Sunday, May 24, 2015

I got into a fight with Dwarven Forge's Stefan Pokorny at Gary Con VII... - DS

Resin prototypes of the new Dwarven Forge City set at Stefan Pokorny's Theatrical D&D game, Gary Con VII, March 2015.

Stefan Pokorny's Dwarven Forge is the manufacturer of scenery tiles for use in fantasy miniatures rpgs and games.  Their original business model was producing pre-painted resin terrain.  They are very nice looking, well painted finished scenery, but they were a bit pricey.  The resin scenics were something I wanted "in theory," if I made way more money than I do. 

In an effort to reach a larger market, the company remade their line of dungeon tiles in a new durable, and less expensive, plastic material known as dwarvenite.  I prefer to call it fancy plastic.  The new sets would also now be available pre-painted, or not, which had the advantage of making them a bit cheaper, or conveniently completed, depending on whether time or money was the issue with the purchaser.

Dwarven Forge made this venture into a Kickstarter.  The first set was basic dungeon tiles.  They offered a base set as well as several add on sets like different tiles and dungeon decor (treasure chests barrels, tables & etc.)  The Kickstarter was quite successful and they broke $1.9...million!

Their second Kickstarter was for cavern tile sets.  Once again there was a base set and several add-ons.  As is popular in KS projects, they again had "stretch goals", both free and not, that were opened up as the amount of pledges increased.  DF's Caverns Kickstarter broke $2 million.

A battle in the sewers.  The pieces are resin prototypes of the sewer set from the recent City Builder Kickstarter campaign.

The significant thing about the dungeon and cavern releases was that the choices were relatively easy.   Decide how many base sets you wanted (aka how big of a single map you want to be able to create,)  get the add-ons that will enhance it, and you're done.  There were choices, but to me the only real one was how big do you want your map to be before you have to recycle tiles.

Now that brings me to the recent villainy of one Stefan Porkorny.

Stefan Pokorny:  Dungeon Master.  Didn't Rona Jaffe and Jack Chick warn our mothers about guys like this?

The latest Dwarven Forge Kickstarter is the city builder system.  This ambitious project has far more offerings than the other two.  They include: modular buildings, city streets, sewers, and city walls and battlements.  That's not including all the multitude of optional add-ons available for each of the four sets!  Unlike the previous releases, which I felt were very focused...there are too many choices.

Gary Con VII.  Lake Geneva WI.

Emily and I left for Gary Con on Wednesday March 25.  The convention is a wonderful gathering celebrating the life of Gary Gygax.  It has a very old school gaming vibe.  We participated in some really fun events, of which I will not go into at this time.  One significant game we were signed up for was Stefan Pokorny's Theatrical D&D on Friday evening. I would be meeting the Dwarven Forge man himself.

While at the Con I sent emails out to my (jealous?) buddies letting them know what we were up to, games we participated in, treasures we found in the vender room etc.  I received this email response (edited for a general audience) from Troy regarding the plethora of ever expanding options in the DF Kickstarter...

F*** there's going to be a Ruins add-on...Make sure you punch Stephan for me now.  I'll be happy to keep it under $1,200 now, but they haven't posted the Add-ons yet.

Have fun at the Con!  Wish I were there!


It's sort of an in joke with Troy that whenever I am going to see someone who he knows, I say something like, "I'll punch [whoever] in the head and say, 'Troy S- sends his regards!' "  You know.  To get him into trouble for something he has no control over.

So for the first time, instead of receiving Troy's groan of "oh no" as his response,  which I enjoy, I have been given the green light.  

Commence Operation: Punch Pokorny in the Head

Troy...this one is for you.

"Troy S- sends his regards!"  *punch to the head*

"Tell Troy 'thanks' for his Kickstarter pledge!"  *whammo!*

Stefan and Dave agree that AD&D is awesome, and sending regards and thank yous can be painful.

I really have to thank Stefan for playing along with the photos, and a fun evening at his Theatrical D&D event at Gary Con. 

Map artwork by Stefan Pokorny for Luke Gygax's "Okkorim" fantasy setting.  The map appeared in print in Gygax Magazine issue #2.

The evening's session was an old school AD&D 1st edition game set in his own campaign setting of Valoria.  The group he hosted got to playtest [part of ?] a Dwarven Forge module, Tapestry of Deceit, that will be coming out in the future. 
Old school fans might remember classic TSR artist Jeff Dee.  (also co-creator of the original (and my favorite) super hero game, Villains & Vigilantes.) 
DF is going to be getting into the publishing business and putting out a world setting and a line of modules that you can use the various tile sets with.  He had several pieces of art on display at the game to give us an idea what might be used in future adventure modules and supplements.

Art by Stefan Pokorny.  A beautiful  island map made for his campaign setting of Valoria.

Mike S., Ken, Bart, Scott, Dave, Stefan, chaotic neutral blue-hat guy, Emily, and David C. at the Theatrical  AD&D game, Gary Con VII, 2015.

It was fun to game with my wife, other party members Mike and Sally S.(not pictured), David C,  Ken and Bart (part of the team who ended up winning GCVII D&D Open,) Scott (who paints minis),  and Blue-hat dude (chaotic neutral fighter whose name I cannot recall.)

Thanks again to Stefan for dm-ing, and the gang for a fun night!

Note:  No gamers were hurt in the production of this post.

Critical Links!
Gygax magazine.  Has the feel of the classic Dragon magazine.

Dwarven Forge fantasy scenery:

Jeff Dee's game company:

Gary Con.  If you knew about it you's have already gone.


  1. lol! The stuff looks pretty good. How big was the setup?

    1. The terrain was used in the scenario he made called Tapestry of Deceit. There were 2 scenes where he used the terrain. The setups were not terribly big (he did have to haul the stuff from New York!) The city block setup pictured above is the entire area he used for that encounter. The sewers set up was bit bigger than the picture.

      The first encounter we used the terrain was one using the city tiles set. The characters were hired to defend against a kidnapping at a merchant's house. We set up positions at various locations inside the building and on the streets (and roof actually.)

      The sewers were used when hunting the baddies down in the undercity. We got to battle the Dwarven Forge ratmen that came out with the Kickstarter. I was not actually all that interested in the sewers during the kickstarter. I liked the city pieces, but decided not to get the sewers so I could get more buildings. When I saw the pieces at the game, I failed my save and decided to get a set of them. They look nice and are different enough to be worth it. They reminded me a bit of the sewer scenes in Elder Scrolls computer game.

      David S.