By Rob Bunce (via MangaUK)
Let’s set the scene. The temple that was devoted to the gods is now harboring legions of the dead! The party has just battled through the nightmarish halls of the Lich’s domain, taking on the revenant hordes, the screams still ringing in your ears.
The Wizard is down to only their last few spells, the bond the Cleric has to their holy patron is becoming fainter, the monk is struggling to stand, and the Ranger only has three arrows left. Two dark ominous doors leading to the demonic necromancer loom before you in the shadows…what would you like to do?
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It’s moments like this that make Dungeons & Dragons great: the tension the players feel, the adrenaline coursing through your body as your fate is sealed by a single dice roll.
There are several anime shows that have been inspired by epic moments such as these. So if you’re a keen tabletop RPG player looking for some inspiration or something to scratch that itch before your next session, then check these shows out!
The Record of Lodoss War
Set in the TTRPG world of Forcelia, The Record of Lodoss War was originally created for the Japanese magazine Comptiq. It was a series of transcripts from a real-life Dungeons & Dragons game that readers could follow along with back in 1986. This soon gained enough popularity that novelizations were written, and in 1990 an anime was made.
You could say that The Record of Lodoss War is the pinnacle of D&D anime. The story follows Parn whose main goal is to restore his family’s honor and find out what truly happened to his disgraced father (classic character backstory). Parn is joined by his party members Deedlit the High Elf, Ghim the Dwarf, Etoh the Cleric, Slayn the Wizard, and Woodchuck the Thief.
This show is full of epic fantasy battles, deep story, and a great setting that is just full of Dungeons & Dragons inspiration. Give it a watch!
Created from Kumo Kagyu’s love of Western tabletop role-playing games, GOBLIN SLAYER is a D&D player’s ultimate fantasy. From the sound of rolling dice in the credits to the epic battles against monsters and beasts which have been lifted from the Monster Manual, this anime is full of classic D&D tropes that will have any player pointing and giggling at the screen.
GOBLIN SLAYER has the classic “Edgelord” character story which revolves around him avenging his dead parents. As his name suggests, he’s only interested in jobs that involve killing Goblins. Eventually, he is joined by his other party members that appear to be: a Cleric, a Sorcerer, a Druid and a Ranger, which makes for a pretty well-balanced adventuring group.
If you’re a Dungeon Master looking for some great battle inspiration, or a player looking for some neat tricks to put up your sleeve, then we suggest you check GOBLIN SLAYER out.
A dark fantasy series where humans are hunted by shapeshifters that want nothing more than to eat their flesh, Claymore is a dark fantasy and one where its world would be a stellar inspiration for a TTRPG world.
The story follows Clare, a Human-Yoma hybrid known as a Claymore, warriors specifically trained by “The Organization” to vanquish the Yoma and save humanity.
What makes this show particularly good for D&D fans are the relationships between Clare and her fellow comrades, and the world this is set in. Who doesn’t want to be a part of a band of specifically trained warriors set in a dark fantasy world where fighting for your life against horrific enemies is only just the beginning?
Sorcerers, Wizards, and Dragons are Fairy Tail’s main USP, and it’s full of Dungeons & Dragons inspiration. This high-fantasy shounen is ripe with not just epic magic battles, but also fights against Dragons and other mythical beasts that would have you screaming at your dice should a battle like this ever grace your table!
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The Fairy Tail guild is one of high renown in this world, and Natsu Dragneel, the story’s protagonist, is a member. If you ever wanted to see a high-level, magic-only party in action, then Fairy Tail is right for you. And in classic shounen style, the story and fights get even more epic as the episodes go on.
If you’ve been playing D&D a while, then you’ve probably played a classic-style campaign where all the party members are a part of a guild and their main objective is to kill monsters. Fairy Tail ticks all of those boxes and is great inspiration for characters and a game world. It’s even a great watch if you want to get pumped up before a session!
The Rising of the Shield Hero
Dungeons & Dragons revolve around three things: Dungeon, Dragons and Loot (calling the game Dungeons, Dragons & Loot might have been a bit of a mouthful).
One of the most satisfying things to do in-game is to find a powerful and sometimes legendary piece of gear that either gives your player an amazing boost or levels up with you!
This is the basic idea behind The Rising of the Shield Hero, a world and narrative centered around four heroes with four legendary weapons that can save the world. It’s a fantastic idea and a great campaign narrative for any D&D game.
What makes The Rising of the Shield Hero even better is that the adventuring party only consists of one of these legendary heroes and weapons, with the other three pieces of gear shrouded in mystery, giving the story an excellent main goal of sorts which makes the players (or in this case viewers) eager to see what happens next.
Grimgar, Ashes and Illusions
This is the second isekai to hit this list and another great world for any aspiring DM to take some notes from! Plus, it’s very pretty to look at. The anime follows a party of adventurers who have been transported to the world of Grimgar from their homes in modern times. Now, with no choice but to battle monsters and level up, they must try to survive this hostile fantasy land.
Why should DMs, and indeed players, check this out? This is classic D&D-style storytelling. Usually, a Dungeons & Dragons campaign starts with a party of adventurers discovering a brand-new world they have only just stepped into. And more often than not your first fight may have you battling some goblins—which is how Grimgar, Ashes and Illusions starts.
The story building that eludes to the Big Bad™️ is also reminiscent of some of the campaigns that we have experienced ourselves!
When building a homebrew world in D&D, the Dungeon Master’s Guide suggests that your world should have already had or be leading to a world-changing event. It’s a great little plot hook that gets the players interested and invested in the story. Black Clover does this wonderfully by introducing you to the world after a historic battle between a huge demon and a powerful sorcerer!
Not only is the storytelling on par with most D&D campaigns, but it also has great use of magic—showcasing those that are basically a Wizard/Sorcerer multi-class, born with innate magic abilities.
This is a great world and perfect for anyone wanting to dabble in a high magic sorcerer/wizard campaign with elves, dwarves and more.
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