We had the pleasure of interviewing Nonagon Dice all about their work! Be sure to check it out to learn more about what they have been working on.
1. How did you discover D&D?
I’ve been roleplaying online since I was 11 (internet safety, who?). Eventually, I grew out of chat-based roleplaying, but I still loved the idea of collaborative storytelling. I went hunting for things that would scratch this itch, and I came across Dungeons & Dragons! I didn’t get to play it properly until a friend, who had recently returned from South Africa, invited me to play with them. It was love at first sight. I had grown up creating fictional characters and telling their stories, so roleplaying felt like second nature. The combat and the dice rolling were both new to me, but I enjoyed it all quite a bit!
2. How do you make dice?
There’s a *lot* that goes into making dice, but I’ll try to condense it best I can. First, I 3D model and 3D print the “master” dice. Then, I sand and polish these master dice to a glass finish. I then use these shiny master dice to create silicone molds. I fill the silicone molds with epoxy resin–along with whatever material I’m making dice with–to create the final dice! While the resin cures, I leave the molds in a pressurized container to eliminate air bubbles. Once the dice have been cured, I unmold them, trim the edges, then sand and polish off any imperfections, and then ink the numbers! The whole process takes about 5-6 hours of active work. It’s a labor of love, and sometimes I hate it, but I wouldn’t trade this craft for anything in the world.
3. What inspires your work?
I find the perpetuation of art fascinating. The idea that someone was inspired by something they saw or experienced, which made them create something new, which led to someone else being inspired and creating something… the cycle goes on, you know?
So, I draw inspiration from a lot of places. But I find the most joy in paying homage to my TTRPG games and nerd culture that I love. Anything that evokes a strong emotion in me, or leaves a lasting impact… I ask, “How can I replicate this in dice”? It’s become a running gag with my friends now. They’ll see me get excited about something and go, “You should make dice about this!” and honestly, that’s exactly what I’m thinking.
I often take descriptions of places or people that my Game Masters describe and translate those into dice. I’ll even write little bits of lore or flavor text for each design. It’s always fun to show the results to my GMs because it’s my interpretation of their art in this strange, but amazing abstract medium.
Most recently, I’ve been making dice inspired by Arrakis. I read Dune and Dune Messiah, and obviously watched the film too… so there’s a lot of sandy textures happening in my dice right now!
4. As a streamer what type of content do you like talking about?
With Nonagon Dice and with Desis & Dragons, my first instinct was to create something that I wish I had access to growing up. The fledgling TTRPG scene in India gives me the unique opportunity to play my part in shaping what the community eventually grows to look like. The goal is to get as many folks telling collaborative stories through tabletop games, but what matters is the kind of stories we’re telling.
With that philosophy in mind, the content I like talking about often revolves around telling inclusive, vibrant, and culturally rich stories. Stories that make people who look like me and love like I do go, “Oh hey, I could be doing this too!”.
5. What advice would you give new streamers?
I’ve only been streaming for less than a year, so I’ll start with the disclaimer that your mileage may vary. But here are some things that I’ve learned.
– Protect your mental health! Streaming is performing, and on top of that, you’re always having to promote yourself, be active on social media, beat that algorithm, and whatnot. It can be so exhausting. It’s so easy to burn out. Please take time off.
– It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to do everything with everyone. Collaboration is such an important part of growth, but find the right people to collaborate with. I know it’s a bit of a downer, but there can be some real bad actors out there.
– On the other hand, grow with people. Uplifting each other is how we grow together. Find other streamers who vibe with you, collaborate with them, cross-pollinate your audiences!
6. How has D&D inspired your own work?
The very existence of Nonagon Dice is a testament to how important D&D and TTRPGs, in general, are to me! The things I’ve learned from playing Dungeons & Dragons have legitimately informed how I approach “real-life” work, whether it be marketing or writing. It’s all about telling a genuine and authentic story, and what better way to learn that than telling stories around a table (or over a Discord call) with your friends?
7. Plans for 2022?
Oh, there is SO much I want to accomplish. Where do I even begin?
I’m gearing up for the very first Nonagon Dice shop update… which is nerve-wracking! It’s been a long, uphill battle to get to this point, and I’m excited to start doing regular shop drops. I also want to continue growing Desis & Dragons–which has become India’s largest TTRPG community–so that we can bring the joy of TTRPGs to even more tables. Another goal is to land my first marketing job within the video games or TTRPG industries. I’m working hard on making these goals a reality, but I need to temper my expectations. We’ll see how it all goes. The one thing I’ve learned during this pandemic is that all bets are off. There are no predicting things. Fingers crossed, though!
On a personal note… my goal this year is to be kinder to myself. To treat me the way I try to treat others. My internal voice can get pretty harsh, but hey, therapy and medication are helping!
Oh, I also want to raise double the amount of money I raised last year for charity through the Nonagon Dice Roll for Initiative charity raffles! So far I’ve raised $1800 for PinkList India (supporting displaced queer folk and their families in India), Shanti Bhavan (an incredible organization that ends the cycle of poverty for India’s least privileged children), Women for Women (raising funds for women and children in Afghanistan) and Critical Role Foundation.
Nonagon Dice Socials
Desis & Dragons Socials
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Tatiana Stec is the Co-Founder and Creative Director at All Ages of Geek. You can follow her on Twitter @Tatiana_Stec