A roleplaying die should be able to generate character stats and help resolve combat or skill checks, but I think that dice can do more: I think that by looking and feeling like artifacts from the setting of your game, they can add to your immersion in the story. Chaos Apparatus is a collection of steampunk-themed polyhedral dice designed to do just that. 3D printed in a bronze and stainless steel composite, they're beautiful, precise, durable, and fair with an intricate hollow structure that would be impossible to manufacture any other way. The premium versions are gilded, giving them a lustrous two-tone finish that greatly improves legibility and appeal.
The Sketchfab plugin should be compatible with Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer 11+. While the preview is based on the same geometry that was used to print the Chaos Apparatus dice, some sharpness is inevitably lost in the printing and finishing processes.
I have been refining these designs for years, going through dozens of prototypes to ensure that I they're the perfect size, weight, and balance between intricacy and legibility. Great care has also been taken to ensure that they roll as fairly as possible. By backing this project, you would be helping me to complete my first production run, and to offer it at the best possible rate. In exchange, you would be among the first to manipulate fate with the Chaos Apparatus. As a special bonus, every backer will receive a digital download of an exclusive roleplaying campaign penned by Jordan Wallis, author of Alistair Coronet and the Woven Cage.
At $7,500.00, backers who have chosen any of the the gilded reward tiers will have the option of having their numbers highlighted in real silver. Additionally, backers who have chosen the black finished reward tiers will have the option of having their dice nickel plated.
At $10,000.00, backers who have chosen the black finished tiers will have the option of having their dice plated with real gold.
Each die started with a 3D model. I created systems in which designs would be automatically replicated for each face, with special rules to ensure the geometry had the correct radial symmetry for balance, met correctly at the edges, and had functional contact faces. The bodies of the dice were built within those constraints, taking inspiration from real Victorian steam engines, clocks, architecture, and jewelry. The numbers were all custom-modeled to ensure that they would be legible and structurally sound while still holding to the steampunk aesthetic. For the D20, I went to the extra effort to carve out a specific amount of material from each face to ensure that every side of the die has the same mass. My research has led me to believe that the actual difference this makes in how it rolls is negligible, but sometimes we do these things just because they're cool.
With the model finished, it can be sent to the 3D printer. There, thin layers of powdered steel are fused in cross sections, one on top of another, until a complete die is formed. Molten bronze is then wicked into the spaces between the steel particles to create a completely solid piece. Various finishes and patinas can be applied by the printer before the die is sent back to me.
The final step is gilding. Once I receive the printed dice, I apply gold or copper leaf to each number using the same basic technique that was used to apply gold highlights to architectural landmarks like the Saint Mark's Basilica in Venice and Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow. Normally an oil based glaze called size is used to fix the metal leaf to a surface, but after extensive experimentation I found that I could achieve a much more durable finish by using modern high tensile strength epoxy.
If you're in the Los Angeles area and want to get a look at a the Chaos Apparatus dice, drop by Geeky Teas at 707 S Main St., Burbank, CA 91506 and ask about their demo set.
Risks and challenges
The development phase for this product is complete. I'm able to produce a finished set of dice now. I've been working with the manufacturer for six years, and they have the infrastructure in place to easily handle large orders.
My biggest challenge will be finishing and shipping rewards in a timely manner. Gilding is a time consuming process, and the more orders I receive, the longer it will take me to finish them. I have already approached additional artisans that I can hire to help me complete the gilding should it become necessary.
- (31 days)