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July 9, 2019 10:03 PM   Subscribe

 
There is the occasional high-heeled boot.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:04 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]


The boots are harder for me to swallow than the stab-target belly-buttons. I can imagine weird dumb armor is magical and made by extremely fashionable elves if the armor leaves skin bare but is otherwise a cool enough design, but I have a hard time imagining even the most fashion-obsessed elf bothering with enchanting high-heel metal boots to provide the same stability as regular boots when you could just have regular boots.

I mean. I guess they'd protect you from caltro--no, a caltrop's going to make you fall over onto a bunch of caltrops. No high-heel boots when fighting. You're better off with a cape.
posted by Caduceus at 10:13 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]


I mean, unless they're actually properly designed riding boots of some sort, if such a thing exists in metal, and the character is plausibly a mounted warrior. That's not what I usually see though.
posted by Caduceus at 10:16 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]


Even the few here that are high heeled aren't like the ones I typically see. This a great gallery, thanks!
posted by Caduceus at 10:42 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


I wish there were more racial diversity. Needs more dwarves!
posted by mr_roboto at 11:19 PM on July 9 [7 favorites]


Omg rereading that comment it sounds so problematic. I was writing in D&D terminology. Ugh. D&D is kind of problematic.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:23 PM on July 9 [7 favorites]


I read your comment and was like "I agree, needs more skin tone and facial feature variety" and then "Oh yes dwarves too"
posted by Mizu at 11:59 PM on July 9 [14 favorites]


Glorious!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:14 AM on July 10


I see a lot of faces with apparent battle damage to their left eye. Can anyone shed light or am I just imagining a trend?
posted by Nosmot at 12:36 AM on July 10


Can anyone shed light or am I just imagining a trend?

I don't have any special insight, but I'd guess that it's an easy way to try and push the character away from being assessed on their adherence to beauty standards. They've got a scar on their eye. They are not here for your aesthetic pleasure, they are here to fight that drow or whatever.
posted by Merus at 2:02 AM on July 10


Oooh...the pirate captain! The ropes! The sail cape! The captains wheel on the hat! OMG just take the ship, lady, it's all yours!
posted by sexyrobot at 2:41 AM on July 10 [9 favorites]


I'm stuck on a train so entirely bean plating the "left eye scar" thing around right hand dominance in the artist, but I say this as someone who is right handed, so imagining poses and actions (drawing a bow string) without a left eye seems easier. Also if your shield hand is your left, that means your positioning your left side towards your opponents and would be more likely to take damage there.
posted by mrzarquon at 3:11 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


Timely! I just finished carving and printing a portrait of my D&D character. This one was pressed to cherry veneer.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:40 AM on July 10 [17 favorites]


These are awesome! I will definitely be sharing.
posted by meinvt at 4:34 AM on July 10


Oooh...the pirate captain! The ropes! The sail cape! The captains wheel on the hat! OMG just take the ship, lady, it's all yours!

That's Admiral Beckett Brass, one of 8 Magic cards I counted in there. Wizards of the Coast has been making a very conscious effort to portray a lot of diversity in their art, to the chagrin of a small subset of salty asshole fans.
posted by explosion at 4:48 AM on July 10 [10 favorites]


Last year I commissioned a character portrait for each of my players and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to find artists on twitter that I could trust to not sexualize them. Which was very, very important to me in one case, where it was an underage female character, and the player was my friend's boyfriend. I was imagining five levels of awkward.

I'll post them later - they're all fun, they all have a different feel to them, and it was great to work with folks who had no qualms about giving the female dwarves facial hair and stout bodies.
posted by dinty_moore at 5:01 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]


I'm going to be THAT nerd and say that at least a few of those are Magic the Gathering cards (including the super awesome character Vraska, a Gorgon guild leader turned pirate!) But seeing as Wizards has been melding DnD and MTG slowly I won't get too persnickety. Plus, this gallery is FANTASTIC.
posted by Twain Device at 5:03 AM on July 10


I appreciated that there were no metal or leather bikinis, and that almost all of the clothes looked practical (in D&D terms, not so much in reality, of course) rather than an excuse to show T&A. There was more racial diversity than I was expecting but not as much as there should be, and all but a few of the drawings were of women with the exact same body type.

Disappointingly, of the ones that showed either bare arms or in just a fabric sleeve, only one or two showed much musculature. These women are swinging heavy swords and spears all day, so more of them are going to look like power lifters or shot-putters, but most of these could be pilates instructors or soccer midfielders.

But overall, quibbles aside, I appreciated the art and how much it has improved since I last played D&D decades ago. I don't know if I will ever play again, but I like what I have seen of how that culture has slowly been changing.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:56 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]


I'm very much pinching the "Level 19 Helen Mirren Paladin" to be the portrait for Lady Arathia Brightshield (an NPC foil to my players).

It won't be the only one I pinch either.

One of the issues of writing a gender balanced DnD world is that male characters are way easier to find cool portraits for usually. Looking through these have inspired a number of new NPCs.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:12 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]


The only thing that's really wrong about this is that, once again, someone on Imgur scraped a bunch of art without crediting the artists. Yeah, some of the art is signed or has an appropriate watermark or website embedded, but not nearly all of it. This represents an incredible variety of skilled, imaginative work, and everyone deserves credit.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:28 AM on July 10 [35 favorites]


these are Extremely Good, thank you for posting
posted by lazaruslong at 6:29 AM on July 10


There is the occasional high-heeled boot.

I only really found one pair of boots with a heel that seemed impractical. The second-highest heels appear to be these, which are not particularly different from what a man might wear (they are more or less cowboy boot heels). What I noticed with respect to footwear were too many shoes with what appear to be sewn-on hard soles, which wouldn't be the case in the faux-medieval times suggested by the apparel.
posted by slkinsey at 7:13 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: a small subset of salty asshole fans
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:13 AM on July 10 [4 favorites]


I have a hard time imagining even the most fashion-obsessed elf bothering with enchanting high-heel metal boots to provide the same stability as regular boots when you could just have regular boots.

currently imagining how my D&D-playing human woman friends & their characters would react if a hot pair of stability-enchanted high-heel metal boots went on sale & all I can think is that you & I know very different people
posted by taquito sunrise at 7:36 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


salty asshole fans

Is that fans who are salty and also assholes?
Fans of salty assholes?
Salty fans of assholes?

My parsing skills are being challenged!
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:38 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


Slightly more seriously, I like these, except for the lack of attribution and the weird placement of weapons and pouches in some of the pictures (although that’s a general, not gendered, problem with fantasy illustration).
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:45 AM on July 10


salty asshole fans

Fans of Magic who are salty assholes.

Magic as a whole has been relatively progressive compared to the rest of the tabletop gaming industry since its inception. For 26 years now, there's been a small contingent of fans who think any amount of catering to an audience that isn't explicitly white straight men is going to ruin the game.

The set that Admiral Beckett Brass is from, there were a total of five pirate captains. Three happened to be women. Most people just thought the whole aesthetic was great, but there were a few regressive "why are there more women?" or even "why are there even any women, because in the real world..."

Never mind that the most successful pirate in the world was Ching Shih, a Chinese woman.
posted by explosion at 8:07 AM on July 10 [5 favorites]


I have a hard time imagining even the most fashion-obsessed elf bothering with enchanting high-heel metal boots to provide the same stability as regular boots when you could just have regular boots.

A bajillion years ago, when I was young and pretty, I fought forest fires. High heeled boots were required equipment, and frankly, I found them vastly more comfortable and capable in terrain than the flat footed kind.

Also, pushing nearly 6'7" in heels is a kind of awesome.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:12 AM on July 10 [6 favorites]


But there's a difference between cowboy boots and the hard stilettos in exhibit A. Those boots are going to put a lot of pressure on a small area in the ground, and in soft soils they will likely sink in unexpectedly. But at least the DM has a fallback for how critical fail rolls go.
posted by pwnguin at 8:50 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


So a few female character portraits that I commissioned for my party as birthday presents:

Half-elf gutterpunk rogue Art by Theo Lorenz
Gnome warlock/bard: Art by Bree at Work
Dragonborn Paladin of Knowledge: Art by Amelia Hamrick
Dwarf Storm Sorcerer: Art by Nooskadraws
Dwarf Tempest Cleric: Art by Arpad Blarpad (FYI - last time I checked their twitter was very NSFW, be warned)

I was super impressed by the fact that I could find so many different art styles that fit very different characters (and none of them oversexualized) and were willing to do things like facial hair and non-willowy body types on femme characters when it was appropriate. There's a ton of artists on twitter and tumblr to choose from - I found most of the artists by just searching twitter for comissions open, looking through their stuff and contacting them.
posted by dinty_moore at 9:06 AM on July 10 [7 favorites]


How did you hunt them down? Being a printer, the work I create tends to be 'static' in feel, so when I'm looking for action shots, I look to other artists. Usually I just end up trolling through Artists & Clients looking for signs that an artist is D&D aware and has a style that fits what I'm looking for.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:19 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Literally searching for the term 'commissions open' on twitter. Sometimes it'd be 'D&D commissions open' if I wasn't finding what I wanted the first time.

Also, yesterday was apparently #portfolioday, so there's a bunch of good stuff to trawl through.

There's a couple other sites that cater specifically for small-time art commissions, but I haven't had much luck with them? And for whatever reason, the stuff I found on DeviantArt seemed more like the classic oversexualized lady art.
posted by dinty_moore at 9:28 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]


Also, if you're not looking to commission something but just want to see some good actiony D&D fanart as references, trawling the critical role fanart galleries and looking up the artists you like isn't a bad idea.
posted by dinty_moore at 9:40 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]


A lot of good artists (and their commissions open announcements) can still be found on Tumblr, although the site did a good job of driving off a lot of their better artists by their absurd and useless no-nipples bot-censor policy. (The porn spambots barely paused before switching to lingerie and "fitness" shots.) The Bikini Armor Battle Damage tumblr is also still chugging along.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:38 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Oooh...the pirate captain! The ropes! The sail cape! The captains wheel on the hat!

That's Admiral Beckett Brass


ITYM Admiral Sandy Toksvig!
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:37 AM on July 10


I follow a lot of artists on Twitter and Tumblr, and yeah - independent artists and their work are a lot more diverse than what tends to get amplified by the industry. Even that is changing, although there is a long way to go. It would be nice if collections like this actually credited them, so people could find them.

(Non-credited reposting of art is a BIG issue for independent artists. It's not cool.)

... I do want to point out that being strong does not mean a woman will have visibly defined muscles, especially if she's not actively flexing. I get that this is push back against the expectation that women be delicate, but there's also (more so these days) and expectation that women be fit and "toned", which is largely a contradictory expectation and still damaging. Strong, active women come in very different looks!
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 12:07 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


currently imagining how my D&D-playing human woman friends & their characters would react if a hot pair of stability-enchanted high-heel metal boots went on sale & all I can think is that you & I know very different people

I mean... are they LARPers even? And they were raised in our society, not in a society where they might actually have to put on some armor and go fight a monster.

I've put more thought into why the heels bother me more than the cleavage gaps--not that those don't bother me, but you could include them in a setting without breaking my suspension of disbelief with the right world-building. But I can't think of any reason to have high-heeled combat boots, particularly metal ones that are part of a set of armor.

First all, I'm talking about shit like the 15th picture down here, or this or this, of which there weren't really any in the FPP. I'm not even really talking about

But there's a difference between cowboy boots and the hard stilettos in exhibit A. Those boots are going to put a lot of pressure on a small area in the ground, and in soft soils they will likely sink in unexpectedly. But at least the DM has a fallback for how critical fail rolls go.

because Exhibit A are at least vaguely plausible as something one might want, as a mounted warrior, to really make sure you don't lose your stirrups in the middle of battle without actually locking your stirrups to your feet which would make it hard to dismount. And I'm certainly not talking about Pogo_Fuzzybutt's absolutely ordinary, not at all high-heeled workboots.

And finally, we're discussing a "real" fantasy societies here, where there is theoretically the capability to enchant high-heeled metal boots to have greater stability or enchant armor that does not cover all your skin to protect the uncovered skin, and also corresponding dragons and owlbears and shit, and it's simply about good use of resources.

If you have the magical resources to make fancy armor and you have some sort of society that values showing skin in their fashion (or otherwise has good reason to have lighter-weight armor, like living in a hot area), one could make a pretty plausible argument that the gaps in protection also help save physical resources (like, the literal material making up the armor), if the enchantments can compensate and protect the unarmored sections of the body. If you have more magic than metal, this seems not-unreasonable.

But with high heeled metal boots, you're using extra physical resources to do something that must actively be compensated for with magic, with the only real purpose of the design to make the wearer's butt stick out more. In a world that almost certainly has little or no paving--it's ninety percent muddy fields and dirt roads and game trails and skree covered floors of ruins and caves that you're fighting on in any sort of a plausible pseudo-medieval fantasy world. No one who is actually going to go fight a dragon or a walking skeleton or even just another human or elf or whatever is going to want to fight in high-heels, not ever.

I mean if you can think of a plausible reason to have genuinely high high-heels in battle, stiletto or not, I'm open to suggestions. It just doesn't make any sense.
posted by Caduceus at 12:21 PM on July 10 [5 favorites]


I can imagine it as a flagrant show of power or intimidation tactic - being able to walk (or hover) around in impractically high heels with the help of enchantments and go about your day could be a way to casually show off. Or a sign of wealth - you wear impractical things because you own a range of flying carpets or have mechanical servants carry you everywhere, so you can wear impractical things. Practicality has a tendency to be considered a lower class concern in fashion.

Maybe not for the PC, but it could be an interesting NPC.
posted by dinty_moore at 12:33 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Well shit. I totally stand corrected. I'd absolutely be super intimidated if you, my enemy, were strolling around a muddy field with three-inch metal spikes on your heels without being bothered or having any other significant balance or mobility problems.

Still not sure the dragon will care, but in this scenario, those probably aren't their dragon killing boots, those are their intelligent-but-inconsequential-mook killing/scaring boots.
posted by Caduceus at 12:44 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


A lot of good artists (and their commissions open announcements) can still be found on Tumblr, although the site did a good job of driving off a lot of their better artists by their absurd and useless no-nipples bot-censor policy. (The porn spambots barely paused before switching to lingerie and "fitness" shots.) The Bikini Armor Battle Damage tumblr is also still chugging along.

A lot of the artists that did flee Tumblr are pretty easy to find on Instagram these days, if you don't mind using that bullshit. I wish Tumblr hadn't set themselves on fire with their bot-censors. I sure liked looking at art there more.
posted by Caduceus at 12:57 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


A lot of these are really good, though there still is a pretty heavy age bias. But there are a few with women who look like they're over 35 which is neat.
posted by k8bot at 1:27 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


In Tim Powers' The Drawing of the Dark, the bad guy sorcerers wear high heels/platform shoes because the Earth has rejected their unnatural energies.

They were... not helpful in a fight.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:29 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


The left eye damage/ hand dominance thing beanplating thing... C.W.:

As a grad student, I used to co-work at a hospital/ mental health centre with a smoke pit as a smoker and often made casual friends with inpatient smokers and nurses/ grad students. Due to the nature of the facilities (and cigarette smoking status) a lot of the people were of economically lower class.

Noticed a disproportionate number of women missing their left canine.

On two occasions, having gotten to a certain comfort point (one lady admitted to me that she was a crack addict inpatient to treat a bad systemic infection, another collected butts for her husband and herself to break down and handroll who I gifted cigarettes to whenever I ran into her [she'd save it for the husband, so I'd gift another one "for her"]) - I asked about their dental damage after seeing them one occasion and after chatting some.

Spousal abuse.

First lady by a previous spouse (but she's "hooked up with a great guy now" - who I ended up meeting just before she went home, clean, but never saw again), the second by her current spouse.
posted by porpoise at 3:13 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


Anecdotal, but I'd guess the prevalence of more human-ish characters is probably just a numbers game - of the character art someone commissions me for, it's probably 70% humans/elves/halflings, with the remainder being mostly tieflings and dragonborn.
posted by tautological at 3:57 PM on July 10


TVTropes explains the Rugged Scar that's often "a cut over one eye." It depicts a character who is a Tough Survivor but is still one of the Good Guys; Evil Scars are generally either wrinkled and puckered, or closer to the mouth, or both.

There's probably reasons it's usually the left eye, but those reasons probably aren't known to the artists. It may be that, since most opponents are right-handed, most damage will be to the left side, and so historically facial scars are more common on the left, so that just "feels right" to the artists.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 4:28 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


Um, I believe the high-heels thing is a red herring. The question to ask is "why aren't more male D&D characters IN high heels?" Flat-footed walking and shoes for flat-footed walking are a startlingly modern invention...as in circa ~200 years ago, co-incident with the invention of smooth pavement. Outside of some (admittedly somewhat broad) exceptions like indoor flooring, smooth mud, beaches, etc. everyone used to walk around on the balls of their feet pretty much all the time. There is a natural selection bias in the fossil record (smooth firm mud is ideal for flat-footing...and preserving footprints) but if you look at pre-19th c. art you see people walking on their toes like everywhere. (I believe there was a previously on this)
posted by sexyrobot at 5:38 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


(Also flat-footed shoes from earlier eras had more flexible soles to allow for walking on the balls of the feet)
posted by sexyrobot at 5:40 PM on July 10


Oh cool, fully uncredited art. Shame some of those artists had to ruin the aesthetic with watermarks and signatures. This will pay off in exposure!
posted by Gable Oak at 7:16 PM on July 10


You know what, I'm not getting anything else done tonight. I'm going to reverse image search (minus pinterest, because they're the worst site for crediting artists) and will put this information in this spreadsheet. Feel free to join me.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:40 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


Gonna use this as an d100 NPC generator. If you get a 100 roll twice!
posted by Catpiglet at 7:49 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


After the first 21, need to go to bed (if anyone else is a little bored and wants to join, go ahead), but the majority of the illustrators so far are men, which sort of surprised me. Not sure what's the best way to link to the post - can you comment on the individual images?
posted by dinty_moore at 8:28 PM on July 10


if you look at pre-19th c. art you see people walking on their toes like everywhere.

This is an intriguing comment but I'm not seeing it personally, certainly e.g. the Nigh Watch has flat footed watchers.

Wood appreciate links to more discussion on the topic if you find the previously or something similar.

posted by mark k at 10:00 PM on July 10


You know what, I'm not getting anything else done tonight. I'm going to reverse image search (minus pinterest, because they're the worst site for crediting artists) and will put this information in this spreadsheet. Feel free to join me.

Did a couple, but have to go to work
posted by YAMWAK at 11:29 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


I have been running a game for friends and my lady players are about to be very excited, thank you for posting.
posted by bradbane at 12:45 AM on July 11


Cheers to you guys working on credit for the art. They may be published, but most of these artists are not big time names, and they deserve recognition, too.

We once, long ago, had a Mefi artists thread on MetaTalk for people looking to commission art. We should do that again! I don't think I've ever drawn a D&D character for a client; sounds fun.
posted by the liquid oxygen at 8:57 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


I was thinking about agitating for a 'Tell Me About Your Character' Meta Cocktails thread - maybe combine it with character art show off/requests?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:02 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


dinty_moore, I've filled in all the URLs in the spreadsheet (I think; there's a gap where I met up with filled in things, so maybe I missed one) and filled in a few complete ones, but I've stopped because I can't access "gaming" sites right now.

I did find a Chrome plugin, Unpinterested! which may allow removing Pinterest from image searches, but it doesn't seem to work in Opera.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 2:53 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


It's a very specific kind of magic that would make stiletto heels stable but couldn't just make you look taller without them.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:42 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


There's also the (long dormant) Women Fighters in Reasonable Armor.
posted by adamrice at 6:02 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


Okay, at least did a decent effort trying to get an artist for everyone listed - thanks to those who helped out.

And yeah, the vast majority are professional freelancers - I'm assuming they got paid in more than exposure, but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't also get credited so someone can find them.

(one I couldn't find was the artist for the human portrait in the PHB. Considering the amount of press and arguments generated over that portrait, I'm assuming the artist's name has to be out there somewhere)
posted by dinty_moore at 9:35 PM on July 11 [2 favorites]


Thanks for that work, dinty_moore.

Mods, could that be added to the OP so future readers will see it right away?
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:47 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


[Heck, sure, done.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:53 PM on July 11


As a result of all of my clicking on links yesterday, reddit is suggesting r/reasonablefantasy to me.

(Also, ErisLordFreedom, thanks for the chrome plugin! I try to search for images incognito and not click on pinterest, but a few always sneak in and then I get weird emails from pinterest for months)
posted by dinty_moore at 12:20 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


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