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November 28, 2010 4:19 PM   Subscribe

The Legend of Drizzt — a film based on the books based on the roleplaying game brought to you by Ruben Studios.
posted by boo_radley (53 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is that a guy in blackface?
posted by absalom at 4:23 PM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, it's a human in drowface.
posted by Strange Interlude at 4:24 PM on November 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


WotC destroyed D&D.
posted by Max Power at 4:25 PM on November 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well, it couldn't possibly be any worse than the books.

Aim low!
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:27 PM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


My testicles retract into my body whenever I see LARPers captured on camera.
posted by Wataki at 4:30 PM on November 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


Those dorkily earnest battlecries could only emerge from D&D players.

(Drizzt debuted almost ten years before WoTC bought up TSR, Max)
posted by griphus at 4:31 PM on November 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dwarves must not have a great cultural tradition of soup. There's just no way you navigate a spoon of liquid into that tangled mass without leaving your face bearing a distinct resemblance to a cat that's just had a bath.
posted by winna at 4:31 PM on November 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


R.A. Salvatore just published a new book in that world, and I picked it up on a lark. I'm mixed on it, because on some levels, it's just impossibly juvenile and terrible, with inept, stiff characterizations, hamfisted backstories, and strange dialog, but once it gets going, it actually reads fairly well, and I felt actual tension at the climax, even while inwardly shaking my head at the sheer... I dunno, is 'ludicrousness' a word? Firefox thinks it exists, so I guess I'll leave it in there.

I can easily imagine a teenager thinking it was the GREATEST THING EVER.

It's cringeworthy on so many levels, but I have to admit that I actually enjoyed it, and might even buy the sequel. I'm embarrassed to type that, but it's true.
posted by Malor at 4:33 PM on November 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I probably would have started playing D&D years before I finally succumbed to my curiosity if I hadn't been scared away by the one and only Drizzt novel I managed to read all the way through.

I kind of feel like I should give RA Salvatore another shot, though. I'm less of a pretentious jackass college student now than I was then.

Now, you want good writing in the Forgotten Realms, you look up Mark Sehestedt. That young man is going places, mark my words.

I really need to find a job so I can afford the next in the Chosen of Nendawen trilogy.
posted by Neofelis at 4:36 PM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why? Why are things so awful?
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 4:50 PM on November 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


Drow are basically an insane social experiment about prejudice. I think the conversation went something like this:

GAMER 1: "You can't say that! That's bigoted!"
GAMER 2: "Oh, everyone's bigoted, somewhat."
GAMER 1: "I'm not!"
GAMER 2: "Oh yeah? What if I presented you with an entire race, made of LiveJournal entries and Hot Topic fashions?"
GAMER 1: "You... you wouldn't...."
posted by Navelgazer at 4:50 PM on November 28, 2010 [12 favorites]


"Hey, are those black elves? I haven't seen any black people in the books or games*, but there's black elves? Tell me about them!"

"Well, actually they all have European features, aside from the black skin. And they're evil. And they like to sacrifice people. And they're only matriarchal society in the game that I know of."

"Um."

"Look, here's an adventure published in 2006 where miscegenation between Drow and Nobles makes them evil, and you get to fight a dungeon full of 'dusky' enemies."

"How about I go play Stepin Fetchit, the RPG instead..."

* Granted, 3rd edition onwards has been better about this, though you can find history where Reglar went from being mixed ethnicity to straight up white, which is part of the reason he's always depicted beat up or dead in artwork these days, as a form of inside protest about that. Pathfinder, on the other hand, has been damn awesome about inclusive artwork.
posted by yeloson at 4:54 PM on November 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


GAMER 2: "Oh yeah? What if I presented you with an entire race, made of LiveJournal entries and Hot Topic fashions?"

Wins.
posted by JHarris at 5:01 PM on November 28, 2010


I can easily imagine a teenager thinking it was the GREATEST THING EVER.

I did. My God, how embarrassing! I even remember holding up Salvatore as a favorite author in my ninth-grade English class. R.A. Salvatore is the Garth Marenghi of fantasy.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:11 PM on November 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


Ugh, Drizzt. I have read more than my fair share of terrible fantasy fiction, and a good portion of that has been AD&D novels. But I recognized the awfulness of the Drizzt novels when I read them at 13. They were bad even for game fiction, which is at best 3rd rate hack fantasy; Drizzt was a powergamer's wet dream of a character, and even his angst seemed artificial.

The "heroic drow" stereotype that had risen up in the wake of Salvatore's novels did at least inspire me to have a major NPC drow who was really just evil, whose presence could cause the PCs to do incredibly dumb things like give up the location of the campaign-defining MacGuffin that they had just managed to hide in one of the inner planes. (That campaign ended with a fucking epic duel between the drow NPC and the paladin in the Elemental Plane of Air.)
posted by graymouser at 5:25 PM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


So are they making an actual movie, or is that it? I get the impression that this is it, since there haven't been any updates for a year and a half, and also the director mentions on his MySpace that he wants to meet someone from Universal "so we can make a legit, feature length Drizzt film."

Also, I kinda thought that was Louie Anderson playing the mage, for a minute there.
posted by Gator at 5:26 PM on November 28, 2010


That dude's huge warhammer returning to him? That was D&D as fuck.
Also oh god, don't even talk about racism in D&D it just doesn't work. Drow have a prestige class where if they live very good lives, Coralletheon god of good elves redeems them by killing them and bringing them back white. Just wtf right? Only we're on 4th edition and that's still in there.
posted by Peztopiary at 5:28 PM on November 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


There is a lot of hating on Salvatore here, but the simple fact is that he looks like John Steinbeck when shelved beside the rest of the D'n'D tie-in novels.

Or so I am told - wouldn't know anything about it myself, you understand.
posted by AndrewStephens at 5:31 PM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Those Drizzt books always end the same way " had suffered a mortal wound. His journey was at an end! Just then and ".
posted by GilloD at 5:37 PM on November 28, 2010


I read the original series when I was about nine or ten years old...at that time, PURE AWESOME.

At the same time I was also reading the Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion...

I think these two axes of fantasy defined my taste in the genre....pop/pulp wish-fulfillment entertainment on the one hand, and epic mythic grandiosity on the other...

Both have their place.
posted by jet_manifesto at 5:43 PM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Dwarves must not have a great cultural tradition of soup. There's just no way you navigate a spoon of liquid into that tangled mass without leaving your face bearing a distinct resemblance to a cat that's just had a bath."

That's why dwarves always make three times as much soup as they need. And why they think soap is a flavor.
posted by Kevin Street at 5:44 PM on November 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


That is a wonderful collection of tags.

And god, I'm one of those people who loved the Drizzt books when I was in fifth grade. But even then I wondered where all the non-white people were in the D&D universe.
posted by dinty_moore at 5:45 PM on November 28, 2010


Regular, generous applications of soup help keep a dwarf's beard soft and manageable, as well as smelling delicious. Beer is good, too, which is why dwarves are never seen drinking beer, but only quaffing it. "Quaffing" here is defined as an act similar to drinking, but one in which only two-thirds of the beverage enters the drinker's mouth, while the remainder runs down his or her front.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:55 PM on November 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I picked up The Thousand Orcs around the time of its release in paperback after a long time away from Mr. Salvatore. You really can't go home again.
posted by Gin and Comics at 5:59 PM on November 28, 2010


But even then I wondered where all the non-white people were in the D&D universe.

Oriental Adventures. D'uh.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:05 PM on November 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


I read through two of the Dark Elf trilogy books before I finally admitted defeat. One of the things that drove me crazy was that Salvatore used too many different words in place of "he said" and "she said." One that really stuck with me: so and so snarled. I mean, how do you even snarl a 20 word sentence? Terrible stuff.
posted by menschlich at 6:05 PM on November 28, 2010


I loved RA Salvadore when I was around 12-13. Thought they were great.
posted by NoraReed at 6:07 PM on November 28, 2010


God, I have more than one friend with Drizzt novels bearing prominent places on their bookshelves.

One of them is a Metafilter member actually. (strikes ground with staff) I SUMMON THEE!
posted by JHarris at 6:11 PM on November 28, 2010


Damn, I just found my copy of Homeland. I guess I won't reread it. I remember buying it at the supermarket, a big deal at the time. You couldn't find gaming tie in books outside of B Dalton or Walden. I remember it was misprint so that one of the chapters was repeated. I mailed off to TSR, my first and only real customer complaint. I was surprised in a way that only 12 year olds can be when I got a replacement.
posted by khaibit at 6:12 PM on November 28, 2010


Drow are funny. They're based on source mythology (Gygax cited trow, but the descriptions resemble Norse dvergar, which he actually spun off into another type of being) that has nothing to do with ethnicity as we understand it. But it the strange melange of mythology, nerdism and American ideas about race as a binary, we got treated to artistic depictions of them as pseudo-African, their use in the Eberron setting as "jungle elves," and miscellaneous drifts into stupid racist dynamics.

At the same time, if you like D&D (and I include myself here) protests about drow are risible, since you already tolerate the usage of "race" to separate types of beings into the human and inhuman. And the "mainstream" drow in two of D&D's settings strongly resemble what you see in H. Rider Haggard's She -- you've got a matriarchy and a natural underground complex, and plenty of racism, but the close analogues for the rather pulpy drow are white characters stuck in Africa because of how Haggard's racism.

I don't know. I sure think dressing up as a dark elf is a bad idea. No matter the context, you will bring up dumb, offensive associations. But I'm not ready to throw them out just because of mass culture binary racism. People I trust to speak about such things have always pointed at orcs as a standard channel for far more relevant, direct stereotypes. (There's a D&D book that models orc and goblin tribes to various ethnic stereotypes in a way that would make Phantom Menace-writing George Lucas blanch -- feathers on "red goblins" and everything).

Drow are problematic in a whole bunch of ways that strike at deep problems in geek culture that can't be eliminated just by getting rid of dark elves. But fuck dude, don't dress like them.

As for Salvatore, I always thought he did pretty good sword fights.
posted by mobunited at 6:33 PM on November 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


For a fan-made film, that actually looks pretty awesome. It's got mid-70s Doctor Who prop cheese combined with "I got a decent laptop" CGI, but you don't expect any better in a fan production.

Mind you, it's a fan-made film based on a book about the Drow with all the problems that implies, so I have all the ick from "it's a Drow story with a Gary Stu hero", but it's still awesome that someone went to all that trouble.
posted by immlass at 6:45 PM on November 28, 2010


"Daddy? Why is Elric black? Is he overcome by brooding sorrow?"
"I wish that were true, son. I wish that were true."
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:52 PM on November 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


But even then I wondered where all the non-white people were in the D&D universe.

Fun fact: The dominant ethnicities in D&D's Greyhawk setting resemble South Asian, Arab and Mediterranean ethnicities in our world. The most notable group resembling white people are racist villains who stray into the Evil Albino stereotype.

It's a pity that none of the artists employed by TSR or WotC noticed.
posted by mobunited at 6:55 PM on November 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I will say I was impressed by the blade work in this. It also had moments of promise, but like all fan films I too keep waiting for the porn to start. Drizzt XXX!

Link to my previous mention of R. A. Salvatore.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:13 PM on November 28, 2010


As for Salvatore, I always thought he did pretty good sword fights.

You know, that's funny, because I thought this video was just completely awful until the sword-fight, which I thought was merely mediocre, and afterwards I stopped watching.
posted by dubitable at 7:17 PM on November 28, 2010


Fun fact: The dominant ethnicities in D&D's Greyhawk setting resemble South Asian, Arab and Mediterranean ethnicities in our world. The most notable group resembling white people are racist villains who stray into the Evil Albino stereotype.

OK, this is extremely nerdy to note....but the Flannae are supposed to be Native American and the Baklunish are supposed to be more Persian and less Arabic (per Gary). Also, the dominant ethnicity is technically a hybrid Oeridian-Suel, which would look more or less standard European. The thing is, there weren't any major adventures or supplements that spent much time on either the Baklunish or the Flannae areas, so there was never a chance to use the different ethnicities beyond background color.
posted by graymouser at 7:28 PM on November 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


I've never read any Salvatore, but from reading this thread I'll say only that if, when I'm dead and all the .s in my MetaTalk obit thread have been distributed, I hope everyone says "Ian was such a good writer, I was a lifelong fan."

But if instead they say "Yeah, he was pretty terrible, but god I LOVED his books when I was 13," then that would be a pretty good consolation prize.
posted by Ian A.T. at 7:32 PM on November 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


But if instead they say "Yeah, he was pretty terrible, but god I LOVED his books when I was 13," then that would be a pretty good consolation prize.
posted by Ian A.T.


Actually that's a really good point. A lot of books suck now AND sucked then.
posted by haveanicesummer at 7:38 PM on November 28, 2010


I don't remember the books well so I assume that I wasn't that into them, but I do remember a long banished thread where a goon tried to get advice on how he could train himself to do the backwards foot motion walking that drizzzt did. And that day I swore that no child of mine would ever be allowed to take fantasy seriously.
posted by fido~depravo at 8:45 PM on November 28, 2010


The web comic Goblins did a pretty good sendup of Drizzt early on in the series, you can see it here and the following comic.
posted by Lokheed at 8:46 PM on November 28, 2010


I loved those books when I was young, and they are still proudly displayed on the shelf next to all the other AD&D books. Lots of Weis and Hickman obviously, but a fair amount of...Simon Hawke, Lynn Abbey, Ryan Hughes.....probably around 100 books in total. Sure they are crap by any mature literary standard, but they kept the imaginative spark alive through the young formative years and for that I will always keep them on the living room shelf.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:55 PM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


People don't like Salvatore? Next thing I know, people will be knocking Robert E Howard as pulp fiction.

To me, Drizz't is just like Conan with periodic monologues.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 9:41 PM on November 28, 2010


I'm pretty sure somewhere around these parts I've posted before about how I wrote a fan letter to R.A. Salvatore (back in 1993,) and how he wrote back and I have the letter framed in all of its dot-matrix glory right next to my first D&D character sheet (from 1984.)

Fuck the haters. The Icewind Dale and Dark Elf trilogies were good, Space-Opera-'Cept-With-Elves fun. Even the next three books still worked in that regard. His attempts to go dark and the preachy monologues are why I haven't read much of his stuff in the last few years.

As for the Drow = Racism thing. It makes me want to buy all the forks in the world, then stab said opinion holders with all of those forks, then hopefully by the time I'm nearly done, the first stabees will have bled out so I can re-use the original forks to chase down the stragglers. Stop overthinking shit and trying to kill fun.

I bet most of you are still just pissed out the fact that:

***STAR WARS EXTENDED UNIVERSE SPOILER ALERT***

He killed Chewbacca.
posted by Cyrano at 10:46 PM on November 28, 2010 [8 favorites]


No. No! That's not true! That's impossible!

(searches feelings)

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:02 PM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Great, now I just had the most wrong thought ever for nerd swag: a Chewbacca skin rug prop.
posted by KingEdRa at 12:39 AM on November 29, 2010


Chewbacca is so not dead. I saw him playing poker just last night.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:19 AM on November 29, 2010


I saw Chewbacca drinking a Pina Coloada at Trader Vic's. His hair was perfect.
posted by Snyder at 8:22 AM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Stop overthinking shit and trying to kill fun.

As a woman, the lesson for me that the big society run by women was evil was inherently un-fun. It was one of the reasons why I never read the Drizzt books.

Also, some of us enjoy nitpicking books to death. Stop underthinking shit and trying to kill fun.
posted by immlass at 9:45 AM on November 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


As a person of mixed-race, I had fun creating a character who was half-elven, with a black human father. So basically was mistaken for drow (or at least half-drow) everywhere he went.

lulllllllllzzzz ensueued.
posted by Eideteker at 10:39 AM on November 29, 2010


Stop overthinking shit and trying to kill fun.

Seriously, dude? The Forgotten Realms is one of the most obsessively detailed settings that there has ever been. There are reams of supplements, adventures and boxed sets that get into ludicrous levels of detail - not to mention dozens of novels. And the serious fans devoured every shred of the material; it became so over-the-top that DMs simply couldn't run the Realms as "their own" because their players would contradict them on questions of canon and games would devolve into lengthy canon debates. It was the setting where "overthinking shit" was seriously the whole point.
posted by graymouser at 4:34 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


[The Drow's] use in the Eberron setting as "jungle elves," and miscellaneous drifts into stupid racist dynamics.

Though if you were paying attention to the original campaign setting book, pretty much all the normal elves were at least brown-skinned, too, and half, maybe a little over, of the humans depicted were not strictly white either, as befits people who live in largely tropical/sub-tropical environs. Half elves, however, were inexplicably white.

And of course I have little doubt that subsequent artists didn't bother with anything but stereotypical European-ish types doing everything. With the stereotypical European fantasy structures thrown in, I suppose it's easy enough to forgot that the King's Forest is very literally a jungle.
posted by Zalzidrax at 6:12 PM on November 29, 2010


"Say it in a wizard voice!"
posted by zamboni at 1:22 PM on December 1, 2010


Also: Drow Attack: The Band Flier.
posted by zamboni at 1:45 PM on December 1, 2010


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