Sometimes, in order to have a chance to win the game, a big roll of the dice is just what you need in that moment. For actor Jake Stormoen and Die Hard Dice, that moment came via a cool T-shirt, a chance meeting, and bit of dreaming. And when those elements came together in a perfect gaming storm, the two partnered for a chance at a big, fun roll of the dice.
It all came to fruition on Black Friday this year when Stormoen’s dream became reality and the Storm Forged series of gaming dice – Its first set titled, “Unearthed” (Bloodline, Sage and Leviathan) – were made available to gamers. Yes, it was a big roll of the dice, but if early indications are any ‘indication,’ it was a roll well worth making – for both.
Stormoen has starred in “Mythica: A Quest for Heroes (2014),” “Extinct (2017),” and is currently starring in The CW fantasy/adventure hit “The Outpost.” In Die Hard Dice, he found the perfect partner to morph his fantasy adventure love with his passion for gaming into something special for gamers and the games they love to play.
“I have loved games since I was a kid,” said Stormoen, who noted chess and checkers with his dad were some of his favorites as a youngster. As the years passed, “things took a geekier turn. I always loved fantasy. so when I was young, I read “Chronicles of Narnia,” “Wrinkle in Time,” the “Redwall” series, those types of things. When I was around 12 or 13, I started playing Magic: The Gathering, also Dungeons and Dragons. I would buy the pewter minis and paint them – ogres, treasure chests, random stuff in the cheapest packages of minis. So at a pretty young age I was neck deep in fantasy. I wanted to be a knight, to sit at King Arthur’s table – I loved what fantasy brought.”
In high school he continued to play Magic, but through the college years found few like-minded folks to play with. A move to Los Angeles as he pursued acting found him falling in with friends who were gamers and the trek back to fantasy/adventure board gaming was on. Gaming was a scratch that Stormoen was only too happy to itch and it would be that itch that would lead to creating his own line of dice.
And that began with a chance meeting. Stormoen was at a movie theater and was wearing a Critical Role T-Shirt that an “The Outpost” fan had gifted to him. He was approached by a man at the theater who complimented him on his shirt. “I asked if he played and he said he did and then told me he was part of a small company that makes dice,” explained Stormoen. “I looked them up and even went for a visit. Everybody was so excited and the dice were gorgeous. Turns out they had seen a show I was on called “Extinct” and were excited about “The Outpost” coming up. We ended up talking D&D for a long time during the visit.”
And with that, the flames of a future venture were fanned. It would be a flame that Stormoen would not allow to be extinguished. He had begun playing D&D prior to filming “Extinct,” and continued when schedules permitted as “The Outpost” enjoyed a successful season 1 and ventured into season 2. He was playing Elder Scrolls and getting back into Magic: The Gathering with friends and hit on an idea. What if he could combine his love of gaming with a business venture that would reach other gamers with something really cool – like dice?
“So, while in Serbia filming season 2, I thought of how, as an actor, other forms of passive income are wise, when possible, though often difficult to attain,” he said. “And people expect me to have a brand, a self-brand that I know and actively promote. I reference Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson all the time. I’m so inspired by what he does from a business standpoint. He is constantly reinvesting his money and spreading that brand. I need to be doing this and D&D is the perfect place to begin because I have always I loved it.”
With that, the dice were literally cast. Stormoen sent a lengthy email to Die Hard Dice discussing the potential for mutual growth, brand expansion and the chance to get that started with some specialty gaming dice – something he felt would be wonderfully unique.
“I told them I’d love to design dice with them and wondered if they’d be interested in partnering,” said Stormoen. “But I didn’t want to just put my name or face on it. I want to be in the trenches doing this. Turns out there were talking about the same kind of thing – with me. We started corresponding and doing sketches and that’s how it got started.”
And it’s not as easy as it seems. Stormoen and the folks at Die Hard Dice had to work through designs, create a logo, try different colors, examine and re-imagine fonts to get the look and feel they wanted. Examples of this progression can be found on the Storm Forged landing pages of Die Hard Dice’s website, linked at the end of this article.
Stormoen tapped into his Nordic heritage as he set about designing the dice, and got plenty of feedback from Die Hard through the process. Meeting after meeting, design after design, idea after idea would come and go as the months passed. What began in late February or early March would come to fruition the day after Thanksgiving. The Unearthed line of Storm Forged’s first three dice sets were revealed.
“They let me design these dice, with their help, and I’m so grateful for that,” said Stormoen. “I wanted these dice to feel ancient, old, like an artifact or arcane magical device or item that was excavated or found in a dragon’s horde. They (Die Hard Dice) got behind that 100 percent. They were on board every step of the way and were just amazing.”
“I’m really proud of what we accomplished and so grateful for the amount of creative freedom they gave to me. I had final say on everything. One thing Die Hard came up with 100 percent was doing a recessed face only on my 20-side die face, then having the numbers recessed on the other faces and adding a border. I think that, as far as I know, it was something that hadn’t been done before. I’m not yet a veteran of the dice-making business, so I didn’t know it hadn’t been done before. I trusted their judgement and I’m so glad I did – it was a brilliant move.”
In conjunction with the creation of these unique gaming dice, Stormoen penned a Saga Poem while in Serbia and used that as inspiration for what the whole line will feel like. He said that the words go back to “what I want people to feel when they play with these. The imagination is a powerful thing. It can be a safe place where extraordinary things can happen. That was the case with me growing up and why I love fantasy.
The Saga Poem speaks to there being “greater forces than us at play in this world, no matter what you believe in. I take comfort in that, personally. I think a D&D game where your imagination allows you to explore those adventures in a safe place surrounded by friends.”
And with the Unearthed dice set, gamers of all abilities and passions can play with something pretty unique. Stormoen is excited to get these dice into gamers’ hands and see what they think. It has been a labor of love, a labor that may not be over yet. “This was originally supposed to be a one-off type of thing, but it has done so well that we are already planning a second set. My dream would be a quarterly release of three different designs. A dozen per year would be amazing. I’ve also launched an Instagram account for this (@StormForgedDice).”
“It has been so fun to lean into this lifelong interest of mine between acting jobs,” he added. “It has honestly been a highlight of this year for me. I hope it’s only the beginning. To put that much time and energy into this concept and then hold these physical gems, these physical treasures in my hand – it’s unreal. It was – is- exhilarating and feels like a dream.”
Are you interested in taking these Storm Forged dice out for a roll? To order, go to dieharddice.com/stormforged or dieharddice.com/stormoen or through the Instagram account (@StormForgedDice). The three dice sets currently available are part of the inaugural Unearthed series and features dice sets named Bloodline, Sage and Leviathan.
CONTEST: Want to win a set of Jake’s Unearthed dice? It’s easy, just find and retweet my original tweet (or subsequent tweet about this story), then follow @jakestormoen and @dieharddice. Random drawing to follow in a few days, I’ll announce and DM the winner for mailing address, forward it on the Jake, who will see to it you get your prize. Simple and fun!
Follow me on Twitter: @jbakeR2D2 and @threeifbyspace.
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