Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is out and not everybody is a fan of it. While the film has been warmly received by fans and critics alike, some people have pointed out that the movie can be a little too silly and has glaring plot holes that just don’t make sense. This adaptation of the table-top roleplaying game doesn’t set out to be an epic fantasy on par with the likes of Lord of the Rings and instead is a more ridiculous (in a good way) Guardians of the Galaxy set in the Forgotten Realms. That said, it’s perfectly understandable why some movie-goers didn’t enjoy certain events of the movie because of its plot holes. But that doesn’t make those plot holes wrong.
Roll your Investigation checks. Here are all the “immersion-breaking” movie moments in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves that make perfect sense if you’ve played Dungeons & Dragons before.
1. Things go wrong for the characters for seemingly no reason at all
From Edgin slipping on the table as he tries to escape the time stop Sofina traps their party in at the Harper’s stronghold they were stealing from to Simon accidentally destroying the bridge in the Underdark, something always seems to go wrong for Honor Among Thieves’ party of adventurers.
And it’s perfect.
Every time something went wrong for the characters, you could see them failing their Dexterity saving throw or fumbling an Investigation check. It was a funny way to showcase how quickly your luck can turn on you when you’re playing D&D.
2. Every time the characters solve a problem, a new problem arises
Any good dungeon master knows how critical tension is to telling the story of a campaign. The satisfaction of solving a problem never materializes if players have too easy of a time solving them. When watching Honor Among Thieves, it’s hard not to visualize a cheeky dungeon master planning to cast the party’s easy solutions into the wind. Meanwhile, the party just keeps playing along by coming up with new ideas to solve whatever hiccup their dungeon master throws at them – as long as the dungeon master keeps things fun.
In that same vein, you get the feeling that the movie knows it’s fun enough to keep viewers entertained with all the changes that happen without leaving them frustrated.
3. Things go well for the characters for seemingly no reason at all
Have you ever sat at a table for a game session that should only take 2 hours but is taking 5 hours instead because no one in the party is rolling well and/or the party’s collective brain cell just isn’t functioning well enough to solve a puzzle? It’s frustrating! When frustration and exhaustion kick in, the game just isn’t fun – even for the dungeon master who’s putting their party through the wringer.
When Simon breaks the bridge in the Underdark, he also suddenly recognizes that the walking stick Holga took back from her ex-boyfriend is actually a staff that can make magic portals.
In that moment, you can just imagine the party’s dungeon master deciding to ask Simon’s player to make an Arcana check so they can help the players get unstuck. What’s even more notable is that we never see Holga walk out of her ex-boyfriend’s house with the staff or put it in the bag she was carrying when she left. It really cements the out-of-game aspect of the movie without making it immersion-breaking for viewers who aren’t familiar with the game.
4. Xenk the Paladin abandons the party
Xenk comes in and out of the story too conveniently for some people’s tastes, but his presence is the perfect nod to DMPCs everywhere. It’s not just DMPCs everywhere either, it’s DMPCs everywhere done well. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, DMPC stands for Dungeon Master Player Character which is a player character played by the dungeon master. Since the dungeon master quite literally knows everything about the game, a DMPC can be a bummer Mary Sue/Gary Stu who makes the campaign all about them.
That’s not the case with Xenk. Xenk is introduced slowly in the movie. Our characters have to go on a quest to find him. When they find Xenk, he doesn’t immediately want to take over their quest, but his character motivation aligns with their mission to take down Forge so he agrees to help. His existence in the movie is entirely to facilitate the other characters’ quest.
Xenk nudges Edgin into a character development moment, he saves the player characters from disastrous rolls that would result in a total party kill (which is not fun), and he doesn’t overstay his welcome.
At the end of the Underdark quest, the player characters literally beg him to come with them because he’s so much better at this adventuring thing than they are. But Xenk declines. His presence would take out all the tension and fun in the adventure. If he stuck around, the campaign would be all about him, so he tells them that the rest of the movie is their quest to complete and leaves the story.
5. The Underdark monster ignores them
When they enter the Underdark, Xenk tells the entire party not to move because there’s a monster nearby that attacks intelligent creatures. The monster ignores them which is a pretty obvious jab at the entire party’s intelligence. What makes it even funnier for people who play the game is that the party’s classes – Druid, Bard, Paladin, Sorcerer, and Barbarian – often have Intelligence as their dump stat.
6. Sofina lets them fight in the arena instead of just killing them
Look, whoever is running the Honor Among Thieves campaign was clearly sick of their players going off-track. Do you really want them to waste the hours of prep work and map-making that went into that arena just because it would make more sense to kill them outright? It’s a waste of time and it’s boring.
6. Holga’s potato throw is so silly it’s quintessentially Dungeons & Dragons
There are some player character ideas that are so funny, you can’t say no to them. In the scene towards the end of the movie where Forge is threatening Kira’s life, Holga throws a potato at him, allowing her to escape. You can imagine a pause in the middle of that scene where a player character talks to their dungeon master to ask if they can make an improvised weapon attack with a potato and it’s just ridiculous enough that the only choice is to agree.
7. All the other plot holes in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves that people think don’t make sense
That’s the point. A campaign is ultimately meant to be fun, no matter how serious or unserious it is. It’s not that fun for players if the dungeon master running the game goes out of their way to kill the player characters. Plus, there has to be just enough loose ends to allow for a full campaign to tie in with what is clearly a one-shot.