If you haven’t checked Dicebreaker’s front page in the past day or two, you might’ve missed the tight but dense information drop from Dungeons & Dragons’ maker Wizards of the Coast. On top of release dates for the updated 2024 core rulebooks and more details about two new adventure supplements, the publisher outlined a few upcoming brand partnerships that include LEGO, Converse and, er… Pop-Tarts?
We already knew about Wizards partnering with everyone’s favourite purveyor of coloured plastic bricks thanks to a D&D-themed competition posted to LEGO’s IDEAS website in October. The Danish toy maker asked contestants to submit plans for fantasy-themed LEGO sets that were judged by employees from both companies while also accounting for the public’s opinion.
The winner, announced in early January, was BotlBuild’s Dragon’s Keep: Journey’s End, which features a green dragon perched atop a broken tower as its main attraction. Other features of the build (which may not survive to the final licensed product) include plenty of D&D mainstays - a tavern where the group of Minifig adventurers meet, a basement dungeon housing a Beholder and crypt chockablock with traps and treasure.
We know less about the Converse and Pop-Tarts branding collaborations, though I’ll admit shoeware seems a lot more appetising than dry pastry and sugar - even if it sports some cheeky Goodberry flavour or whatever. The home of the iconic Chuck Taylors has a long history of branded kicks, and there are plenty of former emo kids now in their 30s and 40s who are likely raring to purchase some hi-tops with a dragon on it.
Too bad the son of Gary Gygax, D&D’s co-creator, beat Wizards of the Coast to the punch with his own upcoming line of fantasy-themed lifestyle clothing, which includes two shoe designs. Lucion “Luke” Gygax unveiled the G20 brand in November of last year and pushed a pair of basketball-style sneakers, one with a red dragon emblazoned across the side while the other sported an elf wizard illustrated by Erol Otus of early TSR fame.
All three of these upcoming collaborations, regardless of quality, align with Hasbro CEO Chris Cocks’ vision of promoting D&D as a brand as much as - or perhaps more than - a tabletop RPG. The massive toy maker’s consistently flagging sales have been vaguely propped up by sales of D&D and Magic: The Gathering, leading C-suite leadership and executives to promise shareholders constant value from its one golden goose - even if that means slapping a logo on nutrient-devoid “breakfast” treats.