Art of Theomachia

This will be an art portfolio for a game I’m designing, Theomachia. My brother Jari is currently creating it, but I’m putting what we have here as it develops, so I have something to point towards when I try to hire artists for our studio. All materials are long in the public domain, as far as I know. Beloved works of the masters for the most part, as you’ll see.

The purpose of the portfolio is to communicate stylistic issues to writers and artists working on Theomachia. At this point this is me and whoever I get to draw my visions, but it might get larger if the project gets rolling. In any case, whether there’s two or twenty of us, we need to be on the same page about the style of the endeavour; while particulars of the subject matter can be communicated as need arises, pretty much the only way to create a common style is to dictate it.

As a multi-discipline portfolio there will be little technical knowledge here, at least for now. We’re mostly interested in the matters of depiction, not in the techniques used. While all art used as examples is exemplary in technical sense as well, we don’t exactly expect anybody to outright copy the technical style of the examples. We’ll add a section dealing with unified technical style later, when that becomes pertinent.

The very non-technical materials here are arranged by meme, as that’s what we’re trying to regulate for the project: an unified vision of what our heroes and monsters, cities and gods of the ancient myth are going to look like. Here’s a current index:

Theomachia Art Portfolio

Heros: depiction of heroism, protagonism and leadership
Teras: depiction of inhuman, monstrous and wild
Gunê: coming later, about how we’ll depict women.
Polis: coming later, about civilization and technology.
Theos: coming later, of gods and divinity.
Legos: coming later, of lewdness, lines and veils.

Heroic depiction

The principal thread in our depiction of heroes and heroism is a mix of classical and classicist ideas, but it’s probably a good idea to open that a bit, considering the different meanings those words have for different people. To put it succintly: heroes in Theomachia are superhuman and heroic in the sense of deeds, not morality. Morally they are more like anti-heroes of modern literature, they are not defined so much by moral greatness than great virtue, by which I mean strength and other desirable qualities. However, one of those desirable qualities is socialibility (or conservative values, interchangeably): a hero is virtuous, but because one of the virtues is being popular in the eyes of other people, that means that being a hero means being favoured by your people, which only comes about if you live in support of the social order. Thus, the mythic hero: a being of great lusts and weaknesses, overpowering strength and little restraint, but at the same time a great cultural hero whose actions bring about prosperity. If a hero should turn against the people (or rather, people against the hero) he would not be viewed as a hero, but as a monster.

Compared to the traditional gaming hero, the mythic hero does not need well-honed experience levels nor an optimized panoply of arms. His success comes due to internal greatness, will and human emotion; all-consuming rage is a common theme in the literature. Naked on the outside, pure (as the opposite of petty) on the inside.

Monstrous depiction

The monster of myth means both inhumanity and unsociality at the same time. Being a monster means being unable to live with and act withing society first and being a nonhumanoid beast second. Of course there are a multitude of different cases, because monsters are used to communicate different conceits just like heroes. Some monsters revel in their inhumanity and destructiveness, others seek balance that forever escapes them.

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