Best of the Beastiary, D&D

Drow Elves: Masters of Edge- I mean, Darkness (Part 1: Lore)

Such depravity. Such terrifying cruelty. They are the vile poison that plagues all elvenkind.

-Nelar Autumnwell, elf cleric of Corellon Larethian

Jesus, dude, this gave me some whiplash! The last four monsters didn’t have anything for lore! Then these dudes come along with nearly two whole pages of nothing but lore and flavor text! Buckle up, kiddies, we’re gonna be here a while!

So, this time, we’re gonna divide it in two. First, we’re gonna look at the lore of all the drow, both the general lore and for the specific enemies. Then, we’re gonna break ’em all down stat wise and put them on the list next week, either as one unit or separate ones; we’ll see. Thankfully, there isn’t much to talk about design wise. It’s a dark elf. Think elf, but edgy.

Now then! Let’s get started!

Tens of thousands years ago, the elves were divided, caught in an internal battle of good and evil. The war came to an end when the ‘good’ elves banished all their foes to the depths of the earth. It was in this darkness that the drow found refuge, as well as a deity that didn’t abandon them: Lolth, Demon Queen of Spiders.

They worship Lolth, following her every order to the letter. Their entire underground civilization is centered around her image. As such, the drow have become wicked and reclusive, seldom appearing on the surface world. Until, that is, their goddess demands they take it for themselves.

They have lived underground for so long, in fact, that they’ve evolved to it. Unfortunately, it came with the downside of weakening them to sunlight. This makes traveling to the surface to gather new slaves a rather difficult, precise task. Not to mention rare; drow much prefer to stay comfortable in the darkness of the Underdark.

It is in this darkness, specifically within caverns, where they build their cities. Their craftsman skills are great enough to rival even the greatest of dwarven masters while still retaining distinctly elvish design. While they look delicate, they are anything but.

Not only did the drow themselves adapt to the dark, but their magic did as well. They can use it to create powerful armors and weapons, making each drow a mighty foe. However, sunlight is the bane of this magic. Often times, they will lose this power after a trip to the surface.

Drow are cutthroat to a tee, even amongst themselves. Whatever alliances they forge are often short lived, lasting only as long as they need to. When it isn’t there, the noble houses, led by a matron, seek to become the most powerful of all their kind, by any means necessary. These houses are mostly composed of blood relations in the higher tier and smaller houses that swore fealty to them in the lower. But should opportunity arise, either one will betray the other.

While Lolth is the leader of the drow, she herself doesn’t hand the orders out herself. Rather, she passes orders through her most faithful priestesses to dictate drow society, ensuring that her will is always carried out. Since she has a habit of punishing those who disobey her personally, the drow have learned not to do so.

In this society, women rule over men. Males often lead patrols or raiding parties, then report to a female, either a matron of his house or one of her hand-picked trustees. While they can fill any role, a man can never be a priest or rule a house.

Poison is an important substance in drow culture. They often carry it in abundance, coating their weapons or keeping it as a tool at their side. Whether they want to use it to paralyze or kill, the drow are always prepared for the job.

Drow Elite Warriors are the defenders of their house, fighting off against all enemies (though they specialize in dwarves,k gnomes, and elves). They are the most frequent raiders of the surface, as they can return with prisoners and loot well before dawn. These can either be male or female.

Drow Mages are the most privileged of males, those that lack physical ability but show promise in magic. For them, mastering it is a matter of life and death. Especially since female mages, while less common, are often seen as more capable then they are.

The Priestesses of Lolth are the most powerful of them all, born from nobility and raised exclusively to become a priestess. No male could hold this position. In drow society, they are the most important and respected members of them all. Although they often struggle to find a balance between their devotions to their goddess and their families.

Phew! You get all that? Alright! Good!

It’s pretty safe to say that this is pretty solid lore. You can do a lot with this, whether you’re writing a whole campaign or a single little quest. The story-telling potential of the drow is enough to fill an entire series of fantasy books!

Not, like, Wheel of Time length, though. More like… Harry Potter length.

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