Jarlaxle is a fictional character in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting based on the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. He first appeared in the 1990 novel, Exile, by R.A. Salvatore as the charismatic and opportunistic drow leader of the mercenary band, Bregan D'aerthe. The character has appeared again in subsequent novels including Promise of the Witch-King, Road of the Patriarch, and The Pirate King, as well as "The Sellswords" and "Paths of Darkness" trilogies (by R.A. Salvatore). He also has a cameo in the CRPG Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, in which he tricks the PC into stealing gems for him from an undead lich.
Slender, handsome, and tightly muscled, Jarlaxle was the dandy of Menzoberranzan. He chose the brightest colors for his clothes and wore a cape that shone in every color in both the visible and infrared spectra. He commonly wore high boots and bracelets that could be made to be clack loudly or be silent at his discretion. He also wore a magical eye patch that protected his mind from magical and psionic intrusions and allowed him to see through walls and other solid objects. He often shifted the patch from eye to eye to keep others guessing as to its powers. Another staple item was his wide-brimmed hat, plumed with a diatryma feather and worn atop his clean-shaven scalp, which was a symbol of his refusal to conform to society's expectations in Menzoberranzan, a society where rank and position were reflected by hair style.
Jarlaxle walked with mild limp from an injury that never completely healed.
More than anything, Jarlaxle was an opportunist. His wealth was considerable, but official station in drow society meant nothing to him. He observed that the best way for a male to survive and prosper in the matriarchal drow society was to be outside the system and to be too valuable to be eliminated — and he was audacious enough to take his life in that direction. Always calm and graceful, Jarlaxle enjoyed flaunting his independence and was proud of the fact that the noble houses come to him for aid. In the city of Menzoberranzan, intrigue and double-dealing were a way of life, and no one played them better than Jarlaxle did.
As a male outsider who had no qualms dealing with the "lesser races," Jarlaxle had much information few others beyond Lolth's priestesses were likely to have access to. He was one of the most powerful males, if not individuals, in the city and the surrounding Underdark. He benefited from the chaos of Menzoberranzan and was always able to align himself with the winning side in any conflict. In his later years, he preferred to see adventure and profit in the World Above. He found that he felt most alive when he was with friends and when he was taking risks.
He had a very charismatic personality, always willing to talk his way out of situations rather than resort to force of arms. Moreover, talking was what Jarlaxle did best. His words easily worked past the handicap of his race's evil reputation, able to turn potential enemies into allies. He loved irony, sarcasm, and wit. He was extremely intelligent and a brilliant tactician who was always prepared for any imaginable or unimaginable circumstances. He also preferred to avoid killing someone as long as that person could be manipulated to serve his interests, no matter how small his or her role might be. In fact, Jarlaxle didn't like to kill somebody unless he had to, an unusual trait in a drow — and likely the reason he did so in the first place. Several times, he played the hero just for the sake of it.
His lieutenant Kimmuriel Oblodra revealed a deep understanding of Jarlaxle's personality. He recognized that his gambling and sometimes foolish-seeming attitude was a very good facade, underneath which lay a frighteningly intelligent mind.