Honor Among Thieves’ Owlbear Controversy Explained

The official trailer for Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves has finally dropped. Here’s how one Owlbear has caused controversy in the fandom.

The first trailer for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves has dropped, and a single monster has already sparked controversy — the Owlbear. Released during San Diego Comic Con 2022, the Honor Among Thieves trailer gave a first glimpse at the plot of the long-awaited film, which had remained under wraps throughout production. The characters of Honor Among Thieves’ stars like Chris Pine, Hugh Grant, and Regé-Jean Page were also revealed during the event; however, it was a brief clip of Doric, a Tiefling Druid portrayed by Sophia Lillis, that has caused such heated debate among the Dungeons & Dragons fandom.

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In the brief trailer scene, Doric transforms her body into that of an Owlbear using Wild Shape, easily decimating her enemies before returning to her Tiefling form. in Dungeons and Dragons 5e — the current edition of the game’s rules, published by Wizards of the Coast — Wild Shape gives Druids the ability to magically transform into any beast they have before encountered due to their attunement with nature. The problem that arises in the trailer and is, therefore, the heart of the debate, is that Owlbears aren’t classified as “beasts“but as”monstrosities,” meaning transforming into an Owlbear via Wild Shape would not be an option for players who strictly follow the rules of the Player’s Handbook.


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After the trailer’s release, many fans took to the internet to call out the misuse of the game’s rules; if the trailer is already floating the rules of the source material, there’s a chance the film could ignore enough of it to turn Honor Among Thieves into another generic fantasy flick instead of a true Dungeons and Dragons film However, others have countered that the move was made to highlight a monster unique to D&D, and the tabletop game has amassed a vast amount of lore and original monsters, meaning fitting it all into a movie format is a formidable task. On top of that, many players in the game play by the “Rule of Cool,” where cool actions can supersede the written rules — and seeing a Druid wipe through multiple enemies by shifting into a Monstrosity mid-battle definitely qualifies as “cool.”


How The Owlbear Debate Highlights Dungeons & Dragons’ Greatest Quality


Dungeons and Dragons Honor Among Thieves Sophia Lillis Doric

While the debate rages on, its mere existence highlights what makes D&D the fantastic game; it has something for every kind of player. For those who prefer to stick to the written rules, there are plenty of references, as well as pre-designed D&D adventures and characters to explore while playing by the book. However, the key to the game’s creativity lies in one caveat that can be found in the Dungeon Master’s Guide; “The D&D rules help you and the other players have a good time, but the rules aren’t in charge. You’re the DM, and you are in charge of the game.” In D&D, the Dungeon Master makes the final call. This means that the rules of D&D are fluid, varying from table to table and adventure to adventure, providing infinite ways to play that cater to all types of players.


With this in mind, there is no one way to play D&Dand there is no one way to create a Dungeons and Dragons movie. Adapting the rules of a tabletop game into a purely visual format means things may not be exactly the same in Honor Among Thieves as they would in a traditional campaign setting, especially in a game with the level of creative liberty that D&D provides. Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves may not follow the rules perfectly — but, like in the game itself, that’s what will likely make it great.

Next: Why The Dungeons & Dragons Reboot Will Be Bigger & Better Than Past Movies



  • Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (2023)Release date: Sep 08, 2023

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