Review - Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
Updated: Apr 15
[The following review contains MINOR SPOILERS; YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!]
What happens when four bumbling murder hobos stumble upon a quest that far exceeds their current level, surviving only by the grace of lucky dice rolls and a merciful Game Master? Something, I’d imagine, quite a bit like Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.
This standalone campaign (unrelated to the 2000 theatrical film and its various straight-to-video sequels, though the heroes of the 1983 Saturday morning cartoon series put in a brief cameo appearance) manages to accomplish the difficult task of restoring a measure of joy, whimsy, and humor to the fantasy genre. Neither a sprawling, melodramatic epic in the style of Tolkien nor a grim, gritty, “mature” political thriller akin to Game of Thrones, its stakes are considerably (and admirably) more modest: the protagonist isn’t “The Chosen One,” and there are no prophesies, fates, or foretold destinies. The surprisingly tight script—penned by Game Night directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein—instead emphasizes developing flawed characters, exploring their relationships, and resolving internal conflicts (in one particularly memorable scene, for example, a previously inept sorcerer realizes his full potential by literally punching the personification of his low self-esteem in the face).
Featuring a plot that traverses the length of the franchise’s Forgotten Realms setting (from the frigid wastes of Icewind Dale to the ominous depths of the Underdark) and populated by creatures ripped from the pages of The Monster Manual (including Mimics, Gelatinous Cubes, and Owlbears), Honor Among Thieves is certain to delight longtime fans of the TTRPG, but its relatively small, intimate scale and effortlessly humorous tone make it equally accessible to total newcomers. It isn’t as groundbreaking or innovative as Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Lord of the Rings—and I doubt it’ll be even half as influential—but it boasts more than enough Charisma to charm an audience for 134 minutes. I'd gladly return to this interpretation of the Sword Coast for further adventures.