It’s just one more day until Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance is out on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation platforms. This title is an action-adventure game set in the frozen norths of the continent of Faerun in the Forgotten Realms settings of Dungeons and Dragons. Unlike other Dungeons and Dragons titles where you can create your own unique character to go on an epic adventure, Dark Alliance follows the story of known adventurers of the Forgotten Realms, namely Drizzt and his party.
If you enjoy the game of Dungeons and Dragons but haven’t stumbled upon this name before, that’s no surprise. Drizzt, aside from casual mentions and in prefaces, doesn’t show up in any published 5th edition material. Those who do know the exploits of Drizzt will know him from his series of books written by R. A. Salvatore. The Crystal Shard was published in 1988 as the first book in The Icewind Dale Trilogy, the first time D&D fans met the Drow Ranger Drizzt Do’Urden.
Who Is Drizzt Do’Urden?
While the Icewind Dale Trilogy is the first time we meet Drizzt in the book’s release order, Salvatore wrote The Dark Elf Trilogy, serving as a prequel and origin story for the to-be-renowned Drow.
Drizzt was born in the city of Menzoberranzan, the City of Spiders, in the Underdark. He was born to Malice Do’Urden and Zaknafein Do’Urden. It was his father who trained him in the ways of the Ranger before he was sent off to the Drow Academy at the age of 20. Part of what his father instilled in him was idealism and nobility in fighting, this was a stark difference from the soulless killers that the Academy churned out. Nevertheless, when Drizzt returned from the Academy, not only was he top of his class for nine out of the 10 years he was there, but he still retained his honor.
After stories spread of Drizzt killing a moon-elf child, Zaknafein fought him, filled with rage that Drizzt could kill an innocent. Drizzt admitted that he let the child go, sparing the child while keeping it a secret. Unknown to Drizzt and Zaknafein, they were being scried upon by Malice. While Drizzt was to be executed, Zaknafein took his place to save his son. Drizzt fled the Underdark knowing, that there was no way he could be safe there. He fled to the surface where he emerged outside a small village called Maldobar.
After a few run-ins with hunters and wary townspeople to the presence of a Drow, he fled north to Icewind Dale. There he was saved and became friends with Catti-brie and Bruenor Battlehammer.
Who is Bruenor Battlehammer?
Adoptive father to Catti-brie and Wulfgar (they come up later), Bruenor is a Dwarf Fighter who was born in the Mithral Hall, a Dwarf stronghold underneath Fourthpeak Mountain. When Bruenor was a young boy he and his people were run out of the Mithral Hall by Shimmergloom, a Shadow Dragon. From Mithral Hall, Bruenor’s clan moved near Ten Towns in Icewind Dale. It’s always been Bruenor’s goal in life to rediscover Mithral Hall and reclaim his clan's ancestral hometown.
It was here in Icewind Dale that he met and adopted Catti-brie after protecting her town from a goblin attack. After adopting Catti-brie, there was a battle between the Tribe of the Elk and Ten-Towns where Bruenor beat Wulfgar and sentenced him to five years of service. Over this time, what began as a rocky relationship ended up becoming one between father and son as he chose to adopt Wulfgar too.
Who is Catti-brie?
Catti-brie is a human fighter that is in a party with Drizzt and her adoptive father and brother. In the process of being born in Mirabar, Cataline’s mother passed away. Her father and her shortly moved from Mirabar to Termalaine, part of the Ten Towns of Icewind Dale. Misery continued to follow Cataline as Termalaine was attacked by a group of goblins. During this attack, her father was killed, leaving her all alone. Bruenor, seeing the small frightened girl, decided to adopt her. Cataline was shortened to Catti, and Bruenor added a shortening of Brienne, a feminine version of his own name, to Cataline to give her the new name Catti-brie.
When Drizzt first arrived in Icewind Dale, she took particular interest in him and even went to great lengths to warn him about the hunter who had been searching for him. While she herself was captured by the hunter Roddy McGristle, Drizzt saved her. It was by saving Catti-brie that Drizzt managed to secure his new home among the dwarves.
When Wulfgar was spending his time in service of her father, she began to form a closer relationship with him, seeing him as a brother in their unique family.
Who is Wulfgar?
Wulfgar is a human barbarian of the Tribe of the Elk in Icewind Dale. He was a flag bearer for Heafstaag, the king of the tribe, leading to an upbringing surrounded by battle. When the battle broke out between his tribe and the Ten Towns, he was captured and placed in indentured servitude for five years and a day. What began as a hateful relationship ended up shifting as Bruenor and he started to share a father-son relationship. After Wulfgar’s sentence was almost up, Bruenor has Aegis-fang, a Mythril Warhammer, forged for him and asked Drizzt to teach him how to fight.
It’s in this way that Drizzt began his journey, and each of the other party members gathered together to go on the journey to protect the crystal shard and fight against the Dark Alliance that was formed between a number of malevolent parties in the region. This party working together ended up being known as The Companions of the Hall later in life; the only member that won’t be playable in Dark Alliance is Regis, a halfling rogue, but he might just show up in the story anyway. While each of these characters continues into the three dozen novels following Drizzt, this should be information enough to give you an idea of who Drizzt and his party members are so you can hop right into the action without feeling too lost.
Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance will be available on June 22, and it'll continue getting content throughout 2021. It will be available on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC. It will also be available day one on Xbox Game Pass. If you're interested in learning more about recent D&D releases, be sure to check out our review of Candlekeep Mysteries set south of Icewind Dale, and what to expect from the horror settings of Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft.