These are the composition guidelines for art produced for Room 209 Gaming products. These are guidelines only for Room 209 products and are here provided to ensure that artists do not spend time creating art that does not meet our art direction.
- Minimize anime styling; no “big eyes, small mouth” or unusually long limbs. More realistic styling preferred.
- Generally prefer to have very dynamic, Kirby-esque depictions of characters in action.
- Avoid Pathfinder-style or D&D 4th Edition style art, the “Dwarf of ten thousand pockets” and hyper-angularity. Prefer more realistic proportions depicted in a fantastic world, like movie art. See Lord of the Rings, Dragonslayer, Season of the Witch, Skyrim.
- Dungeons should look and feel dark and dirty, like places you don’t want to go if you’re sane.
- Royal courts should similarly be sumptuous and beautiful, with fine fabrics and no garbage, dust, etc.
- Character art should say “This is who you can be!” and should appeal to players who are interested in being those characters
- People dress for their jobs, for functionality primarily and for style to individualize themselves.
- On women, no unnecessary boob windows, leg-showing, etc. They should be feminine without being sexpots in the middle of battlefields.
- Fashion should survive an adventure—no spangly unitards with diaphanous flowy streamers for wading through swamps.
- Watch out for passive poses among female characters; they should be every bit as dynamic as male characters.
- Don’t focus on how to attract women/gays/minorities; instead think about how not to drive them away.
- Be careful of ethnic diversity in the art—no whitewashing! Definitely want humans to not all be “medieval English,” but instead have human characters who are recognizably South American, African, Southeast Asian, Native American, Mongolian, Indian, Northern European, Central European (the “standard”), and Southern European (and any others that might not be listed here).
- Pay attention to the facial expressions. Without the featured person having visible feelings, they become objects and therefore objectified. Generic scowls don’t count—different art pieces need to express different emotions, the full spectrum should be represented instead of just “I am Dark Bob and don’t I look badass.” Laughter, sadness, greed, contentment, exhaustion, determination, love, hurt, etc.
- We prefer no “cheesecake.” If the pose would appear in porn, it won’t appear in Forthright Open Roleplay. No BDSM poses or gear. No bondage images. No use of sexuality or BDSM attire to suggest the character is evil.
- Correct Stance: Avoid women standing off-balance in order to emphasize hips, butt or bust. Female characters should be depicted in logical stances with emphasis on their activity, not their body parts.
- Sightlines: All characters should be focused on the threat or the object being interacted with, even if it’s not shown in the piece. Avoid having women looking at the “camera” or posing for the viewer.
- Avoid monsters as ethnic stereotypes. “All orcs are green, drow are black, etc” as this posits the idea that all humanoids of X color are present merely to be killed (see: D&D, Pathfinder, “Color Coded for Destruction.”) Non-humans, when depicted, must be clearly identifiable as unique individuals.
- Individualized non-humans will need to operate from the same baseline in order to maintain a consistent appearance across Room 209 products. This will ensure the proper number of fingers, proper skeletal structure, etc, while still providing artists a broad range in which to make each character unique. As an aid to artists, we have developed guidelines and descriptions for each species in Forthright Open Roleplay that provide the basic appearance and variety cues for non-human species:
If you’re interested in working with Room 209 Gaming, please contact us!