Caution: This is a complete synopsis of the play, so it is full of spoilers. This script is still in development. Content is subject to change until script is solidified.
The play begins with the dwarves addressing the audience. We learn that their palace was destroyed by a dragon and their treasure was stolen. Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, is sitting cozily at home when an unexpected visitor arrives. It is Gandalf, a wizard, who announces that he is sending Bilbo on an adventure. Bilbo politely declines and pushes Gandolf out the door, but moments later the rest of the party arrives in the form of 13 dwarves lead by Thorin Oakenshield, who carries an old map and key. Bilbo is a generous host and welcomes them all. The dwarves discuss the adventure ahead, which promises to be long and dangerous. It comes out that Gandalf has chosen Bilbo to be a burglar who can sneak into a dragon’s lair to retrieve treasure. Bilbo protests that he is not a burglar, and the dwarves are skeptical as well. Thorin would like proof that Bilbo will be an asset to the team and Bilbo requests more information in order to prove his worth. Thorin shares that during his grandfather’s time, dwarves fled their land and took up residence in the mountain. They created a great society with caverns full of jewels, gold, and all manner of beautiful things. But the dragon, Smaug, attacked the mountain and killed many dwarves, taking the treasure for himself. He now lives in the mountain, guarding his stolen goods and Thorin quests to get it back. Bilbo is not swayed and offers to feed the party before they leave in the morning. The group falls asleep.
When Bilbo awakes the next morning to find the party gone, he realizes he feels a bit of regret for not joining. Gandalf appears and hands Bilbo a note with instructions on where to meet the party and rushes him out before Bilbo can think better of it. The party travels by pony for a great distance, through rain and past dark castles, and Bilbo begins to complain of the cold and that he should have stayed home. As they look for a place to sleep one night, the party sees a fire and elects Bilbo, as he is the burglar, to spy on whomever made it. Around the fire Bilbo finds three large trolls cooking mutton, which they are tired of eating. Bilbo feels that he cannot return to the party empty handed and decides to steal something from the Trolls. But when he snatches a purse, it speaks loudly alerting the trolls to the thief. The trolls capture Bilbo and debate the merits of eating him. The debate turns heated, with the trolls devolving into a fistfight that allows Bilbo to sneak off and hide in the bushes. Just then, the dwarves appear looking for Bilbo. The trolls capture all the dwarves and discuss the perfect way to cook them. Gandalf appears in the shadows and adds contradictions and alternatives to the conversation in order to keep the trolls talking until the sun comes up. With the sun, the trolls are turned to stone and Bilbo is able to release his friends. The dwarves chide Bilbo for stealing from the trolls. The party follows the tracks of the trolls until they find a stone door. Inside they find the remains of the trolls’ victims as well as a collection of famous swords, including goblin swords. Bilbo takes a small knife and sheath. The party continues on, and happens upon a group of elves. The elves invite Gandalf, the dwarves, and Bilbo to join them for supper. As they sup, the elves look at Thorin’s map and discover secret writing: “Stand by the Grey stone when the thrush knocks, and the setting sun with the last light of Durin’s day will shine upon the keyhole.” No one knows what it means, but it will prove important later in their journey.
The next day, the party leaves the elves and begins the trek over the Misty Mountains. A great storm gathers, and they take refuge in a cave. During the night, goblins seize the party and take them deep into the mountain. Gandalf has disappeared. The Goblin Chief accuses the party of stealing from and spying on the goblins. Thorin explains that they were finding shelter from the storm. The chief sees the goblin swords in the party’s possession and decrees they should be thrown into the darkness. Just then, all light is extinguished. Gandalf easily frees the dwarves and begins to lead them away, but the goblins are in pursuit, exclaiming that the chief has been killed. As Bilbo and the dwarves run, Kilin (a dwarf) is caught by a goblin. Bilbo stumbles and is knocked unconscious.
When he awakes, he is alone inside the mountain. He wishes he were home, when his hand comes across a ring that he puts in his pocket. He continues on, looking for his party, when he comes to a cold pool of water. At the pool he meets a creature, Gollum, who would like to eat him. Gollum proposes a wager – if Gollum stumps Bilbo at riddles, Gollum will eat him. If Bilbo stumps Gollum, Gollum will show Bilbo out of the mountain. After several riddles, Bilbo asks “What have I got in my pocket?” and Gollum cannot answer. Bilbo insists Gollum show him out, but Gollum is now interested in what Bilbo does have in his pocket. Bilbo will not tell him, and Gollum becomes agitated as he realizes that he has misplaced something he values. Suspicious of Bilbo, Gollum tries to attack but Bilbo puts on the found ring and disappears. Gollum searches the cavern and decides Bilbo must have left via the back door of the mountain. Off he goes to find Bilbo, but Bilbo, invisible, follows right behind. Bilbo contemplates stabbing Gollum, but decides that is not a fair fight and once he sees the door make a run for it. He escapes Gollum’s grasp and through a door heavily guarded by goblins.
Outside, Bilbo sees Gandalf and the dwarves (luckily, Kilin has escaped unscathed). As he approaches, he overhears the dwarves complaining that Bilbo is more trouble than he’s worth. Gandalf argues they need to go back and rescue him. Bilbo removes the ring to reveal himself. Gandalf is happy to see him; the dwarves are less enthusiastic. Gandalf asks how he escaped and Bilbo avoids telling him about the ring.
The party continues on foot, and is caught in a landslide that propels them down the mountain. Night approaches and wolves begin to gather. Gandalf and the dwarves climb trees to get away, but Bilbo cannot reach the branches. The wolves get closer and Balin (a dwarf) reaches down to pull Bilbo up. Gandalf explains that these wolves are friends of the goblins and they must be here to avenge the goblin chief. Gandalf lights pinecones on fire and throws them at the gathering wolves. However, goblins arrive and use the burning pinecones to light the trees on fire. As the fire consumes the trees, eagles arrive to fly the party to safety. Once they’ve all landed, Gandalf leads them to the home of Beorn, who has the power to shape shift. He explains that while Beorn is strong and can be terrifying when angry, he does not eat meat. Beorn invites them into his home and the party shares their story except the reason for their adventure. Beorn feeds them and in the morning outfits them with food, ponies to ride, arrows, and directions through Mirkwood.
At the edge of Mirkwood, Gandalf announces he has business to attend to, warns the party not to stray from the path, and leaves them. For days the party walks the path, while trying to hunt for food. They successfully shoot and roast a squirrel, and end up wasting all remaining arrows on a deer that they miss. Hungry and tired, one night they spot a light just off the path accompanied by the smells of roasting meat. They leave the path to find the festivities, but as they approach, darkness overtakes them. When Bilbo comes to, he is trapped in a web with a giant spider looming. With a free hand, Bilbo grabs his knife and attacks the creature, stabbing it in the eye. Bilbo frees himself from the web and, as the spider recoils, stabs it again, killing it. Bilbo names his dagger Sting and slips on the ring to disappear. He overhears more spiders discussing the best way to eat the dwarves who have also been captured. Invisible, Bilbo throws stones at the spiders to draw them away. Once gone, Bilbo removes the ring and frees the dwarves. The dwarves asked how it was he couldn’t be seen, and Bilbo explains about the ring. The dwarves agree that they’d been wrong about Bilbo and he was, indeed, useful. Bilbo feels proud.
The dwarves agree that Bilbo should lead them out of the forest, but they soon run into elves who bind the dwarves. Bilbo, however, slips on the ring and goes unseen. The elves take the dwarves to their king for trespassing. The king asks their business in the forest. Thorin, not wanting to share the treasure with the elves, refuses to talk. The elven king imprisons the dwarves until they decide to tell him what they are up to. Bilbo is able to steal the keys from a guard and unlock the dwarves’ cells. They all sneak to the cellar and hide themselves in empty barrels that are carried away on the river.
The barrels wash ashore at Lake Town. Thorin introduces himself as King of the Mountain. The people of Lake Town are exhilarated by his return and treat the entire party as royalty. But soon it is time for the party to complete their adventure so they row across the lake to the Lonely Mountain. One night, the party sees smoke from an opening in the mountain – that is where Smaug must be. They find a narrow trail and follow it to a large, smooth area of rock that looks like a door with no handle, hinge, or opening. They try magic words and force, to no avail. The sun begins to set, a thrush trills, and Bilbo gets an idea. Remembering the secret words on the map, he waits until the sun slips behind the horizon, and a ray of light hits the door, illuminating a keyhole. Thorin uses his key to open the door. Once inside, Thorin explains that this is the moment they need a burglar. Bilbo slips on the ring and creeps into the mountain. Soon he sees Smaug, sleeping on a mountain of treasure. He grabs a gold cup to prove what he has seen and returns to the dwarves. The dwarves are ecstatic, but just then Smaug wakes up and immediately realizes his cup is missing. The dragon flies out of the mountain and begins to scour and scorch the mountain side. The dwarves and Bilbo run back inside, losing their ponies, hoping they can get away from the angry dragon. Thorin sadly predicts the ponies will not be able to outrun him. Bilbo accuses the dwarves of not having thought through how they would deal with the dragon. The dwarves point the blame at Bilbo for taking the cup before they could hatch a plan. Bilbo points out that he was only hired to burgle, but there is far more treasure than one person can manage. The dwarves apologize and ask for any suggestions on how to proceed. Bilbo offers to use his ring and spy on Smaug to see if any weak spots emerge. Bilbo sneaks back into Smaug’s lair, but Smaug is lying in wait. Smaug invites Bilbo to steal from him again, but Bilbo declines and flatters the dragon by saying he’s come to see how magnificent he is. The two talk and Bilbo learns that Smaug has, indeed, eaten the ponies. Smaug attempts to ruffle Bilbo by pointing out that he is doing all the dangerous work and questioning whether the dwarves will give him a fair share of the spoils. Bilbo claims he has no interest in treasure but is here to kill for revenge. Smaug haughtily shows off his grandeur and Bilbo spies a small hollow spot among the dragon’s armor-like scales. Having found a weakness, Bilbo returns to the dwarves. Smaug attempts to follow and sends fire up the tunnel at him. Bilbo narrowly escapes and shares his conversation with the dwarves. They assure Bilbo he will get his fair share and Thorin shares that what he really wants is a great jewel called the Arkenstone.
Smaug begins an assault on the mountain from the outside. He crashes into the mountain, showering it with flames and rocks. The secret door to the outside becomes blocked and the dwarves and Bilbo have no way out. The dwarves despair that they are trapped, but Bilbo leads them down the tunnel to Smaug’s lair knowing there is another way out. When they arrive, Smaug is nowhere to be seen. Bilbo suggests they explore, but Thorin elects that Bilbo go as he is the burglar. Bilbo leaves the dwarves to hide in the shadows, and soon stumbles upon the Arkenstone. But rather than give it over to Thorin, he pockets it. The dwarves eventually come out to admire all the treasure. They take pieces of armor and other weapons, but realize they need to find a way out. Thorin takes charge and leads them through the old dwarf city. They make their way past rotting tables, crumbling archways, and aging bones. Soon they hear the rush of the river and follow it to the door in the mountain. The thrush that trilled at the setting sun is back and trying to tell them something. They learn from the bird that Smaug has been killed, but others are gathering to claim the treasure. Thorin thanks the bird and asks that he send a message to the dwarves of the north for aid. Thorin commands the party to fortify the entrance and protect the treasure. The first army to arrive are human – among them Bard, who killed Smaug. Bard stakes claim to part of the treasure as Smaug stole it from his people and insinuates that the dwarves are to blame for the dragon’s recent attacks on the town. Thorin refuses to share treasure or accept responsibility for the assaults and fires an arrow at the men. Bard declares that the dwarves will not be allowed to leave the mountain; they will either share their treasure or starve inside. Bilbo uses his ring and sneaks out to meet privately with Bard. Bilbo offers Bard the Arkenstone as a tool to make peace with Thorin. The next day, Bard arrives to meet with Thorin and offers him the Arkenstone in exchange for his fair share of treasure. Thorin immediately figures out that Bilbo must have organized this. Gandalf appears to rescue Bilbo from Thorin’s rage. Thorin, clearly angry, agrees to deliver Bard a portion of the treasure but that he must take Bilbo if he wishes the hobbit to live. Bard agrees, but keeps the Arkenstone until the transaction is complete. Gandalf chides Thorin for acting un-kingly.
The dwarf army of the north soon arrives, but Bard will not let them pass until he has his treasure. Thorin cries “Never” and the dwarf army attacks. A battle begins and soon elves, goblins, and wolves join the fray. Bilbo wishes to disappear and slips on his ring. Elves loose arrows, dwarves wield cudgels, and men fight with swords. The goblins scale the mountain and throw rocks down. Thorin leads the elves, dwarves, and men against the goblins and wolves. Many, on all sides, are killed. It seems the goblins are gaining the upper hand when Bilbo is struck with a rock and passes out. When he wakes up, the fighting has ended. Gandalf explains that the eagles came to their aid and hurled goblins off the cliffs. Beorn arrived in bear shape and ended the battle completely. Gandalf takes Bilbo to Thorin, who lays dying. Thorin apologizes to Bilbo and tells him he is a friend. Bilbo expresses gratitude for their adventure together. Thorin dies and is buried with the Arkenstone under the mountain. Bilbo’s share of the treasure is given to Bard and he rebuild the city of Lake Town. Bard wants to give Bilbo much of the treasure, but Bilbo will only accept two small chests of gold and silver. Bilbo says goodbye to his companions and invites them, should they be in town, to join him for tea.