Monday, December 26, 2011

The George System

11th Doctor version coming out soon
Re-reading the Doctor Who Adventures In Time and Space RPG books/boxes. I was reminded how much I liked it. Back when I first got into the game I recognized the system as something that could be used outside the Doctor Who setting.

Like most RPGs the character is made up of Attributes. (Awareness, Coordination, Ingenuity, Presence, Resolve, and Strength) which typically range from 1 through 6- 1 being nearly incompetent, 3 being human average, 5 is human maximum and 6 is supernatural. Unlike most RPGs there are no hit points. Instead when a character takes damage it temporarily comes directly from the Attributes themselves. This automatically makes characters suffer penalties from wounds or fatigue. Physical attacks would come out of Strength or Coordination or both, a head shot injury or a mental attack might reduce Presence or Resolve. Which ever makes the most sense.

This is not the first time damage comes out of the Attributes, it's been used in the Traveller game from Mongoose and Tunnel & Trolls had something like it, too. I'm sure there are others. This is just my first game using them. And I love it.

The other neat system mechanic that many people talk about for Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space, and thus George, is the initiative system. In this game the order of action in conflict or combat is 1. Characters that are going to talk go first. 2. Next are the characters that are going to move, run, crawl, etc. 3. The doers are next. and finally 4. the Fighters. It discourages combat and fits the Doctor Who setting perfectly. I'm not sure if this will carry over to

To best discuss that it seemed this game system needed it's own name.  This is how that turned out:
Jeffrywith1e: The game engine that powers Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space is great. I've heard that it will be used for an upcoming Primeval game. Does this system have a name?
Jeffrywith1eLets name it then. the DWAITAS system,  the Yes And Yes But system, the Talkers Runners Doers Fighters system- (this is what most focus on when reviewing), it seems, the Story Point system. I don't know. Anyone got something better? 
NeilFordI don't believe it has a name, but if it really does need one, and I need some convincing on that, I would think George would be most suitable.       - Neil.
ImajicaI like George. It's perfect.
Kaemaril It's certainly a classic. 
coroneOne of the names we all liked was 'Vortex system' but that sounds too close to Cortex. My vote would go for Challenge system as its about how you choose to face each challenge situation rather than rollnig what you're told to roll. 
link to this Cubicle 7 forum discussion

I just find it hilarious because I've seen people still refer to it as the George System. I hope they continue 'cause I'm going to...

The game is set to be re-released with updated imaging with Matt Smith (as pictured above) rather than David Tennant. There will also be an update to bring the new creatures and companions up to date, as well. This version is long overdue to the frustration of many fans on the official unofficial game forum where there is a pretty strong sense of disgruntlement.

There are some other products for Doctor Who in the production line.

The Time Traveller's Companion will be about the wibbly wobbly time stuff:
Time flies when you're having fun, but flying through time can present a whole host of problems. Whether accidentally creating paradoxes, upsetting the course of history or trying to Put Things Right, you're going to need to know your way around the Vortex. You need a guide…a companion.
This supplement for Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space gives more information on Time Lords, temporal mechanics and time machines. It also takes an in-depth look at earth's important role in time and space, covering prehistory to the 51st Century - a vital aid for running historical campaigns at any time in earth's colourful history.
Defending the Earth will be about U.N.I.T. etc.

Front and centre, soldier! You're part of UNIT now, the Unified Intelligence Taskforce. We are the Earth's best defence against the myriad alien forces who would try to subjugate and conquer our planet. Try they might, but they will meet UNIT: a global military force tasked with protecting the planet and researching the alien threat.
It's not an easy job, and even those recruited for their scientific knowledge can find themselves on the front lines of combat against an almost unstoppable foe. It's dangerous, violent and not everyone will survive, but for the good of the planet we will do everything in our power to protect humanity from extraterrestrial terrors.
Defending the Earth is an expansion set for the Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space roleplaying game. Within this box you will find:
• 160 page rulebook detailing the history of UNIT, along with additional information for creating UNIT characters, including new Traits and Areas of Expertise, as well as expanded firearms and combat rules, including mass combat and skirmish rules.
• 32 page Adventure book, featuring a whole new ready-to-play adventure and many ideas for additional stories.
• Character sheets for major UNIT personnel, including the legendary Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.

As mentioned in the forum discussion above, a different game is in the making using the same "George" system based on the television series Primeval. Only because of this coming game did I gave a few episodes a try and thought the show was rather weak. I don't know if I'll pick up the game. However, I do wish to see more support for "George" and am glad there's at least something.

Who am I kidding? Of course I'll buy this book. I'll probably watch more of the show, too.

There is another game in production that will be using "George". It is a pulp campaign setting from Battlefield Press producing a game called  Pulp Fantastique and will be compatible with Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space and Primeval. Someday we may see Pulp Fantastique with a "Powered by George" logo in the corner of the back cover. We'll keep you updated on the progress of this book.

My Doctor Who RPG was a gift from my wife two years ago for Christmas. This year I got The One Ring RPG from the same company. In fact, many of the further releases for Doctor Who have been delayed due to The One Ring's production! (and from the look of this game, it was well worth it.)

Cubicle 7 is making some fine product these days. This blogger is a fan of this system so we'll keep you updated on future releases from the Doctor Who game, Primeval, AND Pulp Fantastique.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Snow Queen

Disney appears to have plans for an upcoming animated feature film based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen.

Finally! Disney confirms The Snow Queen, coming in 2013

Simon Brew

A long-lost Disney animated project is firmly back on the roster, as The Snow Queen becomes Frozen, and gets a 2013 release date...

Published on Dec 23, 2011

Long-time followers of Disney animation will be only too aware of the number of years that it’s been attempting to bring The Snow Queen to the big screen. Based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen, the film came closest to fruition just over a decade ago, with plenty of work being done on it (and artwork has since appeared online), before the project was shelved around 2002.

Then, when Disney revived hand drawn animation with The Princess And The Frog, talk of The Snow Queen resurfaced. The chatter then was for the film to be a hand-drawn project.

Still, when we spoke to composer Alan Menken at the end of 2010, he told us that “Snow Queen is not happening”, adding that “that could turn around like that”.

And turn around it has.

Walt Disney Animation has confirmed that The Snow Queen will now be known asFrozen, and it’s scheduled the film for 2013. November 27th 2013, as it happens, and it’ll be a 3D release.

Our best guess is that it’s no longer a hand-drawn production, and is likely to go fully-CG, but Tangled proved that might be less of a problem than some traditionalists may think (although personally, I’d love to see The Snow Queen as a hand-drawn movie).

I'm sure the Disney version will be amazing. This will not be the first animated version of the story.

There was a 36 episode Japanese anime series based on the story. More about that here (Japanese).

And then there's this production originally from Russia in 1957 with a newer audio track (that is actually quite strange). I find the animation quality extraordinary! Especially from that long ago. Miyazaki claims this film as the inspiration that kept him going forward with his career.
Hayao Miyazaki has stated that this film is one of his inspirations to work in animation. When he started his career, Miyazaki had a rough start and was thinking of leaving animation already. When he saw The Snow Queen, he admired it and continued working in anime. In September 2007, it was announced that Studio Ghibli will be distributing this film through their Ghibli Museum Library label and it was released in December 2007 (in the original Russian audio with Japanese subtitles).

I also came across a 1990s production with some bigger names from England, but the animation was so horrible I thought best to leave that one alone.

Also forgettable- A Stories to Remember episode narrated by Sigourney Weaver.

However, here is an interesting version. From 1983, not a lot of information about this short animation, written and directed by Fred Laderman:

Sunday, December 18, 2011


We recently watched Smurfs for family film night. So now my kids are obsessed with them. Obsession is something I'm familiar with! They must've got that from me. It fuels this blog.

So... Smurfs first appeared in a Franco-Belgian comic Magazine, Spirou, in the comic called Johan et Pirlouit (Johan and Peewit in English) in 1958 created under the name Peyo. It wasn't until the early 1980's that they reached American televisions on Saturday mornings often as the flagship show with 190 minutes of story. And of course it was on NBC which was often the only channel we could get in up in the North Woods of WI. There were 256 episodes! The show continued until 1990. That is remarkable.

I fondly remember a lot of fantastic classical music associated with the Smurfs cartoon. This was one area that the show was superior in than other programming on Saturdays. I can't help but think of the show when we listen to the Nutcracker during the Holidays.

The interesting thing about the origin of the smurf is that I remember a run of episodes that featured Peewit (pronounced Peewee). It's interesting to discover it was in his stories that the Smurfs first appeared, not the other way around, as we were introduced to Peewit. I don't remember ever seeing Johan in the show, but apparently he was.

Oh, the new live-action film was fine, by the way. There was strange character development with getting too deep into the Papa Smurf and Clumsy character, but that felt necessary for today's films.

On a final note with Smurfs, one episode that sticks with me was the zombie episode- where a smurf gets bitten by the purple fly and infects him. Soon he's hopping around biting other smurfs on the tail shouting "Gnat, Gnat". It's remarkable how zombie-movie that episode really was. I remember feeling so helpless at the end of the episode. It was quite dramatic! The episode is based on the very first Smurfs comic in 1966. That predates the 1968 Night of the Living Dead!

Here's an excellent parody of that episode mashing it up with 28 Weeks Later which is my favorite zombie movie (if it truly could be considered one). It illustrates how similar 28 Weeks and the purple smurf episode are with each other...

Smurf Sighting by n8package

Masters of the Universe art

These are the work of Dave Rapoza who has an eye for incredible art. Here are four villains from the Masters of the Universe. Check out his blog for other characters of equal quality.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Margaret Weis Productions is promoting the upcoming Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game with a PDF of the Captain America datafile. Looks like a nice version of the Cortex system.
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Promo: Captain America (Steve Rogers)
70 years ago, one of Marvel Comics' most popular and endearing characters burst upon the scene: CAPTAIN AMERICA. Created by comic book legends Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, Cap's popularity is at an all-time high. As part of our lead-up to the release of the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Basic Game in February 2012 we are pleased to give you a sneak peek of the Sentinel of Liberty.

I think the Cortex system is a wonderful 'outside-the-box' system now where it started out as almost just another Savage Worlds. It seems to have become an ideal system for the variety of licensed products produced using it. It's good to see Margaret Weis' company succeeding here. It will also good to see a Marvel RPG with healthy support like it had under TSR (twas my gateway RPG).

Jack the Giant Killer trailer

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Indiana Jones 5

Commission - Indiana Jones by misscoffee
George is looking for a MacGuffin. A what?

It's a phrase that was coined by Alfred Hitchcock in like 1939...
MacGuffin: an object, event, or character in a film or story that serves to set and keep the plot in motion despite usually lacking intrinsic importance
As bad as it was, I still do like Indy 4. Apparently Lucas, Ford and Speilberg all disagreed about 4's MacGuffin. We'll see what they come up with for 5.

George Lucas Is Still Puzzling Over Indiana Jones 5

Whenever Steven Spielberg is asked about the status of a fifth Indiana Jones film, he usually passes the buck to his producing partner George Lucas, whom he entrusts to come up with the plot-propelling MacGuffin for each movie (whether it's the ark of the covenant or an extraterrestrial crystal skull). Recently, Spielberg told EW, "We have already agreed on the genre of the fifth movie, we already have a concept in mind," but when Vulture caught up with Lucas last night at the premiere of The Adventures of Tintin, Lucas admitted that the concept wasn't quite fleshed out. "Actually, I told him I didn't have it yet," Lucas said. "I told him about the story, but I really haven't found the MacGuffin yet. I mean, I know what it's about, but I just have to find a MacGuffin that fits into the arena we're working in." Will Indiana's considerably extended family factor into the movie? Lucas just laughed. "Yeah, we'll see!" 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Movie Cars

Kevin Henry (Boomerjinks on deviantart) has a really neat gallery of minimalist posters depicting iconic movie cars. See if you can figure out each film or show. Check it out...

The Dark Crystal - comic and RPG

Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal is going to be coming out in comic book and RPG media by Archaia Entertainment who has been known for making some very nice comics, notably Mouse Guard and Artesia.

According to the website The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths graphic novel should be released very soon and it's available for pre-order on Amazon  (called The Dark Crystal Vol 1).
In late 2011, Archaia Entertainment and The Jim Henson Company will come together to publish the first volume of Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths, an original graphic novel hardcover set one thousand years before the crystal cracked, before the world of Thra fell to strife and destruction. Original Dark Crystal movie concept designer Brian Froud will plot, provide the cover, design characters and art direct this highly anticipated project.
This is not to be confused with the TokyoPop manga books that came a couple of years ago (which I have yet to read a good review of).

Archaia has been making comics with RPGs based on them already. The Mouse Guard RPG has seen pretty good success and a strong following. It uses a variation of the Burning Wheel RPG system. An Artesia RPG was produced using the Fuzion system. There aren't many companies who produce the RPG and the product the game is based on. It's kind of a neat business model. All of their products have a very high visual quality. These are some of the nicest looking books on the shelves.
ArchaEntertainment announces plans to release The Dark Crystal Roleplaying Game in late 2012. This roleplaying game will be based on the Dark Crystal comic book by Jim Henson. Designer Luke Crane (Mouse Guard RPG, Burning Wheel) will take on this project, creating a relatively simple roleplaying game for younger and older players alike.
ICv2 caught up with Mark Smylie with the details at the recent Gen Con game fair.
“It will be fairly simple, all-ages appropriate, and available for younger players,” Smylie explained. The game will be designed by Luke Crane, who also created the Mouse Guard RPG for Archaia and the award-winning Burning Wheel.
The Dark Crystal RPG will use similar rules to those found in Mouse Guard. In The Dark Crystal RPG, players create gelfling characters and explore the world found in the original film, set thousands of years ago. This fantasy-themed roleplaying game will send you on quests on a whole other planet in another time.The Dark Crystal RPG will be a single hardcover book, and may eventually release as a boxed set. Archaia Entertainment is currently planning to complete this exciting new roleplaying game in time for Gen Con 2012.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sherlock series 2

BBC Sherlock and John by melrosestormhaven
BBC's SHERLOCK is set to return quite soon! Three new 90 minute episodes and we have titles and the first air date!

  • The Scandal in Belgravia - (January 1st at 8:30PM in the UK) written by Steven Moffat
  • The Hounds of the Baskerville - written by Mark Gatiss
  • The Reichenbach Fall - written by Steve Thompson
Can't wait!
Virtuoso by alicexz

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I've got a bad feeling about this.

The Star Wars Christmas Special is getting the GLEE treatment. I don't think this is good. These days, anything with the description- 'reimagining' is usually a bad thing.

Star Wars Holiday Special to get Glee reimagining

Caroline Preece

The Star Wars Holiday Special is being dug out of its grave by Glee this Christmas. Flame jackets at the ready, then...

Published on Dec 6, 2011

If you're a diehard fan of TV musical Glee, this story might fill with childish delight, but if you're not, the news that the show is about to resurrect the long-forgotten (well, that's what LucasFilm would seemingly prefer) Star Wars Holiday Special will have you crying into your Ewok dolls.

Images of Chewbacca and Mike 'human windmill' Chang have surfaced, revealing that the show wasn't content with hijacking The Rocky Horror Picture Show and complete works of Madonna, as this year's Christmas special will raise George Lucas' 1978 spectacular from the deep grave it currently lies in.

Let's face it, the original 'special' outing was, er, 'challenging', and had been left for future generations to discover on YouTube and dismiss at their leisure. Now it's about to be catapulted into the mainstream, possibly doing more damage than the prequels ever could.
No doubt there'll be break dancing from C3PO and a Rachel/Chewie duet. Gawd help us all.
If you need a refresher as to the Star Wars Holiday Special, then take a look here.


And here is the original video (if you dare)...

Doctor Who Christmas Special prequel

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New Tarzan Comics

First we have Dynamite Comics and their new title that comes out next month- Lord of the Jungle.
The original Lord of the Jungle returns! If you thought you knew the story, think again! For the first time in its 100 year history the classic Edgar Rice Burroughs story, Tarzan of The Apes is told UNCENSORED! This series will capture the savagery and action of the original while expanding on it with new elements! The story begins in the late 1800s, John Clayton, Lord of Greystoke, and his wife, the Lady Alice, are left stranded on a remote African coast. They must fend for themselves in this savage world, and the fact that Lady Alice is pregnant doesn't make things any easier!
The violent saga of Greystoke begins in December written by Arvid Nelson and illustrated by Roberto Castro, and featuring covers by Alex Ross, Lucio Parillo, Ryan Sook, and Paul Renaud!

And! if that wasn't enough, Dark Horse comics is coming out with more!

Dark Horse Comics has a new imprint that will cover adaptations of pulp stories in graphic novel form. One of the books green-lit is a brand new Tarzan at the Earth's Core!
Martin Powell: Michael HudsonCEO and President of Sequential Pulp Comics, Dark Horse's new imprint, contacted me some years ago to supply the box text for his company's statue of the pulp hero The Spider, which I had been writing in both prose and comics. We found we shared a lot of the same interests and became friends. A year or so later, Michael told me he intended to create a new comics publishing company that would focus on classic pulp fiction adaptations as well as original concepts, and he invited me to write for him. I became involved with a number of Edgar Rice Burroughs graphic novel projects, (Burroughs is my favorite author) and one day I mentioned to Michael that I'd always felt Tarzan at the Earth's Core, with its dinosaurs, gorilla-men, and prehistoric high adventure, had all the elements to be a great hit, either as a graphic novel, or a feature film, or both, and that we should try to obtain the license. Fortunately, Michael had an amiable relationship with not only Dark Horse Comics, but also Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. There was a brief, rather tense time of waiting after he made the pitch, but then one evening he phoned me, voice shaking with excitement, saying we had the official permission to proceed. Obviously, I was--and am--ecstatic! The artist is Tim Burgard, who was born to draw this kind of thing. Tim was the story board artist on last summer's Rise of the Planet of the Apes. He loves Tarzan as much as I do, and has amazing ideas for this. Over the past twenty-five years, I've been lucky enough to write many of my favorite fictional characters, from Sherlock Holmes, to Superman and Batman, but Tarzan tops them all. I can't recall a moment in my life when Tarzan wasn't a part of it. My older brothers must have introduced me to the Tarzan movies and comics when I was very young, but I don't remember that. It seems Tarzan has always been with me. He was at the very top of my list of characters I wanted to write. Dreams do come true. (Now, if I could write a Popeye story, someday...)
more from that interview here.

About Dark Horse' pulp imprint:


08/02/2011 5:00pm

Sequential Pulp Comics, a highly anticipated new graphic-novel line distributed by Dark Horse, will launch in September!
This new line will bring to life works of classic literature, 1950s paperbacks, and other stories. The series comes out of the gates with Victor Hugo’s classic literary work The Hunchback of Notre Dame, a forty-four-page graphic novella that marks Tim Conrad’s first new work in twenty years!
“Michael and I share a love for great stories, no matter where they come from. I grew up with these great works of science fiction, adventure, the supernatural, and crime noir,” said Dark Horse president Mike Richardson. “I can’t wait to see how Michael and his talented teams of artists and writers will breathe new life into them in this exciting new series of graphic novels.”
“We intend to simplify matters by foregoing single-issue comics, at least at first, and going straight to the graphic novel. In doing this we reach all markets including digital at the same time, and I believe the modern comics audience is hungry for complete stories,” said Sequential Pulp president Michael Hudson. “Our goal is to tell great stories and accentuate them with excellent art.” He concluded by saying, “Mike Richardson is a personal mentor and his vision has been one of greatness for Dark Horse for twenty-five years. I like surrounding myself with successful people, and with his help I know this can be a success.”
With titles scheduled into 2013, this new line is sure to please modern comics fans, as well as others who remember these classic works of fiction. Other upcoming titles include Dick Briefer and Mary Shelley’s The Monster of Frankenstein, Harry Whittington’s noir masterpiece A Night for Screaming, and many others. 

Their website has this list of works in progress:


John Carter poster

Optimus Prime did the voice for Predator

Here's something you didn't know.... Optimus Prime and Venger did the voice for the Predator!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Legend and the Rule of Cool

A new company called Rule of Cool has come up with a different take on the OGL d20 rules and have made a 179 page Beta version of the book available for free for a limited time.

The PDF is available for download for free (you can find it at this link) until December 9th. During that time you are welcome to make donations to Child's Play. Rule of Cool is calling the system the Legend System. This is a very clean and simple presentation. I adore the simple and elegant art. I prefer this so much more than the Wayne Reynolds art in D&D4e and Pathfinder. Legend's art is wholesome, clean, and has a dash of nostalgia somehow.

Here's what their website says about it:

About Legend

Legend is a tabletop RPG developed by an independent team of gamers over the course of two years. Building on the foundations of the Open Gaming License, Legend has created a new and novel system dedicated to cinematic combat and a smoother gameplay experience. Legend takes familiar core mechanics and incorporates them into a new system emphasizing versatility, balance and fun.
Legend was designed, as our name suggests, with the “Rule of Cool” in mind. We have a strong core game where abilities matter, classes are designed for broad appeal and customization is key. When you take a feat, you’re investing in a significant and valuable ability. Our system allows you to “multiclass” vertically rather than horizontally, exchanging part of your class for part of another wholesale rather than having to choose between concept and playability.
  • Eight Core Classes covering a wide variety of archetypes, with supplementary material ready to customize them further.
  • All-new Feats represent significant expansions of your character’s abilities – no more feat chain filler!
  • Rewritten spellcasting puts a check on “linear warriors, quadratic wizards” while still giving casters a breadth of options.
  • The Track system allows you to tailor your character to your concept, multiclassing without trading away power or utility.
  • Twelve months of free downloadable content.
  • As part of the Child’s Play charity initiative, all proceeds from the core product will be donated to Child’s Play – not just on launch day but forever!
  • Optional Legendary rules allow you to tailor the scope of individual encounters or even the entire game!

Child's Play seeks to improve the lives of children in hospitals around the world through kindness and generosity of the video game industry and the power of play.

When gamers give back, it makes a difference!

Since 2003, we’ve set up and organized Child’s Play, a game industry charity dedicated to improving the lives of children with toys and games in our network of over 70 hospitals worldwide. Over the years, you as a community have answered the call and come together to raise millions of dollars.

Child’s Play works in two ways. With the help of hospital staff, we set up gift wish lists full of video games, toys, books, and other fun stuff for kids. By clicking on a hospital location on our map, you can view that hospital’s wish list and send a gift.

Child’s Play also receives cash donations throughout the year. With those cash donations, we purchase new consoles, peripherals, games, and more for hospitals and therapy facilities. These donations allow for children to enjoy age-appropriate entertainment, interact with their peers, friends, and family, and can provide vital distraction from an otherwise generally unpleasant experience.

We'll end with some great examples of the art in Legend.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Olivia Thirlby talks about Dredd

The Quarter Bin gives us a small interview with Olivia Thirlby as she shares about her voice role in Good Vibes and shooting Judge Dredd. She also looks very nice with short hair.

Good Vibes is an animated television series on MTV about the California surf culture.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Dungeons & Dragons Series Bible

A series bible is a reference document used by writers for information about characters, locations, events, and all other matters of data in order to preserve continuity in a show or comic book or what ever. I stumbled upon a link to the series bible for the animated series, Dungeons & Dragons, but it was archived on the Wayback Machine site. Some neat bits of info, there. Like, Presto's name is actually Albert. To help preserve it (and just because it's so darn cool) I've transposed it here, as well.

The Dungeons & Dragons Series Bible:

Development of the Dungeons and Dragons Cartoon, often referred to as the "Series Bible." Written by Mark Evanier, March 25, 1983.
(Webmaster's note: words that are italicized were typed in the original document and then circled by hand and marked with an illegible note that seems to say "ST". Words that are struck out were typed in the original document and then scratched out by hand.)

WELCOME... a land like none other; where heroic fantasies clash with their opposite number in Evil. It's like no world you've ever seen...
And yet:
So much of it is hauntingly familiar. All our lives, we've heard tales of knighthood and heroism and sinister magic and epic adventure. And all of it -- every bit of it, in fact -- is here. Someone took all these concepts and combined them into an instant classic of a game -- one played the world over by young and old alike as they live out this elusive dream of Adventure.
But for six kids, misplaced in reality, this is no dream. At times, in fact, it is a full-fledged nightmare.
(Stop and think: Here you are, just your average American teenagers -just going about a life with a jeopardy level no greater than driving on the Santa Monica Freeway. Suddenly -- and unbelievably -- you find yourself trapped in a world of giant lizards who breathe raw flame; of winged demons who come swooping down on forgotten cities; of endless caverns that lead into worlds where no man has stepped. Quite a change of life there. And that is what has happened to Hank, Diana, Presto, Eric, Sheila and Bobby -- average age: Just into their teens.)
They are in this land -- trapped with no conceivable way back to their safer, saner reality. There is no way -- not unless it's served up by the maddening and mysterious game in which they find themselves trapped like pawns on a cosmic chessboard. And spanning seemingly-infinite playing field is a land rife with eternal challenge: Monsters, demons, swordsmen, blackguards, pirates, unknown civilizations, strange plants, impossible animals and -- as a shroud hanging over their every step -- the spell of unadorned Evil, personified by one known as Venger.
An impossible place? Most assuredly. And you're the lucky one for you can visit for one half-hour, every Saturday morning. You're not like the six young adventurers who find themselves swallowed up - perhaps forever - in the world of ...




A fast-paced bit of back-story tells us why they are here they are. It's a story that starts in the world that all our viewers know -- and one that, we strongly suggest -- could have happened to any of them. In this case, it happened to Hank, Diana, Presto, Eric, Sheila and Bobby...the first five, rather average American teenagers, plus Bobby, the eight year old younger brother of Sheila.
And it starts in an amusement park...
They're enjoying the rides and wolfing down cotton candy -- a slightly discordant bunch of friends plus one tagalong little brother. It's Bobby who drags them all to a ride they've never explored. They pile into a little cart and are moved swiftly along a track into the yawning mouth of a parti-colored dragon. Scary? Well, it's supposed to be.
As they enter, the Barker operating the ride smiles through his sinister demon mask. Or is it a mask?
And, as they disappear into the mouth of the dragon, we notice a sign that wasn't there before: THIS RIDE CLOSED INDEFINITELY FOR REPAIRS. And the Barker vanishes.
Then, madness.
Whirling lights...pounding thunder...
The kids take it for a dynamite special effects job. Amazing images flash by them: A grinning skull... a reptilian being, beckoning them onward... faces of fear and laughter and anger.
And then:
And then, they find themselves in a cavern with six strange objects. Each of them feels drawn to one of the objects. It is Hank who first dares to touch his -- a gleaming, golden longbow. He lays a hand on it and--
Suddenly, Hank isn't Hank! Not precisely. Suddenly, he is wearing a costume more befitting the strange land they are about to enter. He looks like Hank, talks like Hank, thinks like Hank, is Hank. But he is also THE RANGER, clad in a colorful outfit as befits a true hero of the realm.
Diana touches a shining javelin and -- in another flash of energy – she is suddenly THE ACROBAT!
Presto is next. The young aspiring magician is drawn to a magical hat. He touches it and it leaps onto his head while the rest of him is magically cloaked in the raiment of...THE WIZARD!
Sheila takes a cloak. Like it was alive, it wraps itself around her and she is transformed into the guise of ... THE THIEF!
Then her brother Bobby hefts a ponderous club and -- ZAP! --little Bobby is suddenly THE BARBARIAN!
Lastly, Eric: He touches a shield and, in an instant, he is the dashing and heroic figure of THE CAVALIER. Six kids transformed. They are different and, yet, they are still the same kids they always were. They have been granted their new names in this world... and incredible powers that will aid them in surviving this incredible land. But they are still Hank, Diana, Presto, Eric, Sheila and Bobby. They are still youngsters, despite their garb and magical weaponry.
And then the mystical voice of the Dungeon Master beckons them forth... through the caverns and into this strange world. He will be their guide. But he won't give them all the answers. If they ever expect to find their way home, they will have to do it on their own. That is how it begins.
Now, let's meet our unwilling warriors...

Dungeons and Dragons by ayamepso


Hank (The Ranger)

At age 15, Hank's the kind of kid who's always the leader in whatever gang he's in. Not that he asserts himself; it's just that he's such a likable, level-headed gent that most of his friends naturally look to him to pick the hamburger stand or movie they're going to patronize. He's tall, handsome and reasonably smart -- and, if he has any special leadership skill -- it's that he knows what he doesn't know. He has no pretense about being a great belief (like someone we could and will name) that any of them is equal to the tasks they face. He knows well that they're all in way over their heads but he also knows that you can't go through life complaining about how unfair it all is; you have to deal with each challenge as it comes before you. Thus, he believes in making the best of the impossible situations in which they find themselves. There is no conceit in him; he's the kind of "leader" who can and will say, "I have no idea what to do," rather than to bluff, thinking that will keep the respect of his associates.
Hank from Dungeons & Dragons by SANTI IKARI
There's also a lot of Good Samaritan in Hank. Often, they are dragged into a new adventure because Hank espied Somebody Big picking on Somebody Little -- or Somebody Helpless in need of Somebody Helpful. In those instances, he doesn't hesitate. He charges off to do whatever he and his friends can do.
The gleaming longbow which Hank wields in his role as The Ranger is an amazing artifact. It "fires" arrows of lights and instantly "reloads" itself after each firing. He pulls back the energy bowstring (not made of string but, rather, of the same glistening light that comprises the "arrows") and he lets a bolt fly. Instantly, another "arrow" appears in its place. And these are not real arrows; they're shafts of light that do what they have to do, then fade away. He can fire a line of them into a wall to provide a temporary energy ladder for someone to climb to safety. He can make them boomerang to scoop something up then fly it back to him. When a villain is fleeing, running towards the drawbridge to freedom, Hank fires a fast volley of his light arrows at the drawbridge controls and parts a rope causing the bridge to suddenly be raised and the miscreant to plunge into the moat. He does not fire at people to stop them; rather, he puts a little "English" on it and will stop them via the indirect route.
The Ranger has terrific aim and the gleaming longbow; all that was given to Hank when he entered the world of D&D. The courage, he brought with him.

Diana (The Acrobat)

Diana the Acrobat by Zackules
Just a year younger than Hank is this tall, attractive black girl who has found herself entrusted with an incredible agility. It all stems from the magic javelin and, so long as it is on her person, she can leap and dart about like she never could in gym class. Her lance is phenomenal and her muscles work like no Olympic star's. The javelin itself is a handy instrument. She usually carries it on her belt in its tiny form... for she can easily expand it from a few inches up to six feet long, just by willing it. In its larger form, it can be a balance pole if she has to walk across a treacherous tightrope over the Waterfalls of Flame. It can be a pole if she has to pole vault across the moat, into the Castle of Yaru. It can catch and block bolts of magical energy; when a sorceress is hurling them at her, she can "parry" them like Robin Hood parrying the staff of Little John. She can hurl it great distances and will it to return to her like a boomerang ... though if it is off her person for more than thirty seconds, she instantly reverts to plain ol' Diana. All in all, an amazing tool.
But then, this is an amazing lady. Diana is a brave, (usually) level-headed young woman who is probably the least intimidated by this bizarre world. Back home, she was the one who always loved to try new things. Here, she is the first one to suggest a new exploration. She'd much rather be home but, since they're here, they might as well explore. She frequently has to be outvoted on some proposal ("That's too dangerous," Sheila often tells her and is usually right) but she always goes with the consensus. Sometimes, though, there's no time for a vote: When she sees some wonder that cries out for investigation, she will walk right in... which often leads to trouble. There's a lot of curiosity in this female; also, a certain spirit of adventure that is hard to discourage and which sometimes makes their predicament a little less excruciating. When others may whine about how they dearly want to be home, she's the comforting one, finding the "good" in their situation: "Sure, we'd all like to be home. But, since we're stuck here, let's enjoy this adventure."
When things get really bad -- when the doom seems certain and absolute -- you know because even Diana wants to go home. Badly.
Her respect for Hank is immense, though she often wishes he were a little bolder. When he has a decision to make, she represents the "daring" point of view while Sheila represents the "timid" P.O.V. The decisions Hank makes are usually right down the middle and, usually, correct.

Presto (The Wizard)

In school, fourteen-year-old "Presto" (real name: Albert) was the kid with the Coke Bottle Glasses... the clumsy one who wasn't especially good at anything so he took up magic. He figured, that was the only way held ever be able to do anything that someone else couldn't do. He drove his friends berserk with 'Pick a card' and earned the nickname under which he performs as an amateur magician. And an amateur is putting it mildly; most of his tricks were unqualified disasters.
As a magician, he was a failure. He wasn't dumb; just disorganized. But that was before he received the Magic Hat that he now wears proudly atop his head in his role as The Wizard. And from that hat, he can produce... anything! Any object -- big or small --can be made to appear merely by Presto reaching into his hat, uttering a few magic words and pulling out... something! He can produce a live chicken or a steam roller or a map of Downtown Scranton or a Hot Turkey Sandwich with cranberry sauce. He can produce anything but what he wants. You see, he's no better organized now than he was when he was attempting card tricks in the school yard. Sometimes -- incredibly -- he'll actually produce what he wants. Sometimes -- equally incredibly -- he'll produce the wrong object but his friends will figure out how to use it to solve their current dilemma. (When a three-headed fire-breathing rhino is bearing down on you, you'd be amazed at how handy that Hot Turkey Sandwich can turn out to be!)
The power of The Wizard is, potentially the greatest power of them all -- if only he could get everything working properly. Presto tries hard; oh, how he tries! He is constantly trying to save the day and prove to his friends that he isn't an utter incompetent. (Actually though, it's not them he's trying to convince; it's himself.) Sometimes, he succeeds.
He isn't brave, but. he forces himself to be. His role model is Hank and Presto often spouts Woody Allen style, self-deprecating lines about what a nebbish he is and how he'll never be courageous or strong or handsome or competent as he thinks Hank is. Presto's hero worship, by the way, is one of the things that gives Hank some of his courage. Anyone who's ever had anyone look up to him knows that feeling: You can't let your fan down. Presto's attitude towards the other kids is very simple: He thinks everyone is better than he is at everything -- but he's determined to change that, someday! For Presto, being in this world may be a strange kind of blessing; you get the feeling that, if and when he ever gets out, the real world won't seem like such a formidable opponent to him.

Eric (The Cavalier)

Everybody knows an Eric: The kid who, no matter what you're doing, it isn't good enough for him. Nose in the stratosphere, Eric goes through life as snobby as they come. He comes from a family of wealth and breeding and, in the past, has never had to do much of anything himself. He occasionally likes to associate with the poorer folks -- if only because it makes him feel like a bigger man -- and that's what he was doing with them at the amusement park, that fateful day. But, no matter what you say, Eric will top you. If you won a silver medal, he'll tell you he won a gold medal. If you tell him you just got a new Corvette, he'll tell you about the three BMWs he had custom-made.
Eric, the Cavalier by marciolcastro
In school, he majored in Oneupsmanship. It's not that he lies; he just doesn't believe in letting the truth get in the way of his ego.
Snooty? Not to be believed. But, when you get right down to it, this is a kid who is no more secure than Presto; he just deals with it a different way. All his life, Eric has had everything done for him. Now -- in the world of D&D, he suddenly has to begin doing for himself and it comes as no small shock. When the gang is catching exotic fish for dinner, Eric tries to get someone else to catch his. He's told, catch your own or don't eat -- and he grudgingly resorts to (ick) manual labor. Like Presto, he's learning something in this world...something about doing for yourself and not relying on others all the time. Every so often, we see that for, in an unguarded moment at a time of stress, he may accidentally let the real Eric be seen -- but only for a moment. Most of the time, however, he is the craven little preppy with an ego the size of all outdoors.
The Powers That Be have bestowed upon him a shield that transforms him into an armored figure reminiscent of Lancelot. He is The Cavalier and the shield is an impregnable force behind which he can hide. Sometimes, his cowardly streak emerges when her refuses to share its cover with the others. The shield also has the powers of levitation, but not on his command. He would never charge into battle but the shield will, dragging him up into the sky, "above the common herd." To let go of the shield is to make himself vulnerable (almost as terrifying to him as dropping his personality shield and acting human). To cling to it is to get pulled into the midst of danger. Most of the time, he opts for the latter and, on those instances when he saves the day for his cohorts, they never hear the end of it.
Eric tries very hard to impress the ladies in the gang and is often the receiver of bubble-burster sarcastic barbs from Diana who thinks he's a big phony and is probably the least tolerant of the troupe. He also tries hard to impress Presto and is quite envious of the fact that Presto is more impressed with Hank. In fact, Eric is most assuredly jealous of Hank's role as leader but, of course, while might claim he should be the leader, he is much too big a coward to ever assume responsibility for any decision. Rather, he tags along, sniping in his own way at Hank's competence. He can be a pain at times but he's one of their gang and, so, they help him out, saving him more often than he'll admit.

Sheila (The Thief)

In the world of Dungeons and Dragons, being a thief is not thought of as a dishonorable profession. Sheila wears a cloak that gives her expert powers of stealth and espionage. She can disappear into shadows. She can sneak about places without making a sound. She can even pass through some (but not all) solid walls. Her powers are the most mysterious; even she is not always certain just what she can and cannot do -- though everything she does somehow involves going someplace that no one else can go or hearing something that no one else can do. When a troll has a key that our heroes desperately need, she is the one dispatched to fetch it -- and she lifts the key from the troll's pocket without being seen or heard. When she steals, it is only for a good purpose, naturally.
Sheila from Dungeons & Dragons by SANTI IKARI
Sheila, as a person, is a worrier at times. Contrasted to Diana, she represents the reticent faction of the group: the voice that least wants to be involved in these dangerous situations. (Actually, Eric is probably the most fearful and worried but he'd rather die than admit it) Sheila hates being left alone though so she goes along with the troupe. Also, she feels an enormous responsibility to take care of her little brother, Bobby, whom she treats like every Big Sister treats her Little Brother when she gets stuck tending to him. She is annoyed that she's stuck looking after him and even more annoyed when he doesn't heed her orders. Confronted with danger, Sheila is the player who frets the loudest over what will happen to them. She isn't a coward; she's just nervous and, most of the time, with good reason. She always makes herself come through when she's needed; she's just more overtly emotional than anyone else.
She admires the cool bravado of Diana and the levelheadedness of Hank (though, as mentioned earlier, she always tries to appeal to his common sense not to take unnecessary risks). In fact, she admires Hank a lot and what courage she does muster, she gets largely from the inspiration of Hank and/or Diana. Perhaps she and Hank will even be an "item" if and when they ever get out of this weird world. She has a lot in common with Presto and she frequently functions as Confidante and Big Sister to him -- and he thinks she's terrific. She's probably the nicest of the gang, incapable of getting too mad at anyone, even Eric. The only time she raises her voice is at Bobby and then only because he's given her cause to worry. Which she does a lot of. Her power is apt because, when there's trouble, she's the kind of person who doesn't want to be out front. She would much rather disappear into the shadows.

Bobby (The Barbarian)

At age eight, Bobby is a mite small for his age. But what he lacks in stature, he more than makes up for in spunk. A little kid with a big voice, he's always been the kind of boy who gets into trouble because he refuses to act like a little kid. He'll take on any opponent, no matter how huge.
In the world of D&D, he is The Barbarian, thanks to the unwieldy club that he wields. It gave him the animal pelt suit and horned helmet he wears. The club also gives him incredible strength but only in conjunction with the club. If a boulder is thrown at them, he can bat it miles away or shatter it into a zillion pieces. He can smash a hole in the side of a mountain or make the earth quake by beating his club on the ground.
Bob by Ykikoori
Now, Bobby's problem is that he doesn't like taking orders -- not from his big sister, Sheila; not from anyone. He listens to Hank because Hank's the boss and he pays attention like a good soldier. But he sometimes doesn't hear Hank's commands and goes charging off against the Cyclops Monster. The kid is absolutely fearless, is never intimidated by anyone and, therefore, is often getting them into trouble. He's not quite as smart as the others so it's ironic that he's been entrusted with the greatest strength of all. And, since he always doesn't use it wisely, he can cause more problems than he solves.
He is constantly playing David to an endless array of Goliath-like opponents they come across. Villains laugh at his size, unaware of the great power he wields. He gets along great with Diana (possibly even better than with his own sister; Sheila's too timid for his tastes). He respects and (usually) takes orders from Hank. He thinks Eric is a stuck-up snob (he's right) and Eric responds with a W.C. Fields-like dislike for children, especially this one. Bobby doesn't understand Presto and is the most impatient with his botched-up tricks -- while Presto's inferiority complex is done no good by the knowledge that an eight year old is far more powerful than he can ever dream of being. Frequently, however, Bobby's youthful impetuousness gets them into a jam and even the eight-year-old has to admit that he maybe has a lot of growing to do.

There are countless native inhabitants of the world of Dungeons and Dragons but two recurring ones must be mentioned...

The Dungeon Master

Cross Obi Wan Kenobi with Yoda and you have the weird, weird being that serves as guide of this weird, weird land.
Some guide! He's only sometimes there when they need him and, most of the time, he leaves them completely alone to stumble and venture all over the terrain.
The Dungeon Master knows all about this land (so he says) and he's on our heroes' side (so he says). But he has this maddening way of appearing, telling them something they need to know, and then vanishing before they fully understand it. He rushes about, always seeming to be in a hurry, and he'll tell them some vital, important fact about the next leg of their journey or about what they'll encounter over the next hill. Then he'll be gone and they'll be left to wonder just what he meant by what he said. Eventually, of course, they'll find out. Everything the Dungeon Master says has a purpose, even if it takes until the end of the episode to figure out what. But he speaks in ciphers and puzzles and he is constantly leaving them to figure things out for themselves.
Mestre dos Magos by mushisan
He does not just appear out of thin air. Or maybe he does. No one ever sees him appear and no one ever sees him go. For our purposes, he will just suddenly be in a shot and the kids will look down, do a gang double-take and wonder where did he come from. Or, sometimes, they'll open up a door and there he is! He can be anywhere... or nowhere ... with neither rhyme nor even reason.
He doesn't just vanish into thin air. Or maybe he does. The kids will be distracted by something and, when they look back, no Dungeon Master! Gone, just like that! Or he'll lead them into a room and, when they get inside, he's nowhere to be seen. Somehow, he evaporated in mid-threshold.
How he appears and disappear is but one of the mysteries of the Dungeon Master. The kids feel that he knows all the secrets – including the all-important one as to how they can finally get home. Why doesn't he just tell them these things? Why does he make them go through one dangerous situation after another when he obviously could tell them how to avoid these things? Eric especially gets exasperated at the Dungeon Master's cryptic ways -- but they have no answers. All they know is that he is wise, that he seems to be on their side, that following his advice always turns out in the end although it may get very, very hairy along the way; that everything he says has a meaning if you can figure it out...and, above all, that he is the dread enemy of the evil Venger. Perhaps they have even been brought here specifically to combat Venger.
Like the kids, we see little of the Dungeon Master. He pops up from time to time in the oddest places to offer advice, though he never actually solves their problems; in fact, he sometimes seems to complicate matters. In the end though, they understand what he meant, though not always why he didn't just come out and tell them. This odd little man is one of the greatest mysteries in a land that is All Mysteries.


Now, here we have Evil with a capital E. Evil is personified in this sinister version of the Wizard of Oz.
Venger is the would-be conqueror of the land of Dungeons and Dragons. His power is awesome but even it is not enough to conquer everyone and everything. He needs six more items...the six magical everyone an items that our heroes carry! Each time he gets his hands on one, his power grows greater and, of course, their power is lessened as the team member without the magic item is returned to his or her Earthbound, non-magic state. If Venger ever gets his sinister hands on all six, there will be no stopping him!
Venger DD by Yukikoori
Venger, like evil, comes in many forms. He can be a huge cloud looming perniciously over the horizon. He can be a man of normal size or a giant. His face can appear in a shiny crystal or the reflection of a lake. No matter where you are, you are never free from him. He could be anywhere!
He can command all the bad elements of this land. He can send ogres to capture our heroes. He can direct giants to come after them. He can command the trees of the Black Forest to grab them or the waves of the Forbidden Ocean to envelop them. Many of the foes they fight are operating at the command of Venger...and they often go a long time without seeing him, only to find him right where they least expected -- or to find that some benevolent ally they've encountered is actually possessed by the sinister spirit of Venger! This is a formidable opponent and the full extent of his power is never known. What is known is that there is no human quality in him, save for an insatiable craving to eliminate all who oppose his power especially our six heroes and, mainly, the Dungeon Master!
Venger operates from a series of castles and caverns across the terrain. He is served by a coterie of trolls and gnomes who do his bidding. His power is far-reaching and awesome.

Venger Again by ferwar
Our adventures take Hank, Diana, Presto, Eric, Sheila and Bobby across this most unusual of worlds. Along the way, they meet strange people in strange places. Anything that has existed anywhere in heroic fantasy can exist in this world and most of it does.
Even unicorns. A frisky little pup of a unicorn named UNI becomes a constant pet to Bobby. Uni is none too courageous but she's enormously fond of Bobby and will follow him anywhere. The kids all think she's adorable; all but Eric who is above that kind of thing. Uni becomes a mascot and, like all unicorns, she's part bloodhound, able to sniff out trouble.
Not all creatures are nice, however. The land abounds in dragons and they're nearly all deadly. One is deadlier than most. That's Rogull the Red Dragon -- an indestructible, uncontrollable beast that roams the land, popping up at inopportune times. Rogull cannot be defeated by any of the kids' magic objects; not even by the unleashed might of Venger! Rogull is not in every episode but, when he shows up, all other problems become minute in comparison to the hideous, huge, flame-breathing monster that is bearing down on our heroes. He must be avoided at all costs!
And there are other creatures -- like the Blink Dog, a unique little critter who can appear here, then over there, then over there, all in the wink of an eye.
This is a land filled with riddles. Every magic artifact has its purpose and, often, the kids find themselves with some artifact that will come in handy (they're told by the Dungeon Master) but they have no idea how or where. The terrain of the land of D&D presents constant puzzles: Which door do you go through? Which dragon is the real one? Which tower contains the captured princess? As the Dungeon Master says, "Look for the clues. There are always clues." And there are. Though individual menaces may be vanquished by the amazing powers our heroes have been granted, the Big problems get solved by brain-power; by them putting their heads together and figuring out the clues and the ciphers that they've found or had offered to them by the Dungeon Master.
Each week, they venture into a new area of the strange world into which they've been catapulted. They're ultimately searching for the passageway that will let them return home but, along the way, they find people who need their aid and mysteries that cry out for unraveling. The Way Home is sometimes tantalizingly dangled before them but, when that happens, Hank's urges to help the helpless often places them in the predicament: Do they go for the route home or let this opportunity pass while they help the village threatened by Rogull or some other menace? Inevitably, they opt for the heroic course.
Six kids -- not so different from any of us, but for their ages – trapped in the most amazing adventure ever. Watch your step when you enter the world of...



On the occasion of her birthday, the Dungeon Master presents Diana with one half of a lovely amulet. He calls it a gift of "wisdom." She asks where the other half is and where's the wisdom? He answers, "When you find one, you shall find the other" and then vanishes without further explanation. Puzzled, our heroes press on...but, when they reach the next town, a whole village of troll-like little people fall to their knees before Diana. It was written that the great woman warrior would someday return to rule the town and that she would be identified by the amulet she wore. Despite Diana's protests that she is not who they think she is, she is crowned and she and her friends are treated like royalty -- fed the finest foods, offered great riches, waited on hand and foot. It reminds Eric of home, he says. Diana tries "running" the town and, for a time, has a wonderful and successful time of settling petty squabbles and injustices. When Hank suggests they move on, Diana doesn't want to leave: Where else can she be treated like this? Reluctantly, they leave without her ... only to chance upon a band of cut-throats heading for the town to ransack and plunder! They're captured and tossed in the Pit of Eternity -- a black chasm of quicksand-like consistency -- as the villains ride off to destroy Diana's town. Can they get away and help Diana? Can Diana, as leader, lead a town of unarmed gnomes against the well-armed savage hordes? And just what is the wisdom she will learn?

* * * *

In the Valley of Bao, our heroes separate into two groups to search for the answer to a riddle presented to them by the Dungeon Master. Hank, Sheila and Bobby encounter what they think is a. good King – King Kanto -- who enlists their aid in the war against the evil (?) hordes of King Lorvi across the valley. Meanwhile, Diana, Presto and Eric are enlisted by what they think is a good King --King Lorvi -- to help vanquish the evil (?) hordes of King Kanto which, King Lorvi "proves" are out to destroy his people. Each team of our heroes think they are on the side of right. Not so -- but, before they realize their mistake and the fact that both sides are in the wrong, four of the six of them have been captured! The unlikely team of Sheila and Presto is all that gets away -- and it is to them that falls the responsibility of rescuing Hank and Bobby from King Lorvi and Diana and Eric from King Kanto! And, watching over all of this is the careful, cold eye of Venger -- just waiting for the moment when he can seize our heroes' magical artifacts.

* * * *

The latest clue from the Dungeon Master says that the way home may be in the land of Forever. But where is the land of Forever? The trail leads to...nowhere. Until they look up. There it is, resting on a cloud high above the desert floor. Now, the first problem is -- how to get to it? And, once they achieve that, how to get inside it? And once they do get inside it, what they find is...their hometown! Hank leads them through a door and they are suddenly on their old streets only with one difference: There are no people around, anywhere -- just them! This is an alternate world ... a world exactly like the one they've dreamed of returning to but with this one difference: No people! Hank and the kids can't resist frolicking through the town...walking into the movie theatre, helping themselves to the candy store and so on. It seems like a dream existence but, at about the same time they begin to realize how empty this world is without others, a pack of Venger's men arrives, having followed them here. The "men" are empty suits of armor that cannot be destroyed: Knock one to pieces and it instantly reassembles! The "men" want their magical artifacts and, in a battle played out in the deserted streets of their hometown, there seems to be no way to stop them.

* * * *

The latest directions from the Dungeon Master send our heroes deep down into an underground civilization where they find themselves in the lair of the Gamesman. The Gamesman is a wild-eyed gent with a high-pitched laugh who informs them that they are to play a game with him... with their magical artifacts at stake. They cannot leave for the way out is blocked by Rogull. They enter into the game of trying to find the Gamesman in his underground labyrinth. If they find him, they win; if he imprisons them, they lose their weapons. One by one, he captures them...until, finally, our heroes are stripped of all their powers and deposited in a dungeon. The Gamesman takes their artifacts and goes off to play the biggest game of his life; he will wager them all against Venger with control of this land as the prize. Can our heroes break out of the dungeon -- without any powers -- and slip past Rogull to reclaim their weapons before the Gamesman loses them all to Venger and, in doing so, loses the entire world?

* * * *

It's Wizard versus Merlin as our heroes come upon a castle ruled by a man who claims to be the legendary sorcerer! He lures Presto from the group, promising to make him his apprentice and teach him all his secrets -- and Presto decides to stay and learn them all. Following a sad parting, the five others press on -- only to finally unravel the latest riddle from the Dungeon Master! Merlin, they realize, is not what he seems! He is, in fact, Venger in disguise and...But wait. We have a whole pilot script of this story. Why waste your time reading storylines? Read the script and see if you can find all the clues. It took our heroes until halfway through Act Two.

In the process of creating this post I came across a Dungeons & Dragons Encyclopedia of sorts.
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