Of the various elven subraces, none are more notorious than the drow. Descended from the original dark-skinned elven subrace called the Ssri-tel-quessir, the drow were cursed into their present appearance by the good elven deities for following the goddess Lolth down to the path to evil and corruption.
Also called dark elves, the drow have black skin that resembles polished obsidian and stark white or pale yellow hair. They commonly have blood-red eyes, although pale eyes (so pale as to be often mistaken for white) in shades of pale lilac, silver, pink, and blue are not unknown. Normally when they use infravision it causes their eyes to glow red. They also tend to be smaller and thinner than most Faeruian elves. Most drow on the surface are evil and worship Vhareaun, but some outcasts and renegades have a more neutral attitude, and there are even groups of good drow who worship Eilistraee or other deities not of the traditional drow pantheon.
Though divided by endless feuds and schisms, the drow are united in one terrible desire: they seethe with a hatred for the surface elves. By their way of reckoning, they proved themselves the superior race in the Fourth Crown War, and the fact that the Seldarine (and Corellon in particular) punished them for their success is a poison that churns in their hearts and minds eternally. They burn with hatred for the Seldarine and their coddled children, and want nothing more than to return to the surface and bring to the elves there suffering a thousand times greater than that which the drow have been forced to endure over the past ten thousand years.
Drow are, on the whole, sadistic, destructive, and treacherous. They view themselves as the rightful heirs to Faerun and still remember the perceived injustice of their exile to the Underdark. They hate other races and either wish to make war upon them or view those others with contempt and tolerate them only as necessary for trade or temporary military alliances. Even among their own kind, drow are cruel and suspicious. There is little room for love and friendship in drow society. They may value alliances with other family members or acquaintances, but no drow truly trusts another. Drow forge alliances only when they are more powerful than an “ally,” possess blackmail-worthy knowledge, or have a common enemy that overrides their mutual hatred. Even then, they keep their eyes and ears primed for the slightest hint of treachery. The motto for the drow may well be, “Do unto others first so they cannot do unto you.”
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. A fair number of drow have come to value their position in the Underdark and now think of themselves as true natives of their dark realm. They have little desire to return to the surface and would rather rule in the depths than struggle to regain a realm they no longer hold any interest in ruling. Even more rare are those few drow who have atoned for their evil ways and think of their fellows as monsters that need to be stopped. These drow are either surface dwellers who are struggling to become accepted into new societies, or fugitives dwelling in out-of-the-way caverns deep underground. With the new expansion into the surface, more drow than ever before are being exposed to the truth on the surface, and many are realizing that life on the surface is much nicer than they were led to believe by the agents of Lolth and her kin. It is possible, with proper acceptance and encouragement, that the number of neutral or even good drow on the surface of Faerun could skyrocket n the coming years. The priesthood of Eilistraee is in the forefront of this movement, desperately trying to divert the drow war on the surface into a mass conversion from the dark elves' dreadful ways.
The dark elves are renowned for their skill as clerics, fighters, rogues, and wizards. While many drow are naturally gifted enough to excel in almost any career to which they turn their attention, their society had long rewarded skill at arms, divine power (primarily in the hands of female clerics of Lolth), and arcane might (primarily in the hands of male wizards). Likewise, all drow have a deep-seated admiration for stealth, guile, and the unexpected blade in the dark. Dark elves are well-suited to make good bards, but few follow this path; the bard's exuberance does not fit well in drow society, although all drow can admire a work of skill. Drow rangers are valuable, too, serving as scouts who can roam the tunnels of the Underdark, seeking out threats to the great cities of the dark elves. Drow do not often multiclass, as their society tends to reward specialization in the expected roles and skills.
Drow live in militaristic societies with strong religious foundations. They are a matriarchal society, ruled by the most powerful drow priestess. Drow do not form nations, but congregate in vastly powerful city-states located in massive caverns deep underground. Drow cities trade with each other but frequently fall into open warfare.
A typical drow city is ruled by a large group of powerful drow families, the strongest of which rule the city itself. Each family is in turn ruled by a Matron Mother, typically (though not always) a powerful cleric of Lolth. Infighting is common, even expected, among the ruling families of a drow city. The power ranking of the families shifts almost daily, although the top five or ten families are relatively stable.
Drow cities tend toward a haphazard organization, as the strong families seize the best territory for themselves and leave the common drow to build their warrens and feed themselves in whatever fashion they can manage. The various family estates are often grouped together in the most defensible part of the cavern, but this is not always the case. Typically, a large public temple to Lolth is located in the same area, often as part of the ruling family's estate. The city itself is usually a tangled, chaotic mess of hundreds of architectural styles. Magic items emitting faerie fire adorn the more prosperous buildings, as well as most of the family estates. For the most part, poverty, oppression, and desperation are the rule in the heart of a drow city.
Beyond the city proper are vast farms where slaves raise deep rothe, edible fungus, and other necessities for the survival of the city. Garrisons of the city's standing army (segregated by gender) are located nearby; along with academies that cater to wizards, bards, rogues, assassins, and experts of various fields. Often, a drow city enters an alliance with a powerful denizen of the Underdark such as a beholder or a deep dragon, encouraging the creature to keep a lair on the outskirts of the city.
Surface drow have yet to form anything resembling a society of their own. For the most part, surface drow live as outsiders and hermits, interacting with established societies only when necessary.
Drow use of languages is described in separate article.
The drow worship a pantheon of deities known as the Dark Seldarine. These deities were cast out of the Seldarine ages ago and exiled to the Demonweb Pits. They are led by Lolth, the Spider Queen, and it is she whom the vast majority of drow worship. The second most popular drow deity is Vhaeraun, worshiped by most of the surface-dwelling drow. The other drow deities remain minor in the grand scheme of things, either too absorbed in their own interests to increase their worshipers (such as Ghaunadaur), or too afraid or comfortable as Lolth's servants to make a move for more power (such as Kiaransalee and Selvetarm). A notable exception is Eilistraee, the solitary good-aligned deity in the drow pantheon. As more and more drow turn to the surface in an attempt to expand their domains, an increasing number are being converted away from their evil ways by the church of Eilistraee, which of late has significantly stepped up its effort to “save” the drow from their destructive ways.
Relations with Other RacesEdit
The drow do not interact well with the various other sentient races of Faerun. At best, the drow think of other races as merely laughable or contemptible. They hold low opinions even of their erstwhile allies, such as the kuo-toa. Against most other races, the only way the drow know to react is with hatred and outright war. They have built up powerful city-states based on the motion that the path to power lies in the subjugation of lesser races and the eradication of those who pose a threat to their homes.
Prisoners captured in drow raids and battles are usually brought back to the cities to serve out the remainder of their lives as slaves. Orcs, hobgoblins, ogres, and other savage humanoids, are common slaves. Most drow households have two or three such slaves for every drow in the house. The breeding and selling of slaves is a thriving business in drow cities, because these hapless thralls perform all menial and unskilled labor in a drow city.
The true focus of drow hatred, though, is reserved for the surface elves. They act quickly and cruelly to seize any chance to bring pain, suffering, and death to other elves the encounter. Even the few evil surface elves are seen as enemies. Drow sometimes enter into truces with other races or individual if doing so helps them to realize their sinister goals, but these truces are by their nature temporary affairs. It's only a matter of time until the drow turn on their allies.
Roleplay Tips Edit
- Credits to 4SakN
Drow live for 600-700 years. Drow lifespans are due more to political plots over old age; few know how long a drow can live before "Natural" death. Drow Matrons on average have between 6 and 8 children, keeping females and the first 2 males. Commoners will often have more trying to increase the prestige of their family (more females). This is why the population has remained relatively steady rather than growing or shrinking.
Drow range much farther than either Duergar or Illithid in patrols and raiding parties; and always have. But more-so than range alone is that they are far more likely to attack any targets of opportunity than either of the other races: Illithids being more intent on safety (IE overwhelming numbers before attacking) and Duergar being more intent on any mission goals rather than simply destruction (though if a target appears weak enough they may take them for slaves). Drow raiding parties will attack even reasonably well defended groups just because they feel like it; or because their patrol is bored.
Creating New Character On Arelith Edit
Base race Edit
- Sleeplessness: Immune to spells and effects of the 'Sleep' subtype.
- Hardiness vs. Enchantments: +2 racial bonus on saving throws against mind-affecting spells.
- Bonus Proficiencies (Longsword, Rapier, Shortbow, Longbow)
- Skill Affinity (Listen): +2 racial bonus to listen checks.
- Skill Affinity (Search): +2 racial bonus to Search checks.
- Skill Affinity (Spot): +2 racial bonus to Spot checks.
- Keen Senses: Elves make active Search checks automatically and with no movement penalties.
- Low-light Vision: Allows them to see better than normal in the dark.
- Favoured Class: Cleric for females and wizard for males.
They are renowned for their skills as clerics, fighters, rogues, and wizards. Few follow the path of bards. Rangers are valuable as scouts. Drow do not often multiclass, as their society tends to reward specialization.
Assassin is without the doubt the most common prestige class (PrC). Blackguards are also common.
The great majority is evil and most tend toward chaos.
- Arelith Alignment Restriction: Evil or Neutral
(Neutral alignment will face in character persecution.)
Good aligned/Surface drow are not permitted on Arelith. For more details see The Definitive Drow Policy and Why.
In order to activate the full subrace abilities of your Drow, chose "Gift of Subrace" in the Gift selection menu. After you have chosen this gift in Arelith Entry, following changes will be made to your character:
- DEX +2, CON -2, INT +2, CHA +2
- Spell Resistance: 11+level (capped at 32)
- Spell-Like Ability: Darkness 1/day
- Favored Class: Cleric (female) or Wizard (male)
- ELC +2
- Skin: Any shade from dark gray to black that resembles polished obsidian.
- Hair: Pale yellow, silver or stark white.
- Eyes: They commonly have blood-red eyes, although pale eyes (so pale as to be mistaken for white) in shades of pale lilac, silver, pink, and blue are not unknown.
Aging, height and weight similar to elves.
- Drow are usually shorter and slender compared to other elves.
- Adulthood: 110 years
- Could live over 350 years, but usually get killed much sooner. Theoretically they could live to be over 700 years old.
- Bonus languages:
- Starting city: Udos Dro'Xun
Related on Arelith wikiEdit
- Drow on page about Underdark - with many related articles about their city and society.
- Drow use of languages with links to more Drow language resources.
- Definitive Drow policy - Arelith policy concerning Drow with explanations.