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|Leader(s)||Ruling Council of Eight|
|Alignment||Chaotic evil, Neutral evil|
Drow (aka Dark elves) are a subrace of elves featured in the Forgotten Realms series. They were known for living underground and having a remarkable resistance to magic.
Drow were once known as Dark Elves (Ssri-tel-quessir in old Elven) and their nations were Ilythiir and Miyeritar. Ilythiir was one of the most powerful, but, circa -30000 DR, their goddess Araushnee betrayed her fellow Seldarine and, along with Ghaunadaur, Vhaeraun, Malar, and others, they tried to invade Arvandor. Afterwards, Araushnee was cast into the Abyss, where she took the name Lolth.
During the First Crown War, the Ilythiiri made several unsuccessful attempts to conquer Faerûn. They conquered southern Faerûn and north up to Shantel Othreier, and perhaps only the intervention of Corellon Larethian stopped them. At the time of the Fourth Crown War, they turned to Lolth and the other outcast Seldarine in the Demonweb Pits, who gave them powerful magic and fiendish allies, as a reward for allegiance. One of these was a balor named Wendonai. He bred with the Ilythiiri, giving them a taint. The taint of Wendonai allowed him to hear the thoughts of the tainted. It was only the Ilythiiri who carried it, and it influenced their cruel and arrogant behavior (even though they still had the ability to choose a non-evil lifestyle, as proven by the Ilythiiri who followed Eilistraee, or by Liriel Baenre, Drizzt Do'Urden, and others.
After many malicious acts and abuses of elven magic, Corellon Larethian banished the dhaerow (traitors) whom Lolth used to be responsible for (and most of whom still secretly worshiped her) to the Underdark. A horrid magical storm known as the Dark Disaster laid waste to Miyeritar. History (as written by the victors of the Third Crown War) said that Miyeritar's attempts to stop Aryvandaar's armies caused the Dark Disaster. In truth, the fell magic that produced it was called forth by Vyshaantar high mages and proceeded unopposed because a Vyshaantar assassination campaign had destroyed many of Miyeritar's high mages in the months before. The Dark Disaster hung over Miyeritar like a funeral shroud for months, and when its cloying mists and bloody rains finally dissipated, the once-proud forest had been reduced to a blasted, poisonous wasteland. Although many of Miyeritar's original inhabitants had fled long before the killing storm hit, innumerable innocents had died horribly.
The drow, as they were now named, always believed that they were punished for being "successful". Remembering this perceived slight, they vowed eternal revenge, still claiming the surface world as rightfully theirs.
After the so-called "Descent", the warlike drow immediately began violently trying to establish their own territories in the Underdark around -9600 DR. They stole dwarven magical items and used them against their former masters, creating a long-lasting enmity. They also seized the gold dwarf cavern of Bhaerynden, creating the kingdom of Telantiwar. The drow then began fighting amongst themselves, trying to establish a single ruler. The attempt failed, only resulting in a great magical explosion that destroyed this large cavern, forming the Great Rift.
The surviving nobles took what they could and left to establish their own realms elsewhere in the Underdark. This time was known as the Scattering and produced most of the cities in which the drow lived, such as Sshamath, founded beneath the Far Hills in -4973 DR, Menzoberranzan, founded in -3917 DR, and Ched Nasad, founded in -3843 DR.
In many ways, drow resembled eladrin. Drow had obsidian-colored skin and pale yellow (or pale golden), silver or white hair, the latter being by far the most common. This hair was carefully groomed and cared for by most drow and worn long with jewelry and other accessories decorating it. Like all elves, drow were incapable of growing beards, though many males were fond of long sideburns.
Drow eyes were usually bright red, but some had different colored, often much paler eyes such as blue, lilac, pink, or silver. Sometimes a drow's eyes could even be green, which meant that that particular drow had some surface elven blood in their veins. They usually varied in height between 5' 4" and 6' (1.6 to 1.8 meters), and weighed between 130 to 175 lbs (59 to 80 kg) on average.
Drow society was matriarchal, militaristic, and heavily influenced by religion. Their city-states were formed in huge underground caverns but frequently at war with one another. These cities were ruled by the most powerful of the families (or houses) and although the power of the many families changed often, the top few usually remained stable. Males who hoped to find any place of power in society often resorted to ends as treacherous as the women that ruled the drow, hoping to perhaps win a coveted place as the mate of a powerful matron mother.
Drow had lifespans far beyond those of humans and comparable with the rest of the elven race, although usually somewhat longer. This was, of course, presuming the drow didn't meet a premature and violent end, as many often did, but those that survived the trials of their society and the horrors of the Underdark could live for centuries, sometimes as long as 1000 years or more.
It would be easy to imagine that drow females, by comparison, had it much easier but this was an illusion and their prestigious position within society came at a high cost. In fact, the teachings of Lolth and the drive to gain more power over others made competition between female drow, particularly those who belonged to powerful houses, violently competitive in a way that males did not have to cope with. Matters were even worse for those who sought power through venues outside of Lolth's church, where the females had to compete not only with one another but with resentful and oppressed males.
Drow were arrogant, ambitious, sadistic, treacherous and hedonistic. From birth, drow were taught they were superior to other races and should crush those beneath them. Children who resisted and showed kindness or love were brutally punished, so as to drive the instinct for cruelty into them. They valued advancement over their peers more than anything else, pulling down their superiors and crushing their inferiors. This didn't mean they treated all of their peers with disdain, however. Drow were not barbaric and appreciated a sense of subtlety and thus drow were typically courteous and urbane, even to their most hated rivals.
Cities were structured around the most powerful families taking the best areas, leaving the other drow to take whatever land they could. The focus of a city was often the temple of Lolth and this was often in the grounds of the ruling family. Magical items that emitted faerie fire adorning buildings were a sign of prosperity. The garrison and some of the slaves, as well as rothé farms, were kept outside the city.
Often a city would seek to forge an alliance with a powerful Underdark creature like a deep dragon or a beholder so that they could gain extra protection.
Although many drow sought to regain the surface world that they felt was taken from them unjustly, some had become so used to life in the Underdark that they would prefer to make the best of this realm and had no interest in the surface.
The drow who did choose to live on the surface did not form any kind of organized society and instead lived as hermits and outcasts. They would interact with other societies when they needed to, but not through choice.
Drow liked to eat animals that were still living because they believed the meat had a better flavor.
Poisons and toxins were favored by the drow, especially a powerful knockout poison made from a slippery black fungus growing in certain Underdark caverns, but other poisons could be made from purple worms, scorpions, and spiders.
Drow favored mithral chain armor when it was available, but would always wear non-restrictive armors that would not hamper their natural dexterity. They also favored fast weapons like rapiers, and would choose hand crossbows when possible, to deliver their poisons from a distance. The most popular poison on the drow hand crossbow was the drow slumber potion that put the target to sleep.
It was common for drow to place magical symbols or glyphs outside their houses that could ward against intrusion. These house defense glyphs were only one of three types of glyphs; the others were way-marker runes and sacred glyphs.
The drow loved magical items of all kinds and all powerful families gave some enchanted items to those who served them. The piwafwi was a particularly special drow item, although drow house insignias were also important to the drow houses and granted special powers, sometimes levitation. Many drow items were crafted in such a way that they could only be used by the drow.
Drow primarily worshiped the Dark Seldarine—that is, those deities cast out of the Seldarine and exiled to the Demonweb Pits. They generally worshiped the goddess Lolth, although those on the surface often worshiped Vhaeraun or Shar. A small number of good drow on the surface worshiped Eilistraee or other non–drow pantheon deities and were lead by Qilue Veladorn. Generally, an entire city worshiped a single deity. Even more of a minority were the drow who worshiped Kiaransalee and Ghaunadaur. Also, because drow males were banned from the priesthood, males who became adept in divine magic tended to worship Selvetarm, Lolth's champion.
Though religion played a large part in drow society, the caste system and other seemingly lawful aspects of the culture clashed with Lolth's intent and directives as a chaotic evil goddess. As a result, much of the tension between the clergy of Lolth and more secular drow came from this very different perspective.
Not all drow became a part of the violent mainstream culture that most of the race were forced to endure. Those few who escaped the life of the Underdark might break away entirely from their dark past, while some fortunate drow were actually born and raised outside of the world below. Some drow found a hint of virtue within themselves in spite of all the terrors they witnessed, or perhaps because of it. Others turned late to better ways, either out of guilt or out of the simple fact they were no longer obliged to do so. Yet others were dangerously insane, broken by the horrors that shook their psyches.
Drow saw all other races as inferior, even those to whom they were allied, and would attempt to enslave any enemies they captured, usually never willingly releasing them. Drow commonly enslaved hobgoblins, ogres, and orcs, but also other humanoids.
bove all else, drow saved their hostilities for surface elves. They were willing to forge temporary alliances with anyone that would help them inflict pain or suffering on the surface elves, for whom they know no mercy at all.
A common drow ally were the illithids, or mind flayers.
Pets & SlaveryEdit
Slavery played a large part in drow society and drow households usually had two or more slaves for each member. All unskilled labor in drow cities was carried out by slaves.
Drow did not keep animals as pets, as animals could not fully comprehend their dependence on their owners. Instead, many drow took a favored slave as a personal servant or thrall, and treated these people as little more than pets.
The animal most associated with the drow was the spider, since it was the symbol of the deity Lolth. Spiders roamed the streets in drow cities, acting as pest controllers, and larger ones were used to guard houses or as mounts for transportation. These spiders were often specially bred for the purpose and were more intelligent than their regular counterparts, especially the sword spider.
Other types of working creatures included riding lizards, bats, and cavvekans, and also spider-like creatures such as bebiliths, myrlochar, and retrievers.
Trivia & NotesEdit
(To Be Added)