Divinity Original Sin (#6)
One of the best video game RPGs to come out in the past 5 years has been Divinity Original Sin 2. It was such a success that the developer, Larian Studios, has recently announced their next game will be Baldur’s Gate III in partnership with Dungeons and Dragons. So, we can already see a relationship between Larian Studios and the D&D team. The world may feel like a classic fantasy setting, but there are quite a few story hooks that would create an interesting spin on the tabletop RPG experience that I feel is worth exploring.
- Classic Fantasy
- Fit into an Existing System
- Strong Narrative Hooks
Set in the world of Rivellon, Divinity has a classic fantasy feel at first. Elves, Dwarves, Dragonborn, and of course Humans make up the core races in the setting, however, we get a few interesting twists such as intelligent undead which play a role, though not necessarily welcome by the rest of the world. This is important because how the races interact, not to mention their shared history with the gods, is a key through-line of the games. While one could certainly play a number of lower level, boots on the ground, type of campaign in this setting, the real strength comes from the idea that one character is working to ascend to Godhood in order to fight back the void. You see, the world of Rivellon is looked after by the Seven. Gods, who, to fight back against the void, gifted their power to a single person. This hero has recently died and their magic “Source” is running amok as powerful casters are becoming more frequent in the world. This is happening largely because the Gods wish for one such person to hardness enough power to attempt to ascend to Godhood, and fight back against the void. Since there is no current protector, void monsters are also becoming a familiar sight in the lands. To complicate matters further, sorcerers are feared and captured by the church. Sprinkle in the minor detail that the dead now walk the earth, and we find there are plenty of story hooks to round out a fun campaign.
Since the world of Divinity fits rather nicely into classic fantasy, I don’t think it would require revolutionary new system. The developer could use the Fate or D&D 5E open license as a starting point and build out from there. I’m leaning toward D&D as there is an existing relationship between companies as we mentioned before. That being said, the selling point would be a new game mechanic centered around ascending to Godhood. Almost like mythic levels in other games, the idea is to add an alternate progression system at higher levels. I could also see additional rules for multiple characters in a party attempting to ascend, however in the end, it can only be one. Undergoing trials by the Gods or 1v1 combat at the end of an epic campaign. Either way, the idea of being guided by the divine should play a center role both in the story and game mechanics. Much like the game, each one of the Seven could have a chosen champion as they fear the others have selected poorly, thus setting up a potential conflict for the players. There are a number of ways to play into this theme which was a strength of the game.
- Relies on New Ascension Rules
- Hard to Stand Out in Fantasy
- Not Enough to Stand on its Own
Though these ascension rules/ideas sound fantastic, if you take that away… you are left with little more than a typical fantasy setting. That being said, you want to hook players of the video game series, as well as, tabletop players interested in the idea of becoming a God. By using an existing system like D&D, you gain additional attention from the tabletop community based on the simple fact that it ‘s coming out by/with the D&D franchise. The fantasy market is full of a number of great IPs, so there is a risk that Divinity could get lost int he shuffle. The best way to mitigate that would be a joint release with Divinity III (Fingers Crossed). There are ways to do it, you just have to be smart as a publisher.
Overall, I would be excited by the idea of a Divinity tabletop RPG centered around the idea that one person in the party will become a living God. It could be up to the party to help one person achieve this goal, or work toward it themselves to end in a showdown of epic proportions.