D&D Plushies: Cuddly & Deadly

I recently received a box of miniature figurines from Wizkids, and hiding among the packing material was a surprise bonus of four little Dungeons and Dragons plushies. The line of stuffed “animals’ ‘ is officially called Dungeons & Dragons: Phunny Plush by Kid Robot. They are cute and are an excellent representation of some of the most unique, entertaining, and possibly deadly inhabitants of the D&D universe. The four of them are currently guarding my desk for me at school. With the holiday season approaching, I thought I’d pass on a brief rundown on them in case there’s someone in your life who needs something soft to protect their stocking or bed.

Snowy Owlbear
The “anchorman” of the team is the cute little blue Snowy Owlbear. Found in the cold northern wastes, its blueish color sets it off from the more common, standard owl-looking cousin. It’s the fluffiest, and with its lack of long appendages, it is the most huggable of the set. As it looks like a young owlbear, you’re free to also call it a “chub” (way better choice than a “cick”.) If you’re not going for the whole set, this is my pick for cutest. In terms of D&D, it is also the best candidate for your character’s sidekick companion.

The mimic is clearly the best eye-catching production of the set. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the D&D creature it clearly presents a fun fantasy theme. With all the extra stitching, it’s not as snuggly as the owlbear but it probably has the strongest display-presence of any of the plushies.  Whether you recognize it as a mimic or not, it clearly sends a signal of “this is a cool stuffed version of a fantasy meme”

Displacer Beast
At first glance, the Displacer Beast looks like a cat, which it sort of is… but in the lore of D&D, a displacer beast is a large hunting cat crossed with an alien. It has six legs, a pair of long tentacles, and is best known for its ability to “displace” light in order to appear adjacent to its actual location. Unfortunately, in its plushie form, much of its distinguishing characteristics are lost and it just looks like a funny black cat. When put among the other plushies, it is recognizable but it would take a close examination if it wasn’t by itself. From a cuddle-perspective, its many limbs reduce the available squeezable stuffing.

While I think the first three are great, they really shot themselves in the foot with the beholder. A beholder is a very powerful alien creature consisting of a floating head with one central eye and multiple eyestalk-tentacles sprouting from its sides. Traditionally, the central eye can cancel out all magic while the eyestalks each shoot a different beam of magical power. In this plushie form, its cuddle-ability is reduced due to all those eyestalks, while its menacing promise of power is lost due to its pink color and the fact that, when the figure is at rest, many of the eyestalks are hidden behind the body. While the beholder is an iconic figure of D&D (trademarked, along with the displacer beast) when seen by itself, it would take a D&D player a second look to confirm this is a beholder that they’re looking at. Again, put together with the set it manages to pull off the D&D aura, but by itself it is lacking.

While these are cool and not leaving my desk any time soon, there was a missed opportunity here. It seems to me that the designers didn’t really know what they were going for. The light blue owlbear and the pink beholder seem to indicate these were supposed to be soft and cute. Why then is the mimic more “prickly” and the only thing the beholder has going for it is its color. If they were supposed to portray the more iconic side of D&D, why did they go with a pink beholder? Is it supposed to be an albino one? Its pink color makes me think of a hairless cat more than a cuddly friend or a dangerous foe.

Is the set worth it? To a D&D fan, yes. These seem to be well made and, as a set, they are a great way to show off one’s love of D&D in a cute little form. My comments have been on the negative side, but they are coming from a perspective of an opportunity lost – they could have been better. If you’re buying for a friend and you’re not going to pick up the whole set, I’d recommend the mimic on style points or the owlbear if you’re going for cute.

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