“A cadre of archers were first off the ships. Ready with a volley of arrows, they filled the skies with death. [Foes] that did not flee, fell, forming a wall of bodies, giving the rest of the troops on the ships time to disembark. The archers’ swift and deadly response saved many lives that day.” —Age of Wonders III, in-game lore
So, I’m not sure, but I think I may have caused the moderators of Bad Archer Art to weep with joy when I re-blogged Masway’s excellent archer concept art on my Tumblr last week. Archer Art focuses on artists’ lack of understanding of how archery works—things like bows held clumsily and arrows notched inappropriately, as well as poor outfit designs and bad footwork. I suspect Masway’s portrait came as a breath of fresh air after this horrible image of four archer girls wearing painted-on outfits while standing in sewage(?) in Liefield-inspired action poses.
From what I learned from Masway, our lovely archer here was an unused concept portrait for a game for Sega. I don’t know if it was unused because the game was abandoned or if they simply took another direction with it, but regardless, I think it was an unfortunate waste of a terrific character design. Though clearly quite young, our heroine is strong, brave, and determined with an excellent field archer/skirmisher ensemble.
Our heroine’s cuirass is a simple steel breastplate to protect her vital organs from enemy swords and arrows. The steel plate provides excellent absorption and deflection, and should keep her safe even in light melee. I like, too, that our foot archer knows to layer up under her armor, with loose, linen or wool tunic and pants for unhindered marksmanship and quick movement in the field. Her shoulders and hips are protected from crippling cuts by leather padding, loose to keep them from hindering mobility in her arms and legs. Those leather bracers keep her arms safe from enemy weapons as well as the bite of her bow string. Lastly, leather greaves protect her legs from arrows or disabling blows to the legs.
As I mentioned above, our heroine’s outfit is field archer’s gear, and a damned-fine suit at that. It’s light and loose for dashing into and out of range of enemy arrows. Too, her bow is a recurved longbow, best for distance archery with enemies in the open and few obstacles. Her backup weapons are a pair of short knives for dispatching unarmored foes who manage to rush within her bow’s minimum effective range—though not particularly effective against mounted or armored enemies. If I were to make suggestions on the design, I would first add a right-hand glove to protect her fingers from the inevitable strain from drawing the string. Second, I’d recommend some manner of headgear—whether a helm to protect her pretty head from horsemen, or a hat or hood to shield her eyes from the sun and weather.
Thanks so much to Masway for letting me borrow this lovely archer. Sega logo removed at artist’s request. As always, thanks so much for reading, folks. Take care and stay awesome!