D&D 5E Is Dragons of Stormwreck Isle Based on the 80s D&D Cartoon?

We've known about the new starter set for D&D, Dragons of Stormwreck Isle, for some time, but we've known precious little about the boxed set.

The folks over at comic book.com have a theory, though -- they posit that the adventure is based on the 1980s Dungeons & Dragon cartoon. Looking closely at the cover art (which is very blurry) it looks a lot like Hank the ranger with his energy bow, and Diana the acrobat leaping over the dragon's lightning breath, while the one piece of interior art we can see features somebody with a glowing shield -- the signature magic item of Eric the cavalier in the cartoon.

Screen Shot 2022-02-17 at 11.15.09 PM.png

But that's not the only clue! WotC has been teasing the cartoon in various social media posts over the last couple of weeks, as has D&D Beyond.




The cartoon ran in the 1980s and featured a group of children who found themselves in the magic world of Dungeons & Dragons, and were granted magical items by the mysterious Dungeon Master. Those children became Hank the ranger, Eric the cavalier, Diana the acrobat, Presto the magician, Shelia the thief, and Bobby the barbarian. The show also featured Uni the unicorn, plus the Dungeon Master, the villain Venger, and, of course Tiamat the 5-headed dragon.

dungeons-dragons-cartoon-header.jpg


A couple of years ago, a Brazilian car commercial featured a live action version of the D&D cartoon heroes.

 

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Parmandur

Book-Friend
To add more speculation to the fire, they just announced Dungeon Master is getting added to Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms. These “coincidences” just keep piling up, huh?
Yeah, I think at this point that the rights to the show must have been untangled in some fashion, at the very least. Which might make sense since Disney owns the rights now, and Disney is a long-term business partner with Hasbro who likes to use what they own to make a little something-something.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
Yeah, I think at this point that the rights to the show must have been untangled in some fashion, at the very least. Which might make sense since Disney owns the rights now, and Disney is a long-term business partner with Hasbro who likes to use what they own to make a little something-something.
The thing is - Disney has owned those rights since 2001 when they bought Fox Family Entertainment off of News Corp (it wasn't the Marvel purchase or the more recent Fox purchase that got them those rights).

I suspect that either Hasbro and Disney have arranged some kind of ownership swap of rights that we haven't heard about yet or Hasbro is just willing to pay Disney for the usage rights because Gen-X nostalgia is about as high as it's going to get right now - we'll be moving on to Millenial nostalgia soon.

(Selfishly I'd love to hear that Hasbro and Disney have swapped the rights for Rom Spaceknight and the D&D cartoon to get both properties into the right hands. I doubt it, but I'd love to see Rom in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it's not like Hasbro is doing with him. I suspect it's the nostalgia angle, but I'd love to be wrong on this one!)
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
I feel like I'm the only guy who watched and enjoyed the cartoon back in the day, but quite literally the ONLY THING I remember is the roller-coaster at the beginning and the bald head of the Dungeon Master. I don't remember a single other detail (other than Tiamat being involved somehow). Not a single bit about any of the characters, good or bad.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
The thing is - Disney has owned those rights since 2001 when they bought Fox Family Entertainment off of News Corp (it wasn't the Marvel purchase or the more recent Fox purchase that got them those rights).

I suspect that either Hasbro and Disney have arranged some kind of ownership swap of rights that we haven't heard about yet or Hasbro is just willing to pay Disney for the usage rights because Gen-X nostalgia is about as high as it's going to get right now - we'll be moving on to Millenial nostalgia soon.

(Selfishly I'd love to hear that Hasbro and Disney have swapped the rights for Rom Spaceknight and the D&D cartoon to get both properties into the right hands. I doubt it, but I'd love to see Rom in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it's not like Hasbro is doing with him. I suspect it's the nostalgia angle, but I'd love to be wrong on this one!)
I mean, it could also just be that they made an agreement to do a new joint production, with Disney handling the show and Hasbro handling the merchandise (which they do for Disney on several fronts anyways).
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I feel like I'm the only guy who watched and enjoyed the cartoon back in the day, but quite literally the ONLY THING I remember is the roller-coaster at the beginning and the bald head of the Dungeon Master. I don't remember a single other detail (other than Tiamat being involved somehow). Not a single bit about any of the characters, good or bad.
The bits I've seen are pretty standard Saturday Morning Cartoon fare (not to knock that, I'm still sad Saturday Morning Cartoons don't exist anymore, the greatest heartbreak of my parenthood).
 


Jer

Legend
Supporter
I feel like I'm the only guy who watched and enjoyed the cartoon back in the day, but quite literally the ONLY THING I remember is the roller-coaster at the beginning and the bald head of the Dungeon Master. I don't remember a single other detail (other than Tiamat being involved somehow). Not a single bit about any of the characters, good or bad.
I tried not to miss an episode at a time when you only saw episodes if you were watching TV when the episode aired. We didn't even own a VCR so if I didn't make it to the TV I didn't see it.

Despite that I remember being mildly irritated at the time that they couldn't just do a cartoon that was a fantasy cartoon - that they had to have kids in it, and that they had to be from Earth, and that it had the standard Saturday Morning Cartoon format of the kids having to learn a lesson every week.

When I got it on DVD when I was in my 30s I watched it again and ... those elements were less annoying to me. I don't know, maybe it's just nostalgia, but I find it to be a very entertaining show for what it is. It's not Batman the Animated Series or Avatar the Last Airbender, but you can kind of see the bones of those shows in the D&D cartoon in some ways.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I tried not to miss an episode at a time when you only saw episodes if you were watching TV when the episode aired. We didn't even own a VCR so if I didn't make it to the TV I didn't see it.

Despite that I remember being mildly irritated at the time that they couldn't just do a cartoon that was a fantasy cartoon - that they had to have kids in it, and that they had to be from Earth, and that it had the standard Saturday Morning Cartoon format of the kids having to learn a lesson every week.

When I got it on DVD when I was in my 30s I watched it again and ... those elements were less annoying to me. I don't know, maybe it's just nostalgia, but I find it to be a very entertaining show for what it is. It's not Batman the Animated Series or Avatar the Last Airbender, but you can kind of see the bones of those shows in the D&D cartoon in some ways.
I mean, this is also a world where you have the show that wanted readily available (like Avatar and Batman), so you can see and appreciate this more for what it was more than what you wish it could have been.
 

As others have mentioned, they do show up. Generally as people that the heroes need to rescue (90% of the time, from orcs working for Venger). But you'll also see them just around in various background crowds from time to time.

Its been so long since I've seen the show, but I don't remember the kids meeting any dwarves, elves, halflings, or gnomes. They did meet some care bears though . . .

I dig this idea quite a bit. It would be cool seeing their magic items officially written up for 5e. I know a while back Mearls posted an Acrobat Thief subclass. I wouldn't mind seeing that return as an option, too.

It would be pretty cool from a nostalgia perspective if the pregens were based on the cartoon characters. Maybe they toned down they adventure by making it a dragon instead of a dragon god.
 

Undrave

Hero
The bits I've seen are pretty standard Saturday Morning Cartoon fare (not to knock that, I'm still sad Saturday Morning Cartoons don't exist anymore, the greatest heartbreak of my parenthood).

Oh yea, my grandparenthood has been tarnished.

You should make your own saturday morning line up then. Make it a weekly tradition to sit with the kids on saturday morning and just enjoy cartoons for a few hours, watching shows together.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
You should make your own saturday morning line up then. Make it a weekly tradition to sit with the kids on saturday morning and just enjoy cartoons for a few hours, watching shows together.
It's a good idea, and they don't suffer for lack of cartoons: it's mor the weird disjuncture of the kids not knowing what a "TV schedule" is, or having that same experience of scrolling through the handful of channels to discover something...
 

Undrave

Hero
This is why I come here. You are absolutely right. I think he’ll get a huge kick out of it!

Hilda and Little Witch Academia on Netflix are solid Saturday Morning fare. Disney has their modern DuckTales, Gravity Falls before it and the more recent Amphibia that works too.

And if you want to show your kids some classics, Disney+ has most of the Disney Afternoon shows, and a ton of old stuff are available, legally, for free on Youtube or TubiTV.

I made two posts about that stuff on Imgur (maybe the shows aren't complete but there's enough ressources there).
 

Sometimes I think Disney's Onward wasn't only a wink to D&D fandom, but also to show they could be useful for Hasbro to promote its franchises. I suspects Disney in 2023 will be radically different from 2021, and this will be a really busy year for the entertaiment industry.

Other point is Disney could produce an animated movie based in the humoristic module "Castle Greyhawk". With the right screenwritters that movie could be fun even for audence who hate D&D, fantasy and superheroes. Of course it would be a family-friendly humor, in the same level than Shreck. My own theory is this "castle" is a demiplane working like the "domains of delight" from Witchlight. Disney could be wishing to get the licence of Stryxhave to enjoy their own Harry Potter's saga. And Witchlight was designed to can be family-friendly.

WG7CastleGreyhawkCover.jpg


Do you think Hasbro could to choose a strategy of distributed licencing? Disney with a line, for example Dragonlance, Paramount with FR, Discovery-Warner with Greyhawk, Capcom with Mystara....

Disney with Dragonlance could produce a true superhit, or a total bomb. Hasbro could dare to publish a D&D version of Disney's mirroverse.

D&D cartoon was very "exotic" for the 80's standard. Today the current children generation are too used to Star Wars, Warcraft, Fortnite, Harry Potter...

* Ponyfolk as a D&D PC race? Possible, but maybe the hardest challengue for the designers wouldn't be the racial traits (here Ponyfinder could be a "source of inspiration) but create a right look of the heads, cutes but nor too cartoon-style neither childish-look, maybe close to the style of Generation One.

EVvgHCnXYAUJR5S.jpg
 

Undrave

Hero
It's a good idea, and they don't suffer for lack of cartoons: it's mor the weird disjuncture of the kids not knowing what a "TV schedule" is, or having that same experience of scrolling through the handful of channels to discover something...
Or sitting through a show you didn't care about because nothing else was on and the good show was coming next :p

I also think the ritual aspect of spending time on saturday just not doing anything else but enjoy cartoons is also important. No expectation or nothing, just time to yourself with those imaginary worlds.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Or sitting through a show you didn't care about because nothing else was on and the good show was coming next :p

I also think the ritual aspect of spending time on saturday just not doing anything else but enjoy cartoons is also important. No expectation or nothing, just time to yourself with those imaginary worlds.
Yeah, that's all fair. It's not like the 90's were actually better than now in any appreciable way, but the mind plays funny tricks.
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
I feel like I'm the only guy who watched and enjoyed the cartoon back in the day, but quite literally the ONLY THING I remember is the roller-coaster at the beginning and the bald head of the Dungeon Master. I don't remember a single other detail (other than Tiamat being involved somehow). Not a single bit about any of the characters, good or bad.
I started rewatching it just yesterday, and I'm discovering that I'm in exactly the same boat as you. Literally the only thing I remember about it was the intro. I got quite a chuckle, too. In the first three episodes, the kids encounter hostiles such as:
  • a flock of flying apes
  • a tribe of snail people
  • a giant scorpion
  • a shadow demon of some sort
  • a beholder
  • approximately a dozen dragons of various flavors,
  • Lolth
  • Tiamat (on several occasions)
  • and of course, Venger (in a handful of "clever" guises)
That's a heck of a random encounter table for newbies!
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
The thing is - Disney has owned those rights since 2001 when they bought Fox Family Entertainment off of News Corp (it wasn't the Marvel purchase or the more recent Fox purchase that got them those rights).

I suspect that either Hasbro and Disney have arranged some kind of ownership swap of rights that we haven't heard about yet or Hasbro is just willing to pay Disney for the usage rights because Gen-X nostalgia is about as high as it's going to get right now - we'll be moving on to Millenial nostalgia soon.

(Selfishly I'd love to hear that Hasbro and Disney have swapped the rights for Rom Spaceknight and the D&D cartoon to get both properties into the right hands. I doubt it, but I'd love to see Rom in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it's not like Hasbro is doing with him. I suspect it's the nostalgia angle, but I'd love to be wrong on this one!)
Disney owns the rights to the cartoon episodes themselves and distribution thereof. WotC owns the characters, stories, likenesses, etc. There’s no mention of Fox or Disney in the Animated Series book WotC put out for 3X. If Disney had a leg to stand on they would have sued or sent cease and desist letters back then. No such thing happened. WotC owns everything but the animation itself.
 

Zarithar

Adventurer
I started rewatching it just yesterday, and I'm discovering that I'm in exactly the same boat as you. Literally the only thing I remember about it was the intro. I got quite a chuckle, too. In the first three episodes, the kids encounter hostiles such as:
  • a flock of flying apes
  • a tribe of snail people
  • a giant scorpion
  • a shadow demon of some sort
  • a beholder
  • approximately a dozen dragons of various flavors,
  • Lolth
  • Tiamat (on several occasions)
  • and of course, Venger (in a handful of "clever" guises)
That's a heck of a random encounter table for newbies!
I recall bullywugs, orcs, possibly gnolls, and a "halfling" that was actually Venger in disguise at one point. Then there was Uni's lost herd featuring a black unicorn that led them. I'll always have a soft spot for that show!
 

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