Critical Role fans see them here every week: the wonderful art and gifs Critters (Critical Role fans) make in honor of our favorite group of D&D-playing nerdy ass voice actors. While many fans manage to have their crafts featured on the channel, there are countless others who have yet to be. I recently web-surfed across an outstanding crafter and (one of us!) Critical Role fan and wanted to share her outstanding art with you.
Meet Anne Palmer! Anne is an avid gamer who enjoys playing D&D, Magic the Gathering, and various video games with her family. Anne is also an ardent crafter, and has been since she was a teen. She’s merged her love of crafting and D&D into making 3D props and dungeon tiles for use in her family’s D&D games. Her latest work-in-progress is called The Crow’s Nest Inn & Tavern, and it’s looking incredible!
In February of 2016, Anne posted a poll on her Twitter for her followers to vote on her next project. They voted for tavern, inn, and town square tiles. In April 2016, Anne crafted the foundation of The Crow’s Nest Inn & Tavern and tweeted a photo. Since then, she’s tweeted more pics showing the Tavern’s progress, and it’s nothing short of awesome.
“I was just going to make the first level of the inn – where there could be a brawl, or a meeting, or a band playing,” Anne said. “I really wasn’t planning to make a second, or even third floor.” Yes, you read that correctly. The Tavern has three floors!
“Yes, that was my biggest challenge – making sure each floor could be accessed and playable for our campaigns,” Anne said. “I’m not sure which one of us will use it first. My next campaign doesn’t even include an inn!”
It also has other typical D&D tavern items: a bar, fireplace and chimney, stairs connecting each floor, a trap door to a secret meeting place, trim and gable over the main entrance, and an attic. And that’s not all!
“This project is going slower than I anticipated, but I think that’s because I keep adding more and more to it,” said Anne. “I just finished installing a “stove” in the kitchen, as well as the corresponding exhaust pipes. I’ve had to remove some trim and replace some crooked flooring, but, overall, it’s coming along nicely.”
So what does it take to build a grand project such as The Crow’s Nest Inn & Tavern? Anne says that much of what she crafts is inspired by Dwarven Forge, “though my little cardboard tiles are nothing compared to their awesome constructions!” She also relies on crafting videos from Wyloch’s Armory and The Terrain Tutor, along with an array of her favorite tools of the trade.
Anne explained a bit of the Tavern’s crafting process:
“The walls needed to be half height of a real wall. Otherwise, the players’ views would be blocked. Therefore, each level is made up of the other half of the level below and its own half level above. The walls are an inch tall (or five feet in D&D). I use Lillian, my Gnome Wizard, to make sure I stay close to scale.”
“The frame of the structure is cardboard with wood accents. This helps keep the cost down as well as the weight of the final building. I use the same wood plank floor technique as I did for The Raven’s Pride. I also used the same wood pattern scrapbooking paper to cover the walls in the interior. I applied it like wallpaper using watered-down glue.”
“For the exterior base and the fireplace and chimney, I used small pebbles. Aquarium rocks were too small, so I found a bag of pebbles used for indoor potted plants in the gardening department of the hardware store. The ground around the inn is wool felt from a fabric store. I use felt a lot in my ornament-making, so I had some already in my inventory. I like the texture and pattern of this particular sage green felt. I use it to make bases for some of my minis, like Lillian.”
“Along each of the door and window frames, I use thin wooden sticks to hide the cardboard interior. For the exterior, I plan to use Jamie’s paper towel and glue technique to create a “stucco” style finish that is reminiscent of medieval buildings. I purchased a bag of cedar dollhouse shingles to finish the roof. I’ll have to cut them down to the correct ratio, though. Like I said, I’m a stickler for that kind of stuff.”
“I used a straight pin to create the working trap door on the third floor. I tried to think of several different ways to hinge something that small, but the straight pin, pushed along the wood trim, seemed to work best.”
Raise your hand if you wanna play in one of Anne’s D&D games! I sure do! Anne is still working daily on The Crow’s Nest Inn & Tavern, with no completion date set. Take a scroll through Anne’s Twitter feed to see more of her marvelous work, including The Raven’s Pride, a giant mushroom set piece, and a dice jail inspired by the one Arielle Milstein made for Critical Role‘s Laura Bailey. Also check out Aunt Anne’s Tree on Facebook, where Anne showcases and sells delightful handcrafted ornaments. Anne’s terrific crafts have me hoping Brian Wayne Foster will add the category to Talks Machina’s weekly contest!
Header and article images credit: Anne Palmer
Do you handcraft D&D props, or use them in your games? Let us know in the comments below!