Extendable trailer designs

Honor Among Thieves Owlbear Trailer Scene, Explained

The recent trailer for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Thieves comes as a dream come true for many fans of the popular tabletop role-playing game. With many iconic monsters and spells unique to the franchise rendered in live-action for the first time, the action sequences that once existed primarily in the games players’ imaginations now offer a visual assortment of cinematic magic. Still, a few details stood out to longtime gamers as inaccurate to the game’s mechanics, leading to a fascinating online debate for veteran gamers and fresh-faced viewers alike.


The main betrayal of the game’s mechanics is the transformation of the film’s druid into an owl bear. While this might be the coolest action beat in the trailer, the nagging details of exactly how such a sequence would unfold in a game of Dungeons & Dragons serves as a springboard for a whole debate on the impossibility of such a transformation. Even a world of magic and fantasy has rules, and when a major Hollywood production breaks those rules, fans have the option of responding with an age-old incantation: “Uh, actually…”

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The the newly released movie trailer has a lot for fans to thrill. Brand monsters unique to Dungeons & Dragons, such as facial expressions and owls, stand out as identifiable role-playing elements whose inclusion promises thrilling fidelity to the source material. Game of Dungeons & Dragons are, by design, infinitely variable. For this reason, it would be so easy to stick the title of the property onto any generic fantasy script. Incorporating game-specific properties into the trailer ensures that honor among thieves will be more than just a fantasy project on the assembly line, but the betrayals to the world of this source material stand out as counterintuitive to such assurance.


What stands out as the biggest betrayal of mechanics is the transformation of honor among thieves‘ owlbear druid, a feat that shouldn’t reasonably be possible in the context of a game. The druid in question is Doric, played by actress Sophia Lillis. One of the trailer’s action beats includes Doric transforming from a horse into an owl, slaughtering several soldiers, and then returning to her tiefling form as she mounts her horse. The problem for many long-time players? Doric shouldn’t reasonably be able to do that.

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Druids most often shapeshift into animals through their Wild Shape ability, but the ability is limited by the clarification that the druid in question can shapeshift into any “beast” of a certain challenge level. The problem is that “beast” is a creature classification that doesn’t apply to owls, which are considered a “monstrosity”. Even a Druid of the Circle of the Moon, the subclass that specializes the most in wild form, wouldn’t be able to transform into an owl-like monstrosity at any level.

The common origin cited for owl bears is that the species was first developed by a mad wizard conducting experiments, granting them a magical origin quite different from wolves, tigers and other animals classified as “beasts “. Of course, that’s not to say that Wild Shape is the only way a druid could transform into an owl, but even the alternate explanations aren’t particularly reasonable. The Polymorph spell suffers from the same limitation of only being able to turn targets into beasts, and True Polymorph, which could perform the feat, is not a spell offered on the druid’s spell list.


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The only standard way a druid could voluntarily make such a transformation into an owl would be with the Shapechange spell, but even that explanation of Doric’s feat is lackluster. Shapeshifter is a level 9 spell, making it one of the most powerful in the game and can only be cast by a druid at level 17, a true god in terms of power levels of Dungeons & Dragons. At this point, using Shapechange to become an owl bear may be possible…but it certainly wouldn’t be advisable. For the same spell slot, a druid can transform into a dragon or a phoenix or any number of creatures far more powerful than an owlbear.

Something has to give. The only way the film can follow the mechanics of the game is for Doric to be extremely powerful and incredibly reckless in his decision-making. But more likely than not, honor among thieves promotes a different mechanic arguably more fundamental to any game of Dungeons & Dragons: The cool rule. At the end of the day, anything a Dungeon Master wants to allow at a table, they can, and the movie’s trailer promises that its creators might be willing to concede the rule of cool for the sake of its battle. of owl. Fans favoring fidelity to the rules may balk, but if the filmmakers can walk that line between honoring its source material and valuing its own unique story, they just might be able to make a movie everyone can love.


To see how they explain the owl, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves hits theaters on March 3, 2023.



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