Sands of Syllus Concept Art

This month we will present some concept art for the Sands of Syllus game. The concept art is in the new media repository, that can also be browsed here. The media repository is nearing completition. Currently uploading images is possible, but the metadata will still change somewhat.

Sands of Syllus is set in the Syllus deserts at the east edge of the mapped areas of Dural. The area harbours a number of interesing creatures, despite the harsh conditions. There's some natural creatures adapted to the desert. There's also hordes of undead, that have been wandering the desert for countless centuries. And lastly, there's some occasional destroyers, creatures from some other place that consist of mixed biological and mechanical components.


Short history of Syllus

To understand the origins of the different creatures inhabiting the aera, we have to take a look at the history of Syllus. A long time ago the Syllus area had a fertile soil and many large cities. However, a magical gate to some other dimension was opened accidentally, and a class of hybrid mechano-biological creatures called destroyers gained entry into Dural. These quickly lay the great cities to ruin. To stop the destruction, a powerful demi-god was summoned, and asked to help. The demi-god cast a spell that animated all the dead, creating a vast undead army, that eventually drove out the destroyers. However, the demi-god departed without ending the spell, and the remaints of the undead army still prowls the empty desert today.


Creatures


Natural Creatures

Dust Worms

Dust worms are thick, short, and covered with soft spikes. They live under the sand, protected from the sun, and eat both plants and animals that they can snatch from the surface.

Sand Gnomes

Although natural, sand gnomes do not appear to originate from Dural. They are highly adapted to the desert environment, with large forepaws for digging, and spiky 'hairs' to adjust the body heat on the day or catch dew on the night. They are also intelligent, very quick, and enjoy stealing food from travellers.


The Undead

Undead legions consist of undead soldiers with different states of consciousness.

Undead Soldiers

Undead soldiers are the grunts of an undead legion. Soldiers can carry basic weapons, such as swords or cudgels, and can use them fairly effectively in combat. Soldiers understand speech even though they cannot quite command it themselves, and usually understand the higher goals and motives of their particular legion.

Undead Warlords

The Warlords are the most intelligent undead, being capable of carrying on conversation and giving concise orders, as well as of using complex machinery, should they find the need. They are generally found at the head of larger Legions, and are generally considered to be the most dangerous of Legionnaires.

Moaning Pillars

Moaning pillars are heaps of heads and other undead body parts, collected together to increase their collective intelligence. The moaning pillars can command bands of other undead, and grow very large and very intelligent.


Destroyers

Destroyers are unnatural life forms from a foreign dimension. They are a confusion of boundaries. Most appear to be combinations of elaborate mechanical contrivances and living matter, although the machines and animal parts frequently do not match in any coherent fashion.

Cthubit

The smallest of the Destroyers, cthubits resemble, at least in general shape, large rabbits: they have large bulky bodies, two approximate legs with wide feet, and a head. The head is where they differ from rabbits most. Instead of a mouth and ears, the Cthubits sport long tentacles. Cthubits are customarily covered in scales of black chitin, but the chitin seems to flow like molasses around them, crossing the boundary between solid and liquid.

Anti-Men

The Destroyers answer to the animate army, the Ani-men are approximate humans with substantially mechanical parts. Ani-men are fully modular so that the head of one may be replaced with the head of the other. The parts, however, can be either living or mechanical. Thus, a living human torso can sport a mechanical head and right arm, a gorilla-sized left arm, and mechanical legs. Some parts are specialized to certain tasks; some arms have blades instead of hands on the ends while others can fire projectiles at high speeds with spring-mechanisms.

Roamer

Wheeling on huge tracks through the sands, these things are often as large as small houses. A roamer is perhaps the closest fusion of mechanics and life that the Destroyers have. A single roamer?s body flows between living matter and gears, often with no sense of order to it at all. An arm might simply provide decoration and a network of lizard tongues might serve in place of a heart. What unites all roamers into a single class is that they can carry other Destroyers inside of them, allowing them to rest.


Landscape

Syllus is largely sand covered, with some areas that are more bare and stony. There are also a number of ruins of the former cities or buildings, and occasional forts, trading outposts, nomad camps, or Rtholyop settlements.


Desert

The desert at night, the time when small insects emerge from beneath the sand for a quiet game of life and death.


Ruins

Syllus contains numerous ruins from the old time before the desert. Some are completely covered by sand, but sometimes a tower or broken roof is revealed as the sands are shifted by the wind. Even if only a high tower or upper levels of a city or palace are above the sand, the rest may still be partly intact under the ground, and reachable through staircases. Places like this can be sources of valuable water or old artifacts, but can also harbour undead.


Credits

Halsted Larsson is the main source of the Sands of Syllus mythology. He has done detailed descriptions of the history, the various residents of the desert, and the culture of Syllus.

Siri Austvik, a.k.a. Alien, has drawn all the numerous concept sketches of the creatures, and also colored a few (the dustworm above, among others).

Hans Häggström, a.k.a. zzorn, has colored some of Aliens sketches (the undead warlord above), drawn the landscape concept art, and also put together this article.