Dead by Daylight: Dungeons & Dragons brings Vecna into the Fog on June 3

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Dead by Daylight: Dungeons & Dragons brings Vecna into the Fog on June 3

Heads and dice will roll.

Dead by Daylight: Dungeons & Dragons features one of the most iconic characters in the D&D mythos – the archlich Vecna – as well as the original Bard Survivor Aestri Yazar (and her playable counterpart, Baermar Uraz). Also coming is the Forgotten Ruins Map, a dark fantasy-inspired Realm befitting of The Whispered One’s presence.

Countless players have immersed themselves in the world of Dungeons & Dragons – including many of us on the Dead by Daylight team – and it was important to capture the experience and characters players know and love. It was an exciting challenge for Principal Game Designer Janick Neveu, who was tasked with bringing the all-powerful Vecna to life. 

“We wanted to explore magic and really delve into the spellcasting aspect of the Killer,” he explains. “The first thing we did was look at Vecna’s recently updated lore and stat block from Wizards of the Coast. We then compiled a list of potential spells and tried to identify game mechanics that would translate to DbD.”

After deliberation and a few rounds of prototyping, the team ultimately landed on four distinct spells: Fly, Flight of the Damned, Dispelling Sphere, and Mage Hand. During a game, Vecna can cycle through his spell book and select whichever spell he wishes to use, with each one excelling at a different role.

“Fly allows Vecna to traverse the map quickly,” notes Neveu, citing the impact Killer mobility can have on a match. “Mobility is an interesting element that’s present on many other Killers, and it’s always appreciated by our players.”

“However, it was important that Fly wasn’t more effective than a Killer’s main mobility effect,” he continues. “Otherwise, we’d risk making an older Killer obsolete. During design, we had to carefully examine the values of traversal length, speed, and efficacy in chase.” 

Complementing this tool for quickly gaining ground on a Survivor, Vecna can use his projectile Flight of the Damned spell to zone them into a favourable location. “Flight of the Damned, which is a special ability unique to Vecna in D&D, allows him to cast undead spectral projectiles that propel forward, creating a bullet-hell effect,” explains Neveu. “Try shooting it through walls to catch Survivors unawares.” 

When Vecna catches up to a Survivor, he can use his Mage Hand spell to tip the scales in his favor. “Mage Hand allows you to tag a Pallet and block it if it’s already up,” explains Neveu. “If it’s been dropped, the Mage Hand will raise it instantly. It’s probably his most unique ability.” 

It also rewards skillful gameplay for both sides. “Pallets are a valuable resource to Survivors, and we built intricacies to ensure counterplay. Using Mage Hand effectively might sound simple on paper, but there’s reactivity involved. You must pre-emptively charge your Power and predict a Survivor’s pathing, which creates a fun battle of wits.”

“His last spell is the Dispelling Sphere, which was inspired by two existing D&D spells named Detect Magic and Dispel Magic,” says Neveu. “Using this allows Vecna to cast a large area effect that traverses through the level, revealing any Survivor and dispelling any Magic Items they might have found.”

Speaking of Magic Items…

“One of the big appeals of RPGs is hunting for loot and improving your character,” says Neveu. “As such, it was imperative to incorporate that into Dead by Daylight. In the end, the team decided on making Magic Items spawn in Treasure Chests whenever facing Vecna, giving Survivors tools to withstand his magical onslaught. If they’re lucky, they may even unearth Vecna’s cherished possessions: the Hand and Eye of Vecna.

“If a Survivor gets the Eye, when they do a fast Exit from a Locker, they’ll become unseen and unheard for a duration. If they have the Hand, when they fast jump into a Locker, they teleport to another random Locker. These can be tricky to use, and while they’re beneficial to the Survivor, they will take damage when using the effect.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be Dungeons & Dragons without one crucial element. “We absolutely needed a dice roll!” laughs Neveu. It manifested in determining the rarity of loot Survivors will find during the Trial – but as anyone knows, sometimes the rolls simply aren’t in your favor. 

“Even the best fighter with the best magic sword can miss an attack from time to time,” he continues. “We really wanted to capture that aspect, but not base the whole experience around it. The dice roll might randomize the experience, but it doesn’t affect the result.”

For fans of Dungeons & Dragons, this latest Chapter looks to be one of Dead by Daylight’s most ambitious to date and no doubt the perfect entry point for many to the long-running horror multiplayer. 

Revealed as part of Dead by Daylight’s 8th Anniversary celebrations, Dead by Daylight: Dungeons & Dragons will be released on PlayStation on June 3. 

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