The Party In Dungeons & Dragons’ 2023 Movie Promises A TTRPG Problem

The upcoming Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves promises a well-known problem among tabletop role-playing game parties. The film is based on the famous Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves stars Chris Pine as a bard leading a band of thieves through the medieval, fantasy world of the Forgotten Realms. Each of the main cast corresponds to a different Dungeons & Dragons class, including Regé-Jean Page as Xenk, a paladin, and Hugh Grant as Forge Fitzwilliam, a rogue.

A paladin, as described by the 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook, « swears to uphold justice and righteousness. » They are also described as « holy knights. » Rogues, on the other hand, are stealthy thieves and assassins who don’t usually like to follow the rules. The two classes frequently butt heads in Dungeons & Dragons games as the former tends to be of lawful-good alignment and the latter is most often chaotic-neutral or chaotic-evil. As such, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves would be remiss to include this entertaining dynamic for the party.

It looks like Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves will already put party members at odds to comedic effect, as seen at the end of the trailer when Doric, a tiefling druid (Sophia Lillis), repeatedly asks what Pine’s Edgin brings to the table until Holga (Michelle Rodriguez’s barbarian) admits he plays the lute. As the two ends of the Dungeons & Dragons alignment spectrum, the paladin (honor) and rogue (thieves) will exemplify this division often seen in Dungeons & Dragons. The disconnect between the characters’ morals is sure to put the party in some difficult situations, possibly with some party members keeping the rogue’s actions secret from the paladin, but can also be played for comic effect. WIth Hugh Grant in the role of the rogue alongside Page’s straight-man paladin, there’s plenty of room for Grant’s rogue to pull out some puckish sensibilities.

However, this comedic dynamic also shows how Honor Among Thieves missed a great opportunity for using modern gamers as a framing device for the fantasy story. Instead of just being about magical characters in D&D’s Forgotten Realms, Honor Among Thieves could cut back to a group of players having fun around a table—and the paladin and rogue players arguing to great effect. The players could be played by the same actors or different ones and either way it would add extra comedy, as well as a window into the actual Dungeons & Dragons game, instead of making Honor Among Thieves essentially just another fantasy movie.

Despite what Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves may be missing, it still promises a fun adventure full of laughs. Even without players to add extra insight into their characters, Xenk the paladin and Forge the rogue will definitely offer a fun dynamic to the story. If they don’t, it will be a missed opportunity on the part of Paramount, who have a potentially big hit with Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.