Dungeons & Dragons is, without a doubt, the world most popular tabletop role-playing game, and there’s no denying its influence not only on the hobby it more or less created, but also on video games, in various ways.
From the old dungeon-crawling classics of the eighties, through the revolutionary Infinity Engine games, to the more modern spray of adaptations of the rules and settings, we’re here to tell you about the best D&D based video games you could play as of 2023. Be ready for isometric evergreens and flashy modern productions alike!
Let’s roll perception to spot all the great DnD games lurking about!
|Pathfinder: Kingmaker - Enhanced Plus Edition||2018-09-25||Owlcat Games||87%|
|Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance||2021-06-22||Tuque Games||6%|
|Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous||2021-09-02||Owlcat Games||89%|
|Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara||2013-06-18||Iron Galaxy Studios||68%|
|Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition||2013-01-16||Beamdog||84%|
|Neverwinter Nights 2 Complete||2006-10-31||Obsidian Entertainment||3%|
|Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition||2018-03-27||Beamdog||78%|
|Tales from Candlekeep: Tomb of Annihilation||2017-10-11||BKOM Studios||93%|
|Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition||2014-10-30||Beamdog||89%|
|Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition||2013-11-15||Beamdog||74%|
|The Temple of Elemental Evil||2003-09-16||Troika Games|
|Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition||2017-04-11||Beamdog||83%|
|Icewind Dale 2 Complete||2002-27-08||Black Isle Studios|
|Solasta: Crown of the Magister||2020-10-20||Tactical Adventures|
Yes, it is true, technically…and legally, Pathfinder isn’t Dungeons & Dragons. But, on the other hand, it is a touched-up 3.5 edition of D&D, simply released under a different name, by a different company. Therefore, Pathfinder video games qualify as D&D games. Pathfinder: Kingmaker was the first of those, and it turned out pretty well, adapting the TTRPG campaign into a coherent whole.
The game begins with you leading a group of wannabe adventurers into a contested land in need of some bandit-bashing, but it doesn’t take long before you’re running the place. Region-management is quite developed and makes good use of the companions you recruit over time, but it is just a prelude to the epic-scale running-the-show that happens in the next PF game.
Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance
The 2021 reboot of the Dark Alliance series was a very different affair than the original action RPGs from the early 2000s. The combat was leaning closer to the TPP action genre. Instead of completely unknown PCs, here you get to play heroes you might recognize from the R. A. Salvatore novels: Drizzt, Wulfgar, Bruenor, and Catti-brie, trying to save the Icewind Dale… again.
Each character has a gameplay niche they fill, from tanking, to ranged attacks and magic, and it should be no surprise, that Dark Alliance shines in co-op. AI is alright, but it won’t give you the same sense of four classic D&D heroes working together the way multiplayer does. The game is a rare action title set in the Forgotten Realms, and so it’s worth pointing out.
Pathfinder Wrath of the Righteous
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is Owlcat Games’s follow-up to Kingmaker, and it is an all-around improvement over their studio’s previous game. The story doesn’t put you up against some political fight over a region, it puts you up against a full-on demonic invasion, and as time passes, you get to run the crusade aimed at pushing back against the fiendish tide.
A great hook for WotR are the Mythic Paths, special quests which initiate you into transformations into greater magical forms. You could be a dragon, a swarm of insects, and angel, and a few other, equally awe-inspiring options. The character development is even more robust than in Kingmaker, which should make every powergamer and optimizer very happy.
D&D Lords of Waterdeep
Another technicality on the list. Lords of Waterdeep isn’t TECHNICALLY D&D tabletop game, but it IS set in one of the most prominent cities from the Forgotten Realms setting. Gameplay-wise, though? It’s a digital adaptation of a board game putting you in the fancy clothes and sprawling mansions held by the semi-secret rulers of the city trying to expand their influence.
You’ll be hiring adventurers so they complete quests on your behalf, you’ll send spies to the other lords, and buy real estate to unveil new ways to increase your personal power. Unlike the physical game, this one you can play solo with AI filling in for other players, but the game does feature online multiplayer, both real-time and asynchronous, if your schedules are being weird.
Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara
|Developer:||Iron Galaxy Studios|
D&D: Chronicles of Mystara remasters two classic Capcom beat’em-ups set in a now mostly forgotten setting of Mystara. You won’t roll any D20s here, but you will have a party of (up to four) companions by your side, and a good chunk of the Monster Manual to side-scroll and carve through. The original games launched in the mid-90s, but CoM… makes them playable on modern machines.
The re-release comes with a few perks the original version couldn’t offer. For one, there’s online, drop-in/drop-out multiplayer for up to four people. Another thing are the extra game modes thrown on top of the classic arcade game, such as a time attack mode, or extra challenges which give you’re a rewarding reason to shake up your usual playstyle.
Baldur’s Gate was the one to “blame” for codifying the way cRPGs are expected to be made. The isometric camera, 3D figures on detailed 2D maps, branching conversation trees, and real-time with pause combat are now staples of the genre. Although the Infinity Engine was created for RTS games, its legacy is clear even in recent Disco Elysium, which is all investigation and dialogue.
The story of Bhaalspawn lives on in the memories and collective awareness of RPG fans, and characters such as Minsc are among the most fondly remembered across all BioWare games. In 2012 Beamdog released an Enhanced edition, designed to work well on modern systems and include quality-of-life improvements. There’s even a phone and console version!
Planescape: Torment was an experiment which paid off – the game remains one of the most respected cRPG stories in history. Its setting was very far from Baldur’s Gate’s familiar fantasy land with dwarves and elves. If the weirdness of the Planescape setting wasn’t enough, the storyline (designed by Chris Avellone) amplified it.
PS: Torment is a very text-heavy game, with a script of about 800 thousand words. There are conflicting philosophies, matters of raw belief, the examination of immortality, and plenty of chances to define the protagonist’s personality and goals through dialogue. P:T is a reader’s game, so much so that the final showdown can be solved with words, and they truly are some hard-hitting words.
While both Baldur’s Gate and Planescape: Torment were story-focused, Icewind Dale took a slightly different direction. While by no means bereft of story, it put more focus on combat encounters than its predecessors did. The result was excellent, and while the sequel polished it significantly, it’s Icewind Dale 1 that got the modern remaster, so who’s winning, huh?
IWD allowed you to create your own full adventuring party of up to six people and take them on a guided tour of the snow-covered locales of the titular Icewind Dale. The story is appropriately dramatic, speaking of ancient fiendish invasion and powerful magic users, but serves mostly as a pretext to go on another dungeon crawl and participate in another battle.
Baldur's Gate 2
The conclusion of the Bhaalspawn saga, Baldur’s Gate 2 was a general improvement of BG1’s features across the board. More character-building options, a bigger focus on the story, and somehow an even more epic-scale storyline all make BG2 an archetypal Dungeons & Dragons video game for the ages, a true landmark in the genre history.
It has fewer possible companions than BG1, but they are, on average, more developed and exhibit more personality, resulting in more meaningful content overall. Baldur’s Gate 2 is an obvious title to check out before the third game comes out, although you shouldn’t stress too much, it’s by no means obligatory to understand it, you’ll just get a bigger kick out of all the references.
Neverwinter Nights was BioWare’s first attempt at making an RPG in a 3D world. It wasn’t pretty, even back in the day, and the single-player campaign environments were quite obviously cobbled together from reused assets…but that was a show of what Aurora Engine could do. A show of possibilities waiting for aspiring content creators.
See, NWN came with potent modding tools and great multiplayer, so players could run their D&D campaigns through the game or create custom single-player modules. That’s where NWN’s strength has always been, and there were many persistent role-playing servers one could join and have fantastic online D&D experience before Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds came around.
Icewind Dale II
|Developer:||Black Isle Studios|
Icewind Dale II was the last Infinity Engine game ever developed, and the IE era definitely ended on a high note. IWD brought the 3rd edition of the D&D ruleset to video games and took the players on a grand tour of the region, even visiting a familiar village, beset by the new threat from a fiendish sibling duo trying to carve out a piece of the Icewind Dale for their followers.
Focused on combat just as much as the first one, the third edition ruleset makes for excellent combat and exploration scenarios. Meanwhile, the plot escalated at an appropriate pace and while there aren’t many crucial choices to make, it’s engaging and interesting. Unfortunately, we can’t expect an Enhanced Edition because the source code has been lost.
Temple of Elemental Evil
Troika’s Temple of Elemental Evil definitely stands out among all (roughly) modern D&D games. Not only does it use a famously complex 3.5 D&D ruleset, but it uses a LOT of it. Plenty of character-building options and a well-developed turn-based combat system make ToEE the most complete and faithful adaptation of D&D rules to date, although the 5e-based BG3 might have it beat.
It also doesn’t hurt that it aims to recreate the classic D&D megadungeon from the adventure module under the same title. It’s like a tribute to D&D and a very pretty one at that. ToEE looked great at launch and still does, nearly twenty years later. With a community patch from the Circle of Eight ToEE is the gem it was intended to be.
Neverwinter Nights 2
There was a time when Obsidian Entertainment kept inheriting licenses from other studios and was making sequel after sequel. Neverwinter Nights 2 was no different. Where the first game’s campaign was so-so with no party dynamics, NWN2 brought adventuring parties back, and with them, characters with personalities or at least motivations.
It also gave players some say over the operations of their own fortress, a system which Obsidian tried to recreate in Pillars of Eternity. Created at the last stages of 3.5 edition, it could draw for the extensive source material and was the first time D&D video games featured the Warlock class, drawing power from extra-planar entities, a morally grey mirror for Clerics.
Tales from Candlekeep: Tomb of Annihilation
Tales from Candlekeep: Tomb of Annihilation is a curious mix. Its mechanics come from the Dungeons & Dragons Adventure System, designed for board games, and rooted in the mechanics of the 4th edition of D&D, but the eponymous Tomb of Annhilation is an adventure for D&D 5e. The resulting game is an interesting tactical journey through procedurally generated dungeons.
You get to control up to four (five with a DLC) characters: ranger Artus, wizard Asharra, bard Birdsong, paladin Dragonbait, and, with DLC, druid Qawasha. Each character has unique abilities and powers, of course. Together, they traverse the environments leading to and through the eponymous Tomb of Annihilation in order to find the source of the Death Curse and heal the land.
Solasta: Crown of the Magister
Solasta: Crown of the Magister is an ambitious project making full use of the SRD (System Reference Document) for D&D 5e. It doesn’t have all the hard data like spells, or all the ancestries, but it is free to download and use. Solasta is a rather faithful adaption of the SRD rules, using what it can, and making custom options for things not included. And it has a certain great feature.
Instead of the „face” character doing all the talking, in Solasta the entire party participates in conversations, depending on the dialogue option you choose. If you offer to heal somebody’s wounds for free, it’s probably the Life Cleric who will offer this, not a borderline evil Fighter. Just like in a tabletop RPG! The game also has solid turn-based battles with some nice verticality.
Unrelated to the Neverwinter Night series (other than by the eponymous city), Neverwinter is an MMORPG set in the Forgotten Realms. Rooted originally in the 4th edition, the game has since moved closer to 5e as of the Undermountain update. Neverwinter has been trucking along since 2013 and it’s still doing quite well, in some parts thanks to the wealth of playable adventures.
Neverwinter features many campaigns taken directly from the tabletop, so if you have nobody to play D&D with you can still get a taste of the ongoing story of Forgotten Realms. An even cooler feature is the Foundry, which allows players to create their own adventures and share them with others. As a result, there’s a ton of content to play through alone or with allies.
Eye of the Beholder series
|Release date:||1991 (EotB1) - 1993 (EotB3)|
Eye of the Beholder is an old-school role-playing game, more in line with classics like Bard’s Tale and its spiritual successor: Legends of Grimrock. It’s a series of three first-person, party-based RPGs, with a strong emphasis on dungeon crawling, but there’s a story involving the eponymous Beholder known as Xanatar, the ruler of the criminal underground of Waterdeep.
The next two installments took the action from Waterdeep to investigate a temple called Darkmoon in Eye of the Beholder 2, and in EofB3 we get to visit Myth Drannor, an ancient, ruined city now ruled by a powerful lich. The games are quite hard, requiring a good team composition and being smart about the risks taken. It takes some getting used to, but it’s one of the best D&D video games.
Dungeons & Dragons: Dragonshard
Eberron was a setting devised for D&D 3.5 and has since been successfully ported over to the 4th and the 5th edition. Unlike the Forgotten Realms, Eberron hasn’t appeared in many games so far, with Dragonshard being the only one aside from D&D Online. It’s a mixture of an RTS, with buildings and armies, and a role-playing game, with dungeons and individually powerful heroes.
The RTS part of the game takes place mostly on the surface, called Eberron, while the adventuring is tied to the underworld called Kyber. The player has a choice of three sides of the conflict to choose: the Umbragen – the Eberron dark elves; the Order of the Flame – militant arm of the local major religion; and the Lizardfolk – protectors of the Heart of Siberys, a powerful artifact.
Dungeons & Dragons Online
|Developer:||Turbine, Standing Stone Games|
Unlike D&D: Dragonshard, Dungeons & Dragons Online is quite close to the rules of 3.5, with proper stats, a good bunch of skills, as well as many classes and playable species you know from the tabletop. There were quite a few changes made because DDO isn’t turn-based like the tabletop, but it’s still unmistakably a D&D game, and one set in Eberron, on the continent of Xen’drik.
The game also visited the Forgotten Realms, specifically the region known as Cormyr. DDO launched in 2006 and it’s still going quite strong, with new expansions coming every once in a while, for example the May 2019 expansion featured the city of Sharn, and added new species and class options, while a 2020 expansion features Feywild, a new species: Shifters, and a raised level cap.
Baldur’s Gate 3
Thanks to the success of their Original Sin games Larian Studios have been given a chance to work on the third installment of the Baldur’s Gate series, and they are bringing the venerable license to modern technology and to the latest edition of D&D, jumping from 2e straight to 5e. It is also technically a sequel to the 2019 Descent into Avernus tabletop D&D campaign.
You get to either create your own character or pick one of the pre-made ones, who come with their own storylines (inactive in Early Access). They also act as potential companions for your own PC. There’s also a spectacular turn-based combat system using the full 5th edition ruleset, with some interesting tweaks, such as special weapon-based actions diversifying your combat options.
This concludes our glimpse in the world of video game adaptations of Dungeons & Dragon and adventures taking place in the venerable game’s many settings. Hopefully, you’ve found something worth rolling Investigation for, and you’ll be going on many digital adventures in days to come.