Early Morning Worldbuilding

Ruse Blade

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Crits of Future Past

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“Crits of Future Past”
Critical Role Fan Art

Have you ever wanted Vox Machina to review your creative efforts and give them a big thumbs-up? Have you ever wanted to see your art emblazoned across the chests of Critical Role fans across the world? Have you ever wanted to, like, just be in a room, one of those reserved spaces in a cool bar maybe, and have Matt and the gang sitting around you like the Last Supper, only they’re laughing at all your hilarious stories and jokes and telling you how awesome you are?

Well, anyway, we can help you with two of those things, at least.

That’s because we’re running a truly amazing contest – one where you can submit your coolest idea for a Critical Role t-shirt and possibly have that shirt offered for sale in the Geek & Sundry store. Sure, it might not be as incredible as that Last Supper situation. But we do what we can.

Of course now you’re all, “stop making dumb jokes and tell me how to enter the contest.” OK, OK, cool your jets.

HOW TO ENTER. The submission period begins now – like, as in, before you even started reading this. Just go to our contest page and submit your art (see guidelines below). The submission period ends at 11:59pm, Friday June 24. Click here to enter the contest.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. The Critical Role cast will review the entries (I know, right?!?) and choose their three favorites. They’ll announce them on the June 30th episode of Critical Role, and we’ll show them off on the screen.

THEN, VOTING BEGINS. When the finalists are announced, we’ll provide another link where people can vote for their favorite. The winning entry will be featured on a cool Critical Role t-shirt! Voting ends at 9am on July 5, and we’ll announce the winner shortly after that.

WHAT ELSE DOES THE WINNER GET? You’ll get paid! In the same we typically pay our artists and designers! We’ll discuss terms with the winner.

DUDE, DON’T WORRY. If you win, you’ll get a free shirt. We wouldn’t leave you hanging like that.

THOSE GUIDELINES WE MENTIONED. First off, you should get an idea of the G&S flavor by perusing the shirts in our online store. Entries should be smaller than 15mb in size, and should be no more than eight colors because, y’know, ink costs money. If you win, you’ll need to provide a copy of your image file that our t-shirt engineers can work with – vector PDF, Adobe Illustrator or .EPS format.

THAT CONTEST ENTRY LINK AGAIN is right here.

Jeffrey Catherine Jones

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Five years ago today Jeffrey Catherine Jones crossed over from this world to the next. She was 67 years old.

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I’m not sure when I first became aware of her as an artist, but I think it must have been from the cover of Peter Saxon’s The Curse of Rathlaw, a book I stumbled upon at a yard sale when I was a wee lad of ten.

I bought it for a dime without cracking the spine. That cover illustration was all I needed to see…

Jones’ artwork to me seemed to be a perfect marriage between the elegance of John Waterhouse and the primal fire of Frank Frazetta.

Her paintings were works of beauty, but they were also visceral and terrifying.

 

Jeffrey Catherine Jones (10 January 1944 – 19 May 2011) is sorely missed, but her immortality is assured. Jones’ works will continue to inspire artists for generations to come, defining that divine union between graceful symmetry and ferine design.

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Quick DM Tip: Defining Character

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Here’s a little something cooked up from a couple of discarded pencil sketches by my pal Joe Strunk. With a little lightbox action, some pencil and ink embellishes, and a wee bit o’ Photoshop for good measure from yours truly, we have a Frazetta-homage, of sorts.

Konn and Sion hail from the midlands of Norfrost on the Island of Drakkarsys. Thought of as Fire-tressed Barbarians by the more “civilized” folk to the south, these cunning warriors are born survivors… but more than that, they live for adventure as surely as they’d die for each other.

Quick DM Tip Time:

There are two types of players in my book — roleplayers and dice rollers. I prefer the former. I want the people sitting at my table to immerse themselves in their characters, to become method actors for the time they’re there.

For that to work, the DM has to be comfortable doing the same, breathing life into NPCs for the players to intact with. This isn’t always easy… especially in a sandbox campaign.

My advice? Keep a list of ‘character’ names at the ready, a hundred should do. Then make a list of movie and tv characters you’re familiar with. These don’t have to be ‘fantasy’ characters. Hell, write Tony Soprano’s name down if you like. Next time your players throw you a curveball and you have to improv a scene in a bar or wand shop or whatever, you have an arsenal of NPCs to choose from.

You keep your players in the game by adapting to the moment.