D&D 5E The Dual Wielding Ranger: How Aragorn, Drizzt, and Dual-Wielding Led to the Ranger's Loss of Identity

I have always seen the ranger as the smart, wise, strong and quick guy. Not the best guy in any of those, but the best to use all of them in various situation. Unfortunately the DnD system is not build to support a martial with 14 strength and 14 dexterity. The system is build around 18-10 or 10-18. I also see the ranger as using various weapon and armor, shield, long bow, two weapon, heavy weapon.

Ranger is a smart guy, he understand magic, and will use it as any other weapon or tools.
I’m not a fan of the half caster version of the 5ed
 

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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
To me it's clear the order of events was:
Hey R.A., we need a new sidekick character to put in your novel. flips through Unearthed Arcana Hey how about this? We can use it now that Gary is gone, right? Crystal Shard and especially Drizzt becomes a stunning success but drow player characters have already been thrown in the naughty pile for 2nd edition. Aha! Let's rewrite rangers to keep the fan-boys happy!

Okay, so here's the slight problem with this theory:

1. The Crystal Shard (Icewind Trilogy) was released in 1988- same time as the 2e was in playtesting.

2. The next two books came out as 2e was being released (book 2) and afterwards (3). Drizzt was getting popular, but still wasn't an iconic character ... yet. That wasn't until 1990 and the beginning of the Dark Elf Trilogy. Also? Please kill me. I have now typed that name so many times I might know how to spell it without looking it up.

3. So the timing really doesn't work. You'd have to have the 2e team specifically told, "Hey, we have this character in a set of books coming out, and he's going to be incredibly popular, so we need you to re-write the rules for him."

4. That would be a pretty big deal- and kind of weird given that neither the creator of the character nor the writer of 2e knew about it!

5. Further, it would be a pretty weird instruction. "So, the character is a dark elf, right? But here's the thing- the character is going to be so popular, and is going to make it really, really, really popular for people to play dark elves. So what we want you to do .... No, what we NEED you to do ... is to get rid of dark elves as a playable option and let rangers dual-wield. MMmmmkay? And then make sure no one ever learns the secret!"

I mean, anything is possible! But given that all available evidence points against it, and given that they got rid of dark elves as a playable race ... and that the people involved say it didn't happen, and that the timing isn't quite right given publication schedules ... seems a bit of a stretch, doesn't it?
 


billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
To me it's clear the order of events was:
Hey R.A., we need a new sidekick character to put in your novel. flips through Unearthed Arcana Hey how about this? We can use it now that Gary is gone, right? Crystal Shard and especially Drizzt becomes a stunning success but drow player characters have already been thrown in the naughty pile for 2nd edition. Aha! Let's rewrite rangers to keep the fan-boys happy!
In order to accept your version of events, we pretty much have to accept your implication that Zeb Cook was a liar about the development of the ranger.
 

jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
Series developer Mark Evanier revealed that Eric's contrary nature was mandated by parents' groups and consultants to push the then-dominant pro-social moral for cartoons of "The group is always right; the complainer is always wrong".
It's pretty funny that they wanted to push that as a message, because they were simultaneously preaching about the evils of peer pressure.
 


billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
Okay, so here's the slight problem with this theory:

1. The Crystal Shard (Icewind Trilogy) was released in 1988- same time as the 2e was in playtesting.

2. The next two books came out as 2e was being released (book 2) and afterwards (3). Drizzt was getting popular, but still wasn't an iconic character ... yet. That wasn't until 1990 and the beginning of the Dark Elf Trilogy. Also? Please kill me. I have now typed that name so many times I might know how to spell it without looking it up.
I'm on board with the explanation that Drizzt and the dual-wielding ranger were developed independently - but I would quibble over #2. Drizzt was already the breaking-out character from The Crystal Shard and that's probably what enabled Salvatore to get the Dark Elf Trilogy green lit by management. He's effectively the main character of the adventuring party by the 2nd book in the Icewind Trilogy anyway.
 

TwoSix

Uncomfortably diegetic
If you got 10k for your stimulus check, I want to see a picture of your family. That's like 9 or 10 kids!
Technically, a married couple with 5 dependents would be at almost $10,000 for their stimulus check ($9,800) if they're below the income cutoff.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Hey R.A., we need a new sidekick character to put in your novel.

This often gets overlooked. Drizzt was meant to be just a sidekick, with no more focus than any other character. But it being the late 80s (start of the goth resurgence and emo phase), the brooding "dark" hero took off in popularity and became a fan favorite. so yeah, I think your comment about that bears repeating
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I'm on board with the explanation that Drizzt and the dual-wielding ranger were developed independently - but I would quibble over #2. Drizzt was already the breaking-out character from The Crystal Shard and that's probably what enabled Salvatore to get the Dark Elf Trilogy green lit by management. He's effectively the main character of the adventuring party by the 2nd book in the Icewind Trilogy anyway.

I certainly don't mean to overstate my case, and my goodness, this is far from either my favorite topic nor the one that I am most knowledgeable in.

My recollection (backed up by a brief bit of research) is that Drizzt was a sidekick in Crystal Shard (1987), before being moved to a primary role in the next two books in the Icewind Dale trilogy.

That said, at that point, he was an interesting and popular character, but not the Drizzt that he became. By the time of the Dark Elf trilogy (and certainly by '92) he had morphed into the iconic Drizzt.

In other words, based on may recollection, sales, and coverage in Dragon Magazine (for example), I could imagine a 1992 TSR having that directive- but not a 1989 TSR. Drizzt wasn't in the same league then. Yet.

By Legacy (1992) Drizzt was released in hardcover. That's pretty much the dividing line AFAIC.

(Again, I am open to correction on these, but I agree that the main point is simply that the designers of 2e would likely remember that bizarre directive, and have no reason to lie.)
 

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