VULLISTRAL BOG DRAGON
When I started to make the Kingdoms of Immacus card game, I wanted to put my efforts on the creatures and races I created as a youngling that made the world unique. However, I knew that you never want to show people anything that is too different from things they know. I had doubts that chubby ghosts and reptile bugs alone could bring people into this world. Therefore, I set out to make characters, creatures, and locales that would ring familiar to fans of fantasy. The Vullistral Bog Dragon is one of the cards from those efforts. I wanted to show players that yes there are big-haired teenagers riding dog-ram-monkey mounts, but there are also griffins, gorgons, and giant spiders. There be dragons.
The Vullistral Bog Dragon is one of the six dragons that are featured in the game, and it aligns itself with the Xizeks. When deciding on where in the Xizek territories their dragon should reside, the Vullistral Blanket Bog made for a great choice with the history of the region.
The Vullistral Blanket Bog is full of all sorts of dangerous beasts, including the polluted crocodiles. The polluted crocodiles are worshiped and bred by the people of Vullistral as a means to deter the hunger of the bog dragons. The more crocodiles they breed, the less likely a bog dragon will make their way to their villages for human food. It is a dangerous life there, and that was something we wanted to portray in the image itself.
The Vullistral Bog Dragon was painted by the artist Leonardo Giordano, and it was the first piece I worked on with him. There were a few things that the image needed to get across. It needed to be set in the bog, it needed to feature the crocodiles in the region, and it needed to pose some sort of threat. Leonardo did a great job setting the scene and capturing the danger the dragon poses to the crocodiles by picturing the dragon eating one of the crocodile's poor friends.
In Kingdoms of Immacus, every art brief sent to the artist comes with a little story/background that paints a picture for the artist before they paint the picture. The challenge the artist faces is to ensure the player sees that there is a story being told here and that no card is a filler card. Leonardo really did a great job capturing our vision of storytelling through art.
Every card tells a story, but they also tell a story with their abilities. Acidic Conflagration is what we call a flavor ability. Any time we are able to fit one in with space, we do it. A flavor ability is an italicized ability that can be unique to the card, and does not occur enough to be a bolded ability, which are explained through the rulebook. Flavor abilities tell you what the ability does, while having a name that can add a layer of theme to what the card does. Not only can the dragon do some nasty damage, it can also soar, making it tough to kill if opponent's don't plan accordingly. The dragon's Acidic Conflagration is also considered so powerful, that it exhausts the dragon when used. Being a red rarity also makes it a rare sight to see.
I really enjoyed my work on the Vullistral Bog Dragon. It was a card that was done early on in the process of the game and it was the first card working with a new artist. The card was one of those pieces that was so vital to world building with its connection to the bog itself and the people and lore that came along with that region. Every time I see the bog dragon it reminds me of earlier days in this crazy process when I was getting more sleep and my fingers didn't have cuts from all the paper slicing I do with playtesting.
The initial sketch from Leonardo.
A rough flat sketch of the Vullistral Bog Dragon
Final submission of the Vullistral Bog Dragon
The initial sketch from Leonardo.