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Film / Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness

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Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness (also known as Dungeons & Dragons 3: The Book of Vile Darkness) is a 2012 Made-for-TV Movie set in the Dungeons & Dragons universe from the people behind the previous movie Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God. The subtitle is shared with a supplemental source book and a magic item found in the game.

2000 years ago, Nhagruul the Foul, a sorcerer who reveled in corrupting the innocent and the spread of despair, neared the end of his mortal days and was dismayed. Consumed by hatred for the living, Nhagruul sold his soul to the demon Lords of the abyss so that his malign spirit would survive. In an excruciating ritual, Nhagruul's skin was flayed into pages, his bones hammered into a cover, and his diseased blood became the ink to pen the Book of Vile Darkness. All those exposed to the book were driven to madness or so corrupted by the wicked knowledge contained within that they had no choice but to turn evil. Misery and bloodshed followed the disciples of Nhagruul as they spread their Master's dark dream. Creatures vile and depraved rose from every pit and unclean barrow to partake in the fever of destruction.

The cities and kingdoms of Karkoth were consumed by this plague of evil until an order of warriors, the Knights of the New Sun arose from the ashes. The Knights swore an oath to resurrect hope in the land and the purity of their hearts was so great that Pelor, the God of Light, gave the Knights powerful amulets with which to channel his power. Transcendent with divine might, the Knights of the New Sun, pierced the shadow that had darkened the land for twelve hundred years and cast it asunder. The disciples of Nhagruul disassembled the book and bribed three greedy souls to hide the pieces until they could be retrieved. The ink was discovered and destroyed but, despite years of searching, the cover and pages were never found. Peace ruled the land for centuries and the Knights got lost in the light of their own glory, allowing their power as servants of Pelor to weaken.

800 years have passed since the last true Knight of the New Sun was able to use Pelor's power and a horde of Nhagruul disciples under the orders of Shathrax, the Mind Flayer, attacks and slaughters a current Knights of the New Sun group, abducting the father of the only survivor and newly knighted Grayson. Now alone, Grayson covertly infiltrates the team as they embark on a journey that would lead them to Shathrax and to his captured father.

Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Akorida, the party's leader, can sling spells or fight with a sword very well.
  • Allergic to Love: The slaymate, an undead child who finds sustenance in negative emotions, tastes love from Akordia and becomes ill.
  • Animated Armor: The slaymate summons one as a defender. Though tough, killing it like something that actually had a person inside it works just as well.
  • Bag of Holding: Grayson buys one when preparing to rescue his father. He later uses it for stowing Vimak's body in, along with the treasure.
  • Batman Gambit: The Nhagruul's entire plan to restore the Book of Vile Darkness hinged on getting Grayson to awaken as a true Knight of the New Sun by not losing hope even while he was forced to constantly break his knightly oaths and bonds to get close to rescuing his father.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: None of the villains make any pretense about their vileness, and defend it on Social Darwinist grounds (if they even bother).
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Knights of Pelor find themselves on the receiving end of an embarrassingly quick slaughter by Shathrax's minions.
  • Darker and Edgier: This movie contains more violent, sexual and graphic content compared to the previous movies. Justified since it's named after an expansion labelled for mature audiences.
  • Dating Catwoman: Akordia and Grayson's dialogue at the end heavily suggests that this will be their future relationship.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Grayson's rescue of his father failed to account for him being kept on a Floating Continent, which Grayson only discovers following an attempted window escape.
  • Explosive Leash: The village leader is fitted with an exploding necklace when he tries to bar Akordia's team from leaving. Despite this, he refuses to back down, since Akordia's team robbed the treasury. Grayson tries to talk him down, but Bezz detonates the necklace anyway, forcing them to slaughter the entire village.
  • Fallen Hero: Grayson has to forsake his oaths to get to his father, but it's averted when his dedication and determination convince Pelor to christen him as a True Knight of the New Sun, while all the other knights (his father included) are knights in name only.
  • For the Evulz: Seith and Bezz torment or kill people just for enjoyment.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Akordia, though she makes no promises about her behavior in the future.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: Akordia, in the most common way of falling in love with the Hero.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: The Amulets are capable of doing this with a true Knight acknowledged by Pelor.
  • Honor Before Reason: Rather than kill his father (so he can't be used for the ritual) and escape, Grayson decides to stand and fight against overwhelming odds. Not nearly as silly as it would otherwise be, given that Pelor is very willing to give divine aid to those who would stand against evil.
  • Hope Bringer: What the Knights of the New Sun are supposed to be, and what Grayson becomes at the end.
  • Hotter and Sexier: It's far more than the initial 2000 film, with sex scenes and nudity.
  • Hot Witch: Akordia is a beautiful, dangerous sorceress whom Grayson is seduced by.
  • If You're So Evil Kill Someone: Grayson's initiation into the group. He winds up killing another member of the group that was trying to kill him.
  • I Owe You My Life: Grayson saves Akordia from the dragon, so she offers him sex as repayment.
  • Kick the Dog: Bezz torments the widow and son of one man whom the dragon killed, just for fun.
  • Light Is Good: Given that the good deity featured in the movie is Pelor, a sun god, this is to be expected.
  • Magic Potion: Seith drinks one which lets him blend into shadows nearby.
  • Magic Knight: Akordia is a skilled sorceress, but also perfectly capable with a sword.
  • Meaningful Name: Grayson. His entire quest is one to rescue his father, and many of the actions he takes along the way put him in a moral gray area.
  • Mercy Kill: Grayson's father begs him to grant him one when they find escape impossible but after all he has had to do to reach him, Grayson refuses.
  • Mouth of Sauron / Mouth Stitched Shut: Shathrax's lips are sealed by wire, so he speaks through a pair of slaves bound to his will. They even mimic his movements.
  • The Night That Never Ends: The point of the Book of Vile Darkness. Seith openly hopes to see a time when there's only darkness, with no light. Toward the end Shathrax (whom they bring the pieces of the book to) promises it too.
  • Not Quite Dead: Bezz flies by the camera in his vermin cloud form just before the cut to black.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: A slaymate, a child-like type of Revenant Zombie, that feeds on dark emotions serves as a test for the adventurers.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: After they kill the dragon, Grayson persuades his evil teammates to bring the villagers the dragon had captured back to their homes on the chance that they will be rewarded.
  • Professional Killer: Seith is a trained assassin who did that work previously, though when this story starts he's after more ambitious objectives.
  • Ready for Lovemaking: While she's preparing to offer Grayson sex, Akordia dresses herself in a very skimpy outfit which just barely covers anything.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Akordia is the one female character in the party.
  • The Social Darwinist: Most of the villains justify themselves with this philosophy.
    • Seith says it's right that the strong prey on the weak, claiming weaker people exist only for him to kill.
    • Vimak blames his own family for being killed with an avalanche, saying he plans to kill everyone living still in their village then build a stronger one in its place. He says the strong preying on the weak is how its always been, with nature working this way.
    • Shathrax meanwhile aims to build a new society with the strong hunting down the weak until only they are left.
  • Tattooed Crook: Seith, a ruthless assassin, has distinctive jagged black tattoos on his face and neck.
  • Vow of Celibacy: Among the oaths Grayson swore was apparently one to not have sex. He breaks this through sleeping with Akordia.
  • The Worm That Walks: Bezz is a Vermin Lord, a type of druidic mage who controls insects and other crawlies and can turn into a large swarm of them.