Dungeons & Dragons is headed to video game Minecraft in a dedicated campaign expansion featuring places, monsters and classes from the fantasy RPG.
The Minecraft Dungeons & Dragons DLC will be a story-driven expansion similar to the video game’s existing Adventure Mode, focusing more on guiding players through pre-built levels rather than its open-ended block-building and survival elements.
The DLC will open with the familiar sight of a Dungeons & Dragons game being played around a table in a basement, before players are transported to the Forgotten Realms, the central setting for the tabletop RPG.
A number of iconic locations from Forgotten Realms were shown in brickified Minecraft form, including the castle of Caer-Dineval found in Icewind Dale and the Sword Coast’s fortified library Candlekeep.
These locations will serve as hubs for players to visit between their adventures, allowing them to interact with NPCs and visit shops before venturing back into more open ‘wilderness’ areas. While exploration will play a key part, the DLC won’t be fully open-world, with players travelling between cities and villages. According to Minecraft creator Mojang, which partnered with developer Everbloom Games on the upcoming release, there will be at least 10 such hubs in the DLC, at least one per chapter of the DLC’s approximately 10-hour campaign.
Mojang added that the recreations of D&D locations were designed to evoke the ‘grand but humble’ style of original Minecraft builds, adding that the DLC would have a “massive” scale with “a lot to explore”.
Inhabiting the environments will be Minecraft spins on classic D&D monsters, with a blocky beholder, displacer beast, mimic, gold dragon and gelatinous cube all spotted during the DLC’s press reveal. Separate peeks at story cutscenes included a look at sage of magic Thesserai in Candlekeep and storm giant Nalkra.
“How do we take what we know and love in D&D and put it into Minecraft?” Wizards of the Coast senior producer Tom Sargent outlined as a goal for the team. “This might be the first time someone encounters D&D.”
In keeping with RPG tradition, players will be able to choose a D&D class for their character from one of four iconic roles: barbarian, wizard, rogue and paladin. Their chosen class will affect the abilities available in the DLC’s new combat system, with players triggering attacks from a hotbar before needing to wait for more powerful skills to cool down before being used again. The real-time combat was described as encouraging effective combos of basic attacks and bigger moves, similar to the cooldown-based rotations of MMOs. Mojang’s senior producer Riccardo Lenzi described the DLC as an “action RPG in Minecraft”.
As players progress through the campaign, their characters will level up, gaining new abilities and increased stats. Their stats can also be modified by gear and equipment collected during their travels, managed using a menu system new to Minecraft allowing players to manage their quest log, inventory, skills and access a glossary. While players’ chosen class will influence their combat abilities, it won’t have any bearing on the DLC’s story.
Alongside combat, characters’ stats will also play into a brand new social interaction system inspired by Dungeons & Dragons’ dice rolls. Interacting with characters may present the option for multiple-choice dialogue, along with the need to roll a d20 - using a new system introduced to Minecraft for the DLC - to judge the player’s success. One screenshot showed the option to choose Attack, Insight, Intimidate or Persuade when conversing with a goblin. (Complete with a use of “hooman”.)
Lenzi described the Minecraft Dungeons & Dragons DLC as a “monster of a project”, with Sargent admitting that the team had anticipated a “much smaller experience” to begin with. The campaign will include narration and voiced characters, along with new music composed just for the expansion, and has been “optimised with a single player in mind to enjoy the story”, according to Lenzi.Watch on YouTube
Minecraft’s Dungeons & Dragons DLC will be released this spring. The expansion will be available on all platforms that support the base game, which is required to play.
Lenzi added that more crossover between Minecraft and D&D could happen in the future, if the expansion goes down well: “The options are open if people love it. If there’s demand, we are happy to do more”