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How Dungeons & Dragons Inspired Classic PC Games

From fantasy to reality

Realms of adventure

Taken together, the D&D games from BioWare, Black Isle and Obsidian form a massive, loosely connected series. "Baldur's Gate," "Icewind Dale" and "Neverwinter Nights" all take place in a specialized D&D setting known as "Forgotten Realms."

This fan-favorite locale has everything a discerning adventurer needs for an heroic tale: roving wizards, enchanted weapons, warring political factions and a huge world with frozen mountains, lush jungles and everything in-between.

"It's the natural setting for high fantasy," Avellone said. The only exception, he said, was "Planescape: Torment," which lets players journey through multiple dimensions that house strange and otherworldly creatures.

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"We put conscious connections between the titles," Avellone said. Perhaps the most common narrative device in the series is the eternal Blood War between the evil creatures known as the tanar'ri (demons) and baatezu (devils). Sooner or later, every player of every game finds him or herself between the two combatants.

"The Blood War does not tie the games together," Avellone said, but rather reflects the theme of each game. "In 'Planescape: Torment,' the intention was to reference an eternal conflict that has no end in sight." This mirrors the inner journey of the Nameless One, that game's main character.

"It's the never-ending struggle: the picture of that warrior going off to fight forever," said Urquhart.

Obsidian is currently hard at work on "Project Eternity" (launching in Spring 2014) and the delightfully vulgar "South Park: The Stick of Truth" (December 10, 2013), but it has not worked on a D&D-branded game in half-a-decade. Still, if the stars all align, gamers could see a D&D title from the veterans at Obsidian in the future.

"We constantly talk to people about doing a game like that," Urquhart said. "Our real hope is that D&D can get used for these story- and character-driven games because that's what people really enjoy … [PC RPGs aren't] dead as long as people want to play them."

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