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Cutie Marks & Dragons

My Little Pony: Crossover Collection
by yo go re

One thing Hasbro does much better than other toymakers is cross their properties over. Consider the GI Joe vs. Transformers sets, or those branded Magic the Gathering cards from a few years back. Well, now they've got two more things merging together into one: My Little Pony and Dungeons & Dragons.

A powerful magic known as the Elements of Harmony calls forth five unlikely friends. Together they must use their unique powers to discover an ancient magic hidden within a lost realm of Equestria.

Would this set have been an SDCC exclusive if there'd been one this year? There's no saying, but it certainly came out at about the right time for that to be the case. The figures are sold in a window box with some character art on the front, and "Equestria isn't ready for a party like this" on the back. See, because the cartoon is all about festive parties, but a group of adventurers is also called a "party." [Never explain the zeugma --ed.]

There are five figures in the set, each inspired by an iconic D&D character class.

Class: Wizard

Seeks magic and mystery throught the realm. She embraces each adventure as an opportunity to learn more about the wonders of the universe. Mystaria doesn't go anywhere without her books, but if she tries to put them in wrong saddle bag it can lead to trouble.

Okay, right off the bat, we can see these Ponies are going in for some legit hardcore D&D nerdery. Mystaria is a grey pony with dark brown hair. Her softgood cloak is a version of D&D's Cloak of Protection, and she's wearing a Ring of Evasion around her front leg. The line in her bio about needing to avoid the wrong saddlebag? The one on her right flank is a "ponified" Bag of Holding, while the one on her left is a Bag of Devouring. Holy guacamole! This isn't just a surface-level crossover, this is deep!

Valor Stronghoof
Class: Barbarian

Will rush into battle should anyone threaten her friends. She uses her fierce strength and battle-worn shield to courageously defend the party. At the end of a long day, there is nothing Valor Stronghoof wants more than to see her friends safe and sharing a laugh around the fire.

Valor really feels like an homage to the old Dungeons & Dragons cartoon - though weirdly, not to Bobby the Barbarian, but rather Diana the Acrobat. They both wear fur trunks, but Valor's skin is the same shade of brown Diana's was in the cartoon, and her curly blue hair definitely doesn't look like Bobby's blonde (nor is she wearing a horned helmet). Her tunic is painted on, as are her little boots, and she's wearing a necklace of animal fangs. There are three blue streaks of woad over her right eye, and she comes with a small shield. It's made of a decently thick fabric, and is held on by an elastic band. Artwork of a bear's head is in the center.

Shadow Star
Class: Rogue

Discovers creative solutions to any challenge she and her friends face. She uses stealth and intellect to enthusiastically tackle the obstacles in her path... and to play pranks on her friends. You never know what new trick Shadow Star has hidden up her cloak.

Well, if you've ever wanted a My Little Pony that would definitely 100% murder someone, here you go! Even if Rogues weren't already known for their backstabbing prowess, Shadow Star (who easily has the most "MLP-ish" name of the bunch) is armed with four daggers strapped to her front legs and tucked into her cloak. You know, for "creative solutions." The cloak is printed with saddlebags and a strap with pouches across her chest. The extra-dark swirls on the cloak may just be a pattern, or might represent some sort of magic effect. There are similar swirls on her boots, and she wears a black mask over her nose and mouth.

Spinner Talltail
Class: Bard

Has no care for glory; she is joyfully seeking out her next story! Sit down for a spell and she'll sing you a song; her skill with the lute helps friends get along. Spinner Talltail knows stories are better; when friends gather 'round to share them together.

What a cute name! This is a really nice looking pony, a warm tan with a darker muzzle and a white blaze on the forehead. Fancy! Her cape is shinier than the others', a bright blue with pink trim and a yellow sash. She's got a lute accessory (like Valor's shield), and there's a tambourine printed on her right side. She's also wearing pink bracers, because when you're the team party girl, you want your outfit to be as perfectly coordinated as it can be.

Woodheart the Kind
Class: Druid

Finds beauty in nature, no matter where the trail may lead. She loves each of the many companions the forest provides. Especially her familiar Littleknight. Caring and Thoughtful, Woodheart knows that a goodberry a day will keep this Almiraj a loyal friend!

An Almiraj is a bunny with a unicorn horn - the thing in the pocket of her cloak. It's an actual D&D creature. Again we see this set is going hard in the paint. The cloak itself is made of (printed) leaves and feathers, fitting with the nature theme. Her boots and bracers are painted to look like tied leather, since druids don't wear metal armor. She's wearing a little circlet of flowers with two indigo/purple feathers hanging from it. There's a pouch on a string painted beneath the cape - spell components, we assume?

The Ponies are all painted with unique cutie marks, though you'll have to take their softgoods off to see them. Luckily, the tails are mounted to the body by a large balljoint (the only joint anywhere on the shared body), so pop that out and you're good to go.

It's only painted on one side of the figure, as is the style these days, but the fact that 1) they've got them at all, when they're not normally visible, and 2) they're all character-specific and not just a big stylized D&D ampersand or something is darn impressive. There's a hoof with swirling energy, a battle axe, a black domino mask with a dagger in front of it, music notes coming out of a lute, and a sickle with mistletoe leaves.

The set also includes an oversized D20 that's a sparkly translucent pink, fitting with the My Little Pony aesthetic. Plus, there's a Dungeon Master's screen, printed on the DM's side with the characters' bios, and on the players' side with a big, cool image of the party by Leesha Hannigan. It's awesomely stylish!

The only thing we do wish was included? Stats. Stat out these characters and make it a playable set right out of the box. If the set can go deep enough to throw out all these little references in the design, the designers could have given the characters some numbers. And maybe a little intro adventure to play?

Just by virtue of being My Little Pony, this set is going to draw in some fans who have never tried Dungeons & Dragons. If it gets them into the hobby? Awesome! D&D is for everybody, no matter what the gatekeepers think. The Cutie Marks & Dragons designs are fun, and the ponies being all warm earthtones makes for a very pleasing color palette for the set as a whole. This is a lot more integrated than it needed to be, and a terrific crossover.

-- 11/25/20

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