Tabletop games have directly or indirectly inspired nearly every video game ever made. Many video gaming conventions, designs, and even mechanics draw from the ways humans have been playing games for thousands of years. However, has had an outsized impact on the video games industry by kickstarting the roleplaying game genre.
Some video games take things a step further, incorporating D&D themes into their concept and broad design. Some are overtly inspired by Dungeons & Dragons and take care to show it in their design. They might use modified versions of its rules, evoke it with their storytelling and premise, or even outright adapt D&D to a video game system.
10 Final Fantasy
The Final Fantasy franchise contains some of the most iconic and influential RPG video games ever. However, the first Final Fantasy game is far more reminiscent of D&D than most other RPGs. Final Fantasy draws from D&D from top to bottom. Aside from its gameplay comprising exploring dungeons, there are direct mechanics players can recognize.
For instance, Final Fantasy uses an identical Vancian magic system as older D&D editions, where spellcasters forget their spells after using them. The class system is very similar, particularly with its more free-form character creation compared to later Final Fantasy games. Classic D&D monsters like beholders even appear.
9 Pillars Of Eternity
Pillars of Eternity isn’t just a tactical top-down RPG video game. It’s a deliberate throwback to the D&D video games of the 1990s and early 2000s, such as Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale. Obsidian Entertainment’s predecessor, Black Isle Studios, developed and published the titles Pillars of Eternity draws from.
Pillars of Eternity has a lot going for it. Its high difficulty, tactical combat, and compelling worldbuilding help it feel like a Dungeons & Dragons campaign turned into a video game. It doesn’t use the same mechanics or a recognizable D&D setting, but the familiar elements are all there for fans to appreciate.
8 The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
The Elder Scrolls games’ tabletop RPG influences have become less noticeable in recent years. Later titles like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim have downplayed the influence of random chance and stats on gameplay in favor of more reliable and skill-based gameplay.
Nonetheless, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is the greatest The Elder Scrolls game that wears its D&D influences on its sleeve. The player’s class and statistics have a significant impact on their play experience, encouraging players to visit the world again and again with many builds. It’s also far more freeform than most video games, matching the boundless potential of a D&D campaign.
7 Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask Of The Betrayer
Neverwinter Nights 2 goes further than mere inspiration from Dungeons & Dragons. It’s one of many video games that outright adapts the system. The base game is well-liked for its character-building and reconstruction of D&D rules in a 3D, real-time-with-pause video game system. However, its expansion, Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer, gets much more acclaim.
Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer explores parts of the D&D Forgotten Realms that nearly no other works in the setting have. It takes a critical look at many of D&D‘s underlying storytelling conventions and challenges players to question what they know. This is within a framework that lives up to the mechanical fun of D&D Third Edition.
6 Pathfinder: Kingmaker
Pathfinder: Kingmaker is inspired by Dungeons & Dragons in a roundabout fashion. It directly adapts an Adventure Path from the first edition of the Pathfinder roleplaying game. Pathfinder‘s first addition is a direct derivative of Dungeons & Dragons 3.5, recreating that game’s rules with new classes and altered balance.
Many of Pathfinder: Kingmaker‘s rules and mechanics will be very familiar to long-term D&D fans, even if they’ve never tried Pathfinder themselves. By adapting a beloved adventure path that puts so much power and so many decisions in the players’ hands, Pathfinder: Kingmaker feels more like a tabletop RPG than most other video games.
5 Dragon Age: Origins
Dragon Age: Origins doesn’t use D&D mechanics to underpin its gameplay. Its system is its own. However, the entire Dragon Age franchise is an affectionate successor to classic RPG video games, many of which are based much more on D&D. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel mechanically, conceptually, or in storytelling.
However, Dragon Age: Origins has been celebrated as a fine example of what classic fantasy RPG conventions can achieve. Its distinctive setting, beloved characters, and compelling storytelling combine to create one of the most acclaimed RPG video games of recent years. D&D players are right at home with Dragon Age.
4 Divinity: Original Sin II
Tactical RPG Divinity: Original Sin II is very divorced from Dungeons & Dragons mechanically. It has its own freeform mechanics, with the most notable deviations being an immensely freeform character-creation system and combat based on action points. However, the influence is obvious.
Divinity: Original Sin II lets up to four players create characters and set out on an epic adventure together. Turn-based combat, fantastical abilities, and even the enemies all hearken back to D&D. It’s especially clear in its Game Master mode, which lets one player take control of the story much like a D&D Dungeon Master.
3 Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic abandons a classic swords-and-sorcery fantasy setting for the archetypal science-fiction of Star Wars. However, it shows how well the D&D system can adapt to these settings, especially when they’re as light on science as Star Wars. It makes use of the Star Wars d20 system, itself a derivative of D&D Third Edition.
Anyone who has played Dungeons & Dragons could make a character in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and know exactly what they’re doing. It’s one of the most acclaimed RPGs ever made, with particular praise for its impressive RPG storytelling that stands the test of time years later.
2 Planescape: Torment
Planescape: Torment is part of the batch of Dungeons & Dragons computer games released in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In the eyes of many fans, it has held up far better than its contemporaries, even iconic titles like Baldur’s Gate. Planescape: Torment‘s strengths lay almost entirely in its writing.
Planescape: Torment takes players to the strangest parts of the Dungeons & Dragons Planescape setting. Through its esoteric environment and plotline, it explores very human themes of legacy, mortality, and self-improvement. Many gamers consider it well worth a try despite its dated gameplay, particularly for D&D fans.
1 Baldur’s Gate 3
Baldur’s Gate 3 inherits a proud D&D pedigree. The original Baldur’s Gate and its sequel have a reputation as two of the best RPGs ever made. Baldur’s Gate 3 has lived up to that legacy. It adapts the D&D Fifth Edition ruleset almost entirely, making a few vital tweaks for game balance, its new medium, and fun.
on its sleeve. Players run into iconic NPCs, dive deep into the Forgotten Realms setting, and visit the infamous titular city itself. Baldur’s Gate 3′s gameplay and storytelling have won it acclaim as one of 2023’s best games and one of the best computer RPGs ever.