Honor Among Thieves Is Making A Bizarre Dungeons & Dragons Mistake

Fantasy enthusiasts are eagerly anticipating the upcoming movie, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, but the story seems to be making a strange narrative choice with its characters. Known as DND for short, Dungeons & Dragons is the most famous of many tabletop roleplaying games (TTRPGs), and its eagle-eyed fans were quick to pick out the apparent owlbear mistake in the new movie’s first trailer. Many of those same viewers may also notice something a little strange about the party of characters at the center of the story.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is gearing up to be a fantasy heist movie with a comedic tone. In many ways, this feels like an excellent decision. It contrasts with other overly-serious classic fantasy movies, like Willow or Red Sonja, and also fits well with the mood of the game itself. Many players find that the most memorable moments around their gaming tables come from the sillier and more comical antics of their characters. But with the Honor Among Thieves trailers highlighting several well-known DND monsters, one thing stands out about the group of heroes.

Why The Honor Among Thieves Party Races Are A Dungeons & Dragons Mistake

Honor Among Thieves cast lineup from the movie promo poster, showing the faces of the six main characters from the movie.

For some reason, most of Dungeon & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves main characters are human. The fact is, quite simply, that human characters are often a little boring to play, with no particular special quirks or traits. It’s not uncommon to find a Dungeons & Dragons party without one human among them, and it’s entirely possible to play entire campaigns of the game without encountering a single human. While other fantasy franchises, like Warcraft or Elder Scrolls, often put humans front and center, one of the most interesting things about Dungeons & Dragons is that humans are frequently downplayed. With six main characters, it seems a bit counterintuitive for four members of the group to be human.


Non-human characters are certainly not uncommon in fantasy stories. In Lord of the Rings, for example, only two members of the Fellowship of the Ring are human. Including non-human races can also come with its own set of pitfalls, however, as Bright proved with its uncomfortable use of racial tropes. All the same, it would surely have been a good choice to include some of the more interesting non-human Dungeons & Dragons races in the movie, highlighting the diversity of the game. Of course, part of this could just be from the fact that most audience members are human, but having a mostly-human group of adventurers feels like choosing the safe option for Honor Among Thieves.

The Monsters In Honor Among Thieves Make The Races Worse

Closeup of the tiefling Druid character from Honor Among Thieves, showing her horns.

While it could be argued that the mostly-human characters are a decision to save money on special effects, this feels unlikely. The special effects are seemingly plentiful in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, with lots of attention given to recreating the famous monsters of Dungeons & Dragons, from the titular dragons to what appears to be a gelatinous cube. What’s more, there are a host of simple ways to include non-humans. The Witcher, for instance, managed to portray elves without difficulty, and Lord of the Rings pioneered ways to convincingly show dwarves and halflings in cinema.

Overall, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is full of human characters, with even the villains, The Red Wizards of Thay, being almost exclusively humans in DND lore. But the characters aren’t without diversity, having a variety of backgrounds and professions, and the two Dungeons & Dragons races they have included, half-elves and tieflings are both popular choices among players. It must be said though, a group with more variety would allow a deeper range of interpersonal dynamics for the writers to explore, and it would’ve been nice to include some of the more distinctive peoples from Dungeons & Dragons canon, like half-orcs, aasimar, or dragonborn. Following the success of movies like The Shape of Water, it’s clear that a well-written story can make an audience care for a pointedly non-human character, even if they have no lines of dialogue.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves releases in theaters on March 31st, 2023.

Read Next: Let’s Talk About Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

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