Dragonriders of the Styx Retrospective

Dragonriders of the Styx Retrospective

The Dragonriders of the Styx toy line was a rather obscure series created by Dimensions for Children. Debuting in 1983, the line capitalized on the popularity of Dungeons & Dragons with a variety of unique and imaginative toys. The Dragonriders of the Styx line featured six action figures, five Duelin’ Devils, five Riding Creatures, several playsets, and more. The Dragonriders of the Styx had a limited release. DFC primarily released their toys in Canada and the United States and they did not stay on shelves past the end of the year. Because the toys were only on shelves for a year and many remaining carded copies feature clearance price tags, one could deduce that the toys sold very poorly and were practically shoved off of shelves. We hope to share the story of these toys with our Dragonriders of the Styx retrospective.

Though many online refer to the toy line as bootleg, that is not the case. Apart from a single instance of a highly… “derivative” illustration on some toy cards, there is no reason to pin the line as inauthentic. At worst, the Dragonriders of the Styx was merely a flopped toy line that hoped to capitalize off of the success of a tabletop role-playing game. However, what was this fascinating toy line about, exactly?

The Story of the Dragonriders of the Styx


In Greek mythology, the River Styx was one of the rivers of the Underworld which Charon ferried the recently-deceased across, though details varied across time and interpretations. The likes of the Divine Comedy; specifically Inferno; written by Dante Alighieri, Homer’s Iliad, and more featured the mythical river. Because DFC never produced any supplementary media for the toy line, the only story given for the toys was the blurb on the back of the card. Consequently, the characters’ connections to the mythical River Styx were never elaborated upon, leaving the relation as nothing more than a title.

3 3/4″ Dragonriders Action Figures

DFC created six standalone figures for the toy line, with each one retailing for $2.00 USD. The figures included the heroic Ragnar the Warrior, the Wizard and the Black Knight. On the other hand, villainous characters such as Guilez the Ogre, the Demon, and the Dragon Man came out concurrently. Interestingly, only the leaders of the teams, Ragnar and Guilez, received names. Something unique to the Wizard was the fact that DFC released both blue and black variants of the figure, with the latter being much rarer. Each characterful figure had seven points of articulation, being a swivel at the neck, rotation at the shoulders and hips, and hinges at the knees.

Dragonriders of the Styx Action Figures
  • While the back packaging showed Ragnar the Warrior’s design as incredibly derivative of He-Man, the final figure ended up featuring a more unique design. The rather muscular Ragnar wore a silver helmet which featured horns, a Pickelhaube-esque spike, and red forehead detailing. The hero wore only a small fur skin, boots, and yellow vambraces. He included a silver sword and brown round shield which he could use in his battles against Guilez and other adversaries.
  • The Wizard wore a red robe with a yellow belt and yellow undershirt. He also wore blue pointed boots and a conical blue hat. His face was unshaven, with a short white beard that accompanied his moderately-long hair. He included a silver wand with a star tip, magic ball, and a purple fabric robe. The black outfit Wizard variant wore a black robe and black cap, with a silver belt, silver undershirt, and silver boots. His facial hair was silver, as were his accessories, and his fabric robe was dark blue on the outside and silver on the inside.
  • The Black Knight wore a full suit of black stereotypical knight armor. The armor was seemingly based upon 15th century plate armor, with the Black Knight even wearing an armet. He included the same sword as Ragnar, but also came with a rather unique shield. He used a heater shield with four red and four yellow triangles converging in the center of the shield. While his design may have had the least personality out of the figures, it was still an incredibly cool design. Because of his lack of individuality, multiple copies of the figure could be purchased to bolster the heroic forces without compromising the immersion of playing with the toys.
  • The leader of the evil forces, Guilez, had deep blue skin, wore a small fur skin, boots, and yellow vambraces. He also wore a skull necklace and white skull helmet with horns. Guilez used a kris, mirroring Ragnar’s sword. He also came with a whip, which made him a great pick to go with the Riding Creatures. His outfit also reflected Ragnar’s, and the two had similar silhouettes, making for a great pair of enemies. A variant with a darker skin tone may exist, though we aren’t sure whether it’s a different version or simply a trick of the camera.
  • The Demon, also officially referred to as Demon Warrior, was a rather generic design. It had a red body, bat ears, and a grimacing face. It wore black boots, black gloves, and tiny black shorts common on most figures of this time. It carried a mace and a kris which it used to contest the forces of good. Much like the Black Knight, the Demon featured a rather generic design, enabling the figure to be bought several times to reinforce the forces of evil.
  • The Dragon Man figure was yet another interesting entry in the Dragonriders of the Styx assortment. He had green skin, various large bumps across his body, and a scaled stomach. His head sculpt was evocative of dragons seen in medieval bestiaries, with big eyes, an open mouth with an exposed tongue, and three horns. The dragon wielded a round shield and a scimitar. The figure featured no paint beyond the eyes, though there is a single photo online of a version of the figure with additional paint applications. Information on the painted version is all but abundant: perhaps it’s a prototype, or perhaps it was simply custom painted.

Other Dragonriders of the Styx Toys

Dragonriders of the Styx the Castle of the Night

Along with the figures, several “Duelin’ Devils” were released to store shelves. The back of some of the cards showcased five of these devils: the Skull, the Demon, the Spectre, the Dragon, and the Mystery Action Dragon. Despite the packaging displaying five toys, only three appear to have been released for one reason or another: the Demon, the Spectre, and the Mystery Action Dragon. Children could put their figures on the Duelin’ Devils and pull the creatures back to send them rolling forward! The Mystery Action Dragon had a few more tricks up its sleeve, as its eyes and mouth could light up, and it featured a “Bump ‘N’ Go Mystery Action.”

DFC created five “Riding Creatures” with included riders. The Riding Creatures were Roozan, Fantar, Skull Sled, Demon Flyer, and Serpent Rider. Each release came with an included unnamed rider, with three of the five being unique molds! Roozan and Fantar shared molds for their bodies and upper legs. Additionally, they were the only Riding Creatures with any sort of articulation. The toys featured creative designs and excellent sculpts. From a black skull chariot to a black and red two-headed dragon to even a yellow horse with red chicken-esque head, the designs rivaled even the most creative of their contemporaries.

Additionally, DFC released eraser versions of Ragnar, Guilez, the Demon, and the (pink!) Dragon Man. The packaging declared that the items could be used as erasers or used as supplementary figures. Dragonriders of the Styx stampers were made, with each stamper including three interchangeable stamps. The stampers looked like various fantasy character types, such as knights, gargoyles, and more.

The Dragonriders of the Styx playsets were beloved by fans. Some of the playsets include Dungeons of Castlelon, Demons of Castlelon, Fires of Shandarr, The Tower of the Night, and more. These playsets were made of plastic and contained various micro figures. To supplement the playsets, various fantasy packs were released. The packs included extra figures to increase the number of possible scenarios that could be played out with the sets. The packs included the 20 Fantasy Heroes Bundle, 20 Fantasy Villains Bundle, and the Fantasy Assortment. The Fantasy Assortment included several large monsters that dwarfed the included humanoid figures. While the playsets did not scale with the normal figures, they served as a different way to engage with the characters and themes.

What Happened to the Dragonriders of the Styx?

Valuable Dragonriders of the Styx Demon Figure

As 1983 went on, the line failed to meet sales expectations, and the line was clearanced and quietly discontinued before the year was over. While the toys left shelves and the line became forgotten, they slowly became more and more valuable. As it stands in 2024, 41 years after its release, the figures have become rather sought after. Many of these formerly $2 figures now regularly go for around $100 or more in sealed condition! While the line is not known by many, most who once owned the toys remember them rather fondly. Their premise and imaginative designs captured the spirit and identity of the era in an incredible manner. The toys channeled the innocence, joy, and wonder of childhood, allowing now-grown fans to flash back to their youth.

People list their copies of Dragonrider toys on platforms such as eBay on occasion. For any fan looking to pick up Dragonriders toys, buying used copies is the best way to go. While it is unlikely that the series will ever return, we’re grateful that the toy line featured so many toys that can still be displayed and appreciated.

The Dragonriders and You

Dragonriders of the Styx Logo

Though it was a rather obscure blip on the face of the toy industry, the Dragonriders of the Styx toy line was significant to those who owned the toys. While the toy line didn’t succeed financially, it certainly succeeded at adapting D&D ideas into a toy line. With six action figures, plenty of rideable toys, playsets, and more, the line’s brief lifespan didn’t inhibit its variety!

Despite its small appeal and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it run, the Dragonriders of the Styx certainly has created many great memories for fans. If you had experiences with this toy line, we would love to hear them! Did you spend hours of our childhood staging fights between the factions? Did you own the 3 ¾” figures, the playsets, or both? Or is this your first time hearing of this obscure toy line? Whatever it may be, feel free to share your thoughts below!

Do You Have Old and Used Dragonriders Toys?

If you have a collection of old and used toys, you can turn those toys into cash. There is no reason to let those old toys collect dust. Contact us today to sell your Dragonriders of the Styx toy collection.

Made in collaboration with:

Chris Ingledue 


Bio: I am the founder and owner of Wheeljack’s Lab Pop Culture and Toy Shop. My vision has always been to reunite customers with their favorite childhood toys and pop culture, triggering fond memories, and reigniting their imaginations. Every day, I work in the “lab” where it’s Christmas 365 days a year. I scour the internet, like when we had the Sears Catalog of yesteryear, for the next great treasure. Then, I await the arrival of the postman as if he were Santa Claus himself and helping collectors worldwide with their own versions of Christmas. Every day as a vintage toy buyer is an absolute joy!

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