The year 1994: From out of space comes a runaway planet, hurtling between the Earth and the Moon, unleashing cosmic destruction! Man’s civilization is cast in ruin.
Two thousand years later, Earth is reborn…
A strange new world rises from the old: a world of savagery, super science, and sorcery. But one man bursts his bond to fight for justice! With his companions, Ookla the Mok and Princess Ariel, he pits his strength, his courage, and his fabulous Sunsword against the forces of evil.
He is Thundarr the Barbarian.
There are many things that have inspired me over the years when it comes to my writing and to the various campaigns and games I have run over the last 30+ years. Thundarr the Barbarian was easily one of the biggest. For a 9 year old kid, this show blew everything I knew about science fiction and fantasy out of the water. It had monsters, wizards, giant robots, ancient cities, and a trio of bigger than life heroes. For someone that was just starting to play Dungeons and Dragons, Thundarr filled me with more ideas than I knew what to do with. I started a post apocalyptic campaign using the old Red Box rules, improvising rules for guns and robots (which I am sure by my then 9 year old standards were amazing). Though I had few role playing friends back then, and most of them were older, they humored me and played the first game I ever ran, in the odd world known as Marrgon. It only lasted two sessions, but we all had so much fun that when brought up the idea of resurrecting it almost 10 years later there was a resounding YES from my players. I had progressed as a DM quite a bit in that time, and the second time visiting this strange world was even more fun than the first.
Now, there are games out there like this, Gamma World comes to mind first for me because that is what I gravitated towards in the early days of high school to fill my magic and science fix, later it would be Shadowrun. I have always had a love for the mixing of genres, and even my own game, Mistrunner, mixes magic with Steampunk. I think a lot of that would never have happened for me if it hadn’t been for Thundarr the Barbarian opening my eyes to the possibilities that mixed genre stories hold.
If you have never seen these cartoons I cannot recommend them enough. Yes, they are cheesy and corny as many 80’s cartoons were, but you need to look past that, look at the world that exists in the series, the characters that populate it. There is such a wealth of material to be mined from this show that you could easily run a campaign for years. I am seriously considering bringing back my old Marrgon game, though none of the original players are still around. Perhaps it’s time to introduce a new bunch to my first ever gaming inspiration.
I recently got Thundarr on DVD, and when I saw these on eBay I couldn’t resist.
They now sit at a place of honor in my workshop. We should all revisit some of those pleasant memories from our earliest days of geekdom, they are the foundation of what has made us the proud Geeks, Nerds, and Dorks that we are today.
For more info on the series, check out this great Thundarr fansite.