As someone who’s currently playing a bard in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, one of the biggest questions I had while watching Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves was “Why isn’t Edgin using any magic?”
With his lute and his smooth-talking ways, Edgin (Chris Pine) is the bard of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves‘ adventuring party. By game standards, this means he’s a full caster. Bards can cast iconic spells like Vicious Mockery, as well as magically inspire fellow players with Bardic Inspiration. But while Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves brings several classic game spells to life, such as Speak With Dead, it leaves many others — including those associated with bards — behind.
‘Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves’ review: Does this fantasy adventure finally capture the magic of the game?
The limited magic use also extends to druid Doric (Sophia Lillis), who frequently shapeshifts using Wild Shape but otherwise doesn’t cast spells. Really, the main caster of the party is sorcerer Simon (Justice Smith), who has his own journey of self-discovery related to magic use.
Given that Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves features several casting classes who never cast spells, I asked directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley how they chose which aspects of certain classes to bring to life in the film, especially when it came to magic.
“It was primarily dictated by the story,” Goldstein said in a Zoom interview. “Magic is so powerful and can solve so many problems that we decided we really wanted to limit it to certain characters, because then it forces them to find other ways through.”
Adding to that idea of problem-solving is the fact that Dungeons & Dragons spells aren’t always a surefire way to get out of a jam. In the film, Simon complains about how everyone believes that magic is an easy fix to every solution. As the sorceror points out repeatedly (and as the film shows), magic has its limits.
“That’s baked into Dungeons & Dragons, that limitation,” added Goldstein. “The game would be too easy if you could just cast a spell for everything.”
However, just because we don’t see Edgin directly casting anything doesn’t mean he doesn’t have special abilities of his own.
“We also liked the idea that Edgin’s only real magical power was being able to convince people to carry out his ridiculous plans,” said Daley. “And the fact that he’s able to charm people and get people on board is a little bit less obvious of a power, but certainly something that makes him stand out in the group.”
Hey, that high Charisma modifier always comes in handy!
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is now in theaters.