Hellish video game Diablo is being turned into a board game and tabletop RPG.
The tabletop adaptations of Blizzard’s long-running series follow hot on the heels of this year’s Diablo IV, the latest in the demon-slaying franchise that started life on the PC back in 1997. This year’s instalment is the studio’s fastest-selling game to date, the World of Warcraft, Overwatch and StarCraft maker said following its release over the summer.
For those unfamiliar with Diablo, the games typically follow the player’s hero - potentially with a party of pals in multiplayer - as they slay their way to Hell and back in a series of dungeons filled with skeletons, demons and other monsters. The action-RPG gameplay will give your mouse-clicking finger (or button-mashing thumbs on consoles) a good workout, as players equip better and better loot dropped by enemies and use a hotbar full of skills - unlocked and levelled up by gaining XP - to carve their way through crowds of enemies before taking on bigger bosses.
While details in the announcement were sparse, it sounds like Diablo: The Board Game and Diablo: The Roleplaying Game will stay true to their namesake’s dungeon-crawling roots, while also delving into the wider lore and mythos of the world of Sanctuary, the various demons that lurk underneath it and the angels pitted against them in eternal conflict.
Players will take control of their own custom characters - known as ‘champions’ - who must venture through the setting of the game, helping those in need by exploring dungeons and tombs full of undead horrors. It’s not yet confirmed whether either game will feature elements of randomised or procedurally-generated dungeons - a hallmark of the video games - but an element of randomisation may be indicated by the announcement’s mention that stories will play out in the “ever-shifting world of Sanctuary”.
Characters will face multiple opponents in battle at the same time, with Glass Cannon Unplugged saying that the RPG’s system will provide “satisfying, fast-paced” combat. That system was confirmed to be a “unique” ruleset, rather than being based on an existing framework such as Dungeons & Dragons 5E - as with fellow video game adaptations including Dark Souls: The RPG.
The TRPG’s description says that characters will face an “inner struggle” in needing to strike a balance between the forces of Light and Darkness and face being pulled between sin and integrity, suggesting that a morality or karma system might be built into the gameplay - a notable addition that doesn’t appear in any of the Diablo video games to date. Dicebreaker has reached out to Glass Cannon for further gameplay details.
The board game and RPG will both be developed with contributions from the creative team behind the video games, stating that the tabletop games will “continue the lore and story” seen in the existing Diablo games.
"The roleplaying system will be based on the entire franchise and we will invite the players to travel the vast world of Sanctuary east to west, north to south, old and new," Glass Cannon Unplugged CEO Jakub Wiśniewski confirmed to Dicebreaker.
The Diablo tabletop RPG is due to release at next year’s BlizzCon, developer Blizzard’s annual celebration of its games. The event is typically held in early November or late October. Diablo: The Board Game will launch a crowdfunding campaign, with a launch and release date yet to be announced.
The next 12 months will be spent playtesting the games, with Glass Cannon opening a survey for community feedback that asks players what gameplay elements they feel are essential in a Diablo TRPG, which Diablo storylines or settings they’d like to see in a tabletop RPG, and their preferred level of play from one-shot adventures to long campaigns spanning multiple sessions.
Glass Cannon has experience adapting major video games for the tabletop, having turned brutal strategy game Frostpunk, zombie survival game Dying Light and battle royale shooter Apex Legends into board games. Diablo: The Roleplaying Game will be the studio’s first tabletop RPG.