During the 1980’s there was a craze for role playing games, probably the most famous of which has to be TSR’s Dungeons and Dragons. The game was so successful it spawned a cartoon series, which at the time I thought was just a cool TV series and I had no idea of its original roots.
The cartoon title sequence (which you can see at the end of this post) explains what’s going on quickly and concisely. Â Six kids board the Dungeons and Dragons ride at an amusement park, but find themselves hurled into an alternate world, the Realm of Dungeons and Dragons, where each is gifted with a variety of different powers.
Hank, the eldest, becomes the leader and becomes a ranger, armed with a magical bow that fires magical fiery arrows. Â Next is Eric, the wise cracking coward, who is classed as a cavalier, and armed with a shield that can generate force fields.
Sheila is a fearful young girl who is given the powers of a thief, and has a cloak of invisibility (way before Harry Potter made them an essential piece of clothing). Â Sheila’s little brother, Bobby, became a barbarian, wielding a massive wooden club capable of hitting with massive force. Â He is a little more gung ho than his sister, and looked a little like a miniature He Man.
Completing the group are Diana, the acrobat with the magic extending vaulting pole, and Presto (real name Albert) who is a slightly incompetent magician. Â He could pull useful items out of his pointy wizard hat, although quite often those items weren’t quite what he might have intended to produce.
The kids are guided and watched over by Dungeon Master, a squat little fellow with a strange face who looks a bit like he could be the offspring of Yoda and that weird Humpty Dumpty thing from the Kinder Egg advert that ran in the eighties. Â He was obviously meant to be the good and kind overseer of the realm, but personally I think he was perhaps not as helpful as he could have been to the kids.
If Dungeon Master was a little annoying, then Uni the Unicorn was a lot annoying. Â Uni was a baby unicorn (I think she was orphaned or something, but I don’t actually remember) who was sort of Bobby’s pet. Â She could talk (in the Scooby Doo sense anyway – hardly discernable most of the time) but spent most of her time making snorting sounds and bleating like a goat. Â Apparently Unicorns also have the power to teleport, but only once a day.
Obviously the kids wanted to get back home, so Dungeon Master was supposedly helping them to do this, but getting them to clean up little problems within the realm on the way. Â Most of these problems were caused in some way or another by Venger, who was an evil wizard that looked quite devilish in appearance. Â He had a massive horn sticking out one side of his head, and rode about on a flying horse. Â He was also, in some strange twist, the son of Dungeon Master. Â I dread to think what his mother must have looked like.
Also causing trouble was Tiamat, a five headed dragon where each head had a different devastating effect, such as breathing fire or ice. Â Tiamat was a common foe to both the kids and Venger, although the kids did form an uneasy alliance with Tiamat in one episode.
Did the kids ever get home? Â I seem to recall that once they very nearly did, but it all ended up being a trick of Venger’s. Â Apparently an episode was written in which they did get the chance to get home, but the cartoon was cancelled before the episode was made. Â We wouldn’t have got to see what choice the kids made, but something tells me it probably would have been to stay.