If you’ve ever spent any time playing a fantasy MMORPG, you’ve likely run across a few characters named something like “Drizzzzt” or “D’rizit”. I don’t think I’ve ever played a game and not seen a scimitar-wielding PC run by, and every time it happens I crack a smile. All those names pay homage to Drizzt Do’Urden, one of the greatest heroes of the Forgotten Realms. Brought to life on the pages of over 20 books by R. A. Salvatore, this drow ranger has been capturing the imaginations of readers and Dungeons & Dragons players for almost 30 years.
Drizzt Do’Urden is, perhaps, the most famous drow in the history of the Forgotten Realms. Readers were first introduced to Drizzt in The Crystal Shard, the novel that kicked off The Icewind Dale trilogy and introduced us to a host of characters that would become longtime companions of Drizzt. Actually, it may be more accurate to say that this book introduced us to the characters that Drizzt was intended to support. The Crystal Shard – Book 1 in the Icewind Dale trilogy – was not intended to be a Drizzt book. R. A. Salvatore created the character while on a phone call, before he could even spell the name. Since that moment he has become an iconic part of the Forgotten Realms, and thus D&D.
As a drow, Drizzt has provided readers with a window into a dark and mysterious part of the Forgotten Realms. The drow are primarily portrayed as an evil subrace of elves. They live underground, worship an evil spider goddess, subjugate other creatures…you know, bad guy stuff. Drizzt, however, is a break from tradition. He left the underworld capital, Menzobarranzan, and struck out on his own. The story of how he escaped and why he left can be found in The Dark Elf Trilogy. It was published after Icewind Dale, however it tells Drizzt’s origin story and how he met the characters in Dale.
He follows Mielikki, the goddess of rangers, and is accompanied on his adventures by his astral black panther Guenhwyvar. His weapons are twin scimitars named Icingdeath and Twinkle; the Forgotten Realms are lucky that Drizzt is a force for good given how deadly they are in his hand. He is fiercely loyal to his friends which stands in stark contrast to the drow from his home city. The denizens of Menzobarranzan are spiteful and treacherous.
Drizzt, however, is driven by a powerful personal code of honor. When we first meet Drizzt, he’s living alone on the frigid tundra helping protect a community that does not fully accept him. The Icewind Dale is a barren place, and Ten Towns is on the outskirts. It faces threats from the monsters of the region and invasion from barbarian tribes. The town’s reluctance to accept him does not do anything to dampen his commitment to keeping the town and his few friends safe.
Drizzt’s adventures are numerous. I don’t want to spoil too much, but I loved spending hours following along as he slew demons, fought wizards and dragons. As a drow living on the surface, he also offered us an opportunity to explore the racial issues that plague the Forgotten Realms. Much like our own world, prejudice exists in the realms and Salvatore does not shy away from weaving this into his stories.
Want to learn more about Drizzt? With over 20 books, it can be tough to figure out where to start. For those who want the latest and greatest, R. A. Salvatore has recently published Timeless with HarperCollins. If you want to start at the beginning of Drizzt’s story chronologically, pick up Homeland – the first book of the Dark Elf Trilogy. If, however, you want to go back to the first book that launched the adventures of the world’s favorite drow then you need to pick up The Crystal Shard.
If you’d rather watch – or play -a Drizzt adventure, then be sure to check out Acquisition Incorporated’s live game from PAX 2016. Chris Perkins plays as Drizzt in their adventure and made his character sheet available!
However you choose to introduce yourself to the drow swordmaster, we’re confident that you’ll enjoy your time in the Forgotten Realms!
Who is your favorite Forgotten Realms character? Tell us in the comments!
Looking for more Dungeons & Dragons fun?
- Read our tips on character creation through roleplay!
- Fill a full session with sidequests!
- Create your own ranger with our Complete Beginner’s Guide To Creating A Ranger in D&D!
Featured Image Credit: Wizards of the Coast
Image Credits: Wizards of the Coast, HarperCollins
In addition to Geek & Sundry, Raf Cordero co-hosts the gaming podcast Ding & Dent. Chat with him on Twitter @captainraffi.