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Dungeons and Dragons Cartoon


Television

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2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Any fans of this classic short lived cartoon from the 80's?


4 people marked this as a favorite.

yes. I have the DVD box set =D

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Grollub wrote:

yes. I have the DVD box set =D

So do I. It was awesome!

Silver Crusade

I have it on DVD - haven't gotten around to watching the whole thing yet. I remember watching it when it first aired on Saturday mornings. That was actually right after I started playing the game.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I own the red box dvd set with the character write-ups for the kids, Uni (blech!), Shadow Demon, and Venger (not what I was expecting but still pretty nasty). I take it down every so often to watch when I need something to ease the pain of watching what passes for Saturday Morning Cartoons these days.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

It was a horrible, horrible show.

Go watch ANY episode and you will see the ONE guy who dissents and doesn't want to go along with the group is ALWAYS wrong. It relayed the message that going against the group is wrong. An awful thing to tell a child.

It's a terrible example of trying to influence children's minds into group think.

I know the subject matter is D&D so everyone on these forums probably likes it but in reality it is very poorly written and has some pretty sinister undertones about suppressing individuality in it.

I wouldn't let my child watch it.

There is a review online by one of the creators that talks about how they were specifically told to write stories certain ways and it's really somewhat disturbing what network execs were trying to do.

If I can find the article I am referencing I will post it.

But yeah, thumbs down for me.

*EDIT*

If you go to the WIKI ARTICLE about the show it talks about the cavilier character was supposed to fill the role of dissenter:

"developer Mark Evanier revealed that Eric's contrary nature was mandated by parents groups and consultants to push the then-dominant pro-social moral for cartoons of 'The group is always right; the complainer is always wrong.'"

Ugh! What an awful thing to do to children!


Also own the DVD box set. Really love the theme music and the fact some classic D&D monsters show up makes it a winner.
The characters aren't very likable though, a bunch of whiny 80s kids trashing about in a fantasy realm doing anything to get back home.
And Uni does suck big time.


I found the article I was talking about.

"We were forced to insert this "lesson" in D & D, which is why Eric was always saying, "I don't want to do that" and paying for his social recalcitrance. I thought it was forced and repetitive, but I especially objected to the lesson. I don't believe you should always go along with the group. What about thinking for yourself? What about developing your own personality and viewpoint? What about doing things because you decide they're the right thing to do, not because the majority ruled and you got outvoted?"

And just remember it's in EVERY episode of D&D, that message of bowing to social pressure.

Disgusting.


I loved that show. Even have the animated series handbook for 3.5.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

3 people marked this as a favorite.

It's still a cute cartoon. (and just shows slipping morality in media is olg hat).

I never understood why WotC didn't put out minis of the kids when they were doing their DDM. I mean we got Warduke. (And Tiamat, but she doesn't count.)

It would have been fun to see a mini for 'halfling barbarian' with an Epic stat card for Bobby. "Human ranger" with an epic stat card for Hank, etc etc.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Would have been really fun if they put out a mini of Dungeon Master.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My favorite episode without a doubt is "The Dragon's Graveyard."

That was a dark episode, a rare thing for back then, given the programming that was on Saturday mornings at the time.

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

@Lochmonster - A certain cartoon about a gang of blue-skinned, forest-dwelling imps had the same message, but took it a step further by ostracizing the "brainy" character. Yeah, it's low that the networks would pull that kind of crap, but I still like both shows. D&D was actually pretty deep for a kids show and, for its time, the artists put out some of the best work in animation. Calling the show horrible just because the producers buckled to the same pressure that many cartoons of the time were caving under seems a little harsh to me. Given the allegations thrown at D&D during that period, I don't fault them at all since it meant getting a really good show about an awesome game on the air.

For me and probably thousands of other dissenters, hooligans and deviants, Eric and Brainy were the best reasons to watch D&D and that other show. They were my favorite characters for the exact reason they were scapegoated; because they never stopped being the independent voice in the group no matter how much they suffered for it.

@The Haters - Uni Rocks!

Silver Crusade

I'm with Velcro Zipper on this one, though Eric wasn't my favorite character. He was annoying and whiney. But I did want to see him be right about stuff once in a while. He did get a chance to be heroic and save the day once or twice, which was cool.

And I liked Uni, too.

Shadow Lodge

Smurfs was a comic in 1959 before it was a cartoon. And I think having Brainy be the butt-monkey came directly from the comics.


and now it has come full circle with stupid shows like "Monk" and "House"

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

@Kthulhu - I know about the "Johan et Pirlouit" comics the little blue guys were in. I even used to have some of the translated reprints. Brainy may have been depicted as an even bigger douche in those, but that probably only helped the execs make him their scapegoat in the cartoon. The point I'm trying to make is it wasn't just the D&D cartoon that was hit by these parents groups.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Anyone notice that Sheila and Diana were far too Hawt for a kids show. :)


Lord Fyre wrote:

Anyone notice that Sheila and Diana were far too Hawt for a kids show. :)

explain this mysterious thing you speak of that you say is called, "too hawt?" I know of no such thing.


It's the fact that a bunch of adults sat around a room and said "let's try to influence the way kids think with this cartoon" that I find most unsettling. The D&D cartoon itself is irrelevant once the producers have made a conscious decision to make a cartoon into propaganda.

Sure it's enjoyable on some level, because it's got dragons and wizards and stuff. I used to watch it myself, but once I read that article I sort of was like "Hey your right! They always did ostracize the dissenter."

By all means, I think adults can enjoy it just fine, I ALSO feel that people should know the other aspects of the show I pointed out, and be wary of things like that in children's entertainment.

Also Eric the caviler was the most believable character. The others seemed to be all "let's go along with this! Monsters! WEE!" and Eric was like "hey we could die, this is dangerous, let's be careful." much the way anyone who gets transported to a magical realm with monsters in it would be. People call him whiny but he also seems to be the only character that responds to threats in a realistic fashion.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

@Lochmonster.

Welcome to modern entertainment.

  • M*A*S*H* stopped being funny when it got preachy.
  • Despite the love of generations for Optimus Prime, many saw Transformers/GI Joe/My Little Pony et al. as a market to sell toys.
  • Captain Power is something of an inversion, it had pretty gritty sci-fi sneak in under the toys.
  • An American Carrol is pretty unabashedly conservative, while shows like The West Wing swing the opposite direction.
  • Ask Buffy fans about "Addictive magic." Stand back to watch heads pop.

    Personal feelings? This is why you don't plop your kids down in front of the tube w/o knowing what they're watching. :-)

  • Andoran

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    Uni was great. Tasted like chicken.

    Silver Crusade

    Lord Fyre wrote:

    Anyone notice that Sheila and Diana were far too Hawt for a kids show. :)

    I'd be willing to bet this was not an accident, and there was probably at least one true perv involved in the making of this show. I remember one episode where Sheila's jumping on a horse, and the audience sees a quick flash up her skirt, to the point where you could see her underwear. I noticed this when watching the show on DVD a few months ago, and I actually stopped to rewind the DVD and step through it to confirm that I actually saw what I thought I saw. I was pretty shocked to discover something like that in a kid's show. I think it was the pilot episode.

    Speaking of the pilot episode (and changing the subject), I actually remember being disappointed in it as a kid, and watching it again as an adult reinforced that. There was no true introductory episode that showed the details of the kids arriving in D&D world and meeting DM, Venger, Tiamat, etc for the first time. All we ever got was the quicky intro at the start of every episode. I always wanted a more detailed version, as I felt like I was playing "catch up" when I watched the first episode, as if I'd missed the true intro episode.

    Also, Dungeon Master's "riddle" in that first episode was lame and easily predictable, yet they actually sat there and dwelt on it multiple times before the kids figured it out, and then they explained it in detail as if somebody might still not get it. I thought it was pretty patronizing. They cryptic clues definitely got better after that - it was just that first episode that made a bad first impression that way.

    Cheliax

    Lochmonster wrote:

    It's the fact that a bunch of adults sat around a room and said "let's try to influence the way kids think with this cartoon" that I find most unsettling. The D&D cartoon itself is irrelevant once the producers have made a conscious decision to make a cartoon into propaganda.

    Sure it's enjoyable on some level, because it's got dragons and wizards and stuff. I used to watch it myself, but once I read that article I sort of was like "Hey your right! They always did ostracize the dissenter."

    By all means, I think adults can enjoy it just fine, I ALSO feel that people should know the other aspects of the show I pointed out, and be wary of things like that in children's entertainment.

    Also Eric the caviler was the most believable character. The others seemed to be all "let's go along with this! Monsters! WEE!" and Eric was like "hey we could die, this is dangerous, let's be careful." much the way anyone who gets transported to a magical realm with monsters in it would be. People call him whiny but he also seems to be the only character that responds to threats in a realistic fashion.

    Actually, a lot of cartoons where made to sell toys. They where made especially to influence kids.

    As for the Cavalier always being wrong, it does seem like they're saying that anyone who is different is always wrong.

    Andoran

    I guess the message could be, 'Never split the group!'. I haven't seen those in years though - I'll have to check Netflix.

    RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

    Scray wrote:
    I guess the message could be, 'Never split the group!'. I haven't seen those in years though - I'll have to check Netflix.

    "Don't spit the party" is good gaming. That is not what happened here.

    Qadira

    I wanted to beat them all to death with the baby unicorn. Is that wrong?

    Qadira

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Only if it doesn't hurt the baby unicorn.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    I can't stand the tvyropes site....I never get a simple this means this. I always have to look up other tropes and then others. Just to get a general idea of what I just read...

    Qadira

    Tirq wrote:
    Only if it doesn't hurt the baby unicorn.

    Of course it hurts the baby unicorn. He's the most annoying of them all.

    Silver Crusade

    Shadowborn wrote:
    Tirq wrote:
    Only if it doesn't hurt the baby unicorn.
    Of course it hurts the baby unicorn. He's the most annoying of them all.

    Uni's a girl unicorn. And I never thought she was annoying. In fact, as a kid, I did an awesome impression of her "voice".

    Qadira

    He, she, whatever. Still annoying. Unicorns should not sound like muppets.


    I always thought Uni was incredibly annoying. Annoying on a level of "drop that thing face-first into a wood chipper". Didn't that dumb thing cost them at least one way back home just because Bobby couldn't bear to lose his "pet"? In any case, I always liked the show. It was the main reason every D&D character I played as a kid was a ranger (at least until my parents forced me to stop because they thought the game would turn me into a devil worshipping serial killer). Though, to be honest, the only reason I played rangers after seeing the show was because I wanted that cool bow for my character.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    I remember watching it a bit as a kid, mainly because "Hey-- it's D&D on TV!" However, I remember being annoyed at it-- nothing in the TV show worked at all like in the game. And the characters were totally generic-- and that each character had an almost exact parallel in other, unrelated cartoons. I think that it was watching that show when it clicked that so many "bunch of young adventurers" TV cartoons of the '70s and '80s just used the same stock characters over and over and over again...

    The Leader-- (Hank the Ranger / Fred from Scooby-Doo / Alan from Josie and the Pussycats / Mark from Battle of the Planets)
    The Edgy One-- (Eric the Cavalier / Alexandra from Josie and the Pussycats / Jason from Battle of the Planets)
    The Heroine -- (Diana the Acrobat / Josie from Josie and the Pussycats / Princess from Battle of the Planets)
    The Smart Girl -- (Shiela the Thief / Velma from Scooby-Doo / Valerie from Josie and the Pussycats)
    The Dumb Girl -- (-- / Daphne from Scooby-Doo / Melody from Josie and the Pussycats)
    The Comic Relief -- (Presto the Magician / Shaggy from Scooby-Doo / Alexander from Josie and the Pussycats / Tiny from Battle of the Planets)
    The Kid -- (Bobby the Barbarian / Keyop from Battle of the Planets)
    The Animal Sidekick -- (Uni / Scooby-Doo / Sebastian from Josie and the Pussycats)

    I think that was when I came to the realization that the writers of Saturday morning cartoons really didn't care about telling interesting stories, and that they actually had a very low opinion of kids. It turned me off animation altogether until I was out of college.

    Andoran

    Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
    chubhound wrote:
    Though, to be honest, the only reason I played rangers after seeing the show was because I wanted that cool bow for my character.

    Hank's bow was my least favorite weapon, and it made Hank my least favorite character. The bow was sort of like Superman. It's powers were so ill-defined, they could use it to fix anything. Uni's falling into a bottomless pit? Hank's arrows turn into a Spider-Man webline. Gigantic iron golem stomping toward the party? Don't worry. Hank's arrows can wrap around its legs to entangle its ankles. Bobby fell off a dragon? No sweat. Hank's arrows work just like broomsticks of flying so Bobby can just ride one to the ground. It was boring. If anyone's item should have had the power of deus ex machina, it was Presto. Kid had a freakin' wizard hat.

    Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    I liked the D&D Cartoon. My son was like six or seven when it came out. He has been playing D&D ever since. Of course, now we play Pathfinder. ;)


    Velcro Zipper wrote:
    chubhound wrote:
    Though, to be honest, the only reason I played rangers after seeing the show was because I wanted that cool bow for my character.
    Hank's bow was my least favorite weapon, and it made Hank my least favorite character. The bow was sort of like Superman. It's powers were so ill-defined, they could use it to fix anything. Uni's falling into a bottomless pit? Hank's arrows turn into a Spider-Man webline. Gigantic iron golem stomping toward the party? Don't worry. Hank's arrows can wrap around its legs to entangle its ankles. Bobby fell off a dragon? No sweat. Hank's arrows work just like broomsticks of flying so Bobby can just ride one to the ground. It was boring. If anyone's item should have had the power of deus ex machina, it was Presto. Kid had a freakin' wizard hat.

    That's very true. Hank's bow was, more or less, Green Lantern's power ring. So, with that in mind, I felt like I should clarify my original statement. I wasn't interested in having a weapon that could do anything and everything. I just thought a magic bow that shot...what the heck were those arrows made of anyway? Lightning? Fire? Gummi Bears? Anyway, I just thought it was a kick butt weapon aesthetically (I was only 10 at the time, so as long as it "looked cool" that's all I cared about). And, when my DM finally DID let one of my characters use one, it most certainly did NOT do everything under the sun like the show's did. And that was cool with me, I had an awesome looking bow that shot..whatever it shot, and I didn't need to worry about lugging around a quiver full of arrows.

    Andoran

    Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

    It's no big deal. I was just griping about the bow in general. Everyone else had an item that basically did one thing. Even Presto's hat really only seemed to have the one power to twist his wishes whenever he wanted something from it. Honestly, I think the powers of Hank's bow were so vague because of censorship against violence in a kid's show. Unlike a club or staff that can be shown to only knock out an opponent, a bow basically just puts holes in things.

    None of the kids were really ever shown to seriously injure their opponents. Bobby usually just used his club to create fissures in the ground to knock monsters over, and Diana typically used her staff to trip or prod monsters when she wasn't just using acrobatics to confuse them. The only time you ever really saw Hank or anyone else use their weapons as actual weapons was when they couldn't actually hurt what they were fighting like Tiamat or when they were fighting something that was clearly not a living creature like a golem.

    In light of that, it's kind of funny that the Animated Series Handbook that comes with the DVDs gives all the kids actual weapons that are clearly designed to kill stuff. Even Sheila gets a pair of masterwork rapiers and Presto throws fireballs. According to the Animated Series Handbook. Hank's bow is a +2 Composite Longbow that fires missiles of force for 2d6 damage. It can also be used to make Power Shots that are basically just Power Attacks with a bow. It isn't listed as having any of the additional random powers from the cartoon. It just shoots force arrows.


    Grollub wrote:

    yes. I have the DVD box set =D

    Same here. Had my cousin (also a big D&D nerd) over one weekend and we watched a bunch of them. Never laughed so hard at the campy, adorable show in my life.


    Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

    TV shows were and are being used to influence opinion?!

    Seriously, is anyone suggesting that this isn't happening today, in virtually every genre?

    That's what the media is all about. Everything has some message it's trying to preach, and some opinion it's trying to sway.

    As far as the show goes, for me, it definitely hasn't withstood the test of time. I loved it when it was on the air (although, I only caught it in syndication a couple years late rather than during it's original run).

    I bought the two different box sets (there's some musical score differences and what not), mainly out of nostalgia to add to my collection, and the 3E/3.5 statbook is a fun collectible piece.

    But today? It's almost painful to watch.

    As far as any kind of social indoctrination, well, like I said - just about all cartoons back then did it (and they still do it today). I really can't be bothered with what they used to do, and if I had kids today, I'd be involved in their entertainment, so if I found something that bothered me as a parent, I'd handle it.


    One thing about the show that kind of caught me off guard was when I found out how old (or more accurately, how young) the main characters were. When I saw the show as a kid, I just assumed that, with the obvious exception of Bobby, they were all probably juniors or seniors in high school at least. Then I read on the Wikipedia article that they were all between the ages of 8-15. And apparently, Hank was the only one that was 15 with the rest being 14 and Bobby being 8. YIKES!! If those kids ever made it back home (heck, even the unaired final episode didn't clear THAT up), you know they're going to be in need of a hefty amount of therapy.


    Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

    The Pevensies & Company didn't need therapy. What makes you think these kids would?


    The Narnia kids? Well, just off the top of my head (and, I admit I've only seen the first 2 movies and haven't read any of the books), weren't they able to go back & forth between Narnia and the "real world", more or less when they wanted? I vaguely remember them travelling through the wardrobe a few times in the first movie. And while they did do a hefty bit of fighting, they had quite a few allies. The D&D kids, they were brought to "the realm" completely against their will and were trapped there. I guess I look at like the difference between going camping with your family & friends, and being kidnapped, stuffed in the trunk of a car and hauled out to a cabin in the woods. Both take place in the outdoors, but one might be slightly more traumatic than the other (depending on your friends & family). And, since I'm still way new here and don't want to start things off by getting into an arguement, I'm just gonna be quiet now.

    Andoran

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    Does the 3 3.5 stat book have stats for the Dungeon Master? he was a character on the show. ;)

    Andoran

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

    Nothing for Dungeon Master, but Venger is statted out as a CR21 Half-Fiend Human Sorcerer 13/Arch Mage 5. Given that DM was supposedly Venger's father, that would make him either a very small human who got busy with a succubus or a fiend who hooked up with a human woman. My money is on DM being a fiend. Why else would he trap those poor kids in The Realm and then string them along with promises of freedom while they unwittingly dispatched all his enemies? ^_^


    Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
    chubhound wrote:
    The Narnia kids? Well, just off the top of my head (and, I admit I've only seen the first 2 movies and haven't read any of the books), weren't they able to go back & forth between Narnia and the "real world", more or less when they wanted? I vaguely remember them travelling through the wardrobe a few times in the first movie. And while they did do a hefty bit of fighting, they had quite a few allies. The D&D kids, they were brought to "the realm" completely against their will and were trapped there. I guess I look at like the difference between going camping with your family & friends, and being kidnapped, stuffed in the trunk of a car and hauled out to a cabin in the woods. Both take place in the outdoors, but one might be slightly more traumatic than the other (depending on your friends & family). And, since I'm still way new here and don't want to start things off by getting into an arguement, I'm just gonna be quiet now.

    No fight, it's all good, I was just bantering. :)

    You make a lot of good points illustrating the various differences.

    (And don't let your relative newness to the forum shut you down - despite what some try to suggest, it doesn't matter how long you've been here.)


    Whew! Glad to know it's all cool. And, as for the animation not standing the test of time (or "painful to watch" as you put it), I definitely agree! Especially compared to the quality of some of the current animated shows. It might be cool if someone remade the show, like they did with "Thundercats" (not that it would HAVE to have an "anime-ish" look to it). Of course, what would probably happen THEN would be that Cartoon Network would pick it up, run it for one season, let it get really popular, and then yank & cancel it abruptly. Or they'd just move the timeslot around so much noone would know when it was on, never advertise or promote the show at all, and THEN cancel because "noone was watching it". That didn't sound TOO bitter, did it?


    Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

    It's not so much the animation, but the dialogue/script.

    But, I feel the same way about the old Harmony Gold Robotech. I certainly respect it for what it was and what it accomplished, and it holds a fond place in my memories because when I watched it, it was great.

    But watching it today? I want to throttle half of the characters, they're just obnoxious and, well, dumb as a brick.

    Rather than re-animating either series, re-dubbing them with a rewritten script would be fantastic. The overall story or plot is fine.


    What? You mean you DON'T like that award worthy dialogue? What about this stellar bit from the first episode?

    Diana: "But he looked like Merlin, standing there stroking his white rabbit."

    Hank: "Not his rabbit, his hare."

    Diana & Hank: "His white hare!!"

    Diana: "Dungeon Master said we'd know Venger by his white hare. We thought he meant hair, like on his head." *points to head

    How could anyone NOT think that's some high quality... Yeah, I'm sorry. I tried to keep a straight face through that, but there's just no way.


    I just finished rewatching it. While the best writing, after a certain point the writing started getting better. Maybe that's why it got cancelled. A decent writer wasn't in the budget.

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