One day while enjoying themselves at an amusement park, six friends aged 8 to 15 decided to go on the “Dungeons & Dragons” ride. What started out as an average ride turned into a waking nightmare when halfway through the event things started going haywire and a portal opened up that transported them to another world. They ended up in the Realm—a world similar to any that could be used as a backdrop for a Dungeons & Dragons role-playing campaign—which the cartoon series itself was loosely based off of.
In the Realm the kids met a short but powerful wizard called Dungeon Master, their self-described guide in the realm of Dungeons & Dragons. Dungeon Master supplied the kids with magical weapons to help protect themselves from the dangers they would face, and on occasion he informed them of potential ways to get home (in the form of cryptic clues), which was the kids’ greatest desire.
The weapons and “character classes” Dungeon Master assigned to the kids were in keeping with their personalities. Hank (15 years old) was the natural leader of the bunch and took responsibility for their well-being. He was made a ‘Ranger’ and armed with an energy bow he used to fire yellow bolts of energy as an impact force, or that he could manipulate to form a bridge, rope, etc.
Eric (also age 15) had little in common with Hank. His main concern was his own well-being. He was also argumentative and he tended to complain a lot. While these don’t sound like fantastic qualities, Eric’s self-centered antics and foot-in-mouth expressions provided much of the humor for the series. Eric received the designation ‘Cavalier’ and was equipped with a shield that projected a type of force field used to dampen the impact from almost any type of attack. Eric’s ‘character class’ seems the least appropriate in comparison to his personality, but on several occasions when it was least expected he showed a disregard for his own safety and a hidden courage that surprised everyone (most of all himself!) and revealed his potential as a person.
Assigned the ‘Thief’ class, self-conscious and non-daring—but of otherwise good moral character—Sheila (age 13) was given a magic cloak that allowed her to become invisible.
Nicknamed Presto by his friends even before they arrived in the Realm, Albert (age 12) was equipped with a wizard’s hat and made a ‘Magician.’ With the rhyme of a magic spell he could pull anything needed out of the hat, living or inanimate, and regardless of size. Unfortunately, Presto’s indecisiveness and lack of self-confidence meant there was a good chance that whatever he pulled from the hat would be completely useless for the given situation.
The last and youngest member of the group was Bobby (age 8), little brother to Sheila. Bobby was made a ‘Barbarian’ and armed with a club that had the power to strike objects with supernatural force. Painfully aware that he was much younger than the other children, part of Bobby’s recklessness and apparent fearlessness stemmed from the fact he wanted to be seen as one of the ‘big boys.’
The Realm was a world filled with magic and all manner of otherworldly dangers, broken by pockets of civilization. Regardless of surroundings, the children’s weapons served them well and gave them a fighting chance against most adversaries. Their primary foe throughout the series was an ancient master of magic named Venger, whose ultimate goal was the conquest and enslavement of all the races in the Realm. Owing to his power and near total dominion over the evil elements of the world, Venger had a hand in nearly every dark plot the kids came up against. One being that even Venger feared, however, was the dragon queen Tiamat—a five headed, nearly indestructible force. Perhaps (in all likelihood) only Dungeon Master was more powerful, but he rarely chose to pit himself directly against evil, preferring, rather, to act as a guide to others in their fight for freedom. At one point Dungeon Master hinted to a past association with Venger, saying “Everyone makes mistakes, Venger was mine.”
The show ran for three seasons on CBS beginning in 1983. It was cancelled midway through its third season, so no final episode was ever made, which left the fate of the children up in the air—did they ever get home? There is talk among fandom of a concluding episode that was written but never produced. Regardless what this unfinished episode might have concluded in its final form, the fate of the children is revealed in the episode “The Girl Who Dreamed Tomorrow.” In that episode a girl named Terri—also from Earth—had the gift of precognizance that allowed her to see the future in her dreams. On departing through a portal home that the other children weren’t able to reach, she tossed her locket to Bobby, because in a previous dream Bobby had approached her at her school back on Earth and returned the locket to her. At the time she dreamed the vision of the future she asked Dungeon Master, “Was that just another dream?” To which he replied, “Yes, but like the others it will come true.” This clearly reveals that the kids did eventually get back home (at least Bobby did—but it has to be assumed they all did), and in the vision Bobby didn’t look any older, so the children’s remaining time in the Realm could not have been for any extended length.