Saturday, July 30, 2016

And Another Thing

I have a bad habit of being too taxonomic in my thinking, while also being very wishy-washy and vague. I like to go for 'feeling' when making a thing, pin down why that feeling does what it does, and give as much explanation to back that feeling up as possible. Sometimes I go too deep into trying to justify why things feel the way they do.

But usually I just run solely for feel and a little explanation.

It's why Mister Pig is very obviously a shallow composite between the biblical demon Legion, and a particular gif of a silent French film from 1907. Because pigs and swine have so much negative cultural association in the modern day—being dirty, disgusting, greedy, used as a negative term for police or capitalists or nasty men—to me, that gives a blatant reference to demons a sufficiently nasty feeling.

You've got the biblical demon and its own possible reference to Roman occupation, the modern baggage of pigs being horrible and associated with exploitation and brutality, and the below image all coming together as a thing called Mister Pig. The name is so plain as to seem innocent, I think. So overall Mister Pig is gross and comes across as gross just as a concept.

From 'Le Cochon Danseur'.
I also happen to think giant swine with fangs, the ability to speak, and coiled vipers for a tongue is also a cool thing to see described. The knowledge of how biologically wrong and weird and gross such a being is has the right feel, because it's got that visceral knowledge that pigs and snakes are both real animals even as Mister Pig is not real.

So it's taking known things and making them more unknown.

A thing that does this badly is Genasi, and the aesthetic and feel of Genasi. Daniel Dean over at Basic Red  said it better about how Genasi are taking the unknown and making them known, or at least getting the feel of a creature inherently tied to some element entirely wrong.

The art in particular annoys me, with most examples having fire Genasi have flames in the place of hair, or some art just having them as bald humans with glowing marks on their bodies. And that's not taking the known human form and making it unknown and strange, but just grafting fire onto a human model without thinking of how extensively biology would be changed by being partly made of a combustion reaction.

Like, think of how desiccated they would look, or how melty, or how they wouldn't have skin because meat tissue would literally cook unless the fire was cool or manipulatable. Maybe they wouldn't have fire on their heads near their brains, but across their backs, or maybe their heads are hollow and they have no faces but instead large holes to spit damp ashes and smoke, and their brains are somewhere else in their bodies or spread out down their spines. Because we know how fire interacts with meat and a meat head covered in latent flames just doesn't capture the feel correctly. Have a fire Genasi design built on how we know to contain fire, or feed fire.

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