Menekai Castle

HarnQuest: Menekai, Patrel, and the Salt Route

Written by Richard Luschek
The next HarnQuest is coming out very soon. I have all the art done (only about 2 months past due) but I had other Harn related stuff to do -so give me a freaking break will you!

Floating to Freedom, Copyright © 2015, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

Actually I will post about some of that other Harn / Gen Con related stuff next.

This issue of HarnQuest will contain Menekai, Patrel and the Salt route.

Menekai has never been illustrated. The rough looking Larga Gydsilen has been shown in Rethem, but the castle and its surroundings had not. I started with Sketchup model drawn over the maps by Oddgeir Drevdal.

Often things are found in modeling that helps us draw better maps. One discovery was that the north tower and walls are in mid construction. I had modeled them too high. Brent pointed this out and we realized the maps really should have scaffolding and some signs of construction. The corrections were made.

Here is the cool flyover animation I did of the model once I had something in mind.


Once the model is complete, I pick a view that I think will look best and gives a good flavor to the place. I wanted to show the metalworks, with the smelting furnaces going, and the charcoaler piles smoldering. I decided to show a boy fishing as a dead body floats by, probably from the slave quarters. I would imagine with the harsh conditions of this place, slaves don’t last long. A lazy guard may just decide to toss the body in the river rather than deal with it. I use Sketchups rough 3d figures as stand-ins.

Menekai Sketchup screen shot

After I do a sketch, I ink it, scan the image in photoshop and start coloring. I usually create some layers for the major units of the image. The inked layer is on top set to multiply. I had a sky layer, a water layer, a town layer, foreground layer, boy/body layer, and a water reflection layer -which was the town layer selected, filled with a gradient, vertically flipped and set to multiply over the water layer.

All this gets painted in broad strokes, working towards detail. I often add some multiply layers to get darker and add some mood.

I thought I was done.

Floating to Freedom (minus mood), Copyright © 2015, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

One of the writers pointed out the image was not dark enough in mood, and possibly in value. That the place should feel dirtier. After my attempts to get that person fired failed, I thought maybe I should consider this criticism.

I do like contrast in subject matter. So a sunny scene of a kid fishing with a dead body floating by had a touch of that. I figured a bit more mood could help, plus I keep forgetting my promise to myself to do more rain scenes. Harn is a wet place. Adding a rain texture gave it the miserable mood that was needed. I had to darken some things, like the kids wet clothes, add some splashes resulting in the image you see at the top of the page.


Look for a few more posts soon. I will try to keep up on this blog more. Let me know if there are any topics you’d like to see covered.



0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.