Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is a great example of a fantasy film because of how immersive the experience feels.
You can tell that the directors, John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, have played Dungeons & Dragons because of how well they’ve been able to capture the essence of the roleplaying game.
Now given how vast the D&D lore is, it would be almost impossible for them to make every single detail of the movie accurate. Despite this, I’d say the directors have done a pretty good job.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves has both differences and similarities to the game it’s based on. However, the differences are either close to unnoticeable or they’ve been added for the purpose of enhancing the plot of the movie.
Most elements of the movie are very similar to the Dungeons & Dragons game, including appearances and mentions of the dozens of characters you would usually encounter while playing it.
Here are 2 features in particular that stood out because of how well they were represented in the movie.
I. Simon’s Wild Magic
In Honor Among Thieves, there are a few instances where Simon experiences a surge of power and his magic goes “wild”, especially when he least expects it. This inherently causes him to do things he never imagined he could do.
Simon’s uncontrollable power is in tune with a wild sorcerer’s abilities in the game. They can cast magic naturally and their wild magic can get triggered even when they try to cast a normal spell.
While playing Dungeons & Dragons, wild sorcerers use the die to tell them when their power surges out of control.
II. Speak With Dead
The movie has a scene where Simon casts a ‘speak with dead’ spell on a corpse so that the group can ask him 5 questions to help them find the Helmet of Disjunction.
Edgin and his friends lose track of how many questions they’re asking and they end up using their questions on mistaken and accidental queries.
The post-credits scene does a callback to this hilarious encounter as well.
Everything that happens in the ‘speak with dead’ scene is entirely accurate to the game as the game master can sometimes take up your 5 questions for silly or unintended queries.
Most people who have seen the movie would agree that this scene was the best one, because of how authentic it felt.
There quite a few differences between the movie and the game that you might have noticed if you’re a hardcore fan of D&D. Even still, they don’t bring the movie down in any way whatsoever.
It’s obvious that these differences have only been added to create conflict in the movie, or give the heroes a small advantage over the villains.
I. The Characters’ Powers
The full potential of Edgin’s bard powers, Holga’s barbarian powers and Doric’s druid powers are never explored in Dungeons & Dragons. According to the game, they are capable of so much more than what is shown in the movie.
Perhaps the directors weakened the characters on purpose to make it harder for them to defeat Sofina, and also to push them towards learning the power of teamwork.
According to D&D lore, bards are more than just clever speakers and strategists; they are also jack-of-all-trades casters of spells and excellent swordfighters. Edgin could have also been able to create illusions or lightning with his music.
As a barbarian, Holga’s abilities extend beyond her fighting skills; she could also have had supernatural abilities. Holga might be a Storm Barbarian, based on her lightning scars. If so, those capabilities of hers are never revealed in the movie.
And finally for Doric, her druid abilities besides shape-shifting include casting powerful spells, healing others, speaking to animals, and more.
Druids also don’t normally shape-shift as often as Doric does in the movie, and since an owlbear is considered a monstrosity in the game, Doric should actually be barred from transforming into it.
II. Magical Items
Many of the magical items that the characters use during their adventure are supposed to have limits or not be as strong as they are depicted to be in the movie.
For example, Simon’s Hither Thither Staff or Kira’s invisibility necklace would typically have a certain number or times they could be used per day in the game, unlike in the movie where they seem to have unlimited ‘charges’.
That being said, magical items like these can vary largely in power and scope since they are homebrew items and can be modified.
III. Longer Attunement
Simone’s attuning to the powerful Helmet of Disjunction would take maybe 30 minutes to an hour in a regular game of Dungeons & Dragons. However, in the movie, Simon takes a few days to complete the task.
The reason for this is Simon’s self-doubt and all the pressure he was putting on himself to figure out his magical powers, which is highly unlikely to happen while playing the game.
But I think the longer attunement worked in favour of the movie because it made Simon’s success more rewarding in the end.
IV. The Gelatinous Cube
When the group hides in a Gelatinous Cube as a way out of the High Sun Games, they manage to get out of it quite easily with just some minor stings and burns.
The time that the group hides in the Gelatinous Cube could last atleast 2 rounds in the game, meaning that the damage they’ve endured is almost the same from a Fireball. Hence, their injuries should have been much worse.
However, we can also assume that all the players had already acquired the ability to survive such a harsh environment and hence were able to come out relatively unharmed.
Despite all the inconsistencies with Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, it turns out to be a heartwarming and interesting adventure that keeps you engaged throughout its run.
Whether you’re stingy about the movie not following the game exactly the same way or not, you’ll eventually realise that the movie is fine just the way it is.
The aim of the creators was to bring a beloved tabletop game to life, and I’d say they did the job wonderfully well. If you still haven’t watched the movie, I highly recommend that you go see it right away.
After all, if the directors were to follow the game rule by rule, it wouldn’t feel like a movie, would it?
4. About Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
Dungeons & Dragons is an upcoming American fantasy-adventure film written and directed by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, based on the RPG of the same name and reboot of the film series of the same name.
The movie will take place across the Forgotten Realms, following the story of a band of thieves who unknowingly ended up helping in unleashing the greatest evil their world has known. The thieves-turned-heroes must now fix their mistake with the help of magic, courage, and a powerful Tiefling to fight the biggest battle of their lives.
The film will release on March 31, 2023.