Thursday, September 7, 2023

Out From Under The Thumb Of The Dungeon Master - More OSR Thoughts On 'The Realm' of The Dungeons & Dragons Cartoon


The older I'm getting the more I'm  beginning to understand the common sense that Eric The Cavalier in the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon had. Understand I'm not taking apart Gary Gygax or Ernie Gygax's legacy with the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon.No I'm talking about the fact that there's a ton of skeletons hiding in Dungeon Master's little lawful good closet.

Run Eric, Run as fast as you can but you can't escape 'The Realm'

 Within 'the realm' the Dungeon Master is the smallest god on the block but he's also the caretaker of the setting of 'the realm'. He isn't all powerful but rather his hands are tied if something happens within the bounds of nature. This means that he needs to act through agents or pupils, & there have been lots of em over the centuries. All of this thought experiment kicked off with me stumbling across this set of mini's from Antediluvian miniatures called the dungeon explorers. A set of adult miniature homages to the dungeon master's 'young pupils' from the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon. But what's the dungeon master's end game or agenda? That's simple its the protection of the realm & there's a reason why he's using kids.

The kids have decades to help the little maniac protect 'the realm' from all kinds of threats from Tiamat to the crimson stained hands of Venger himself. But the little mad man is bound by rules & rules that can not be broken. So the dungeon master subverts the rules  in a rather clever fashion. He uses agents he trains as his pupils & he's done this many,many, times.

Our familiar six kids who took that faithful ride on the amusment park are only the latest in a long line of suck erm 'pupils' who took the dungeon master's ride. This has been happening for centuries upon centuries throughout Earth's history.

Do I have evidence of this? Sure just take a look at Strongheart the Good Cleric & the fact that during the D&D cartoon 'Servant of Evil' we're introduced to Strongheart The Paladin. He states that he once had a magic hammer similiar to the kids magic weapons.

There's a reason for this & that's because the all of the magic items come from the Dragon's Graveyard the ancestral lair of Tiamat. She's not just hanging out on the first plane of Hell in her lair & seeding the planes with her spawn but Tiamat is a godess. She's the key goddess  too the creation of 'the realms' at least one of them. She guards the 'magic weapons' for the next group of adventurers who come into 'the realms'. Originally I think she might have been worshipped by the dragons of the realm & later on the lizardmen who were some of the original inhabitants of the mini plane.

 But what of all of the other heroes & adventurers who have come to 'the realm'? Did they vanish or die at the hands of Venger? Some might have but mostly they were buried in the 'Hall of Bones' where their spirits awaited the call by 'Dungeon Master' to defend 'the realm'.
The hall is later destroyed as the spirits attack Venger but my guess is that there are many such halls scattered throughtout 'the realm'.

But 'the realm' shares many characteristics of  Peter Pan's Neverland, no not the Disney spoon fed version but;"the works of J. M. Barrie and those based on them." 'The realms' share many characteristics of Neverland & are in fact a fairyland; "Barrie explains that the Neverlands are found in the minds of children, and that although each is "always more or less an island", and they have a family resemblance, they are not the same from one child to the next. For example, John Darling's had "a lagoon with flamingos flying over it", while his little brother Michael's had "a flamingo with lagoons flying over it". The novel says the Neverlands are compact enough that adventures are never far between. It says that a map of a child's mind would resemble a map of Neverland, with no boundaries at all.[1]

The exact situation of Neverland is ambiguous and vague. In Barrie's original tale, the name for the real world is the Mainland, which suggests Neverland is a small island, reached by flight. Peter tells Wendy the way to Neverland is "second to the right, and straight on till morning", but he is described as saying "anything that came into his head". In the novel, the children are said to have found the island only because it was "out looking for them". Barrie also writes that Neverland is near the "stars of the milky way" and it is reached "always at the time of sunrise"." 

Illustration of Peter Pan playing the pipes, with Neverland in the background, by F. D. Bedford, from the novel Peter and Wendy published in 1911.

Not unlike Neverland murder,bloodshed, & evil are all too real. Not only are the threats to 'the realm' real but so is the murder & its evil has a name. 'The Nameless One' is the corruption of the evil & chaos that flows just outside the plane. From time to time its essence flows into 'the realm' & orcs, trolls, & other monsterous humanoids prosper. Venger was corrupted by this force & served it for ages but his original purpose of 'testing the pupils' was never forgotten. Even though Venger served 'The nameless one' his true purpose of testing the pupils turned to destorying them ( he never did) & coveting the rulership of 'the realm'. This conquest almost happened but Venger had a warped sense of honor & even some goodness. But 'the nameless one' warped him into insanity & with a heightened sense of paranoia that fueled his martial conquest of  most of 'the realm'. 

Jeff Easily & Tim Truman illustrations from the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon line.

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