For fans of R.A. Salvatore’s The Legend of Drizzt novel series, Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance offered an opportunity to take control of an early version of Companions of the Hall, prior to the group retaking Mithral Hall for the dwarven king Bruenor Battlehammer. Though the game featured Bruenor, Wulfgar, Drizzt, and Catti-brie as playable characters, it notably omitted the halfling thief Regis. While Regis is an important character, given the game’s focus on brutal combat, Regis would not have made an ideal choice. At that point in the story, the halfling was known for cowardice and thievery more than his prowess in a straightforward fight. Depicting a version of Regis that could hold his own with the others would not have meshed well with the source material.
Regis was a chubby halfling, given the nickname “Rumblebelly” by Bruenor due to his insatiable hunger. He was characterized, in the early Legend of Drizzt novels, as one who preferred living comfortably – smoking his pipe, fishing, or engaging in wood carving – instead of seeking adventures and training for combat. This initial characterization was close to the Hobbit characters in the works of Tolkien, as Regis was a simple person who would have preferred a peaceful, bucolic lifestyle, but found himself thrust into adventures. The entire reason that Regis joined the Companions of the Hall was out of self-preservation, as he was fleeing the pursuit of the assassin Artemis Enteri, who was hired by Pasha Pook, a thieves guild master from Calimport whom Regis had betrayed earlier in his history.
Later novels in the series saw Regis transform into a true hero who could battle alongside the other Legend of Drizzt Companions of the Hall. After his reincarnation, when Regis lived as Spider Paraffin, Regis became a swashbuckling rogue, skilled with swords, daggers, and the hand crossbow, as well as an alchemist, able to create a variety of poisons and healing concoctions. When Regis, as Spider, pushed himself to become better, he did so specifically while reflecting on his past, when he was a burden to his friends, and a liability in need of rescue, more often than not, rather than a true equal. Regis trained to become a warrior fully capable of standing alongside the other Companions and holding his own largely due to his guilt over the years when he failed to contribute much to the group.
For that reason, with D&D: Dark Alliance taking place after the first published novel in The Legend of Drizzt series, The Crystal Shard, it would not be appropriate for Regis to be a front-line combatant. The Regis of the early novels would not stand against the hordes of evil monsters and cultists seeking the power of the Crystal Shard, much less Icewind, the white dragon mate of the slain dragon Icingdeath. Regis developed loyalty to his companions over the course of the books, and helped at many key junctures, but his aid usually came in the form of stealth and guile. For the brutal melees of Dark Alliance, it is entirely appropriate that Regis would opt out.
While Catti-brie also received minimal development in the first book, subsequent novels would quickly establish Catti-brie as a brave and formidable fighter, so her rendition as a playable character, specializing in archery, is not entirely out of character. If a follow up game were to advance the timeline of Dark Alliance to the “present day” status of the Legend of Drizzt novels, Regis would make an excellent choice for a playable character. In current novels, Regis possesses his own signature magic items, including a dagger housing the spectral lich Ebonsoul, a magical hand crossbow with poisoned bolts, and a ring enabling short-range teleportation, among others, which would offer a variety of interesting battle options.
Regis eventually became a skilled fighter, and his abilities as an alchemist, as well as his half-Genasi heritage post-reincarnation, could offer him some unique combat abilities in a follow up game set in the current-day Forgotten Realms. Dark Alliance’s story took place at a time where Regis was more thief than swashbuckler, following a group of heroes out of fear, rather than heroism, making D&D: Dark Alliance’s decision to omit him from the playable cast the right one.