Mogranos contest

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Another title!

I'll sort all of this out later. :)
Thanks for the great CSS Pyritie!

Long contest journal is long! Note that this is a rather specific tournament. If you don't like drawing armored dark lords, you can always come back for my spring/summer contest which will feature lots of different characters you can draw.

- Introduction
- The mission
- Background information
- The rules
- Hints
- Prizes
- Deadline
- Judges
- FAQ's

Another morning, another glorious day of sitting on that blasted granite throne and staring into cameras. The mere thought of it made his butt hurt already. Mogranos sighed as he heaved himself on his feet. His armor rattled and squeaked from the movement.

“My lord, it’s almost time.”

The nervous looking little figure, barely reaching up to his waist, looked up but did not make eye contact.

“I know.” The dark lord said in his booming voice, “I know that Finkle.”

Finkle, his PR manager and personal assistant fidgeted and moved so that Mogranos could move past him and into the hallway leading to the studio. Like a little mouse, Morganos thought. Finkle’s high-pitched but soft voice, his involuntary hand movements. He was just like a mouse. If he was in a hurry, he’d even dart around like a nervous little rodent. And Finkle was ALWAYS in a hurry. The way he behaved around the dark lord towering over him had nothing to do with fear. This much was certain.

Mogranos feigned interest as the small man talked him through today’s program. It would be another busy day, crammed full with interviews, speeches, congresses and whatever else was required to run a large country like Ethara. He knew that already. He pressed his thumb and index and middle finger against his brow, and made small circular motions. Massaging his forehead wouldn’t make the hangover go away, but it was a reflex Mogranos had trouble fighting. I just hope we’re not doing any political debates today. The throbbing in his head made it difficult to focus on Finkle.

“What was that?”
“The diplomat from Sylnar, my lord. She requested an audience three weeks ago.” Finkle paused and looked at him expectantly. “Since the speech from two thirty was cancelled, I thought that maybe we could slot her in.”
“Yes, yes. Fine! What else?”
“Excellent! And after that at three, there’s that political debate for Ethara Today.”

Aw crap... For a moment Mogranos considered crushing Finkle’s head with his bare hands. It wouldn’t be too difficult. He pictured the sound the man’s skull would make right before it popped, then flinched as the image of PR-manager-brains staining his gauntlets forced itself into his mind. Forcing it back out, he sighed. “Perfect.” Those debates would more than likely last the rest of the day. Briefing over.

He straightened his back and put his helmet on.

“Time to go then.” His voice sounded a little muffled now. Why he had to do all these things in full armor, he’d never understand…

:bulletred:The mission:bulletred:
Design an evil dark lord’s suit of armor!

Since there appears to be some interest, I’ve decided to organize a small contest, prior to starting the big spring/summer one I’ve mentioned earlier. The goal of this contest is to design a new suit or armor for my character Mogranos to wear (see below for background information). I’m not happy with the armor he has now. It doesn’t look practical enough and it also doesn’t scream “evil dark lord here, start begging for your life plz”.

Since I’m not very confident in my own abilities to design armor, I’m using this contest to gather new and interesting designs. You can either make a brand new design, or take the existing one and adapt that. It’s up to you. Note: the winner’s design will not necessarily be used (entirely) for Mogranos’ new design. After the contest is over, I might combine several of your entries and create one kick-ass design. It depends on the quality of the entries of course, so I’m hoping for a successful contest. Whatever the outcome is, I will credit the original artists for their designs, should I use them.

:bulletred:Background information:bulletred:

What is Ethara?
Ethara is the name of a fantasy story I intend to write one day (either as a comic, or as a novel). It is also the name of that world’s most powerful country, the superpower ‘Ethara’. The story is set in a modern-day fantasy world. It has magic and elves and orcs and cars and the space shuttle. The country is ruled by the dark lord Mogranos, who has been in power for nearly a thousand years and is surprisingly benevolent. Either that, or he’s simply given up on trying to intimidate everybody.

Mogranos fell victim to his own sensibility. When he kicked the old Etharian king out so many centuries ago, he reorganized the country’s administration because he figured this would further his own goals. He realized that townsfolk will work harder if they are happy and not being harassed by his minions, that armies will march faster if there are good roads, that harvests will be richer if the fields aren’t swarming with farmer-munching zombies. The (for him) unexpected side-effect of his reforms was that the Etharian populace started to love Mogranos. So much so in fact, that when the rightful heir to Ethara’s throne showed up, he was chased off by peasants with torches and pitchforks.

Nowadays Mogranos finds himself the most successful dark lord that ever lived. He has achieved immortality, gained control over the most powerful nation on the planet, forced the rest of the world into peaceful submission AND he has eliminated all threats to his rule, as the Etharians would never want to see anyone else take his place. He is also truly miserable. Now more of a national icon than a totalitarian dictator, Mogranos’ days consist of sitting on his very uncomfortable throne in full armor, while staring menacingly (the crowd seems to love that) and giving speeches on tv. His entire life seems to be recorded on camera, and he has given up on trying to intimidate his people. In their eyes he can do no wrong, and besides, Mogranos has mellowed over the years. He no longer has it in him to slaughter entire villages just for the sake of making a point. To his great dismay, he discovered long ago that he has a heart after all.

He also has an ego though, so if you try to hug him he’ll snap your back in two. In a non-lethal way, of course.

To the rulers and inhabitants of foreign countries, Mogranos still seems like the dark lord they’ve always known and feared. They believe that Ethara is a festering wasteland, crawling with evil monsters, while in reality Etharian humans and monsters live side-by-side in relative peace and harmony.

The main story revolves around a different group of character (known as the “Ethara team” by my watchers), and the main plot has absolutely nothing to do with slaying the not-so-evil dark lord. Well, mostly nothing anyway. Simply put, Mogranos is just a side-character, but one I’ve grown attached to.

Who is Mogranos?
Mogranos is the immortal dark lord of Ethara. He has two forms: his ‘dark lord form’ and his ‘normal form’. Using magic he can shift between one and the other at will, and technically his power stays the same in both forms (save for the obvious increase in armor). He just looks different.

On Ethara's Throne by Blue-Uncia
Dark lord form:
This is his public face, and the form you need to redesign in this contest. In this form, Mogranos is unnaturally tall (over 4 meters). His eyes glow red, his voice booms and his breath becomes searing hot. He wears armor and wields a broadsword. This form is intended to impress and overwhelm. Most enemies turn tail at the mere sight of him. Most Etharians do not even know what he looks like, as he is almost never seen without his helmet on.

Incognito by Blue-Uncia
Normal form:
The form you probably won’t be using at all for this contest, unless you have Mogranos take off his helmet. Technically, this is his natural form. Back when he was still a mortal, this is what he looked like, save for the really awful clothes he likes to wear now. When he was in his fifties, he managed to finally fulfil his dreams of becoming immortal and so he also stopped aging. Today, almost one thousand years later, nobody knows that this is what he really looks like. In this form Mogranos is still tall (about 1.90 meters) and fairly, but not overly muscular. His dark lord form is bulkier.

He uses this form to sneak away from his duties every now and then. He likes to go out and party, while introducing himself as Dorian. He tells himself he’s going out to find a way to reclaim his mortality (he’s fed up with all this, and wishes it were over), but in reality he just gets into a lot of drunken bar brawls. He also often gets mistaken for a homosexual, and refuses to believe it’s because of the way he dresses. Obviously, this leads to more fistfights. :3
In the story he often drops in on the Ethara group in this form, like the chain drinking plot device of doom he is.

In both forms Mogranos has the same abilities, though he’ll tone it down in his normal form, for fear of blowing his cover. His abilities include, but are not limited to:
- Enhanced strength.

- Enhanced stamina.

- The ability to conjure objects (swords, armor, clothing, whatever else he might need) or creatures (such as his dragon mount).

- Elemental magic (Mogranos specializes in the elements Fire and Earth; he makes volcanoes go boom).

- Necromancy.

- Immortality (obviously), though a sword to the gut will still hurt.

He’s also smart and quite a tactician.

:bulletred:The rules:bulletred:
- Anyone can enter.

- If you wish, you may also collaborate with someone else, but if you win you have to decide amongst yourselves who gets which prize (subscriptions will not be split, for instance). However, multiple journal features are negotiable.

- All entries must be specifically created for this contest. You cannot enter older art, and you must mention this contest in your description.

- All entries must be visual pieces (sketches, line-art, paintings, 3D sculptures). Literature will unfortunately not be accepted.

- You can enter reference sheets, sketches, or full-blown paintings, but whatever you decide to submit must be clear. I need to be able to see what is going on!

- Your design should include a face-covering helmet or some other type of headwear. The eyes may remain visible. If you also want to show parts of his face, I’d appreciate it if you checked with me first. After all, the whole point is that almost nobody in Ethara knows what he really looks like. Mogranos doesn’t need to be wearing the helmet in your entry, but it should be clearly visible somewhere on the image (he could be holding it, for instance).

- The armor should be COMPLETELY visible. That means I want a head-to-toe shot with as little overlaps as possible (don’t hide him behind a piece of volcanic rock or anything). Reasonable overlaps, such as an arm falling in front of part of the torso and upper leg in a side-shot, are perfectly acceptable.

- Damaged, blood-spattered or battle-worn armor are allowed, but you may also enter something brand-new and sparkly.

- The armor should look as if it could fit into a ‘traditional’, non-modern world fantasy world. Yes, Ethara is set in a modern world, but traditional suits of armor are still in use in Ethara (see FAQs). So no hi-tech gizmos please. Mogranos is an old-fashioned guy anyway; he wouldn’t want to wear something that could be worn by a space trooper.

- By entering this contest, you give me permission to use your designs in whatever way I see fit. Proper credit will of course be given to you.

- You also give permission for your entry to be displayed on my website, (…) under the header “2010 Mogranos Contest Entries”. Again, proper credit will be given and links to your galleries will be provided, and the images will be hosted on my server. See it as free publicity. :)

(what might score you extra points?)

- Realistic design. I’m not looking for some sort of epic fantasy-style plate armor that will neatly envelop every inch of the wearer’s body. Sure, you can add glowing orbs, skulls, ornaments and whatever else floats your boat, but the armor MUST looks as if it can be worn and used in battle. If you’re unsure of how armor moves, I suggest you read up on real suits of armor, like the ones used in the Middle Ages. As mentioned earlier, not every inch of the body needs to be plate covered. You can show bits of cloth, leather padding, chain mail or even bare skin underneath the plates. This will make the armor more realistic (not to mention more comfortable to wear for poor Mogranos).

- The “FEAR-ME” factor. Mogranos is a dark lord, after all. I don’t care how you achieve this effect (dark colors, blood spatters, decorative skulls, sharp angles, etc.), but this aspect IS important. Just keep Mogranos’ personality in mind: functionality first, intimidation second!

- Originality. Do NOT copy the designs of existing dark lords from popular culture (The Lich King, Sauron, etc.). I’m looking for something new.

- Clarity also helps a great deal here. A turnaround would be greatly appreciated! But of course, you can also enter a different kind of picture if you prefer.

- Effort. While in principle sketches of great designs are perfectly acceptable and stand great chances of winning, I’m not blind to the amount of effort people will put in their entries. Design is the most important factor, but if you really WANT to create that epic kick-ass painting, your efforts WILL be taken into consideration come judging-time.

- Adding a weapon. Though not technically part of the armor, Mogranos also needs something to cleave would-be heroes in twine with. His preferred weapon is the two-handed broadsword. An axe or a mace are also options, but swords are preferred. Whatever kind of weapon you decide to include, it should be big, menacing and heavy.


First place winner:
- 3 month dA subscription (for you, or for whoever else you’d like to give a sub)
- A flat-colored sketch, similar to (…)
- A monochrome sketch, similar to (…)
- A two week (or longer) feature in my journal
- A week long feature in meroe1313's journal

Second place winner:
- 1 month dA subscription (for you, or for whoever else you’d like to give a sub)
- A flat-colored sketch, similar to (…)
- A monochrome sketch, similar to (…)
- A two week (or longer) feature in my journal
- A week long feature in meroe1313's journal

Third place winner:
- A flat-colored sketch, similar to (…)
- A two week (or longer) feature in my journal
- A week long feature in meroe1313's journal

Depending on the number of entries, I might add more prizes.

The deadline is April 16th, 2010. This gives you a little over two months to compete.

Entries so far can be found here:…

That’s simple. I’m the one and only judge. If there are enough entries, however, I may also add a “public’s choice” winner to the list.


Q: Are there guns in Ethara?
A: Yes, the world of Ethara is just like our own world, so there are guns. However, swords and armor are still very common in Ethara, because they can be enchanted to form sufficient protection against firearms. Magic spells can also be effective. There is currently a status quo between magic and technology: if advanced enough, the user of either one can gain the upper hand over the other.

Q: How does magic work in Ethara?
A: There are several different schools, depending on which class you’d like to enrol in. For instance the holy school is for priests, and teaches its students how to heal, shield and of course smite. The riskier elemental school is popular among mages, and requires more control as the magic is drawn from within the caster’s own mind and body, and not received from the outside. Spells typically need to be spoken out loud, unless you are a particularly powerful caster, in which case merely thinking of the spell is enough. There are a lot of different schools of magic, and one can specialize in more than one. However, it is very uncommon for people to learn more than three different classes of magic.

Q: What kind of minions does Mogranos use?
A: Anything that is typically considered a monster was originally part of his army. This includes undead, elementals, gargoyles, orcs, ogres, goblins, beasts, vampires, werewolves, several of the beast-races and a bunch of dragons. You wouldn’t find demons in his army, however, as he cheated them one day to become immortal. They don’t like him, and he doesn’t trust them. Nowadays Mogranos doesn’t really have an army. Instead, Ethara has an army, and he’s in charge of it. Subtle difference. The Etharian army is open to all races, so there are also plenty of humans who serve in it (including a divisions of paladins). Meanwhile, quite a few of the old ‘monsters’ are now civilians and lead relatively normal lives as doctors and lawyers.

Q: Does Mogranos have a mount?
A: Yes, he used to ride a black dragon, but that was a long time ago and it’s a bit of an unruly bastard. If Mogranos tried to ride him now, chances are he’d get thrown off. At a 100 foot altitude.

Q: What races exist in Ethara?
A: Aside from humans, Ethara is home to a wide array of races you’d expect to find in a fantasy world. There are elves, dwarves, kobolds, orcs, harpies, minotaurs, centaurs, fauns, gryphons, and so on, and so forth. There are also a number of imaginary species made up by yours truly.

Q: All the races live in harmony in your world? Laaaame!
A: Ethara itself is at peace at the moment, though this might change if the other countries decide to band together again. Generally speaking the races in Ethara live in peace, yes. There are some who prefer to seclude themselves, while others may squabble over resources, but Mogranos doesn’t like these kinds of conflicts. He usually makes them reconcile in one way or another. There is crime, of course, for which law enforcement is required. And the occasional greedy company might stir up trouble as well, but again: having the dark lord himself give you the evil eye makes most people pipe down. There may also be sects and cults who try to mess things up. As mentioned earlier, Mogranos is not popular with the demons and their followers.
As for the monster races: most are very happy with their current status as regular citizens, as they wouldn’t have this status if they lived abroad (discrimination may still occur in some areas in Ethara, but it’s rare). However some monsters prefer the ‘old way of life’, and may resort to killing and/or eating another person, or turning them into whatever they themselves happen to be (werewolf, zombie, vampire, etc.). These individuals are treated as criminals, because all of these offences are against the Etharian law.

Q: Who are these other Ethara characters you keep mentioning? The real main characters?……………………… << More yet to be revealed.

Q: When will you start working on Ethara?
A: Uhm… Well I’m currently still working on my first webcomic, Stuff of Legend. Next up is my other fantasy story, Amcornos. So hypothetically Ethara would be third, unless I decide to publish it as a novel. In that case it might appear sooner…

Artist's status

Requests: Closed
Art trades: Closed (unless I ask you)
Collabs: Only with my friends (sorry)

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ShrubNinja's avatar
Tomorrow is the deadline! I'm so excited! :eager: