Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

I'm A Dungeons & Dragons Bard Who Just Saw Honor Among Thieves And I Have Some Thoughts

Contains spoilers for "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves"

My "Dungeons & Dragons" adventure started in college. I was living in a house with my friends and looking for anything to do that wasn't studying. One day, someone suggested we give the tabletop RPG a whirl, and before you knew it, we were neck-deep in an original campaign, battling evil paladins, getting lost in the roleplay, and having the time of our lives — at the expense of a few dining room chairs.

Starting with Reginald Flagstonbury, I played a walking, talking dog who learns the ins and outs of wizardry. Then, Steel Anderson, a cowboy ranger, showed me that "D&D" blossoms friendships on and off the table. However, my claim to fame is my half-orc warlock being the only party member to make it out of "Tomb of Annihilation" alive. I've also played rogues, monks, and barbarians, and currently, I'm flexing my vocal cords as a bard. Seven years, five campaigns, and countless one-shots later, I'd consider myself a well-rounded adventurer, with "D&D" part of my weekly routine.

One day, I heard they were bringing the game to the big screen. Immediately, I assumed the worst, thinking back to the critical failure that was the 2000s "D&D" trilogy I watched as a kid. About a year later, they dropped a trailer, which looked pretty good. Then, I got the opportunity to see "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" a week before its global release, and I have to say that I loved every single minute of it.

Honor Among Thieves perfectly captures the chaos of D&D

Ask any "D&D" player about their all-time favorite moments, and I guarantee their answers will include pure chaos. That is what makes the game so special. While the Dungeon Master is there as a guide, the players have the power to tailor the adventure in whatever way they see fit, resulting in some of the most ridiculous and questionable decision-making ever. In previous campaigns, my friends and I have launched a village of goblins across a rainforest after we noticed the residents set it up on a slingshot-like contraption. We've tried to seduce the "big bad" instead of fighting them. Whenever we need to cross a chasm, we immediately rummage through our packs and start tying together as much rope as we can find, convincing ourselves that is the universal answer to the problem when it, more often than not, isn't. Did any of these decisions make sense? Not really, but they were fun and resulted in a really good time. 

From the beginning, "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" showcases this side of a campaign. It opens with Edgin (Chris Pine) and Holga (Michelle Rodriguez) planning their escape from prison, but they cast aside a typical jailbreak. Instead, their master plan is to throw themselves out a window with an Aarakocra, who will fly them to safety, which is "D&D" chaos to a tee. Later, Holga even offers her rope as a solution to getting across a chasm, validating every "D&D" party that immediately thinks of that. 

Chris Pine showcases what a bard can and can't do

As I mentioned before, I'm playing a bard in my current "D&D" campaign. It's my first adventure as a support character, and I quickly realized how useless I am during combat, especially during the early levels. However, I make up for what I lack in fights during the role-playing parts of a session, leading most conversations and, hopefully, warming up some of our newer players to fully embrace the "acting" that's part of "D&D." In "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves," Chris Pine plays Edgin the Bard, and I couldn't be happier with how he brought the class to life.

While I was watching the movie, I noticed how little Edgin participates in the fighting, and I couldn't help but draw comparisons to my current character. Bards are charisma-based characters, so as I'm playing one, I focus on those skills, which lend themselves to role-playing more than combat. Performance, persuasion, and deception are all in my repertoire, but swinging an axe or shooting a bow isn't. As Edgin says in the movie, "I'm a planner. I make plans," which is exactly how I play my bard, relying on my more physically-capable party members to enact the plan.

Edgin's portrayal in "Honor Among Thieves" convinced me that the big-screen version of "D&D" is in more than capable hands with directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein. He acts exactly how I imagine a bard would act, leading the team in a fairly unconventional way with his charisma instead of being the physical specimen that most action movies want in their leading man. I also think Pine is perfect in this role, as he's as naturally charismatic as they come. I do have one request: give my man a musical number in the sequel.

D&D is for everyone, and Honor Among Thieves proves that

I'll admit that Chris Pine and I probably don't have a lot in common, but we do both think that everyone should play "Dungeons & Dragons." It's past time for people to stop looking down on "D&D" like it's the '80s and try it themselves. Regardless of your background, I'm a firm believer that everyone will have a good time playing it, as long as there's an experienced friend there to guide you. I've played with many different people, some brand new to the tabletop world and others tenured adventurers, and the result is the same. Everyone always has an incredibly fun time because "D&D" is whatever you want to make it. Ever since I started playing, I never looked back, and my only regret is not getting into it sooner.

Like the game, I think "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" is a movie for everyone. It has an incredible cast of characters whose every action reminds me of the shenanigans my friends and I have pulled off in our campaigns. John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein were "D&D" players long before they were directors, and I think their love for the game shows in what they brought to the big screen. You don't need to be a long-time "D&D" player to enjoy it, but if you are, you will appreciate the Easter eggs, the references, and how they brought a "D&D" campaign to live-action just like I did.