Dungeons & Dragons: Dragonshard is a real-time strategy computer game, developed by Liquid Entertainment. It takes place in Eberron, one of the official Dungeons & Dragons campaign settings. The game combines elements of traditional real-time strategy gameplay with role-playing elements such as hero units and questing. Dragonshard includes two single player campaigns, single player skirmish maps and multiplayer support. The single player campaign follows the struggles of three competing factions to gain control of a magical artifact known as the Heart of Siberys.
Although Dragonshard is billed by Atari as "the first Dungeons & Dragons real-time strategy experience," Stronghold (1993) precedes it by over a decade.
Despite its Dungeons & Dragons license, the game's roleplaying mechanics bear no relationship to the Dungeons & Dragons d20 ruleset.
Dragonshard games take place on dual level maps divided into the surface world of Eberron and the underground realm of Khyber. Units travel between the surface and the underground through gateways that are fixed on each map. The surface map features traditional real-time strategy gameplay: the player builds and develops base structures, gathers resources, and amasses and upgrades an army. Armies consist of the following unit types:
Only champions and ground-based captains can travel underground, which focuses underground gameplay on a party of individual units rather than the surface world's squad-based armies. Underground maps feature party-based dungeon crawling gameplay: units must negotiate traps, gather treasure, and hunt monsters. Items are stored in a global inventory accessible to all units.
Dragonshard has three resources:
- Champions: the game's hero unit. In campaign mode, the player chooses a champion before starting a map. In skirmish and multiplayer modes, the player summons a champion from the city headquarters. Each race has four champions: a fighter, a healer, a wizard and a rogue. Each champion offers unique abilities and army bonuses.
- Juggernauts: powerful, expensive units summoned from the city headquarters. Each race has a unique juggernaut unit, and only one may be summoned at a time. They can't venture into the underworld however.
- Captains: upgradeable units trained from unit-producing structures. Captains can be upgraded to level five. As they gain levels, they get new abilities and also gain a squad of subordinate soldiers, up to a maximum of four soldiers at level five. All races have a variety of different captains, including flying units, tanks, rogues, healers, resource gathering specialists, spell-casters and ranged combatants.
- Soldiers: support troops that are automatically trained by captains when in the vicinity of one of the player's bases. Soldiers cannot be ordered individually; they automatically follow their captain, which allows for large armies to be created with less micromanagement than in typical RTS games. Soldiers always take damage before their captains, and effectively multiply the captain's health as well as damage potential. Since soldiers cannot go underground, each soldier is converted into additional health for the captain. The captain's health is converted back into soldiers when the unit emerges on the surface.
- Dragonshards: used to construct units and buildings. Dragonshards periodically rain from the sky to the surface map and can be gathered by all ground units except juggernauts.
- Gold: used to construct units and buildings. Buildings generate a small amount of gold over time, but the majority of gold in the early to mid-game is gathered by exploring the underground map for treasure, completing quests and looting corpses.
- Experience points: used to upgrade troops. Experience points are gained by killing units, destroying buildings and completing quests.