I was recently going through the backlog of work I had done for Gas Powered Games recently and found a few images I had done on "Kings & Castles". All of this work ended up on the cutting room floor unfortunately but I think there were some worthy attempts, especially considering the time considerations the art team was working with. These are only a handful of really rough work, but looking back we were truly going into some dark territory. The faction these are from, known as "The Ancients", we perhaps once human but over time had been overtaken by ancient undersea and underground insect like creatures. We proposed the idea that they are either human/insect symbiots or collections of insect like creatures that have voltroned themselves together to make massive killing machines, covered in little, undulating bug legs and eerie human like eyeballs. Very dark and gross. In fact a bit too dark and gross. Anyways, enjoy!
The idea behind the Death Knight is that a once human warrior is covered in an armor made of living insects. A large long armed creature wraps around him from behind and latches around his chest. Meanwhile a hard shelled beetle forms a shield and a long centipede digs into his arm and creates a whip. Whats left of the man underneath would have made a hulking powerful warrior on his own before he even got his bugsuit.
This variation has a type of apparatus with large magnified eyeballs (as his are being clawed out by his bug helmet. He also has nice sholder armor for his whip arm bug to latch his mandibles into.
This one was never human at all.
The name necromancer comes preloaded with plenty of familiar, and often overplayed, imagery. Dark robes, dark magic, Hot Topic stuff. Knowing this we attempted to retain some of that imagery (robes) but go somewhere goulish with it. For example this first Necromancer(s) is held aloft on the tail and hands of two freakish beasts, living in a state of constant torture. Nobody wins!
This variation is supposed to seem human-like, but no one can truly tell whats happening under those robes. I always imagined the robes starkly white with certain parts soaked in bright blood.
The only thing I can tell from my internet investigations about a Dracolitch is that its supposed to be some sort of skeleton dragon or something. Yea.... not in my house. It had to be something far more foul and sinister. I proposed something that looks more like a creature from space then a fantasy world. Note the living, eyed, tongue.
Oh I get it! ....ahem...... the NightMare started out as a pretty typical burning hell horse. Not unlike the many burning hell horses you have seen before x1000. From that starting point somewhere inside this tangle of bug legs, eyes and carapace there is something that was at one time a horse. The idea behind this is that through the ages, pieces of this rotting hell horse would fall off only to be replaced by some new creature. I imagine after a few more millennia there wouldn't be any horse left. The large sea centipede like creature that makes up the head spine and tail, is based off an ancient sea creature called dunkleosteus, which is the most terrifying thing I could ever imagine, made only worse if it could gallop and was on fire.