Dice companies are cropping up all over the place, both online and in meatspace, rising to meet the increased demands of the exploding tabletop gaming community. Metal dice, valued for their durability and heft, form a large part of the dice being sold nowadays, and one of the newest and fastest growing companies in that market is Misty Mountain Gaming, based out of Montgomery, Alabama. I had a chance to catch up with Jonathan Turner, founder, designer, and main shopkeep for the company, at PopCon, where the company was showing off its full catalog as well as a few special new items.
According to Turner, the company came about as a result of frustration. While running a brick-and-mortar video game shop, Turner and his brother (who ran the fandom merch booth attached to the dice) hated the flimsy packaging that the dice sets they carried came in. The solution to this was the metal tins that Misty Mountain sells all their dice in, even today. They soon expanded into dice production and have since become the 5th largest dice retailer on the market. Turner named the company for his best friend, a massive Lord of The Rings fanatic, with “Misty Mountain” being one of the few terms from the legendarium that the Tolkien estate didn’t have an iron grip on.
Turner’s priority for the company is the customer, with affordability being of utmost concern when producing dice. While still definitely luxury items, Misty Mountain’s dice generally range between $35 and $50, with rarer or harder to work materials like stone, wood, or brass going up in price from there. (i.e. him). The design of the dice often reflect Turner’s interest in the Ancient Norse and Celts: newer sets will feature a Celtic font taken directly from 1000-year-old Celtic carvings. This font (which, by the way, is extremely cool) will eventually be used on all Misty Mountain dice sets going forward.
Much of their business comes from convention sales (Turner noted he spends 48 weeks a year on the road going from con to con), though they do a decent market in online sales as well. Turner works tirelessly to ensure his customer have the best experience they can at the booth, coming away happy with their purchase and with their interaction with the sales team (which is usually just Turner himself). It’s never been just about the dice for Misty Mountain Gaming, though, and they carry a wide array of gaming accessories from other companies like Poetic Earth. That company will soon be collaborating with Misty Mountain Gaming on a line of leather bags under the name Elska Lethran (“the love of leather” in Old Norse). Turner’s goal is for gamers to be able to come to Misty Mountain and get everything they need to have their ultimate gaming experience.
While the zinc alloy dice are the core of Misty Mountain’s business, they’ve also released sets in everything from labradorite to malachite to obsidian, and even wooden dice carved from ebony or beechwood. Turner is always experimenting with materials, and he was debuting something very cool at PopCon: bone dice. The Asian Yak bone is carved and then laminated with a proprietary process that enhances their durability and longevity. Turner hopes this same process can be used to experiment with all kinds of new materials previously unknown to the world of dice.
Another new addition to the Misty Mountain catalog are special dice for Vampire: The Masquerade, which will come in sets of 10d10. Still using the Celtic font of the other dice lines, these dice will feature a unique feature to mark them as vampiric: the 9 and the 10 of each die will be painted a deep blood red.
Misty Mountain’s biggest promotion, and most expensive, is his work producing a d6 and a d20 from prehistoric mammoth tooth. Mammoth bone is quite a bit pricier than any other material (it’s not exactly an infinite resource): the singular d20 that Misty Mountain is producing would run you $600, and the d6 about $300. Turner even broke a piece of the material while working with it, putting him out $450 and down a d12. But as part of Misty Mountain’s dedication to affordability, the company is holding a raffle (entry is $1) for the dice to give anyone a chance to win. The winners will be announced at GuardianCon in Orlando on July 5th, with proceeds from the con and the raffle going to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
You can find Misty Mountain Gaming at several upcoming cons including Magic City Con, Atlanta Comic Con, and Wizard World Boise. And keep an eye here for the latest in gaming accessories and glimpses at how your favorites are created.