Lingo to Know Before Watching ‘Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves’!

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is coming to theaters everywhere on March 31. Here’s the lingo you should know if you’ve never played D&D before!

No one’s more excited to watch Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves than D&D players, but we want to let other folks in on the fun! Here’s some in-game lingo to know before seeing the film so you can laugh at all the inside jokes with us.

Dungeons & Dragons is a fantasy tabletop roleplaying game where a group of friends gets together, creates fantastical characters with magical powers, medieval weapons, and wild backstories, and go on a quest together. The first edition of D&D came out just under 50 years ago, in 1974, so it’s about time we got a movie about it!

The world is guided by the Dungeon Master, the leader of the campaign who builds the story with original non-playable characters, vivid descriptions, epic fights, and frustrating mysteries. You can purchase existing campaigns or make up your own.
These games usually span long periods of time (we’re talking months or years), and by the end, you’ve told a collaborative story full of triumph and tragedy.

Despite the fantastical and epic setting, so much of D&D is unserious. For example, the main antagonist of a story is often called the BBEG, a.k.a. the “big bad evil guy.” In many campaigns, the BBEG is a mystery that the players have to find for themselves, while other times, they’re smack dab on the cover of the campaign book (like in the well-tread beginner story “Curse of Strahd”).

Most stories usually follow a hero with a good heart and good intentions, but this is far from a requirement in the D&D world. In Honor Among Thieves, our group of heroes aren’t heroes at all; they are a party of thieves who stole something from the wrong guy and are now facing the consequences.

In D&D, there are ways to categorize your character’s motivations based on their internal moral compass (i.e. good, neutral, evil) and what they’re willing to do to stick to it (i.e. lawful, neutral, chaotic). These two qualities are combined to create a general personality type (i.e. chaotic neutral, lawful good) that influence how you play your character. Here are brief descriptions of each with some well-known characters to help you understand each one:

Lawful Good: upholds the law and does what’s right (e.g. Superman before Batman v. Superman)

Neutral Good: desires to do good but doesn’t feel compelled to always follow the rules (e.g. Hagrid from Harry Potter)

Chaotic Good: will do good by any means necessary (e.g. Robinhood)

Lawful Neutral: follows a code but doesn’t have much internal morality (e.g. James Bond)

True Neutral: doesn’t feel strongly in any sort of direction (e.g. cockroach from Wall-E)

Chaotic Neutral: willing to do anything if it serves their self-interest (e.g. Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean)

Lawful Evil: will abide by the law even under a maleficent regime (i.e. Darth Vader from Star Wars)

Neutral Evil: motivated by their self-interest, unbound by a code of conduct or dedication to doing no harm (e.g. Scar in The Lion King)

Chaotic Evil: determined to do bad things by any means necessary (e.g. The Joker in Batman)

Our antiheroes in Honor Among Thieves are likely floating around chaotic neutral territory, but we’ll see how it turns out in the film! See further explanations and examples of the alignments here.

Now it’s time to introduce our adventurers! In D&D, every character has its own race and class. Races vary from devils and dragons to birds and elves. The most unrealistic part about this movie is that everyone chose to be a human! Classes are a character’s skill set and fighting style. There are 12 basic classes in the game, but here are who we’re dealing with in Honor Among Thieves.

Edgin the Bard (played by Chris Pine)

Bards gain magical abilities through their dedication to the arts, such as poetry or music. They aren’t always the strongest, but they have a charismatic charm that often gets their friends out of sticky situations. With spells like Vicious Mockery and Charm Person, bards use their words and talents to achieve their goals.

Holga the Barbarian (played by Michelle Rodriguez)

Barbarians are the quintessential tank, able to take lots of hits and dish out just as many. They have a special ability to enter a berserker state that allows them to deal extra damage and resist certain types of damage done unto them. This lets a player go right into the action without much fear of death, allowing other party members to undergo complex or vulnerable tasks with less risk of being injured or caught.

Simon the Sorcerer (played by Justice Smith)

Sorcerers are beings born with magical abilities. They are powerful spellcasters who can twist magic to fit their whims, from doubling how long a spell lasts to forcibly weakening enemies against their attacks. Players can select their magical ancestry to color their character’s backstory, motivations, and strengths. Don’t get in the way of a sorcerer’s goal; you may get a faceful of fire!

Xenk the Paladin (played by Regé-Jean Page)

Paladins live and die by their oaths, whether to a magical being or a code of ethics from a secret society. They can magically enhance their weapons to deal deadlier blows, have a divine sense to draw enemies out of hiding, and are blessed with the ability to heal the fallen. Paladins swear to uphold justice and righteousness, but who knows if their oath is to good or evil!

Doric the Druid (played by Sophia Lillis)

Druids are gifted magical powers from the force of nature itself. Their abilities are related to nature and animals, such as being able to speak to animals and take their form (you may recognize Sophia Lillis turning into a giant half-bird half-bear creature called an owlbear in the trailer). Druids are wise, imbued by the experiences of the natural world. Careful next time you see an animal in the woods; they might be a shapeshifter waiting to pounce!

The trailer includes nods to other iconic fixtures of the game, like a mimic (a creature who can pretend to be an inanimate object before unhinging its razor sharp teeth and slimy tongue in attack) and Misty Step (a spell that allows you to teleport), and I’m sure the film to be chock full of these little game references!

I suspect this film will be a great glimpse into the unparalleled fun, humor, and drama that comes with building a story for years with a close group of friends. See you on opening night!

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is coming only to theaters everywhere on March 31!

About the Author

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Christopher Ikonomou

Christopher Ikonomou is a 4th year at the University of California, Los Angeles pursuing Communication and Disability Studies. He has a particular interest in the entertainment industry and representation of marginalized people in film and TV. On campus, he is the Editor-in-Chief at OutWrite Newsmagazine, the oldest queer college publication in the United States, and an activist with the Disabled Student Union. He’s a horror superfan and has been featured by Buzzfeed, UCLA College, Bored Panda, and Teen Vogue for his vocal involvement in the fight for better representation of the disabled community on screen and in the genre, particularly those with Marfan syndrome like himself.