Collaborative Character Design Challenge
This is a series of character concepts created as part of a collaborative challenge that my friend, Preetham, and I started in Jan 2018, where we give each other prompts as starting points for character concepts in hopes of creating a wide range of creative designs.
#1 - Pacific Hydrant
(Prompt: “Water-ant that gives birth inside dew”)
The Pacific Hydrants are a deep-sea antfish chimera. Like most other ants, they exist in colonies. The queen survives on organic detritus of both plants and animals as well as inorganic debris, while the male antfish feed on the transparent honeydew secreted from the “legs” of the queen antfish. They reproduce through asexual parthenogenesis. The queen weaves a ball of honeydew secretions that serves as an incubator for the larva, providing the required nutrition until the offspring is sexually mature. Lifespan is up to 40 years.
#2 - Nighthunter
(Prompt: “Nightmare Patrol Officer”)
"Go back under the bed at the sound of whirring wheels, lest the haunter become the haunted."
The Nighthunter is a maniacal lawman who indiscriminately “punishes” beings of the Nightmare realm. Holding a distorted sense of the law, he erratically patrols the streets on his hoverboard and apprehends anyone in sight, imprisoning their souls inside a massive glass tube for all eternity. He is known to always wear a wide grin on his face and a torn scarf suspended from the back of his police hat to distract onlookers from his balding scalp. The scars on his body are reportedly self-inflicted, out of boredom of being absolute and invincible.
It is said that once you catch his eye, there is no escape, for he comes without reason nor warning. There is, however, one way to escape his indiscriminate wrath. Eyewitnesses claim that the air brings warning of his arrival by carrying the stench of death and decay, although that is possibly because of the Nighthunter’s body odour owing to his ridiculous insistence that he would only bathe “in the blood of his enemies”; a poetic albeit redundant notion in a spirit world devoid of flesh.
#3 - Aseej and Deqah
(Prompt: “A slave family that has the tradition of using their own body as maximum security prison for the kingdom”)
Deqah: "Aseej here is from the Jinhad clan of Qitara. Centuries ago, the Jinhad were a peaceful people, although their horn-like protrusions and red skin earned them the title of "devils". The grand priest of Qitara held a Key, a device that was capable of altering the bone structures of a Jinhad, creating specialised bodies capable of specialised work. They had a very efficient societal system, until our very own King of Laod conquered and destroyed Qitara, enslaving its people. Using the Key, he controlled the surviving Jinhad and "employed" them for specific purposes. Aseej, a descendant of the same clan, is a jail cell."
Aseej: "A 'special confinement unit', mind you."
Deqah: "Right. And as you may have guessed already, I was put in here for naught but a petty crime-"
Aseej: "Murdering the King.”
Deqah: "Someone had to do it eventually. I was the early bird. Besides, we’re both criminals now, after Aseej saw reason in my actions and daringly escaped the kingdom himself. Unfortunately, we need the Key to open up this pretty little jail cell-"
Aseej: "Special confineme- oh, never mind."
Deqah: "- and so we’re on the run as a team, whether we like it or not. But hey, this certainly beats being imprisoned."
Aseej: "Technically, you’re still imprisoned."
Deqah: "Wasn’t talking about me, bud."
#4 - Caribbean aLEGOtors
(Prompt: “A small crocodile species whose packs operate as a larger collective body for advantage in water”)
The aLEGOtors are a dwarf crocodilian species found in the Southern Caribbean islands. Naturally occurring in four different colours – green, yellow, red, and blue – a fully grown adult aLEGOtor is approximately 2 feet long and 6 to 8 inches tall. They have a cylindrical stud on their backs and a cavity in their stomach areas, both of which are used for 'docking', a defense mechanism where multiple aLEGOtors attach their bodies together to appear large and intimidate both predators and prey. Docking always begins with the one with the largest tail at the base, to aid in balancing the larger collective.
Contrary to popular belief, they are not an alligator species but a crocodile species, despite the name suggesting otherwise. When asked why they were named such, the scientists credited with discovering the species said they “just couldn't resist".
#5 - Private Detective Jessie Gallstone
(Prompt: “A private investigator from a world where organs are detachable”)
“Hello! Yes, please, have a seat. How may I help you? Hm? Ah, you’ve got a job for me? That’s wonderful but, uh, I’m afraid I’m in a bit of a… predicament. You see, I seem to have, um, misplaced my thorax. Yes, all its components with it. Not to worry though, it should be around somewhere, perhaps in one of my cupboards. Of course, I’d be inclined to look for it if I hadn’t also managed to get my coat stuck under this chair, so I’m quite trapped here and I- hm? Help? Oh no I’m quite fine, thank you. What’s that? Oh, YOU need MY help. Right, well, I’m sorry but - no no, I completely understand, your daughter’s been kidnapped. Believe me, if my heart were in the right place, I would do everything I can to help you find her. Unfortunately, it’s currently in one of my desk drawers. No, please, thank YOU for YOUR time. Yes, I hope so too. What’s that? You’ll choke me!? Oh, the smoke will? No, no need to worry about that, I had a fresh pair of lungs installed just yesterday, so I’ll be quite fi- Wait a minute...”
#6 - Ma'lwar and Antima
(Prompt: “Personified forms of 'malware' and 'anti-malware' ”)
“Gyahahaha! You humans are so full of yourselves! You think your morality superior to any other’s, yet you fail to smell the hypocrisy reeking from your own souls. You think yourselves better than us? And brand us evil? Why, because we feed on you to survive? Do the chickens and the cows revolt against the whims of your butchers? Gyahahaha! Less than a century since we dethroned you from the top of the food chain, and you’ve already begun to contest its legitimacy. Bring it on, I say! If you think you can win using our own technology against us, you are severely underestimating the persistence of our kind. Your mistake lies at your attempt to best us at the very thing we were created for. Malice."
#7 - Cosmic Moles
(Prompt: “A galactic species that pulls the universe, thus expanding it”)
“The Cosmic Moles are majestic plasma beings akin to gods. Beings of immeasurable vastness and incomparable strength, they are the Creators of the universe as we know it. Burrowing along the edges of the universe, they are constantly expanding it, giving rise to a myriad of galaxies with every swipe of their claws. The patterns on their skin emit light energy that illuminates the stars and brings colour to the universe. Every strand of fur that falls from their bodies becomes a shooting star. They are tireless creatures devoted to the cause of creation and expansion. Me? I’m a Cosmic Sloth. I’m just an intern."
#8 - Australian Coil
(Prompt: “A zebra species whose stripes are zippers”)
The Australian Coil are a zebra subspecies found in Southern Argentina. A distinctive feature about this subspecies is the presence of zipper-like lines on their bodies, in place of the regular stripes, that can be opened and closed at will to allow them to coil themselves inwards for warmth during the winters. They have complete control over their zippers, and have been known to confuse predators by spinning the zippers to make them dizzy in order to escape. Although the subspecies’ name has sparked several controversies, the scientists group that discovered them, infamous for their odd sense of naming, claim that the name ‘Australian Coil’ fits perfectly because they MATE in SPRING.
#9 - Latio and Cerna
(Prompt: “A secluded human tribe that has evolved to fly”)
“Millions of years ago, a human tribe decided to explore the lands and the seas in their entirety. They were the first to discover that the planet was round, and that it revolved around the sun. They were the forerunners of modern science, and their selflessness drove them to share their discoveries with the rest of the world, only to be rejected by religious fanatics and executed as heretics. The few who managed to escape decided to live a solitary life away from human civilisation. With their advanced scientific knowledge and technology, they simulated environments to speed up the evolutionary process and evolved into much superior beings.
We are descendants of that same tribe. We’re superior to humans in every imaginable way; our brains are smarter, our bodies are stronger, and we’ve even developed wings to fly. We’re beautiful and fundamentally flawless, and unlike humans, we modified or discarded useless parts of our bodies that impeded evolution to became perfect beings. Cerna and I are part of a team of scouts that discovers unknown species whose characteristics are compatible and can be blended with our own for the next stages in evolution. Unfortunately, the third member of our team is currently in the hospital.”
“What happened to him?”
#10 - Ballad of the Mighty Warrior Dekan
(Prompt: “A country with a tradition of having very inefficient and ridiculous armour as a sign of strength and skill. Design their greatest warrior.”)
In bloodrained sands and reddened seas,
And wintered mounts of killing breeze,
There stood just one, one fearsome man,
The Mighty Warrior by the name Dekan.
His might unmatched, wrought painful cries,
His sight unseen, he’d no need for eyes.
Unleashed he was, albeit with poise,
His enemies to him, were naught but toys.
He drooled at the thought of imminent battle,
Bells chimed in dismay to mark his arrival.
For no swords nor shield need make his lore,
Dekan was the very personification of war.
He fought with talent and undying zeal,
His foes bled gory, iron on steel.
Never in history did he lower his arm,
He was the storm, he was the calm.
#11 - Lucian "Ringo" Green
(Prompt: “In a world where man has always been blind, design their most fashionable man”)
"It's a hands-free world, baby!"
#12 - Harley, Son of David, Leader of the Meanderthal Men
(Prompt: “Prehistoric biker gang leader”)
*A million years ago*
“Follow me, lads! We ride, until the land obscures the sun and the seas surround the heavens! We ride, until dusk and dawn are naught but mere gradients in the vast skies! We ride, all around the world!”
“All AROUND the world, boss? Isn’t our world… flat? Won’t we fall right off when we reach the end?”
“That’s ridiculous, Fes. No one, not even in a million years from now, would be stupid enough to believe that.”
#13 - Aperia
(Prompt: “An aged warrior from a clan that grows a new layer of skin armour every year spent alive”)
“The Ceaseless War between us Venonar and those sword-loving freaks from the North has gone on endlessly since the breaking of the Relief Treaty in Gulthir. The term was coined centuries after the war began, when both sides came to a realisation that they were so evenly matched that there was no end at sight. That very realisation birthed many separate periods of peace between the two sides, only to eventually return to their natural state of war at even the slightest of disagreements.
We Venonar, although innately human, have an atypical body type that grows a hardened exoskeleton, unique in pattern to every individual. The shape of the pattern decides a person’s clan. The Warrior clan have thick, bulging carapaces that cover them from head to toe, making them a formidable force. They have fought the Northerners to a standstill for centuries beyond centuries, but we have discovered something that could finally give us the upper hand. Our enemies from the North are celibate monks who shudder at the very sight of exposed genitalia. The Sustenance clan, unlike the Warriors, have a thinner exoskeleton that covers most of the body except the areas necessary for procreation, so we decided to pull a little switcheroo and have the Northerners meet an unexpected opponent in the upcoming clash.
I am Aperia, from the Sustenance clan, and I am on a mission to put an end to the Ceaseless War.”
#14 - Achno
(Prompt: “A supervillain with the power of elemental acne”)
“Oh, hello there. Who’d you kill to land up in here? Ah-ah, let me stop you right there. I don’t actually care. You see, today is my last day here. Yes. Hm? Released? Hahaha, no no no. No. You’re a young boy, so I won’t blame you for your ignorance, but if you knew anything about the havoc I wreaked in my prime, you’d know there’s no way I’d be pardoned in a hundred years. Ah, those were the days! Those days of hunger and lust. Hunger for food, lust for blood. They were - okay, don’t you know it’s rude to keep staring? Yes, there is indeed a person emerging from my face, but you realise you could just ask me about it instead of gawking like a dumb bird? No. No, sshh! Don’t interrupt me. That’s very rude. As I was saying, my ability is called Acnomena, where the acne from my skin bursts to produce elements of different kinds that I can then control. Sometimes it’s toxic smoke, sometimes lava. Sometimes even a violent plant, depending on the Genome it carries. And of course, it’s extremely random and I have very little control over it. Isn’t that exciting!? Oh my adolescent days were wonderful! With the amount of acne on my face, I was destruction incarnate! Unfortunately, I aged well and stopped getting acne altogether. To make matters worse, my trusted “partner” turned out to be an undercover detective. The gall on that bitch! Curse her and her progeny to the Nightmare realm! Anyway, that made me resolve to never team up with anyone ever again. I decided, the only one I can trust completely is myself. Which is why you, son, have chosen a good day to be locked in here. Acne has reappeared on my face, and this time with the Twin Genome. Prepare yourself to bear witness to the most amazing jailbreak in history.”
#15 - The Bridge of Oppression - One of the Seven Wonders of the World
(Prompt: “Giant slow river creature that people use as a bridge”)
“The Bridge of Oppression is an ancient colossal sculpture on the bed of the dried river Aadh. The origins of the sculpture are shrouded in mystery, although it is hypothesised that the artist who created the structure was a slave under the tyranny of the infamous King of Laod. Evidences point towards the depiction of slavery and oppression using certain metaphors. The numerous hands symbolise the cruelty of labour and overwork, while the lack of a face indicates the lack of personal identities of the poor men who were oppressed. The scream of anguish is said to represent the mental and physical states of the slaves and the posture of resting on one knee indicates subjugation. Now all of this is good conjecture, but let me tell you what I really am. My name is Galad, and I am from a species of aquatic mammals called the Fossera. We’re some of the original inhabitants of this planet you call ‘Earth’, and we’re responsible for the creation of rivers. The Fossera are ancestors of your so-called “cave trolls”, which probably explains why I’m in this stone form. We’re nocturnal beings and we don’t particularly respond well to direct sunlight. If there’s one thing this sculpture represents, it is “lethargy”, not “slavery”. During one of my midnight excavation runs, I fell asleep and woke up just in time to be greeted by the sunrise in the middle of an unpleasant yawn. I’ve been stuck in this form ever since, waiting for yet another apocalypse to bring about eternal darkness and restore me. I’m sure it’s round the corner, I have plenty of faith in these humans. They certainly delivered the last three times.”