The popular and long-running clicker game Forgotten Realms Idle Champions will introduce its 100th character next week, featuring an iconic character from Dungeons & Dragons’ past. 1980s Dungeon Master Dungeons & Dragons the cartoon will be added to Idle Champions next week, along with Uni the Unicorn. The duo can be unlocked during the special event “The Running” which runs from April 27 to May 9. Then the character will be available through the Time Gates available at any time. Venger and the cartoon version of Tiamat will also appear in special adventure variants to celebrate the arrival of the new characters in the game.
Given that Forgotten Realms Idle Champions has an extensive roster that includes characters from official D&D adventures, novels, and popular live-action shows like Incorporated Acquisitions and Waterdeep Rivals, ComicBook.com was curious how Dungeon Master would stand out in such a packed list. Thankfully, we had the chance to chat with Game System Designer Peter Lee and Live Services Manager Chris Dupuis about how Dungeon Master fits into Inactive champions and how the game has evolved as its roster enters the triple digits:
ComicBook.com: Dungeon Master and Uni have a very different story than the other characters that appear in Idle Champions. Were there any additional hurdles you had to jump through to get the rights to use these characters in your game?
Chris Dupuis: We tossed around a bunch of names for our 100th champion, and I think it was Justin Stocks, one of the co-founders of Codename Entertainment, who came up with the idea for Dungeon Master. I’ve wanted to bring the cartoon characters into the game for a while, but we’ve been waiting for the right opportunity because it’s so important, leaning into the cartoon nostalgia that so many of us grew up with. Nothing more special than the 100th champion!
Dungeon Master perfectly matches the style of our game and the original quality of D&D adventure we bring to the table. Our partners at Wizards were intrigued. Justin and Peter Lee, our Game System Designers, put some thought into the design and quickly realized that Uni, Venger, and the anime-accurate Tiamat were the final pieces to add to complete this 100th Champion celebration.. When we next met with Wizards, I went through the updates and they were completely on board.
Dungeon Master primarily had a mentor role in the D&D cartoon. How does her story and her role in the cartoon reflect her abilities in the game?
Peter Lee: The original D&D cartoon was really the primary inspiration for all of Dungeon Master’s abilities. In Inactive champions, there is a role type called Support that enhances the abilities of other heroes in your party. The way Dungeon Master supports improves for each champion in the group who is 20 years old or younger, which refers to his mentorship of cartoon children. Dungeon Master’s ultimate ability is also a nod to mentorship as it recharges another champion’s ultimate, allowing you to use a favorite ability a second time in quick succession.
It wasn’t just his mentoring behavior that inspired the mechanics. Dungeon Master’s habit of disappearing frequently in the cartoon inspired the mechanic where he sometimes disappears and Uni takes his place in the lineup. Dungeon Master also breaks the rules of the game by being eligible for any variant of the game in a nod to his ubiquitous presence in the cartoon. Finally, the event variants for its release feature both Venger and an animated cartoon version of Tiamat, the dragon.
With 100 characters now in Idle Champions, has it become harder to balance all character abilities?
Li: Yes, it’s a really interesting design challenge. In theory, there has to be “The Best” build where you take the optimal 9-10 champions and only use those, resulting in either a stale environment or constant power creep. We have several ways to change the attractiveness of a particular champion. Some champions are more desirable to players because they let them progress toward a goal other than being the strongest. For example, some champions speed up your progress in the game. This does not allow you to beat high levels, but allows you to reach high levels sooner.
The most interesting way to mix up optimal champion selection is through challenging tier variants. I like to think of Champion’s design a bit like creating tools for a Swiss army knife. When you need a can opener, you pull out a can opening tool. When you need to disassemble a desk, you choose the screwdriver. Dungeon Master excels in variants with extremely limited requirements, as he qualifies for each variant and he can bring in a randomly determined ineligible champion as a special guest.
Idle Champions will celebrate its fifth anniversary later this year – what’s the key to the game’s longevity and how long do you think the game will last?
Dupuis : I think the key to the game’s longevity is that we’re all big fans of Dungeons & Dragons. We love that so many of our fellow fans are with us. I hope our love for the brand shines through in everything we do.
If we have our way, Inactive champions will be questing across the Sword Coast (and beyond) for many years to come. We love our ragtag team of champions and we want to continue delivering exciting, original, and fun adventures to our players for as long as they’re with us.
Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms is available on Steam, Epic Games, Xbox, PlayStation, Android, iOS, and Nintendo Switch. As a special bonus for readers, players can use the code below to unlock Catti-Brie and 3 Catti-Brie Chests in-game for free.