In Memory of Joshua Gullion

joshua-in-memoriam

This page is dedicated to preserving the memory of our dear friend, accomplished game designer, and layout master, Joshua Gullion. May his creations continue to bring happiness to gamers all over the world for years to come.

We urge you to make a donation to BACA - Bikers Against Child Abuse in Joshua's name either by visiting their site directly or by picking up the Joshua Gullion Bundle of roleplaying game products Joshua was instrumental in creating. All proceeds from bundle sales will be donated to BACA.

 

Words for and about Joshua from those who loved him:

How does one find words to adequately describe someone who changed your life? Someone who became not only an amazing adventuring companion, but a best friend? I don't know if it is possible, but I will try.

I met Joshua Gullion after starting our website Adventureaweek.com. He was one of the first people to contact us about beta-testing before we had opened the doors to the world. Over the coming months there were few people as vocal as Joshua. He wasn't afraid to tell us when something was wrong or just plain bad. He always gave suggestions on how to improve things, how to make things better, how to dive into our work instead of just getting our toes wet.

As the months turned into years Joshua became a member of Adventureaweek.com then part of the core AAW Games team. He held many jobs at AAW including writing, art direction, and social media guru (not really a job, but c'mon- who didn't meet Joshua through Facebook? When it came to reaching out and befriending others, Joshua was king). Most of all though, Joshua loved layout. The point where all creativity converged, the point where the final product was woven from various documents and files into a work of art. This is where Joshua excelled and created a home for himself. Joshua even went so far as to send me his adventure concepts already laid out in PDF format with gorgeous backgrounds, textboxes, and artwork still in place; just some mock-up text where the rest of the adventure would go once written- nope not lorem ipsum but something funny and not at all politically correct, usually alongside risque image placeholders!

Joshua never put up any walls when it came to life, he just crashed through any barriers and revealed the truth locked inside. He did the same with me, when I was brewing over something due to one fan being unhappy, or one bad review, he had a way of kicking my ass back on my feet if that makes any kind of sense. He would make me realize just how much time I was wasting stressing about something that really in the grand scheme of things just doesn't matter. He also had a way of inspiring me to let my creativity flow, not to worry about getting everything perfect right away but just getting the thoughts out on paper while they were fresh in my mind. He taught me about "owning content" and how people wanted more than just a digital subscription service but tangible books they could hold in their hands and say "this is mine". He brought Adventureaweek.com PDF adventures and print books. He was the one responsible for the Rise of the Drow Kickstarter.

To say Joshua changed our company forever would be an understatement, Joshua was the heart and soul of Adventureaweek.com, and after the last stroke things just weren't quite the same around here, but we carried on and that gave Joshua and I more time to grow our friendship, more time to chat about the things we shared in common and share and appreciate our differences. In the early days Joshua, Todd, and I spoke with one another about our near-death experiences as we had all encountered death in our time here on earth, something which connected us three on another level beyond all the games, writing, and map-making, we were those who had been given another chance, the chance to create something, to give a gift to the world before we parted ways with this existence. Joshua shared that gift with us all, not just in his creativity and games, but with his undying loyalty and love for his friends, the chats we all had in the middle of the night with Joshua when things just weren't going well in our personal lives, the moments we shared filled with laughter and silly internet memes, and those moments that only Joshua Gullion could make possible. Since Joshua has been gone the silence has been deafening, but I take solace in knowing that Joshua is safe and at peace, his life force transcended from a physical form into something beyond our understanding or perception, Joshua is out there somewhere, exploring the stars and waiting for us to join him.

Jonathan G. Nelson
AAW Games

 

Joshua Gullion was a man who loved life and games. When he first contacted me to add art to “The Rise of the Drow” by Adventureaweek.com, I was a mere up-and-comer hopeful to get a few extra art gigs from Super Genius Games. The day Joshua contacted me was the day my world changed. Suddenly, I had to pay attention to the names of companies and the people who ran said companies more so than ever. He would name-drop and I would be lost; nodding my head like a dope and doing a quick Google search to make it sound like I knew that the hell Joshua was talking about. Joshua made me realize it was time to be more than the “small-timer” I was.

It was time to be a professional.

If one were to look at our initial Facebook Messenger chat logs, one would see our conversations – at first – were very business-oriented. He would ask for some pieces, and I would turn over the rough drafts. To me, he would put on the stoic professional demeanor and say: “This looks excellent,” or “Could you make these modifications,” or some other such line. Owen Stephens told me that he would privately message him with different versions of the same conversation: “Holy $#!+, Owen! How were you keeping this guy a secret! This is amazing stuff!”

My first piece for Joshua was the Ahool: http://prodigyduck.deviantart.com/art/Adventure-a-Week-Ahool-353499637

As time progressed, our chat sessions became less professional; more informal. He would tell me how his day was going and show me some of the pdf work he was doing. If you have not seen Joshua’s work, then you are missing some truly excellent page design. The man had a frelling gift! He even showed me the placeholder art he used on his pages; pictures he put in until the official art was finished and ready for use. Almost always, it was some piece of softcore fantasy art. For the Rise of the Drow, it was typically a half- or fully-naked drow priestess.

Joshua loved women. He was always encouraging me to go out and meet more women; to enjoy the companionship of the fairer sex. I was always making some excuse that women didn’t like me, that I was too fat, too unattractive… that sort of thing. He always said it is not a matter of appearance. That even with his ugly, unshapely mug, he still got to hang out with beautiful ladies. It was his confidence, charisma, and do-right lust for living that attracted them to him.

He did manage to introduce me to a couple of women. Through Joshua, I became internet friends with Satine Phoenix and Jen Page; both of whom are women I admire and have a crush on.

It was no wonder we became such fast friends. We loved all the same things.

I never actually had a chance to meet Joshua. I never spent time in his presence. Our only communication was on the internet. Whomever tells you that you can’t make friends with someone you’ve never met is a fucking liar. When I heard that Joshua died… I’m not sure I was able to do anything with myself for a couple of days afterwards. Sure, I had art deadlines… but I couldn’t put pen to paper. There was no point. My friend was gone.

In the year and a half I knew him, Joshua had become a major part of my life.

This is the last piece of art I drew for him: http://prodigyduck.deviantart.com/art/Naera-Cull-Werejaguar-465399422 I don’t think I was ever paid for the three pieces of Naera Cull art I drew for him. Honestly… I don’t care. It was worth it just to work with Joshua Gullion.

Jacob E. Blackmon
Artist (Rise of the Drow)

 

I regret not having the opportunity to meet Josh in person. Everything I know about him started when we met in that circle of friends from the early days at AAW. Joshua was a prolifically creative person, with a wonderful grasp on what would be fun to add to an adventure to give it the special touch it needed. Often I could not wait to come home and read his posts on that early forum. His ideas enhanced my love for gaming tenfold and pushed that early crew even harder to create such a wonderful site. Joshua was an extremely dedicated person, the man worked so hard on developing the PDFs published by AAW. He did not want to let anyone down and he gave it his all every second he was able to. However, Joshua's most special quality was his unrelenting kindness. He cared so much for how the team was doing and made sure that no matter what idea was presented there was always a response which was presented in a kind and caring manner. He would make sure that his friends in this small group online who he never met in person where in good spirits and health (a true testament to his kindness). It was his kind nature which made Josh the person that I admire and want to aspire to be more like. The early days at AAW showed me that Joshua rolled a natural 20 and an 18 in every ability score in the eyes of everyone at AAW, I am sure he was even more wonderful to those who knew him in person.

Cory Vickruck
Adventureaweek.com beta tester
Contributor to the Aventyr Campaign Setting

 

Joshua Guillion was an amazing insightful reviewer, a gifted layout artist, and a damn fine friend. We would be up late at night sharing different pieces of artwork that our two companies had. We would talk about life, gaming, and publishing which when you're a full-time publisher is rare because there are so few people who share the same interests and have the time to stop and chat. Joshua always took the time.

He was the first person to ask me to be a stretch goal as a writer on a project, and was willing to do whatever that took, I had to turn that down due to my own commitments, and it's something I will always wish I could have made time for, but Joshua was extremely supportive of my reasons.

I expect it will lessen with time but my life has a hole in it without you Joshua, but I take solace in the fact that I know one day I will follow you beyond the veil.

Steven D. Russell
Rite Publishing

 

Although I never met Joshua in person, I could immediately tell after a few exchanges that he was somebody I would have liked to spend real time with. He and I shared a love for gaming and creating, and this was quite obvious from our written conversations. He was always there to offer feedback and encouragement. As his health declined, and he was able to rest less, he would often be awake at all hours. No matter what, I could always bounce ideas and thoughts off of him, and he'd give me truthful, helpful and non-judgmental advice. I'm going to miss these conversations that happened at random hours. It's just not the same to know he's not available anymore.
Rory Toma
Trap-a-Day

 

I didn't get as much time with Joshua as I wish, but he made a major impact. He always had a kind word and a cheerful anecdote, and I am honored he involved me in several of his projects.
He was a positive influence on the rpg industry, and he shall be missed.

Owen KC Stephens
Rogue Genius Games

 

Josh was my friend.
Sometimes he reviewed roleplaying games I wrote, sometimes I drew pictures for his roleplaying games, sometimes we talked about the industry, or layout, often times about life.
I really miss my friend.
Rick Hershey
Fat Goblin Games

 

Joshua and TPK crewJoshua Gullion’s recent passing was an incredibly sad point in my life. I initially felt terrible about his passing, that such a wonderful person was no longer around. I felt like the world was suddenly devoid of a brightly burning star. Josh was an ambassador for the gaming hobby and a champion for any company or product he believed in. The more I thought about it though, I realized how it was tremendously selfish of me. I was not really losing out on not having Josh around in my life anymore, instead I looked and saw what an impact he left behind and what he taught me. It was very humbling. What he accomplished in such a short time left a lasting mark on everyone he befriended, and hopefully we’ll all be better people for knowing him, for the rest of our lives.

I met Josh as an avid fan and reviewer for TPK Games. That’s a pretty common intro for meeting friends, as this hobby has provided me with an amazing outlet for making connections and friends. We probably chatted over the course of year with the usual fare, trading ideas and insights. Still, I didn’t really get to know him until sometime later. That sometime later was when the drow began to fester in the minds of everyone at Adventure-a-week.com.

Josh approached me for advice and some advertising help for AAW’s kickstarter for Rise of the Drow, and I’m very glad I did. Josh and I spoke countless times online and on the phone. Facebook friends are great and all, but you connect with a person more when speaking in more direct channels like the phone. It was during that entire process that Josh suffered his first stroke, and was hospitalized. Despite losing some motor skills, the man pushed on, recovered and tirelessly helped get the project finished.

It was during this time that we spoke more on the phone and I was able to hear more about his personal life, and it really moved me. Josh had a lot of what he considered personal misgivings in his life. His life had not been ideal, and his health was beginning to fail him. Rather than be depressed and sink into despair Josh did the unthinkable. He simply accepted what life had handed him and moved towards enjoying what he had left. It was an incredibly selfless act, and not the last one either.

I offered to bring him to GenCon with us two years ago, but his health at that point did not allow it. Instead, the TPK crew dropped by his home to say hello. We all knew him, but had not met in person. We all went out for pizza and beer that night and just shot the shit like we had all known each other for decades. It was a time I will not forget.

Over the course of the next year, Josh’s health had deteriorated even further. Again, being the awe-inspiring human being he was, he held his own wake. He knew that he was only staveing off an eventuality, and that without a heart transplant he was on borrowed time. Being the magnanimous person he was though, he diligently worked on enjoying what time he had left. He chased his dreams and spoke many truths about his own life. We all adored his happy-go-lucky attitude, as it was almost a childlike innocence, and one that reminded us all of our own mortality.

This past fall we went to GenCon one more time and were able to visit Josh again at his parent’s home. Josh was collecting dice to put in urns for his funeral and giving away many of his most prized possessions. He was giving his friends his RPG books because they were one of his most cherished possessions, and he wanted others to be able to enjoy them as he had in life. It was heart-breaking to me.

Josh gave me a couple mementos that really meant a lot to us both. He gave me a signed copy of the first adventure he helped write for Adventure-A-Week, and his original D&D “Red Box.” It was amazing to receive such cherished things from Josh, items that represented his beginnings in gaming, so near to his final journey. We all took photos and had a pretty good, but somber time. Despite being in good spirits, Josh seemed to know that his time was running short. We shook hands and I told him that I’d see him again soon. He looked at me strangely, as though I didn’t realize that he would be passing soon. The truth of the matter is that I refused to admit it.

We returned from GenCon that week, and I was catching up on all of the orders of business when I read a notice on Facebook from one of Josh’s nurses, exclaiming what a wonderful person he was, and how blessed she was to know him. I smiled, as it was true for all who had the pleasure of knowing Josh. But then the harsh reality set in. There were numerous posts thanking him for being part of their lives on Facebook, and I was suddenly forced to realize that the inevitable had happened. Joshua’s brightly burning meteor of life had finally eclipsed the earth.

I was hit very hard, having only just visited him a week earlier. My son, who is 11, gave me a big hug and asked me if he was one of my best friends. I smiled, and told him that all of my friends are my best friends.

It was shortly thereafter that I realized how much simply knowing Josh impacted everyone he came in contact with. He was unflinching in his positivity and generosity. Despite being handed a raw deal by life, he was determined to truly live his life, and that’s something we all have to keep in mind. No one knows how long they have on the earth, and we have to love the ones around us as best we can and enjoy every moment.

It also doesn’t take money or fame to make a difference in the world. Sometimes one kind act followed by another will create an avalanche of other good deeds. Joshua’s kindness and selflessness will impact not just myself, but hundreds and hundreds of people long after his passing. I will be forever in his debt for the inspiring life lessons.

So go do some living. Go spend some time with your friends and family. Go enjoy your passions. Do it for Josh, and do it for yourself.

Brian Berg
TPK Games

 

As I am sitting here writing this, pages upon pages of memories are pouring through my mind. I was introduced to Joshua back in early 2012 before AdventureaWeek.com went live March 1st of that same year. During that time I got to know Joshua, Jonathan, Will, and Todd. Mostly through what seemed like hundreds of chain emails everyday and all day long, and the occasional Video Chat, seemed like not much was ever accomplished in those Video Chats other than joking and me getting on Jonathan's nerves. I spent a lot of my time after I was "volunteered" to work on the Hero Lab files talking with Joshua (the Hero Lab Guru), I don't know how many times I had to go to him for all sorts of silly questions. But in the end I started getting the hang of it, or so I thought. One thing I will always remember and cherish about Joshua was that he couldn't stand the fact that I was so hard on myself. I never could stomach to tell him why, and now I wish I did. I will miss him, and that time I had with him. Just wish I had all the right words for all the things I have to say, other than this. Joshua, You are truly a unique and special individual and I wish I took the time to get to know you. You have been a true inspiration to so many people that you may never knew. Thank You for all things you have done, and things you may never knew you have done for all the people you have touched in the world. You will always be remembered.

Thank You.

Nathan Land
Adventureaweek.com beta tester
Contributor to the Aventyr Campaign Setting

 

I met Joshua when he first contacted me in September of 2012. He was interested in having me illustrate for Rise of the Drow and wrote something along the lines of, “Just what does a drawing from the queen of geekdom run these days? Yes, there are a few of us out there who know you are an artist as well as an actressslashmodelslashgoofballslashubergeek...”

When I first read his message, there was a large part of me that didn’t think he was serious. No one contacts me about artwork. I mean, no one. I’m not considered or known as an artist and at times, I don’t even consider it myself. But there he was, asking me to do illustration work. After getting over my suspiciousness, of course I jumped at the chance. I *love* rpgs and the opportunity to create artwork and contribute to one was an amazing opportunity.

I don’t think this was a rare thing for Joshua. I think he had a wonderful gift of seeing aspects of people and the ability to shine light on the good things people might miss even in themselves. He made me think about myself differently. He made me think about the world differently. He made me appreciate things that I have taken for granted and make me grateful for aspects of my life. He did all of this without us actually having that literal conversation. I think it is really rare when someone can come along and change the trajectory of your mindset. Let alone so easily or without negative impact. I mean, who does that??

Because of Joshua, I’ve become involved in multiple game products. He reminded me of my love for art. I sent him a thank you card for that. My last message I ever sent to him ended with a smiley face. He was a really good man and a great friend and I still can’t believe he isn’t here anymore. He will be missed.

Jen Page
Actress & Artist

Joshua-Viking

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