Sword Coast Legends Lets Dungeon Masters Screw With Players In Real Time

Sword Coast Legends Lets Dungeon Masters Screw With Players In Real Time

Last week the developers of Sword Coast Legends demonstrated how players delve the upcoming CRPG’s dungeons. Now take a look at the tools Dungeon Masters can use to make their players’ lives hell.

Representing Dungeons & Dragons‘ dungeon master/player relationship in video game form is a real challenge. Giving a DM the power to craft an adventure is easy. Giving them something entertaining to do while the players are running it? Not so much.

Developer n-Space’s solution to the problem is an elegant one. As players run through a dungeon room-by-room, the Dungeon Master has access to the entire structure. Using a resource called DM Threat, the master of roleplaying ceremonies can construct encounters, modify the dungeon layout and place traps. From the video it looks like DM Threat returns as players overcome placed obstacles, freeing up the DM to create more havoc.

To keep things interesting as players advance, random Dungeon Master loot will drop, giving the DM more tools to harass players. They can even slip into the role of an NPC enemy in mid-battle, pitting their skills against the groups in a more direct fashion.

It’s worth noting that the character voices in the video are placeholders and not the final voices for the game, thank goodness.

So far, so good. I love the idea of the Dungeon Master as an active participant in the adventure, able to tailor each encounter to the strengths and weaknesses of the adventuring party based on the fly. And random DM loot drops? That’s just Christmas.

There’s still plenty we’ve not seen from Sword Coast Legends — most importantly the tools players will use to create their own custom adventures. How flexible will the system be? Can I voice my own custom NPCs? Can I narrate adventures as players explore? How many rust monsters can I place in a single encounter? Enough to make the Paladin pee himself? So many questions.

These questions and more should be answered in the coming months — Sword Coast Legends is due out on PC later this year from n-Space and Wizards of the Coast.


  • I always had this idea to create a DnD experience on Wii U, with the GamePad serving as the DM’s tool of trade. This definitely looks like it will capture that style so I’m all in.

  • So in other words, they just reused/reclaimed the idea of the Dungeon Master role from the original Neverwinter Nights.

    • Exactly. I’m appalled by the lack of credit given to Neverwinter Nights which had the same thing and possibly much better. That’s obviously part of the marketing strategy to make this look more innovative than it is, but journalists (if they can be called that) seem to swallow that stuff without doing any research or showing an sort of critical thinking on what marketing stuff they’re fed…

      We haven’t been shown whether there will be advanced DM features such as complex scripting. This allowed awesome things such as DM wands and other tools which went way beyond what was originally possible. I’m still bracing for a much more guarded fence this time around so that DLC can be sold instead of awesome community made mods. That’s my cynical 2 cents.

      • The things the community has made with the NWN toolset and DM function still blows my mind. Even today noone has gotten close and suprise suprise, this game was no different.

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