Friday, March 16, 2012

Obscure Art Friday: Slithering Tracker by Bill Willingham

Slithering Tracker by Bill Willingham
     
     Here's yet another piece of original artwork found along with the Masher, Drow Captain and Bugbear Chieftain. This one illustrates the Slithering Tracker from the Monster Manual, which is described as "transparent and almost impossible to discover" and having a "semi-fluid body" that can "flow through openings as small as a rat hole or a large crack under a door". I hadn't really thought of the Tracker as one of the "clean-up crew", but this illustration makes me think it's related to the oozes, jellies, and puddings. Like the Masher, this is another monster that might have gotten more attention with an illustration. I always assumed there was no illustration because it was invisible!

     I hadn't seen this piece until recently when I happened across it on a page at Tome of Treasures. According to the original post on the Acaeum the ebay lot where these were found also included a Giant Skunk by Willingham and an unattributed Shadow, each of which was intended to be added to the Monster Manual (but never were). I haven't come across scans of the Giank Skunk or Shadow anywhere.

     If you'd like to see more Willingham art, there's a recent thread over on the OD&D Discussion forums dedicated to his work that has some scans and links. In the first post of the second page I started compiling a bibliography of his work.

2 comments:

  1. The lack of illustrations (and some basic physical descriptions for some of the entries) was always a sore point for me with the MM. There are a number of fantastic creatures which I have never used or used very rarely over the last few decades and the slithering tracker is one of these. This illustration would have been a big help.

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  2. I was just thinking about the slithering tracker this past weekend: one of Heather's friends gave our boys a bunch of "spit balls" which are nearly-transparent, marble-sized globules of some gelatin-like stuff. They get stored in water, and are practically invisible. Which immediately made me think of slithering trackers hanging out in a well, large puddle, shallow pool, etc.

    Watch out folks at GaryCon :D : D

    Allan.

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