Tabletop Game: Dragon Strike

Published in 1993 by TSR, Inc., who also published Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon Strike was made to be an introduction for players new to Role Playing Games. The game featured a large number of pre-made adventures, simplifed rules, pre-made characters and other features to help new players get accustomed to the genre. One of the most notable mechanics of the game was that it used cards to randomize traps and loot meaning that even when replaying old adventures the traps and treasure would always change. Despite how simplified the game was, it was actually rather fun to play.

That being said, that is not what this game is known for.

The game also included a VHS containing a thirty-minute So Bad, It's Good short film made to be a visual representation on how to play the game. The plot of the video is about a group of unseen players sitting down to play Dragon Strike which an overly-enthusiastic (and Hammy) DM who is represented by a floating head in the darkness. In the game, the players are a group of adventurers who are sent on a quest to stop an evil wizard who has put a curse of eternal night onto the land. Ironically, the VHS is actually better known than the game that it came with. You can watch the movie on YouTube here.

The Game Itself Contains Examples Of:

  • Baleful Polymorph: In one of the adventures, there is an Orc NPC that is actually a human who was turned into an Orc.
  • Dungeon Crawling: What the Player Characters spend most of their time doing in the VHS, and by extenuation this applies to the actual game too.
  • Healing Potion: One of the possible (and very useful) treasures that a player can get.
  • Nintendo Hard: Ironically, for a game meant to be played by novice players it can be rather easy to die due to some adventures having outright malicious trap and enemy placement.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Out of all of the playable characters, only one of them is female.
  • Troll Bridge: In one adventure there is a Giant who refuses to let the Player Characters pass over his bridge unless they give him an item.

The Movie On The Accompanying VHS Contains Examples Of:

  • Cutting the Knot: The Thief climbs the outer castle wall, stopping below the parapet to ask The Elf what the guard at the top (arguing with an owl) is. He identifies the guard as an Owl Bear, suggesting she should flatter him. The Thief shouts "Hey, handsome!" before throwing up her whip to wrap it around the guard's neck and pull him over the edge. The guard plummets to his death, and she climbs the rest of the way unmolested.
    • Later on she does it again, smashing a locked door open with The Warrior's head after he insults her lock picking skills.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The thief.
  • Hint Dropping: The DM gives a major clue to the wolf in sheep's clothing when the jester/Teraptus returns the wand The Wizard left behind in Teraptus' castle. Afterwards, when he needs to use it to cast magic missile, it boomerangs back in his direction. The player still doesn't catch on that the jester/Teraptus probably tampered with it, complaining he has a "defective wand."
  • Large Ham: The Dragon Master and the evil wizard Teraptus.
    Teraptus: Rise up flames...rise up fire elemental...use your rage to engulf my enemies!
    • In the Dragon Masters Only afterward, the DM explains how it's integral to the role.
      DM: Now don't forget a great Dragon Master isn't afraid to ham it up. Sure, the monsters just want to beat the heroes up but it's a lot more fun...when they do it with style.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: And apparently "mentally retarded, harmless Man Child" is their race's Hat, if the VHS is to be believed.
  • The Power of Friendship: How the Player Characters ultimately defeat the Wizard.
  • Revive Kills Zombie: The cleric (not a playable character in the actual game) uses his magical healing abilities on a death knight and Big Bad Teraptus to defeat both.
  • A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: The king's jester is the Big Bad in disguise.