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More Than a Shaggy Person
Dragon's-Eye View
By Jon Schindehette

W hen I was younger, I loved reading a lot of literature influenced by Greek mythology, and the following might come as no surprise to a lot of folks: the Minotaur figured pretty prominently in a number of those stories. So I’ve never had an issue grasping the concept of the Minotaur. Throw a bull and a man in a blender and see what pops out, right? The conflict starts to come in when you twist the little Bull/Man knob and vary how much of each is depicted.

The Greeks made it pretty clear-cut: you take a bull head and drop it onto the shoulders of a very fit man and you’ve got a minotaur. Simple, right?

Start fast forwarding through time, and the dial starts moving around and we begin having conversations about “going too far” or “not going far enough.” In the past, I’ve shown you various stages of development and asked for your feedback. This time, we’re going to have a little more fun. Why? Because we haven’t done any visual development on these guys. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

So let’s start having a conversation about minotaurs . . . and by extension, the yak variant called the yikaria. The story part of the discussion already began yesterday, so consider what James wrote and your preferences as you continue reading here.

What makes for a D&D minotaur?

Legs: Human or Bovine?

We’ve seen the legs develop in two distinct directions: human and bovine in nature. The human style is very traditional to Greek mythology (and some folks feel it makes for a better player character depiction).

More contemporary versions adopt the more bovine structure for the lower legs. Many folks feel this variant gives the minotaur a more monstrous feel, and it is thus better suited for the race as a monster.

 My ultimate D&D minotaur has:  
Human legs
Bovine legs

Hooves or Feet?

Along the same line, the depiction of the legs often brings up the discussion of feet, or, in this case, the potential for hooves. Generally we see the legs and feet matching up: human legs/human feet. Bovine legs/bovine hooves. Seems simple, but should that actually be the case?

 My ultimate D&D minotaur has:  
Human feet
Bovine hooves

Hide or Skin?

There have been lots of comments on previous concepts that I have shown you concerning hair, fur, or skin (or scales, in the case of the lizardfolk). So let’s talk about the depiction of minotaurs. Where do they fall in the range between furry and shaggy to just skin?

 My ultimate D&D minotaur has:  
A head with cowlike hair, but a body with typical human skin
A head with cowlike hair, and a body that is like a very hairy human
Has cowlike hair over all of its body
Is more feral than a cow and has longer and more coarse hair than a cow

Tails? The gnoll raised the question of tails. Let’s continue the discussion: tails or no tails, or something in between?

 My ultimate D&D minotaur has: 
A cowlike tail
No tail
A tail that is stunted and smaller than a cow’s tail, but is reminiscent of a cow’s tail


When I was doing the “Future of D&D Art” panel at Gen Con, I got a great question concerning breasts on nonmammals. It prompted a lively discussion then, and I’m sure that this question will prompt a lively discussion as well.

 My ultimate D&D minotaur has: 
Human-style breasts on female minotaurs
Cowlike udders on female minotaurs
Neither breasts nor udders; minotaurs are all male

There you go. Rather than reacting to some concepts that we’ve already developed, this time you get to help set the initial direction for some development that we are starting shortly. Join in on the discussion now!

Since I’m talking about your feedback: Let me take a moment to loop back around. I’ve taken to heart the feedback that you have provided in the past as well. I don’t have stuff to show you yet, but we’ve gone back to the drawing boards on goblinoids, and we will be having continued discussions about the lizardfolk based on your feedback. I will share more developments on these creatures in the future.

Previous Poll Results

Is this creature a/an:
Cave troll35311.6%
Hill giant2859.4%

Is this creature strong?
Yes, but in an NFL linebacker kind of way.280995.1%
About average.1214.1%
My kid sister could kick its butt.230.8%

Is it smart?
It'd be considered bright only if it was holding a torch.266390.9%
It probably has average intelligence.2548.7%
It could tutor Einstein.120.4%

Is it fast?
Those legs were made for standing, not running.181359.3%
It's about average.121039.6%
It is speedy like a gazelle.331.1%

Jon Schindehette
Jon Schindehette joined Wizards of the Coast in 1997 as the website art director. In the intervening years he has worked as the marketing art director, novels art director, and creative manager. In January of 2009 he moved into the role of senior creative director for D&D. Jon is a long time D&D player (started in 1978), and currently plays in a Tuesday night game and DMs a random pick-up game for younger players. He can be found on Twitter (@ArtOrder) and at
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