Tag Archives: kaja

Character Art – Kaiyonani

Folks, it’s that time again.  We’ve worked with Hozure enough to know that it’s probably going to be a permanent thing, and we’re happy to show off the latest of our collaborations.  While he’s mostly done humans and elves for us, we have had one of our anthro races show up.  Today, let’s make that two.

Kaiyonani is arguably one of our more popular characters.  People love cats, people love dragons, and people love powerful females. There’s a lot of boxes that get checked by Dragonspeaker.  But to make sure she looks as awesome as possible, that’s why we go to people like Hozure.

Kaiyonani has a very particular flavor to her.  Most of our characters have a very feudal Europe feel to them, but Kai comes from almost the Sahara equivalent of Tellest.  It wouldn’t make much sense to see her in heavy armor or anything like that.  Hozure captured her essence here perfectly.

With his next change to the character, Hozure added some awesome details to her.  The staff, her spots, the fabric… Everything just pops here.  I like the attention to her fur as well.  You’ll see a lot of smooth areas, but you’ll also see sproingy little tufts as well.

And there you have it.  Our Dragonspeaker from the Kehara in all her glory, captured by a very, very talented artist.  Thanks so much to Hozure for lending us his gifts!

Character Art – Kaiyonani

Hey everyone.  We’re here with a special treat for you today.  Red Pear’s interpretation of Kaiyonani is an awesome piece of work, and I’m so excited to show it off.  As our most popular anthro character, I’m always happy when we have an opportunity to dive into another look at our Dragonspeaker.

First we’ll show off a couple of the sketches we passed on.  This first one might have been just a touch too subconscious, but I thought she ended up looking a bit like a gnoll, so this was kind of on the chopping block right from the get go.

This second one was a little better—I liked the inclusion of the crook of Kai’s staff, but it looked a little too weasely.

This variation looked the best, in my opinion, and I suspect it was the pose Red wanted to do from the start!  Do you think we made the right choice?

Here’s our first follow-up.  Red put some more details in place, including the more catlike features, the shape of the staff, as well as some adornments.

After that, we had our first big jump in quality.  Red made sure that just about every part of Paul’s original design for Kaiyonani made its way over to her take.  The texture of her fur, the spots, the wrappings on the staff, the topknot.  It’s all there, and it looks great. But look what happens when you add a splash of color…

This definitely became one of my favorite pieces overall from Red. She did an awesome job at making this version of Kai her own, and it’s sure to be a lot of other people’s favorites as well.  Let’s hear it for Red Pear!

Dragonspeaker has released!

Hey folks!  It’s new book day, and it’s a very special one for us today. This marks the first step into a new journey.  While all the books that came out in Tales of Tellest (as well as the Tellest Legends campaign’s Lord of Thunder) focused on established characters in the Tellest brand, this newest adventure introduces a brand new set of characters from a continent that we’ve heard of but never seen.

Not only that, but it allows us to explore a race that was only witnessed in short stories or deleted scenes.  The kaja are one of the first anthropomorphic races I’ve written about—we haven’t had a chance to play with centaurs or minotaurs, but we did have a story about kobolds.  In any case, this is definitely the longest tale I’ve told where an anthro character is the star of the show.  Kaiyonani is an awesome character who is only going to grow as we give her and her dragon companion some meatier stories in the future.

Kaiyonani knows what it’s like to be a cat of the Kehara desert. The harsh sands around her tribe’s oasis are hot and savage, and there are enemies abound throughout the region. The one thing her people had to rely on was their fierce dragon ally, Iraneth.

But now, the dragon is dead.

Kaiyonani’s grandfather fulfilled the role of dragonspeaker. It is a title that is passed down from one kaja to the next, though it usually changes hands because a mortal has died—not one of the majestic winged creatures they call friend. The next dragonspeaker has been named, and to everyone’s surprise, it is Kaiyonani who is destined to take up the mantle. She must venture across the desert, to lands unknown in order to make the bond with her own dragon companion,

But can she survive the cruel wilderness and dangerous creatures that call Saveon and the Kehara Desert home?

Dragonspeaker just released today, and it’s available for the low introductory price of just 99 cents.  You can’t beat that!  Why not check it out on Amazon today?

Sprite Art – Kaja

Hello there everybody!  We’ve got a new group of heroes to show off to you from our card game, which we’re getting increasingly further along with!  Testing is going well, and we’re excited to drop some major bombshells regarding what this game is all about very, very soon.

Fun fact: this group that we’re featuring today—the kaja—was almost prominently featured in the 2013 book, The Enemy Within. But because that book was bloated at over 800 pages, they were cut from the material.  Since then, they’ve appeared in short stories, and will feature in the future book, Dragonspeaker.

Let’s not spend too much time talking about the books just now.  You guys are here for the art!

 

Cath Oona Fe'Pavi Jagsis Hauth Olinna

They’re pretty much as different as they come, no?  As we’re prone to do, let’s get right down to business, and tell you what each of these adventurers do that makes them special.

Cath Oona 4x

Cath Oona comes from a tribe called the Pan’thar (again… the naming isn’t all that impressive, but you can blame that on her tribe, not on me).  With all that black fur, Cath makes an excellent assassin. Even though she’s not one of the most well-armored people, she’s still got an insane amount of fortitude, and she’s a force to be reckoned with.

Fe'Pavi 4x

Fe’Pavi is perhaps our most famous kaja, short of Kaiyonani, who is getting her own novella soon enough.  While that other kaja relies more on the aid of a dragon, Fee prefers to put her trust in other mortal races.  Together with Benton, she accounts for the two characters we have in this game from the short story Return of Faith.

Jagsis Hauth 4x

Jagsis Hauth hails from the desert sands of Saveon, where his tribe is in constant danger on account of rival kaja tribes, various beasts that live in the wilderness, and the recent arrival of humans from the north.  Of course, his tribe is wary of him, as well, especially since he found the magic orb that gives him magical prowess that he didn’t have before…

Olinna 4x

Olinna is a very peculiar creature.  More regal than the other kaja in this set, she also puts her faith where not many of her kind would. As a priestess of Animus, the god of life, Olinna has spent her time devoted to healing the sick, and easing the suffering of those that are committed to death.  When the dungeon appeared, however, she knew her journey would take her elsewhere.

Kaja 4x

And there you have it.  That’s our latest set of awesome adventurers, this time with a little more fur than we usually have.  These are some pretty cool cats, if I do say so myself, and we hope that one of them is your favorite when the game eventually comes out!

Art: Fe’Pavi Sprite

We’ve got some new sprite work coming to you to start off the art section of Tellest’s New Year.  We’re hoping to get you some more information about what this is and why we’re doing it in the next few weeks or so.  For now, just enjoy the view.

Today’s sprites are for a kaja character named Fe’Pavi.  She is a character that is in the same story as Benton, which obviously is yet to see the light of day.

This commission had a few weird twists and turns, and it might still not truly be over.

Fe'Pavi 2

We’ll start once again with some of the ground work in place.  This isn’t much, but it gave Chris, our sprite artist something to work with alongside the other three sprites.

Fe'Pavi 3

With a little more detail, you can see that the character has some feline features, like a tail and some pointed ears.  At this point, we thought that Chris was using our kaja concept art as a basis.

Fe'Pavi 4

Little bit more detail, and we were still waiting to see if that staff was going to be replaced with something a little more apt for a thief, which Fe’Pavi fits into.

Fe'Pavi 5

Once color was added, we knew that there was a slight miscommunication.  Fe’Pavi was supposed to be almost calico colored, and this is quite clear that the reference art and the intended finished product were confused somewhat.  This is definitely what Kaiyonani would look like if she was a sprite!

Fe'Pavi 6

Chris did a wonderful job making the necessary changes to the color and the weapon, though at this point, we’re still not sure that we’re going to use Fe’Pavi as the final name and character here.  We’re able to get away with a change like that, and we hope to show you why soon enough!

Fe'Pavi 7

There was one final change.  Her hand initially looked a little like a lobster claw, and this modification made her look a little more dainty.

Fe'Pavi 7 Sized

Here’s our kaja warrior resized so you can the details a little better.

 

The first wave of these sprites is almost done.  We’re very excited to show you the next one, a character that is no doubt familiar to you!

Art – Kaja Concepts

Good morning!  While Paul started us off on our concept art for the races of Tellest, his busy schedule means that sometimes, we have to reach out to other artists for their interpretations.  In today’s case, we’re proud to introduce our new collaboration with Luigiix, another artist that we discovered on Deviantart and featured on this site.

When tasked with a race to tackle, our skilled artist chose the kaja. This is party due to the fantastic foundation that was set by Paul, but Luigiix definitely put his own spin on things.

We started off, as always, with a subtle sketch.

mikedeangelo_2015_2_wip_1_by_luigiix-d8huju8

 

From there, we had a good basis of what the characters were going to look like.  What’s more, we made a bargain where we would have the opportunity to see both males and females of the race.

After the initial set up, we took looks at the individuals.  To start, we began work on the male kaja.

Kaja Male 1

 

You can see that we made him equal parts gladiator and tribal, which translates really well to art.  It’s definitely a different style compared to Paul’s prior work on the race, but it’s still got its own great character.

After that, Luigiix finished the male with some nice coloring.

Kaja Male Complete

 

He definitely had some huge shoes to fill – Paul’s work on Kaiyonani was no joke.  But I think the work that he did on the female kaja shows that even though Paul did such a fantastic job, there’s room for everyone to put their best into these concepts.

mikedeangelo_2015_2fem_wip1_by_luigiix-d8i64vt

 

This iteration of the kaja definitely had a similar look to the proposed concepts, but things changed a little as time went on.

Kaja Female Complete

 

Our concept piece here definitely had a more regal, composed look to it.  I can just about believe that this could be another interpretation of Kaiyonani.  Luigiix did a great job.

And then he put the two together, for good measure.

Kaja Complete Background

 

We’re looking forward to much more from Luigiix in the future.  If his work on the kaja are a sign of what’s to come, we’re heading toward something great!

Art: Kaja Dragonspeaker, Kaiyonani

I’m bringing you one of my favorite pieces of art ever today.  When Paul and I began working on the races of Tellest, one of the ones that I was most looking forward to was the kaja.  Sure, there have been plenty of works of fantasy that have their own variations of feline races, but I’m very happy with mine, and Paul managed to take what I had in my head and put it to a digital piece of art that I will treasure forever.

Last time we talked about the kaja, we talked about how we had a pose that we had to narrow the model down to.  Instead, we took pieces of two of them.

 

Kaja_Pose4

 

We really wanted to dial back from the very dynamic shots that had from some of our other characters, but we didn’t want her standing there waiting to enter combat after her male cohorts did all the ground work.  This pose gave her a little bit more of a flirting-with-danger, come hither look.

After that, Paul worked his magic, and we came up with a very good sketch of our final piece.  This kitty has claws, and she looked so expressive even at this stage of her creation.

 

Kaja_Pose4_Update

 

I have a lot of respect for Paul, and what he does.  When he creates these characters, he develops a backstory for them in his head.  He’s already come up with ideas for the goblin and the orc that he did, but with this character, I think I beat him to the punch.  This kaja is a dragonspeaker, a leader of her community that can actually commune with the great tyrants, and keeps a harmony between them.

Next up, Paul put together a nice color scheme for our savage dragonspeaker.

 

Kaja_Colour_Scheme

 

At this point, you can see just how well she’s coming along.  Her attire has more personality.  The minutiae of her physical features is expressive – Paul did a great freaking job with this.

I would have even considered this piece finished at this point, but he went and touched up our kaja even more.

 

Tellest_Kaja_Preview

 

The dragonspeaker had more patterns to her fur and skin at this point.  Individual flecks and circles dotted her caramel colored body, and the gem in her staff is throwing off wisps of magic.

Rhianna and I even came up with a name for this champion, and that’s how we ended up with our very first story-less hero.

 

Tellest_Kaiyonani_Logo

 

Kaiyonani was an awesome way for us to wrap up our art projects from 2014.  I’m so looking forward to working with Paul again throughout this year!

 

This incredible new champion has been inducted to the Tellest Art Gallery.  Check her out, along with the other finished pieces from Paul’s collection of commissions!

Art: Kaja Concept Pieces

Today, we’re bringing you one of my absolute favorite pieces of concept art – at least part one of it.

In keeping with his concept art for the races, Paul Davies has finished work on one of the coolest ones yet.  This time, he tackled the kaja, Tellest’s catlike race.  We tinkered around with a lot of different options before we settled on a final bit of art that I know you’ll love.

This one is nice, too, because it shows you how much different the kaja are than the gnolls.  Of course, each race is varied enough in their own ways that these are just particular extremes.  Today’s pieces also highlight the first female that Paul has done for us.

Let’s look at some of these concepts.

Kaja_Features

 

The first thing we needed to decide on was what we wanted our kaja to look like.  Were they a nice human to cat hybrid?  Did they look like the Thundercats?

In these first two experiments, we had a pair that really could have worked.  They looked cool as hell.  But I knew that in Tellest, there was more of a feline look to the kaja than what we saw here.  So we had to take it to the next step.

Kaja_Version2

 

This variation, too, managed to capture a little bit more of what we were looking for, but it really started to come together in our next piece.  I felt like this particular concept really moved us forward in the right direction.

Kaja_Full_Length_Sketches

 

Once we knew what we were looking for, Paul did an awesome job of providing us with some pretty cool clothing options, in addition to a base body type.  This is exactly what you’d expect one of the kaja from Tellest to look like.

After that, we needed to determine what our character’s pose was going to look like.  Paul gave us a few to choose from:

Kaja_Poses

 

I absolutely loved that these looked like they could have been the beginning of a five person kaja fighting team.  In fact, I would not be opposed to that in the future!  Of course, we did have to narrow it down, and we chose one of those up there.  As cool as they all were, I just know you’re going to love what we finally landed on.  She’s the coolest one we’ve done to date.

Warus

General description

Geography and Environment

Warus is not bordered by natural landmarks on any side but its south, where the ocean lies.  It’s border is determined by the towns and the outposts of it and its adjoining neighbors, Raleigh and Daltain.

The country primarily consists of plains and forests, and some mountains.  In the southern portion of the country, adjacent to the ocean, there is a large swamp.  Some mountainous terrain borders the swamp on its southeast side, where a myriad of caves are located.

 

Races

Warus is one of the countries on Draconis that is very absent of human life.  Instead, it is inhabited mostly by anthropomorphic races.  It is assumed that the Kobolds have been there the longest, followed by the Gnolls.  The Kaja are a primarily nomadic race, that can be found spread throughout the country.

It is rumored that the swamp in the south of Warus is populated by Lagano, but if they do live there, they have found a way to maintain a much hidden presence.  Villages haven’t been found, but some skeletons indicate that they are fond of the area.

 

Warus

History

Early History

At the earliest times for Warus, the country was rather inhospitable.  The ecology didn’t allow for convenient farming, and hunting was equally difficult.  Humans were once a part of the racial structure, but because of some adversarial conflict with Gnolls and Trolls, which also used to be a part of the populace, they were driven out, to the north and west.

Once the humans were gone, the Kaja and the Kobolds had a freer reign of the terrain.  However, the trolls were still an issue.  The anthropomorphic races banded together, and cast the trolls into deep caves or into the sea.

 

The Unsteady Truce

There was a brief time when the three anthropomorphic races lived in a stable harmony.  The Gnolls typically stayed in the wastelands that bordered the swamp, while the Kobolds began to inhabit the northlands.  The Kaja, meanwhile, continued their nomadic lifestyle, cycling around the country in multiple packs.

Eventually, the greed and tenacity of the Gnolls led them to attack the Kaja.  Their typically passive nature led to their violent displacement from the lower plains of the country.  The Gnolls continue to advance north.

 

Kobold Reign

Because of the constant battling between the Gnolls and the Kaja, the Kobolds were left alone.  They were initially able to develop sprawling cities, outposts and castles along the northern and western borders.  Their lifestyle is an emulation of the major cities of the neighboring countries.

The Kobolds live in a fairly feudal society.  A good deal of respect is given to class, religion and breed.  They are also more technologically sound because of their absence in the earlier conflicts of the other races.

 

Kaja Eradication

While the Gnolls and Kobolds established strong footholds in the country, the Kaja were forced to scrounge for their livelihood.  Because of this weakness, the Gnolls begin hunting the Kaja for sport.

Unfortunately, because of the skittish nature that is instilled in the Kaja, the Kobolds become a target in the wild if they are alone.  To a Kaja, the Gnolls and Kobolds are one in the same.

Ippius

General description

Entymology

Ippius was named after a courageous warrior in a fairytale told by the inhabitants of the country.  His name was Arthur Ipparius.  The three main islands in the Ippius archipelago are all named after characters in the fairytale.

 

Geography and Environment

Ippius is a series of three large islands, the biggest being farthest north, and the smallest being farthest south.  Several dozen smaller islands are on the ocean beside the main islands as well, but do not rival any of the larger islands in size.

The largest island of the Ippius archipelago is called Arthica, named after the hero of the Ipparius fairytale.  The largest human establishment of the island, Argos, is also named after Arthur, and is considered the country’s capital.

The second largest island is named after Princess Iona from the fairytale, who is portrayed as Arthur’s love interest.

The smallest of the main islands is called Norkoth, after an evil warrior who tried to slay Arthur and all those he loved.  Norkoth banded together a primitive group of lagano, and led them into battle against Arthur and his soldiers.

All of the lands within Ippius are islands, but many of the islands seem to have personalities of their own, due to the wide variety of geographic differences.  Arthica is generally a mild island, with many forests, mountains and plains.  Norkoth is a jungle infested land mass, with only a few beaches, mountains, and a large volcano offering some diversity.  Iona is a mix of the other two islands.  A large jungle sits in the middle of the island, but plains and forests encroach upon it.

 

Races

Humans are the predominant race within Ippius, and many of them are cold to other races.  However, many of the smaller islands are inhabited by other races.  Even the third largest island is overrun with lagano.

Besides the humans and lizardmen of the country, the kaja have found homes among several islands in the archipelago.

A tribe of orcs also shares Iona with a civilization of jungle dwelling humans.  These two races coexist rather peacefully, however orcs are only very rarely permitted to visit Arthica.

Groups of murkgill also have villages within the waters surrounding the islands of Ippius.  They typically leave the other races alone, but sailors have been mentioning that they believe the numbers of the underwater dwellers are growing at a rapid race, and will soon overwhelm even the humans.

 

Ippius 2

 

History

Early History

Ippius began as an uninhabited set of islands, but as time progressed, several races found their way to the isles.

Murkgills and mermen were the first to inhabit the area around the islands, and some of the murkgills had even taken to land.  As lizardmen found their way to Ippius, however, the murkgills withdrew to the lakes, and mermen withdrew to the ocean, preferring to dwell beneath the water instead of sharing the lands with the air breathers.  Kaja were the next to settle among the islands, stalking quietly out of sight of the lizardmen.  Humans arrived soon after, in larger numbers than any of the other races.  Finally, after the loss of their homeland Minoa, minotaurs began to settle within Ippius as well.

 

The Culling

After the refugees from Minoa arrived in Ippius, the humans began to grow tired of sharing their lands with the other races.  They began driving out the lizardmen, kaja and minotaurs.

The lizardmen hardly inhabited present-day Arthica, and went without much pressure toward the island now known as Norkoth.  The kaja, too, disbanded easily, electing to avoid unwanted attention from the humans.

The minotaurs were not so easily pushed from Arthica.  A series of violent, bloody battles unfolded throughout Arthica, and even when the minotaurs fled to Iona, the humans followed, driving them out of Ippius altogether.

At the same time the humans were claiming dominance over the land of Ippius, the murkgills had decided that the ocean surrounding Ippius belonged to them and them alone.  They began hunting the mermen around the islands, and drove them out, becoming the supreme underwater race of Ippius.

 

Backlash

After the culling of races, both the humans and lizardmen grew in tremendous numbers.  Arthica became greatly colonized, and Norkoth was teeming with lizardmen, almost to the point where they were overpopulated.

It was during this period that the Ipparius fairytale began, and was rooted in actual fact.  The lizardmen from Norkoth attacked Arthica, in an effort to punish the humans who had violently drove them out of the country.

Though the lizardmen were unsuccessful in their attempts to regain all of Ippius, the human settlements were badly damaged, and even Argos suffered because of Norkoth’s raid.

 

Current State

Ippius is once again free of racial oppression, the lizardmen and humans staying on their own islands.  However, Arthica once again fell into darkness over the past several years, when the entire royal family line, the Dactyls, was wrought from existence.

Some say that there is a distant relative of the Dactyls still left breathing, but none can find him, and many have worked to discredit that rumor.

In the place of the Dactyls, a retainer for the throne was named.  Arik Purdell, a military advisor to the late King Jason Dactyls, is currently governing over Argos, and most of Arthica.