The Eluen-cuthpar seemed to have touched every facet of the world, and in this story their involvement, again, is ever-so true. A substantial faction of highland elves partook in the experiments to reshape life on Thepa. These elves were charged with research of a more inhumane nature. Their location, remote as it was, granted the Eluen-cuthpar leeway in their study and exploration.
Good did come out of this venture. For instance, the first nalu was born to Lake Maen’thriael, yet any prosperity conceived was immeasurable to the atrocities necessary for advancement. Many of the mountainous elves were horrified by the things their leaders carried out. Soon a coup formed. Mostly female in numbers, they lacked arcane and melee power. The rebellion failed as quickly as it rose.
As punishment, the elven leaders branded their rebellious brethren with blackened skin and bleached hair by using the transformative magic that the rebels so dearly feared. Many of the offenders were imprisoned. Some falsely repented. Those who were pardoned conspired to free those incarcerated. The newly formed drow quickly freed their kin, executed a devastating blow to the research facilities, and fled to their former enemies, the dwarves.
The old adage of enemy mine came in to play: “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” The dwarves sheltered the drow, but only for a short time. The changes to the elves were created out of hatred and anger. These destructive emotions shined through the drow as dark spots on their souls. They could not be allowed to stay.
The dwarves in their failed foresight believed that the drow, who were allowed to leave safely supplied, would prosper in the darklands, and that they would become great allies in the future. Obviously this belief did not come to pass. The drow left, enraged by their exile from the dwarven lands.
Months passed as the drow delved deeper and deeper into Thepa until they finally found a massive array of caves suitable for living. The drow males cleared the caverns one-by-one, securing each with what arcane magic they still possessed. The men were too busy protecting their families and dying to the darkland creatures to see that a new governmental system was forming.
The women, who significantly outnumbered the men, setup up gardens for food and began discussing their new existence. When the plans for a new regime were finally imparted upon the men, it was too late. The women had the power and were not about to relinquish it.
Over the next nearly-four millennia, the hatred of the elves and the outrage over the dwarven betrayal could only fester. Elves were to be murdered without an ounce of lenience, tortured perhaps, but always killed. Dwarves were to never be trusted again and with the generations of isolated growth, competition over resources would inevitably cause conflict. Dwarves should be slain as well.
Drow stand 4 to 5 feet tall and weigh between 80 to 100 pounds. Females are notably taller than males due to their breeding practices. Male children whose hands and feet are large at birth end up becoming sacrifices to one of the drow deities. It is also customary to sacrifice the first male child of any mother. These practices ensure female domination over their society, which bolsters a significantly larger amount of females than males.
All drow have white hair or some variation of it. Female hair is commonly an array of ghost white or ivory white. Drow male hair, on the other hand, typically has reddish tones such as seashell white or old lace white hair. A tiny percentage of their population boasts pure white hair and is viewed to be a sign of special individuals. They commonly take up powerful positions in drow society. No matter the color, drow grow their hair out and style it with braids and small beads, though a noteworthy number do leave it long and loose.
Dark skin is universal to all drow and ranges from ebony black to dark purple to brown, a trait the drow use to their advantage when raiding human settlements and other victims with limited darkvision. During raids, their hair is always covered, either with a helmet or a cloak so as to keep themselves as dark as possible. Their only color weakness when raiding comes from their eyes. Drow eyes faintly glow their daytime colors in the night, which are red or violet, or on rare occasions amber.
Drow spend an immense amount of time perfecting their bodies, though they never bulk up. Drow prefer to be strong yet agile as brute force has its limitations in the tunnels of the darklands. This perfection has led the drow to resemble the physical manifestations of art. Drow take pride in frames that lack body fat. Each member of this race is chiseled, lean, and muscular. Even the females have athletic bodies, narrow hips and smaller chests. These physiques do cause complications during childbirth, yet with their druidic healing magic the drow rarely lose a mother or her child without choice.
The lifespan of drow is rather long. They are rarely bothered by wars and generally live a safe life away from intruders. The only real chances of dying come from their backstabbing political structure, from the patrols that are entrusted to scout the boundaries of their homelands, or from the surface raids in search of new slaves and robust plant life, which cannot be found in the darklands. Most drow live to be 350 to 750 years old. A few have actually reached the millennium mark.
Personality (chaotic evil)
This once great elven culture has become perverted by the time they have spent deep underground. The bulk of its population is now saturated with a wholly egotistical people. Their narcissism is so corrupt, so complete that it is even beyond human comprehension.
Females, being the leaders of this society, have developed a hedonistic outlook on life. They indulge in a multitude of sins to please themselves, caring nothing for those they exploit and hurt. Drow women view all males, not just drow, as inferior, tools, art if you will. Their only use for males is for sensual and sexual pleasures. Especially well-toned “sculptures” are highly prized in the feminine way of life.
Drow male disposition greatly veers away from their female counterparts. Yet, it ironically compliments them at the same time. Males are fond of being objectified, and participate willingly in the desires of their matriarchs. Furthermore, the females encourage their mates to be cooperative by gifting jewelry and perfumes unto them, or granting access to the glorious druidic gardens.
Males are essentially “pets” accepting their lot in life with delight. Nevertheless, drow males still hold on to some of their instinctual behaviors. They desire physical conflict and desire the competitions put before them. The struggles of house rivalries cause males to band together in tight brotherhoods, willing to die for one another. The females fall short in this aspect of drow life, typically leaving “friends” behind to save their own skin.
Drow have one homeland, S’sraenyir. This massive underground city is built from thousands of interlocking caverns that have been connected by intricate yet deliberately planned tunnels. All other attempts to settle in the darklands have failed due to sabotage, war, or – quite frankly – the inability to survive. It is a hard place to live, the darkness. So when we speak of the drow, we speak of S’sraenyir.
S’sraenyir is a society of titles. The most common courtesies are nilai (community rank), rumah (house rank), and diri (personal name). Formally, drow use their ranks and personal names in descending order of importance. A top druid named Jane Doe would be addressed as Nilai Taman Rumah Doe Jane, Taman being the term for a druid of the gardens.
The word rumah has many uses in drow society. A drow without civil obligations is officially referred to as Nilai Rumah. Of course, drow are only formal when necessary. Those with social statuses commonly refer to those without as rumah, a low vocalization of the word intent to insult.
Three groups rule S’sraenyir: the Taman (gardens), the Melayan (arena), and the Latihan (schools). The first two groups consist of only female appointments and are the most visual forces of S’sraenyir. The latter, being a mixture of both sexes, actually possesses the most sway, though only indirectly.
All drow go through a lengthy testing process in their youth which places them into their future community ranks. Female drow use their positions and authority to bolster the results of tests for their houses. A house with greater societal positions has more influence of this world. This practice causes abounding strife: shady deals, bribes, assassinations, even entire house extinctions. The political life between houses is brutal.
Outside the political spectrum, the complement to female drow serve their matrons dutifully. Males are encouraged to not think or do anything for themselves. The majority of male drow are common soldiers or city workers, yet a very small percentage of these males are sorcerers. Females are never sorcerers. They are sacrificed immediately upon the discovery of any arcane talent. The drow consider female arcane magic blasphemous.
Furthermore, the male sorcerers are seen as embarrassments to their houses; nevertheless they are kept, trained, and managed because of their usefulness. They are, however, castrated to prevent them from making more “wizards”. Drow are superstitious and, in this instance, believe that the touch of the arcane directly comes from blood lines. Houses that produce too many sorcerers suspiciously disappear from drow society.
Also to be noted is the use of transmutation magic on living creatures. It is outlawed due to the ancient history these humanoids had with its use. Punishment for using this type of magic is for the offender to lose his tongue, hands, and feet. These drow are left to be tortured for the remainder of their natural lives. If they manage to commit suicide and are found, they are raised and left in a crow’s cage with a ring or sustenance to be ridiculed for multiple years as bitter and callous punishment.
Not all is so hellish in S’sraenyir. Males with high charisma and dexterity scores find themselves being idolized by all of drow society in the Melayan. The drow have a variety of arenas spread widely throughout S’sraenyir. They are used to show off the beauty of the drow male body. Women coo over these men.
Drow females openly value only the top males they are able to monetarily secure as art objects. Any males outside of their purchasing power are found to be obnoxious and distasteful. Yet in secret, these same females pine for the ones out of reach. None will admit it though, which creates a world ripe with wickedness.
The men, craving this attention, spend most of their days exercising and honing their melee aptitudes. When arena battles do take place, drow fight one another with blunt weapons forming a dance of sorts. The performance is physical and injuries occur often, yet they are designed to secure the survival of the races most prized possessions.
Special events feature drow versus other races or monsters. In these cases, the drow are allowed real weapons while their opponents are either hampered with an injury or not given a serviceable weapon. Females never participate in fights. All drow are allowed to view these entertaining skirmishes, yet the vantage points for those less fortunate are lousy.
The consensus of the drow people considers relationships outside their race as that of a toolbox. Drow do not regard other races as equals. They look at them as implements waiting to be manipulated by deft hands. But drow do not select or use their tools without protocols.
It seems strange that a rather chaotic people would have rules, yet it is true and for good reason. Drow females wish to remain in power. As such, they remove any rival females. During raids drow butcher all females, taking only males as slaves. A differing female’s perspective of life would be disastrous to the drow males’ subservience.
Even so, drow females need to keep up the facade of a world dominated by women. Thus when engaged in parley, drow women refuse to speak to a male of any race. If no females are present, drow will fight or flee. Fleeing is preferable if the drow are unprepared.
In combat, drow are thoroughly ruthless with little regard for fairness or mercy. They prefer to attack from ambush or to lure enemies into situations where the advantage is clearly in favor of the drow. If things turn against them, drow are quick to flee, leaving slaves and minions to cover their escape.
Amoraq: Drow never raid for amoraq, though it is acceptable to bring one or two back if they are found while raiding another race. Drow keep amoraq as exotic pets. A small percentage of the drow population is fascinated by the ursine humanoids’ strength, viewing it as a peculiar anomaly.
Arden: Drow have no use for the repulsive pests known as arden. They are killed on sight. Afterwards, the drow burn the corpses to rid themselves of the pungent scent left behind. From time to time drow do find enjoyment out of murdering these foul creatures. A nest of arden can turn into a hunt, sporting event, for the drow. The smaller humanoids never stand a chance.
Duergar: Duergar frustrate drow to no end because acquiring one is nearly impossible. The duergars’ arcane mastery of the tunnels gives them a distinct advantage to defend or retreat from combat. As such, duergar are highly prized slaves and are worth vast sums of money to a drow. The drow care nothing for the duergar. It is the duergar’s uncanny ability to shape stone a drow covets.
Dwarves: Even before the drow descended into the earth, they were warring for resources with the dwarves. Today is no different. Drow and dwarves are in a constant state of war. Rarely will these enemies parley, unless a trade is to be made. Drow exchange war prisoners to dwarves for fenodyrean goods.
Elves: Of all the other races none are as deeply hated as elves by the drow. The drows’ departure from their brethren was very hard. Surviving in the darklands, let alone finding a home, became a colossal challenge for the drow. Obviously they were able to weather the darkness, even prosper in it, but the long memories of the drow festered and grew rotten. Drow do not keep elves for slaves. They keep them for torture. The imprisonments of elves have been known to last for centuries. The hatred between these two races is complete.
Fenodyree: Drow like fenodyree. More to the fact, drow like the ability of fenodyree to acquire exotic goods. Unfortunately, a couple problems exist in bringing these two races together. The most blaring reason is location. Drow are not welcome on the surface and fenodyree dislike the darklands. Aside from the most obvious obstacle, fenodryee feel uneasy around drow. They sense the profound wickedness in most drow hearts and do not wish to engage the dark-skinned humanoids any longer than they need to.
Goblins: Drow cities keep a handful of goblins to increase the potency of their beautiful druidic gardens. Any other goblins are slaughtered as too many of these feral elves will begin causing severe complications to the delicate ecosystem of the drow. The goblins that are thinned out aren’t wasted. Their fertile corpses find their way to the feeding bins of drow livestock.
Humans: Human slaves are not uncommon amongst drow, but they do seem to go unnoticed by human society. This ignorance allows a tentative relationship with the drow. Drow retain minor trade routes with certain human civilizations, which supplies the dark elves with commodities otherwise unattainable. Still, drow never find themselves completely accepted by human society; always aware they are the outsiders in the enormous metropolises.
Kel: With so little manual labor necessary in drow society, kel find themselves as secondary choices for drow raids. Furthermore, drow arenas of contests exhibit grace of movement, not raw force. Nevertheless, a small portion of the drow society does enjoy displays of strength; and unlucky kel find themselves enslaved to fill a niche of the drow slave market. These rare kelian slaves are more common than their equals the amoraq. Kel are preferred by drow for their obedience, a trait most pleasing.
Kobolds: Drow have use of kobolds, though the costs outweigh the rewards. Kobold dens begin to stink after a few weeks, and the odor that permeates from their sleeping quarters is exacerbated by the limits of the underground air supply. Additionally, kobolds’ furtive nature impedes the carefree life of drow, always causing mischief with innocent smiles. A drow would rather eliminate any kobolds discovered and trade with a human for the reptilian commodities designed elsewhere.
Nalu: Drow identify nalu as worthless. The drow find these humanoids so meaningless that they would prefer to ignore their existence, as time is only wasted by killing one. When a drow is forced into murdering a nalu, he leaves the corpse to the denizens of the darklands putting forth no effort other than cleaning his blade on the cloth of the deceased.
Sobekites: Sobekites are another exotic pet, yet few drow are willing to tackle. Drow see sobekites as stubborn animals, unable to be trained. These humanoids seem to have an exceptional ability to withstand torture and redirection. Though a few sobekites are kept as slaves, the majority are slain during their training periods or initial contact.
Curiously, drow dissidents are common on the surface, most finding lives in large human settlements. These drow have fled their culture in search of safer days, though the reasons for their flights vary. The majority of male drow found outside the darklands has either originated from a trading company or departed their wicked homelands and disgraceful lives.
Drow trading routes connect to the black market of human civilizations. The drow involved in these enterprises interact with a variety of other humanoids and experience the world as it is on the surface. The unsheltered males gradually realize that their place in the drow way of life is cruel, dishonest, and down-right inexcusable. These drow throw off the shackles of their female captors leaving the darkness behind them.
A meager number of homely males abandon their homelands due to abuse and ridicule for their unattractiveness. Life is dreary for dull drow. Searching for acceptance becomes a lifelong effort, though an effort these drow cheerfully welcome.
Female life in the homeland is not as delightful as it appears. Matriarchs callously vie for house position, and with so few rules to follow, many enemies are made. A female without enough influence or power to overcome her rivals ceases to exist in a rather quick and quiet manner. Her only hope for survival is to withdrawal from her station and her homeland. Relinquishing her rank is not enough; the other matriarchs would never allow a former competitor to live.
Class Preferences: druid, fighter, sorcerer
Religious Preferences: Askii, Baiperus, Eadiac, Iteff, Ivaidin, Rai
Racial Traits (PF)
When creating a drow character, a player uses all the base traits presented below; these traits are inherent to the drow and cannot be altered. A player then selects alternate traits to flesh out his drow character. The total number of alternative traits may not exceed 4 racial points (RP). Each alternative trait has its RP cost listed after its name.
+2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma, -2 Constitution: A drow is both agile and charming, but lacks stamina.
Medium: A drow is a Medium creature and has no bonuses or penalties due to his size.
Normal Speed: A drow has a base speed of 30 feet.
Darkvision: A drow can see in the dark up to 120 feet.
Light Blindness: Abrupt exposure to bright light blinds a drow for 1 round; on subsequent rounds, he is dazzled as long as he remains in the affected area.
Poison Use: A drow is skilled with poison and never risks accidentally poisoning himself when applying it to weapons.
Spell-Like Ability, Lesser: A drow can use Dancing Lights, Darkness, and Faerie Fire once per day. The caster levels of these spells are equal to the user’s character level.
Spell Resistance, Lesser: A drow gains spell resistance equal to 6 + his character level.
Weapon Familiarity: A drow is proficient with hand crossbows and rapiers.
Languages: A drow begins play speaking Undercommon and Drow. A drow with a high Intelligence score can choose from the following: Abyssal, Common, Drow Sign Language, Duergar, Dwarven, Elven, and Infernal.
Camouflage (1 RP): A drow gains a +4 racial bonus on Stealth checks within the underground.
Cave Dweller (1 RP): A drow gains a +1 bonus on Knowledge (dungeoneering) and Survival checks made underground.
Beguiling Liar (2 RP): A drow gains a +4 racial bonus on Bluff checks to convince an opponent that what he is saying is true when he tells a lie.
Elven Immunities (2 RP): A drow is immune to magic sleep effects and gains a +2 racial bonus on saving throws made against enchantment spells and effects.
Skill Bonus (2 RP): A drow gains a +2 racial bonus on Perception skill checks.
Deep Magic (3 RP): A drow gains a +2 racial bonus on caster level checks made to overcome spell resistance and a +2 racial bonus on dispel checks.
Racial Traits (DD)
Ignore the racial traits above and use the Elf statistics and the Drow subrace in the Player’s Handbook.