“Don’t F—- me Gil.” You may have heard the terms bandied about on Critical Role. Heck, there are even T-shirts floating around with that very phrase. But if you don’t know who the heck Gil is, or why the cast of Vox Machina may be cursing his name (or asking for his blessing) before rolling their dice it may seem out of left field.
Turns out, the Gil being referenced is a real person: Gil Ramirez, geeky artisan who also happened to forge the stunning metal dice seen on the show. And yes, they are truly stunning.
I first encountered Gil’s work when we both put submissions to be Geek & Sundry vloggers. His angle was intriguing and unique – crafting geeky items in his forge. I got a chance to speak to him a little about his craft and how exactly he got his dice into the hands of Vox Machina. “It all started when I made Felicia a large D20 about 4 years ago,” he described. He eventually made himself one, that he’d he proudly show off and garnered a great deal of got praise and attention. Being a fan of the show and meeting the cast, Gil eventually decided they too could use hand forged dice, which he created and passed on to them.
“The first I heard any mention of cursing the dice came from Liam that night I handed [the dice to the cast]. He said something along the lines of ‘[f—] you, (turning to me) I mean thank you for the dice, but (turning back to the D20) [f—] you.'”
While dice are both the allies and enemies of all gamers, the amount of care put into creating them is evident. Gil has referred to himself as the Vlogsmith in the past, and has posted videos of himself forging incredible geeky items, including a D20 (warning: profanity):
The process takes a lot of time, from forging a sphere of iron, heating up the metal, and pounding the 20 sides (with, of course, a lunch break.)
Though it’s evident that Gil is a skilled smith now, that wasn’t always the case. “When I was 13 years old I wanted to make a blade and I had no idea how to even begin. So I grabbed my father’s ball-pein hammer and a block of steel as my anvil and found some mild steel to bang on and shape. I didn’t have a forge or any source for heat so I was hitting it cold.” Despite that, he was able to create a blade, and eventually find an instructor to show him the proper methods.
Since then he’s continued to forge, crafting a number of geeky items that can be purchased from his online store, such as dice, bottle openers, key-chains, wands, and broaches. He’s even created some custom items, like a beautiful Moebius strip for a couple.
For Gil, one of the most satisfying things for him to hear isn’t people cursing his name (or asking him not to curse their dice) but rather being appreciative of his skill. “I have people come up to me all the time saying how much they love my work, which is always nice to hear.”
What do you say to your dice to keep them from turning on you? Tell us in the comments!
Image Credits: Gil Ramirez