ILLUMINATIONS

Martin McKenna illustrated many adventures for WFRP1. His drawings in particular set the tone for much of the Enemy Within campaign. He has shared scans of many of these on his Flickr page, including several pictures that were never published. A few of these are particularly interesting, and I have commented on them below.

SYMBOLS

The first noteworthy image is captioned ‘Parchment and Symbols’ and seems to have been intended for the original Enemy Within module.

Parchment and Symbols

Surrounding the twin-tailed comet of Sigmar are (clockwise from the top right) the symbols of Chaos, the Horned Rat, Khorne, Tzeentch, Slaanesh and Nurgle (in its pre-Realm-of-Chaos form). There is also another symbol that to my knowledge appears nowhere else. The context seems to imply that it should be a god of Chaos, and the only contemporary god of Chaos not represented in the picture is Malal. We may therefore be looking at the proposed rune for Malal.

This might also explain the reason why this picture was not used in the published product. Malal was not included in the description of the Chaos gods on p22 of The Enemy Within. It may in fact be the precise point at which Malal was excluded from the pantheon of Chaos, as he was included among the Chaos gods in the WFRP1 rulebook, which was completed very shortly before The Enemy Within.

An alternative explanation of the mysterious symbol is that it is the rune of Kháine. Kháine was not at this point considered a god of Chaos, but was mentioned in The Enemy Within‘s discussion of religion as a proscribed cult alongside the gods of Chaos. The rune could also be interpreted as a stylised scorpion, which is one of Kháine’s motifs. However, the symbol was not included in the description of Kháine in The Enemy Within. That might mean the symbol was not associated with Kháine, but there are many other reasons for the symbol’s omission, such as considerations of space or artistic merit.

The evidence for favouring one of these interpretations over the other seems to me inconclusive. It might be argued that the Kháine interpretation is more economical, as we do not have to hypothesise excised or unwritten material. However, since we know there was some unpublished Malal material, this argument is of questionable force. That just leaves the resemblance to a scorpion weakly favouring Kháine, and the explanation of the symbol’s omission weakly favouring Malal. If I had to choose one interpretation, I would lean towards Kháine, but my confidence would be low.

NOBLES

There are also three interesting unused illustrations of the Todbringer family. Their presentation suggests they were intended for Warhammer City. They are captioned ‘Graf Boris’, ‘Stefan Todbringer’ and ‘Heinrich Todbringer’, but present very different appearances from Power Behind the Throne.

Graf Boris

Stefan Todbringer

Heinrich Todbringer

Unused drawings of Boris, Stefan and Heinrich Todbringer, by Martin McKenna

Stefan, Boris, Heinrich Todbringer

Stefan, Boris and Heinrich Todbringer, by Martin McKenna, in Power Behind the Throne

The later depiction of Boris Todbringer resembles Thomas More in Holbein’s famous picture. That of Stefan Todbringer has also become notably less sympathetic.

Thomas More, by Hans Holbein the Younger, and Boris Todbringer, by Russ Nicholson

SPIRITS

There is also an unpublished picture of the spirit Leshy, which was presumably intended for Something Rotten in Kislev.

Leshy.jpg

The origins of McKenna’s conception of Leshy are somewhat obscure. His drawings of other Kislevite spirits in Something Rotten in Kislev were for the most part closely based on illustrations in The New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology. However, his published drawing of Leshy only vaguely resembles that in the Encyclopedia.

Leshy, by Tcheko Potocka, in the Encyclopedia

Leshy

Leshy, by Martin McKenna, in Something Rotten in Kislev

McKenna’s Leshy drawing appears instead to have been based on an illustration of a different spirit in the Encyclopedia.

Bannik, by Ivan Bilibin, in the Encyclopedia

It is my presumption that McKenna used the Potocka illustration for general inspiration, but felt its style unsuitable to copy. He therefore used a similar illustration by Bilibin as his model. The horns are a novel embellishment.

The unpublished image of Leshy seems to fit this pattern, and points to no other sources. It appears to be an original composition based on the published illustration. It does bear a slight resemblance to another Leshy picture, shown below, especially in the facial expression, but the similarity is in my view insufficient to posit a connection, especially as this image is not present in the Encyclopedia.

Leshy, by Ivan Bilibin

Therefore, McKenna’s Leshy appears to be a conflation of Potocka’s Leshy, Bilibin’s Bannik and some original embellishments.

There are more unpublished WFRP illustrations on Martin McKenna’s Flickr page. Also see his webpage for more about his work.

Title art by Martin McKenna. Internal art by Martin McKenna, Hans Holbein the Younger, Russ Nicholson, Tcheko Potocka and Ivan Bilibin. Used without permission. No challenge intended to the rights holders.

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3 thoughts on “ILLUMINATIONS

  1. I immediately thought of Malal looking at that symbol. Two large horns and a pointed face: it could be a stylised version of the picture from the WFRP rulebook.

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