It was weird to me as a 9-year-old kid and is still weird to me thinking back that the D&D cartoon had almost no cross-over with the concurrent AD&D-branded line of toys. Is it because the former was handled by D&D Entertainment Corp (under Gygax) and licensing for the latter was run out of some other TSR division in Lake Geneva, under the Blumes? Both of them were obviously drawing IP from the game - characters with class-names out of the books (Hank the Ranger, Eric the Cavalier, Strongheart the Paladin, Elkhorn the Dwarf Fighter, Zarak the Half-orc Assassin, etc.) and featured a variety of monster-types drawn out of the game-books, but IIRC there was only one episode of the cartoon where Strongheart the Paladin guest-starred.
It seems like sheer marketing incompetence to have bothered building up two separate sets of auxillary IP characters both targeted at, presumably, the exact same market (boys old enough to be interested but still too young for the actual game). Is there a story behind this that anyone here knows? Gary talked about how when he arrived in LA he learned that everyone had a bad impression of TSR which is why he had to change the name of the company to "Dungeons & Dragons Entertainment" - had someone representing TSR perhaps already tried to make a deal for a show starring the toy-characters and so had poisoned the well that in order to get something going Gary had to start over from scratch with a new concept and set of characters? That might explain it.
Also, I didn't see those 1982-83 issues of Dragon magazine until after the fact, so when I was watching the cartoon in 1983-84 I didn't know what "cavalier," "barbarian," and "acrobat" represented (and, honestly, it was one of the things that made me think of the cartoon as lame and not-D&D), so when UA came out in the summer of 85 and I saw all of them included as new character classes it was like suddenly all the pieces finally fit together (which also probably helps explain why I don't have the same resistance to their addition that a lot of older players do - to me it just seemed natural that we were now able to play the same types of characters we'd already seen in action on the show; like the game was finally catching up with itself).
Last Edit: Aug 3, 2016 20:07:03 GMT -5 by foster1941
Another disconnect was when the "AD&D"-branded toys were adapted into the game in module XL1 and The Shady Dragon Inn, it was into the Basic line, so that "Strongheart the Paladin" had to become "Strongheart the Lawful Fighter" and "Zarak the Half-orc Assassin" became I-don't-even-know-what - "Zarak the Chaotic Thief," probably? More marketing fail. However, I will admit that curiosity over what a "half-orc assassin" was is probably the main thing that lured me from the D&D Expert Set into AD&D in the summer of 1984.
I don't know the whole story, but yeah, TSR marketing in the early 80's was a mess with no united front. I love AD&D, but making it and D&D two separate and 'unrelated' parallel lines was confusing to everybody, and part of the cause. EGG's leadership struggle with the Blumes was certainly another. If TSR just had one clear flagship game (was it D&D or AD&D?) and one leader with a clear, artistic vision (preferably EGG), I'm sure the marketing would have been a lot different. But as it was, it was like TSR was a house divided and unsure how to market what it had or what to put its money and efforts behind. They were all over the place.
Anyway, I was only a lukewarm fan of the D&D cartoon -- I thought it was too kiddified -- but it had some high points and I was glad to see the 'final episode' given a storyboard and audio production.
DRAGON MAGAZINE was widely available starting in 1982 which was around the 60's in magazine number. Number 60 was April 1982. Every hobby shop carried them and most toy stores at that point. So thats why Barbarian, Cavaliers and Acrobats were common cloth at that time. I know because I was a fantasy toy enthusiast to say the least! The Summer of 1983 started the D&D toy invasion but 1981 the games had already arrived in toy stores. There was a big ass toy store in Orlando Florida in the Walt Disney World Village which they later steam rolled into 90's nightclub schlock that carried D&D/World of Greyhawk Minifigs in 1981 as well Grenadier Miniatures (pre-D&D). I can remember looking at a massive bag of Grenadier brand dwarves (40?) with a yellow cardboard tag hanging on hooks. It all looked cool but I wasn't into modeling. My cousin and his father were (huge dioramas of WWII) and everything that I made they literally scoffed at so I wasn't big on painting pre-made things.
I recall watching the cartoon that Fall (1983) with high expectations from the Summer of buying ten tons of toys.
As an aside about my toy fixation, that Summer was crazy I had bought whole lines of toys from D&D, Masters of the Universe, Crystar, Power Lords, Blackstar, GI Joe the "new" original small ones with ultradetailed real weaponry, generic knights and dragons, and the 1983 mother of all toys RETURN OF THE JEDI. My godmother was so happy to have me living with her she let me and my brother go to the toy store every week spending almost $100 every time. It was crazy. Birthdays and Christmas I would get big ticket items like for instance the USS FLAGG, ATAT, EMPEROR'S SHUTTLE. Of course I was completely outgrown for all this shit (I turned 15 in Fall of 1983) but I considered myself deprived in the 70's (one small toy if I was lucky for Xmas). My toy room in the basement turned insane fast and even my little brother was distancing himself from it (especially after a giant bat decided to roost down there). My automatic sci-fi fantasy toy buying ended in 1988 when faced with moving to my own place. I still like to look at toys but have to refrain from collecting anything.
Now, as Michael Bolton said, back to the good part, there was some correlation with the cartoon matching imagery in the TSR line as opposed to the LJN line. I think they had the images that Tim Truman and his comic book friends had did for the back of the package art for LJN and TSR also used for the show. Some of this shit appeared in the book THE ART OF THE DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS FANTASY GAME (1985):
Knights page 38 two "men at arms" Knights page 41 mercenary Knights page 49 LJN characters Warduke, Zarak, Elkhorn, Melf/Peralay Goblins page 70 troll Goblins page 72 orc Goblins page 74 goblin Goblins page 75 goblin Goblins page 76 troll, goblin, orc Goblins page 77 gnoll (not sure if this was a model piece or just art) Ghosts page 86 Skeletal Warrior Ghosts page 87 Lich with sketch/product notes Wizards page 97 LJN character Kelek (says by Elmore but its mistake its Truman) Griffons page 107 Bullywug with sketch/product notes
There is a website where one of the people (Rick Veitch; another is Steve Bissette) that worked on these images talked about the weekend Tim Truman got a bunch of his artist friends to put this together and has a pic of the ogre (which was used for the PVC TSR figure and the TSR lead figure):
This has surely been done before, but here's my version
Energy Bow: Appears as an unstrung composite short bow. Radiates strong evocation magic if detected. When gripped as if to fire, an arrow-shaped bolt of magical energy appears. This energy arrow can be commanded to perform any of the following functions, one at a time:
Light (as per spell): effect persists while energy arrow is held "nocked"; uses 1 charge per turn Fireworks burst (as per first function of Pyrotechnics spell; range: 18"): energy arrow fired overhead; uses 1 charge per shot Energy blast (3d6 electrical damage on successful hit; range: as per Composite Short Bow): energy arrow fired at target; uses 3 charges per shot Beam of Entanglement (as per Rope of Entanglement upon successful hit; max. range 6"): effect persists while bow is held and user maintains concentration after shot fired; uses 2 charges per round Beam of Climbing (as per Rope of Climbing; max. range 6"): effect persists for 2-8 rounds after shot fired; uses 1 charge per round
When found, the bow will contain 100-(1d20-1) charges. It may be recharged with lightning bolt spells, each of which restores one charge.
XP value: 4,500 GP value: 35,000
Javelin-staff: This item appears as a regular quarterstaff. It radiates moderate alteration magic if detected. Upon command, it can take any of the following three forms:
Javelin: 4' length, functions as an unlimited-use Javelin of Piercing; returns to its user when thrown Staff: 6' length, functions as a +3 quarterstaff; allows extra 1/2 attack per round (i.e. 3/2 if the user normally receives 1/1; 2/1 for 3/2, etc.); can attempt to Trip (successful hit causes opponent to save vs. paralyzation or be knocked prone); can be spun in lieu of all attacks for round - grants +3 AC bonus vs melee attacks and +4 AC bonus to deflect missile attacks Pole: 10-20' length; grants tightrope-walking and pole-vaulting abilities as an 8th level thief-acrobat (or +3 levels in those abilities if used by a thief-acrobat) as well as various other uses for a 10-20' solid wooden pole
XP value: 3,000 GP value: 15,000
The other 4 items don't seem to need special descriptions: the invisibility cloak is just a cloak of elvenkind, the shield is just a magical shield, the club is just a magical club (or perhaps a club with characteristics of a Hammer of Thunderbolts), and the wizard's hat sort of a combination Bag of Tricks and Wand of Wonder (say 50% chance of either function, checked with each use) in hat form
Last Edit: Aug 4, 2016 17:23:45 GMT -5 by foster1941
Well done. I'd say the shield has special deflection abilities as well (including against spells and magic), and the club also does special structural damage attack. You are right about the wizard's hat, but I think there might also be an increased ability to get the result one wants the more one uses it.
A full faithful and accurate adaptation would probably make each item an artifact tied to its specific user - I saw some 3E or 5E (I couldn't even tell which) version of these items yesterday via Google that had each item, if wielded by a "zero-level" type, grant the abilities of a 7th level member of the appropriate class. That's probably more faithful to how they function in the show than what I've got, but I'm not so interested in being faithful to the show, and more interested in having something that could show up in a regular AD&D game and not feel out of place alongside, say, a wand of force or rod of lordly might.
I seem to remember hearing a story stating that the D&D cartoon wasn't conceived as a D&D cartoon. It was some other Hanna-Barbera cartoon already in pre-production/production when they changed it to the D&D cartoon. Didn't watch the finale yet, so not sure if this is in there. They were planning on working some of the more cartoony stuff out. Like Bobby and Uni were on the way out.
For starters I would make the bow's default arrows +3 to hit and damage, I'd have to give some thought to other special abilities. The shield would be +3 with maybe the effect of a shield spell, or maybe duplicate a cubes of course or globe of invulnerability a couple times a day. The club would have some stunning effect, or maybe something that duplicates a horn of blasting effect. Did the cloak do anything to imply it was more than invisibility? Can't remember much about the staff either. +3 and some improved acrobat abilities?