11 Times 'The Hobbit' Is Just Like a Game of 'Dungeons & Dragons'
This is probably the geekiest thing you'll read today.
Faithful to the book or not, the third and final Hobbit movie is fun to watch on a whole different level for old school gamers. Like some massive battle mapped out on graph paper and playmats, The Battle of the Five Armies feels like the cinematic interpretation of a really great Dungeons & Dragons campaign. Or, for those a little younger, like an epic Warcraft quest. Characters land unlikely saving throws, class-and-race-specific traits are played to the hilt, and five armies battle over a mountain full of loot. With that in mind, here are the moments that felt most like they were pulled directly from a game of D&D.
1. Bard Rolls a Natural 20
Bard brought down Smaug with a shot that was nothing short of miraculous. In D&D, all things miraculous are achieved by rolling a "Natural 20." That's when you roll an unmodified 20 on a 20-sided die. Assuming Bard is a level 11 (or higher) Ranger, he also benefits from "Improved Precise Shot," meaning his Natural 20 critical hit could ignore all Smaug's Armor Class Benefits because, as we know, there's a chink in his armor.
2. Erebor in Ruins Is the Ultimate Campaign Setting
When Battle of the Five Armies opens, the dwarves are holed up in Erebor, aka the Lonely Mountain. It has all the makings of a great campaign setting. It's a mountain full of loot that everyone wants, and it's majestic, but also creepy, and the treasure may be cursed. It's like Peter Jackson is the ultimate Dungeon Master.
3. The Dwarves Got Some Fat Loot from That Dragon
When Smaug dies, the dwarves quickly take stock of the Lonely Mountain's treasures. Not only do they have more gold than they could ever spend, they're also outfitted handsomely in Heavy Armor that probably has some pretty sweet race-specific stats. Even Bilbo gets a valuable mithril tunic to keep him safe.
4. Everyone Has an Alignment
Character alignments massively affect the role-playing aspect of Dungeons & Dragons. These are basically guidelines for how a character should behave when making decisions, and it definitely seems like everyone in the Hobbit movies has a clear alignment.
5. Galadriel Turns the Undead
When Galadriel banishes the Necromancer, she's employing the classic D&D cleric ability to "Turn Undead." Of course, if she's able to successfully use this ability on a foe as powerful as the Necromancer, aka Sauron, that means she would be a very powerful character herself.
6. Taking Down 100 Orcs Like It's No Big Deal
When Thorin, Kili, Fili, and Dwalin find themselves behind enemy lines, facing a squad of mercenary orcs, Thorin confidently reassures his squad there can't be more than 100 of them. And they proceed to slice through them like cheesecake. These swarm scenarios are actually pretty common in D&D campaigns, and if your character is a fairly high level, you'll find yourself just as easily cutting through the swarming, yet weak, enemy forces.
7. Legolas Defies Physics with Deft Saving Throws
Legolas must have a full 18 dexterity to pull off the things he does in the movies. In Battle of the Five Armies he defies physics by leaping across falling stones to save himself from a collapsing bridge. In a game of D&D that might play out with the Dungeon Master informing a player that the bridge his/her elf ranger is standing on is collapsing, and the player having to roll a saving throw to make it safely to the other side.
8. Bilbo Levels Up and Gears Up
Bilbo Baggins is an inexperienced Level 1 burglar (aka Thief) hobbit (aka Halfing) when he sets out in An Unexpected Journey. Thanks to some sweet gear he found in a goblin cave (the One Ring to rule them all), he can turn invisible at will, which makes him much more powerful. He also acquired a named legendary blade (Sting) with some great stats and an excellent special ability (glowing around bad guys). In the course of his journey he also becomes far more capable and proves his wit with Gollum, the trolls, and Smaug. So by the time he comes home to the Shire with even more loot (a mithril tunic and a chest full of gold) he's a solid mid-level character ready for a new campaign.
9. The Boss Battle
When a DM (Dungeon Master, that's the guy who runs the game) sets up a new campaign, throwing in a big bad boss is an easy way to add some drama to the proceedings. In Azog's case, you're talking about an Orc warrior with a full 18 strength who's very physical. He wouldn't present an insurmountable challenge, but players would definitely have a hard time with him.
10. Your Favorite Characters Die
It can be a real bummer when your favorite character dies, but it happens. It takes hours and hours of gameplay just to get a character up to 10. But sometimes the dice just don't roll your way and all that work is lost as your imaginary avatar suffers an imaginary death on real graph paper. Just like in the game, we watched this time as Kili, Fili, and Thorin bit the dust.
11. Thorin's Final Words
Thorin Oakenshield's final words are legendary among Tolkien fans, and the movie used his brief speech from the book almost verbatim. But it's actually not uncommon for characters to get final words in a game of D&D. When an NPC (non-player character) dies, they might have information to pass along to the players. And when a player character dies, the DM might ask them if they have any final words for the rest of their party. This is actually useful if there's only one member of a party that has crucial information, but sometimes it's just a chance for a player to add some flair to a character's demise.