It’s probably not an enormous shock to anyone to learn that tieflings are (along with the dragonborn) my favorite Dungeons and Dragons race. The fact that they got a big revamp in 4th ed, including promotion to a default player race, was… like, pretty much my D&D Dream Come True.
Also, their revised concept art looked freakin’ badass!
What I didn’t realize is that art–and the new look for tieflings in general–was designed by all-round baller William O’Connor. I probably should have noticed this, because O’Connor is one of my favorite monster-and-dragon concept artists of all time (seriously, his three Dracopedia books pretty much permanently live on my “writing inspiration” pile). So it’s totally awesome to read about the thought processes that went into his 4th ed redesigns.
Strictly speaking, Lain’s concept design pre-dates 4th ed, but I won’t deny there’s a lot of O’Connor’s tieflings in him. And ditto for Lee and the dragonborn, come to think of it (at least in the structure of the face). Go figure, I guess.
Dungeons & Dragons isn’t necessarily a property whose historic development was rife with women, but they were there, because of course they were. [Minor content warning at the link for descriptions of the sort of regressive dudebro misogyny you can probably imagine if you’ve ever consumed fantasy pop culture, like, ever.]
Though, I will admit, my favorite part of this article is finding out TSR had an FBI file in which players of its games were described as “overweight and not neat in appearance.”
… ahem. What are you saying about my decade-old yoga pants? They’re comfortable, okay!
On the move away from monster boobs in 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons.
I was very impressed with the artwork in the 5e Monster Manual when I first saw it–I remember tweeting various photos of the “look! no boobs!” variety–though I will point out, for example, the still-existent “succubus = sexy pose” vs. “incubus = powerful pose” divide, even if the incubus is no longer wearing a shirt.1
Still, Wizards have done good work with the art in 5e in general, so I shouldn’t be too nitpicky.
- Also, succubi and incubi are are the same creature, able to shift gender presentation at will. [↩]