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Bushwick-Based Dungeons and Dragons Company, Dwarven Forge, Raises Millions on Kickstarter

Dungeons

Valorian guard on city battlements, City Builder System by Dwarven Forge

Dungeons.  Dragons.  Bushwick.  Want in?

Dwarven Forge is your go-to miniature terrain tile company, providing modular play systems for all things Dungeons and Dragons – the world’s most famous fantasy tabletop role-playing game.  On March 8, Dwarven Forge launched their third annual Kickstarter campaign.  And today is your last day, to back that shit up.

Artist, classically trained sculptor, and Dungeons and Dragons enthusiast Stefano Pokorny founded Dwarven Forge almost twenty years ago.  Twenty years!  This is pure passion, people.  Now, anyone who’s anyone knows - Dungeons and Dragons (DnD for short) game play exists in the minds and imaginations of the players.  It’s a game of quick wit where improvised and collaborative storytelling meet “choose-your-own adventure”.  Your adventures, or series of adventures (campaigns), are led by a Dungeon Master, or DM.  Did we mention – no computers?  No computers.  Face to face, baby.

But you see, this tabletop game has no official game board and so it is common, even today, to see these adventures laid out by hand in true DIY fashion, i.e. drawn onto dry erase board or built out of cardboard or cardstock.  Back to Dwarven Forge.  Pokorny, veteran DM and medieval fantasy fan, founded Dwarven Forge on one simple idea – his gamers deserved more.

A possible setup with sewer pieces available in the City Builder System by Dwarven Forge.

Since the company's launch, the name Dwarven Forge has become a fantasy and game lover’s household name for all things modular and miniature.  With Dwarven Forge’s play systems gamers can now build any world they wish; tailoring it to even the most ambitiously thought-out of campaign terrains and game paths.

Here in Bushwick we bear daily witness the power of community.  Dwarven Forge’s community is global.  DF fans gather on forums and attend gaming conventions like GenCon and GaryCon to share stories and experiences they’ve had with DF terrain systems.

They build, paint, and modify these coveted pieces to bring their worlds to life.  And then there’s Kickstarter.  Kickstarter recently featured Dwarven Forge and Pokorny – hailing the campaign as exemplary of the collaborative and creative power of community-backed support.  And DF has a hell of a Kickstarter community.  Backers are a part of the creative process – their comments and pitches sometimes changing the direction of offered stretch goals.  The comments average over 1,100 day.

Much of DF’s recent media attention is as a result of their Kickstarter-sustained business model - yearly campaigns with serious success.  DF's 2013 and 2014 Kickstarter campaigns raised 1.9 million dollars, and 2.1 million dollars, respectively.  Yes - million.  This year’s City Builder System campaign was fully funded ten minutes after its March 8 launch.  It averaged $10,000 every hour for the first day.  This year's Kickstarter is two days from the finish line and stands at over 1.6 million – this number with less than twenty-two hundred backers!  The game is real.

Dwarven Forge founder Stefan Pokorny, left with Operations Manager Wondy Amare, right at DF's Kickstarter launch event at Livestream March 8th, 2015.

The community of Dwarven Forge itself is fluid.  DF employs/contracts some of the best miniature sculptors in the country.  Most often called upon are Elye Alexander – founder of Griffin Tamer Studio in Vermont, and Drew Williams – founder of Satyr Studio in San Francisco.  For this campaign DF brought in artists of all skill sets from all over the Greater New York City area, happily keeping it local with the clear majority of Bushwick freelancers.

There’s also a reality television show pilot/ documentary in the works.  Director Josh Bishop has had this cooking with Pokorny over the last few months.  A familiar name, you say?  Maybe you heeded Rolling Stone’s 15 Must-See Films at SXSW Film Festival this year - becoming one of the first to see Bishop’s documentary, Made in Japan (#TeamTomi, #Tomiismyhomi).

Today, gamers.  Dwarven Forge starts the final countdown to the end of their third annual Kickstarter campaign.

Back it up like an overheating hard drive, Bushwick.  The city of your dreams awaits.

Kickstarter ends April 2!  Get your Dungeons and Dragons on!

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