaCZ »

bring back old ghouls that looked like bigfoot
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doofus-01
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Re: Ghouls

Post by doofus-01 »

Vyncyn wrote: August 9th, 2020, 4:24 am Judging by the sprite the lvl1 ghoul is already far removed from human.
Yeah, that sprite doesn't make any sense to me. Since there isn't a huge investment in it (animations are pretty basic), I plan on replacing it with something less lobster-daemon-alien. We also need to do something with the level 3. Level 2 should be fine as it is though.
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LordBob
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Re: Ghouls

Post by LordBob »

Paintover incoming, probably tonight.

I like the flesh tones, but if that (formerly a person) mutated into something undead then there should probably be changes that are more obvious than just the nails, nose and teeth (and can later be expanded into downright monstrous features for upper levels). Like, consider these mutations in terms of large / medium / small impact : right now the skin color is one broad change, but the nails and teeth seem like details in constrast. There could be a middleground in between that is filled to add character to the image. More sagging skin, patchy texture, veins become more visible in places, fat masses vary greatly on different body parts. Why not body language, too - maybe the overal posture changes to be more hunched, not quite human anymore. Maybe some muscles don't work the way they normally would and its resting shape becomes twisted.
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Re: Ghouls

Post by beetlenaut »

LordBob wrote: August 10th, 2020, 9:54 am there should probably be changes that are more obvious
Secrets of the Ancients has details on what those specific changes are:
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Re: Ghouls

Post by LordBob »

beetlenaut wrote: August 10th, 2020, 7:36 pm Secrets of the Ancients has details on what those specific changes are
That is very good inspiration! I had done my own sketch already, but I added a few of these as an afterthought.

So, not exactly a paintover ; I drew a skeleton based on the painted figure, then tried to improve anatomy a bit (still far from perfect : my shoulders are comically broad and the hands are still not quite there). Finally I threw a bunch of ideas on top. Things worth noting :

- The buttocks were a bit too high compared to the overall body, pelvis region was reduced to the bare minimum
- The hand gesture is strange, I can't quite figure what it is trying to make with these 3 fingers. Maybe instead a grasping motion with threatening tense fingers ?
- The skin and flesh masses need more definition. The overall shape is good, but even on a plump body there are still going to be some bone landmarks that stand out because fat doesn't build up in a uniform manner. Maybe also pick a light source that will create more defined shadows and let highlights read well.
- Still on skin and flesh, if the overweight is a consequence of the ghoulification (?) process and not the person's natural state, then putting lumps, skin folds and masses in places where they're not expected might help sell its disturbing nature.
- If the person was initially human, maybe it can retain some of its features and gradually lose them as it evolves ? A few strands of hair on low level ghouls, for example, or some body hair patches, that are completely gone by the time it reaches lvl 3
- The pointed teeth can grow to different sizes, assuming the ghoulification made them pointy in the first place. If they're not a natural growth but a weapon the necromancer implanted, then it can be downright chaotic. Orc teeth, Wolves' fangs, a boar's tusk, all the way to a goat's horn or a rusted dagger blade for high level ghouls
- The green claws are a bit weird right now. It would transition better if the whole hand was also deformed to an extent. Two examples : hand A here is a real crooked hand with lenghtened nails ; while hand B is completely made up and has the tip of each finger merged into a callus claw.
- There can be additional gore. Suppurating spots, dripping marks on the body. Frothing mouth. Maybe in places the weakened skin is peeling off as per Beetlenaut's description.
- And thus, stitches.
- Bonus : hand C has additional muscles added not underneath the skin but on top of it, pnly piercing through in places where they're anchored to the underlying flesh and bone.
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MoonyDragon
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Re: Ghouls

Post by MoonyDragon »

I think that the current Ghoul portrait is perfect as it is right now. It matches the sprites, meets the quality requirements and has the right appearance for a L1 / L2 unit. What the Ghoul line needs is a separate portrait for the Ghast, who has 4 mouths and a much larger body than the preceding Ghoul / Necrophage.

(Lore-wise, a Ghoul has already undergone the horrendous transformation that turned it into what it is. There is no uncanny valley or half-human appearance because the respective necromancer desired a fully-formed Ghoul took all necessary steps. Too many traces of humanity (the current portrait is rather zombie-ish) would imply that the nightmarish process isn't that drastic at all.)
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LordBob
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Re: Ghouls

Post by LordBob »

Fair enough, we want more than a nacked zombie. I hadn't checked the unit profile in ages and I reckon my take is too human as well. If the process is artificial from the get go, we can go full Frankenstein indeed.

I still think there should be a visible gradation in decay and body deformation from lvl1 to lvl3, however, and in that respect the current ghoul portrait is maybe a step too far - could fit the lvl 2 instead. Whether the ghoul evolves organically as a result of its own feeding or due to further "upgrades" performed by the necromancer is worth considerering also, it well help in designing leveled up variants.
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Re: Ghouls

Post by AOW »

Trying to make the head appear irregular swelling.
...And don't ignore rags on its waist. :shock:
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LordBob
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Re: Ghouls

Post by LordBob »

More ghoul sketching. This is mostly me having fun with designs though, so please ignore if you have a set direction in mind.

I tried to steer away from the zombie face this time. All of these have in common that the necromancer has altered, or altogether replaced, part or all of the jaw. Combined with the stitches, diseases and peeling skin that could land closer to the desired result.
Also A and F have additional neck muscles stitched to the side of their heads, hence the weird connection. Tried some chaotic bone plating growth for D, but while it could result in something interesting I don't think it fits that unit.
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octalot
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Re: Ghouls

Post by octalot »

A slight critique of the replaced jaws - for F, the lower fangs have nothing on the upper jaw to bite against. My first thought is "crikey, that would grab me mid-bicep and clamp until it took my arm off", but that's countered quickly by "no it wouldn't, your arm would be resting against its nose and nothing would be pushing the fangs in".
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Re: Ghouls

Post by AOW »

LordBob wrote: August 14th, 2020, 12:37 pm Also A and F have additional neck muscles stitched to the side of their heads, hence the weird connection. Tried some chaotic bone plating growth for D, but while it could result in something interesting I don't think it fits that unit.
I like the part of A, E, F. if the bone structure can be more stable, the more threatening bite force can break the bones of the opponent (let alone their double lethal claws) without worrying about escaping. An overweight abdomen is unnecessary and can be turned into a fatty and more combatant body,and some muscle fillings may be intradermal.
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doofus-01
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Re: Ghouls

Post by doofus-01 »

Thanks for the suggestions guys. I didn't know there was an origin story for them, I was going off the unit description. I am a bit disappointed they are just flesh-golem super-zombies, I'll push back against that a bit, even if it will be uphill. But that'll be for future images, not this post.
MoonyDragon wrote: August 11th, 2020, 12:43 am think that the current Ghoul portrait is perfect as it is right now. It matches the sprites, meets the quality requirements and has the right appearance for a L1 / L2 unit.
I disagree, which is why we're here. ;)
LordBob wrote: August 11th, 2020, 7:40 am I still think there should be a visible gradation in decay and body deformation from lvl1 to lvl3, however, and in that respect the current ghoul portrait is maybe a step too far - could fit the lvl 2 instead. Whether the ghoul evolves organically as a result of its own feeding or due to further "upgrades" performed by the necromancer is worth considerering also, it well help in designing leveled up variants.
This is what I was thinking, though I'm not sure about increasing decay.
LordBob wrote: August 14th, 2020, 12:37 pm tried to steer away from the zombie face this time. All of these have in common that the necromancer has altered, or altogether replaced, part or all of the jaw. Combined with the stitches, diseases and peeling skin that could land closer to the desired result.
Even if I don't like the stitches, those are some great models. The unbalanced jaw issue octalot pointed out could be OK if we want to exaggerate obscene slapping together of body parts, but again, I'm not sure about that concept.
AOW wrote: August 15th, 2020, 7:35 am An overweight abdomen is unnecessary and can be turned into a fatty and more combatant body
Whether it's an overweight abdomen or a swollen abdomen, I think it probably is necessary for the "hunger" depiction.
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Re: Ghouls

Post by beetlenaut »

doofus-01 wrote: August 15th, 2020, 12:21 pm I am a bit disappointed they are just flesh-golem super-zombies
The difference between them and zombies is that ghouls aren't all the way dead. (That gives a reason for their arcane resistance.) However, I'm not that attached to the origin story. I already used up my only idea, but if you have a suggestion, the story could be changed.
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