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Expect huge amounts of derp and rage, punctuated by /tg/ extracting humor from it.
Drizzt Do'Urden is the
Drow Elf Drow protagonist of several of R.A. Salvatore's Forgotten Realms novels. He is well known - and well-hated - on /tg/ for being the origin of the "Good Drow Ranger Fighting To Prove Him/Herself Worthy Despite The Sins Of His/Her Kin While Dual-Wielding Scimitars" stereotype used as a template to create characters by hundreds upon thousands of pathetically unoriginal idiots the world over. While Drizzt really isn't a terrible character in and of himself (especially in light of shit like Pinelight), the sheer volume of Drizzt-clones he's spawned are capable of inducing burning fury in even the most mild and even-tempered of dudes.
He is also commonly described as a Mary Sue, although whether this is really a property of the character himself or if he's simply tainted by association with the thousands of knock-off characters he spawned is open to debate. Some bet on the latter, having moved into "sick of people who are sick of the original subject matter". Other point out that, all copycats aside, Drizzt has stupid amounts of plot armor in the books and is able to carve his way through armies and Epic-level encounters such as Balors without sweating despite only being lvl16 pure-class ranger. Given past experience by players being inspired by stupid shit, there is every reason to take a lot of problems with the guy with a grain of salt. However, keep in mind that Drizzt's author Mr. Salvatore had given him a thoroughly well-planned plotline to at least justify to kill the Balor, such as an extremely powerful frost weapon scores of pages and chapters ago, so under such circumstances killing a Balor with a well-planned ambush as a level 16 ranger can be tolerated to a degree, and character-wise, Drizzt is a pretty mellow, morally consistent, and reasonable individual without going into needless heroism and Kaldor Draigo level of challenges. It's the cargo cult-grade fanboyism that made the fucker be hated by the rest of the world's Neckbeards.
No matter what your verdict, keep in mind he is an elf, and thus automatically 5 billion times less manly than even the dreaded Space Communists.
Doubly fun fact: He was planned as a SECONDARY character, a sidekick in support of a human Barbarian called Wulfgar, in a crusty old book named The Crystal Shard. Then the writing started and, whattaya know? He just had too much charisma to not end up becoming the main character.
Ok, so why is this son of a bitch so popular?
- Drizzt is a unique and beautiful snowflake (well, he used to be unique).
- To his credit however, even Drizzt himself is facepalming at the above line. Jesus.
- He has lavender eyes, making him popular among the ladies.
- Drow are hot, and Drizzt is a drow. Therefore we can safely conclude that Drizzt is hot. (Confirmed by our on-staff homosexual.)
- He occasionally hangs out with dorfs and helped them greatly, which basically means he cannot completely suck.
- I think Drizzt is a pretty cool gal, seh kills demons and doesn't afraid of anything.
- His name sounds exactly like the Russian word for "diarrhea" (was even renamed into Dzzirt in the official Russian translation, go figure).
- Because he's a male drow that doesn't get slapped for not GB2Kitchen. Indeed, he slaughtered his way across his Stupid Evil members to his well-earned freedom, got the fuck back to the Underdark, killed some more, blew up Lol'th's temple, got back to the surface and warned everyone to unite. Pretty much heroic.
- Has a badass black panther animal companion from the Astral Realms.
- Drizzt isn't a fan of his clones either. And to his credit, he gets shit done better than them.
- Though Chaotic Good, he isn't Chaotic Stupid. Uses chaotic things like lies, deceit and lawful things like principles and plain self-sacrifice to ensure his friends' safety, and good is preserved without resorting to Mary Sue killings like Kaldor Draigo did. In one tale, he uses a sack of flour to drown Crenshinibon, a world-threatening sentient crystal; in another he willingly takes blows from the now-grown hateful elf girl he once saved from death, who thought he was going to kill her. So he is a bro, bro'est of all Drow.
- We're reasonably sure he didn't cause 4e.
He's part of the elf master-race.WHO LET THE ELVES IN HERE???
- He's a ranger and a bad motherfucker, two things that, in D&D, have rarely blended well. Might have to do with being raised by a badass bearded blind ranger, and at least having a class of barbarian in the older editions for the "berserk" trance he used in the Dark Elf Trilogy.
- Did we mention he dual-wields scimitars like Baraka on crack? It's as good as it sounds.
...On a serious note, it's because people have always liked the idea of playing "monster" races. From goblins to orcs to minotaurs, it's as old as D&D. Literally; Gygax included notes expressing different opinions on the idea in different supplements over the years and reportedly once let someone bring a balrog to the table. Evil races are often kinda sweet. Why else would Chaos have as many fans as it does? But bringing a monster attitude to a normal gaming table is often disruptive. Gygax pointed out that having a balrog in the party made it hard to adventure, since it kept trying to dominate or abuse the other party members into line.
So, to the kind of mind that likes coming up with "unconventional" PC choices, playing a non-evil version of a traditionally-evil race is a good way to try to create a character with an adventuring-party-friendly personality without fully sacrificing the cool-factor that made the traditionally-evil race popular in the first place. And it was pretty good roleplay fodder too, before it got run into the ground: the player in question got to have angst while the party got to show how cool and not-racist they were for looking past the monster PC's race to see them for the good person they were inside.
Drizzt, bless his heart, was merely the first PROMINENT example of what people have always been doing to get lots of spotlight. In the Prequel explaining his backstory, he gets a considerable amount of fleshing out and has good explanation for his items and skills. It is learned that his father, Zaknafein, is a Drow so manly that he openly repudiates Lol'th in public, and yet is given leeway by his fuckbuddy, Matron Malice (Drizzt's mom who fucks him regularly because of his rejection of submission typical of Drow males). It is Drizzt's father that infuses his idealism and good heart, and subtly tells Drizzt that Drow are backstabbing sons of bitches who can't wait a split second before going on free-for-all a la Neogi. So Drizzt got saved from an evil Matriarchal society by a strong father figure; an evil, lawless society of dark skinned beings where fatherless, demonised, dark skinned-children go on cathartic murder sprees and enslave others and males are generally second-class.
Wow. Sort of makes it sound like a /pol/ fantasy, doesn't it? Who'd have pegged Salvatore for the type?
He starts well enough in the Crystal Shard of the Icewind Dale trilogy. This trilogy came before he himself was a main character and Instead plays a hybrid Aragon/Gandalf role to the actual main character Wulfgar. But over time his plot relevance grew and the books go batshit Mary Sue by the time his Stupid Evil kin decide to attack the surface to enslave and murder. He infiltrates their city, complete with magic time bombs (Yes, magic C-4) to blow up Drow cathedrals and fight dozens of Drow at once like some Assassin's Creedfag on steroids and pointy ass elf ears.
Seriously Salvatore, you done fucked up. Which is actually a lot more reasonable than most people realize since the difference in strength/power/speed/durability between people in a D&D world can be so huge that one person dies to an arrow while another can headbutt facetank meteors and dodge lightning with little effort so (while game mechanics cannot allow it for balance reasons) it does make sense that a "high level" charachter can solo armies of "low level" conscripts or soldiers that had less potential or needed more time to grow than them.
Afterwards, he kinda mellows and goes on a few adventures, fucks a light elf chick and saves her ass, that sort of comicbook shit. He never really lets being the most popular and iconic drow and the most popular and iconic ranger in the gameline go to his head, stays reasonably kind, humble and cool and that makes him pretty tolerable.
The Companions of the Hall
Whilst Drizzt has done more than his fair share of solo adventuring or bumming around with other people, he is most associated with his own distinct team of adventurers that he lived much of his life with. Originally, he outlived them all, which only makes sense since none of them were elves and adventuring is a fairly high-risk profession, but they were actually reincarnated after the Spellplague.
Bruenor Battlehammer (Male Shield Dwarf Fighter) is the co-founder of the Companions. The last living heir to the throne of the dwarven clanhold of Mithral Hall, from which he and his relatives were driven when he was a child by a Shadow Dragon named Shimmergloom and its army of duergar. He encountered Drizzt during the drow's early days on the surface, originally hunting Drizzt for a crime the drow hadn't committed, then siding with Drizzt after his innocence was proven. He became Drizzt's longstanding friend, and that companionship was rewarded when Drizzt helped Bruenor to find and reclaim dominion over Mithral Hall. After the Spellplague, he was reincarnated as the Male Shield Dwarf Fighter Reginald Roundshield ("Little Arr Arr" to his close friends); initially failing to remember that he had volunteered to come back to the world of the living to aid Drizzt at the request of Mielikki, he found his second life unwanted and quite embarrassing at first. He later got over it and used the revelation of his original incarnation to become a legendary dwarf leader.
Catti-brie (Female Human Fighter) is Bruenor's adoptive daughter, rescued from Termalaine in the wake of a goblin attack that killed her father, her mother having died in childbirth. She was one of the first surfacers to meet and befriend Drizzt, which is partly how he got in her father's good books. She initially wielded the enchanted bow Taulmaril, and eventually took up the (psychotic) intelligent sword Khazid'hea. Prior to the Spellplague, her leg was crushed in an attack by Frost Giants, and she feared the loss of her life as a warrior, only to discover an untrained latent as a wizard. However, she was killed by some of the first manifestations of the Spellplague. She was reincarnated as Ruqiah (Female Human) in the Desiah tribe of the Bedine nomads of the Anarouch. In this life, she forsook the path of the warrior and concentrated on her mystical abilities, of which she had plenty! Possessing scars in the shape of the holy symbols of Mystra and Mielikki on her forearms, she may have been spellscarred, and definitely wielded a mixture of arcane and divine magics. She may have even had some druidic abilities, as she was able to use certain druid spells like Call Lightning and to shapeshift into the forms of a wolf, owl, hawk and eagle, but no official statblock exists. At least some of her magical powers, most notably the shapeshifting, were lost when the Sundering saw the restoration of Mystra's Weave and the removal of all spellscars. Ruiqiah is the most controversial of the reincarnated Companions, as she went from the most friendly and open-minded of the group to a religious zealot convinced that all non-demihumans were utterly, irredeemably evil.
Wulfgar (male Human Barbarian - or Fighter-with-Uthgardt-Barbarian-kit in AD&D) is an Uthgardt Barbarian from the Tribe of the Elk who partook in a raid on the Ten-Towns of Icewind Dale when he was a youth. In the fight, he came up against Bruenor Battlehammer, who was shocked by the boy's youth and so decided to spare him, knocking him out cold and taking him as a prisoner of war instead of simply killing him. Wulfgar initially resented this, but came to see the dwarf as a substitute father. They grew so close that Bruenor even invoked the mystical ability of all dwarves to, once in their life, create a single powerful magical weapon as their ultimate masterpiece to forge a weapon for Wulfgar: Aegis-fang, a mighty warhammer that could be freely used as a missile weapon, as it would fly back to its wielder's hand. Wulfgar had the most tumultuous life of the Companions, and even left their company for many years prior to his death, first by being dragged into the Abyss by a vengeful demon and then voluntarily leaving to try and recover from his scars. Ultimately, he lived to be a hundred years old, with three living children, nine grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren, but neither his age nor his being sick with pneumonia stopped him from responding to a yeti attack on his tribe by launching himself at the hulking ape-things, killing several with his bare hands before being struck down. The most reluctant to be reborn, he was revived as Hrolf Alfarinson, an Uthgardt Barbarian of the Tribe of the Elk.
"Rumblebelly" Regis (Male Halfling Rogue) was an orphaned halfling from Calimshan who grew up as a street thief in a guild run by Pasha Pook... until the day he realized his boss was sporting a magical ruby necklace that could be used to hypnotize people, and he stole it. Desperate to keep his innards where they belonged, Regis fled to Icewind Dale, and somehow ended up a member of the Companions. Whilst he was adept at handling social stuff for them, and could be surprisingly handy in a fight, he was very much not a great warrior like his companions, and this ate at him. He was slain by the Spellplague when his soul was ripped from his body and into his magical necklace. He was reincarnated as Spider Parrafin, a Male Halfling but also a Water Genasi... which technically doesn't have official stats, but isn't as impossible as you'd think, considering that D'hin exist. Whilst still a Rogue, this reincarnated Regis was much more aggressive and combat-trained, fighting with rapier, dagger, and plenty of poison & alchemical items to augment his abilities - more a Swashbuckler and less a Thief compared to his original incarnation.
So, about those books
There have been a lot of books featuring Drizzt and his friends, from full-fledged novels to short stories.
- Dark Elf Trilogy (Homeland< Exile, Sojourn)
- Icewind Dale Trilogy (The Crystal Shard, Streams of Silver, The Halfling's Gem)
- Legacy of the Drow (The Legacy, Starless Night, Siege of Darkness, Passage to Dawn)
- Paths of Darkness (The Silent Blade, The Spine of the World, Sea of Swords)
- Hunter's Blade Trilogy (The Thousand Orcs, The Lone Drow, The Two Swords)
- Transitions (The Orc King, The Pirate King, The Ghost King)
- The Neverwinter Saga (Gauntlgrym, Neverwinter, Charon's Claw, The Last Threshold)
- The Sundering (The Companions)
- Companions Codex (Night of the Hunter, Rise of the King, Vengeance of the Iron Dwarf)
- Homecoming (Archmage, Maestro, Hero)
- Generations (Timeless, Boundless, Relentless)
He also appears in the short stories "The Fires of Narbondel" in Realms of the Underdark, "Dark Mirror" in Realms of Valor, "The Dowery" in The Collected Stories: The Legend Of Drizzt, and "Comrades at Odds" in The Collected Stories: The Legend Of Drizzt".
Finally, he appears in the books The Stowaway, A Reader's Guide to R. A. Salvatore's the Legend of Drizzt, The Shadowmask, and The Collected Stories: The Legend of Drizzt Anthology.
Non-book appearances consist of the adventure module "The Accursed Tower", and the videogames Menzoberranzan, Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn • Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II, Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone, Dungeons and Dragons: Neverwinter, Arena of War, and Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance.
But what about MY not-evil Drow character!?
To repeat, Drizzt has inspired legions of copycats and imitators. And while it isn't necessarily the case that no roleplayer has ever done a good job with a "good Drow" or some other heroic member of a different generally evil monster race, there is a difference between a heroic Drow who actually feels like something distinct (say, a female Cleric or a Wizard instead of a male ranger), and ones who are just Drizzt in all but name...but with few if any of the things that made folks fall for that character in the first place.
Put another way, the difference between an acceptable or good Drow OC who isn't evil and a Drizzt clone that makes /tg/ want to declare an Exterminatus, is similar to the difference between a Fantasy setting that makes even a minimal good-faith effort to feel mildly distinct, and one that feels like Lord of the Rings with its soul sucked out.
To put another, another way: TG does not give a shit about what your playing at your table or your character. Sometimes just leaning into an archetype is what you want to do and not challenge things, same reason people play stereotype barbarians after all. Just be aware if you talk about your OC on the internet and somebody goes 'there a drizzle clone', just know to accept it and don't be that guy defensive about it.
- See also here.