Graceful and deadly, at home in the depths of darkness
|Average Height||5´ 4˝–6´ 0˝|
|Average Weight||130 – 170 lb|
|Average Age||200 Years|
|Alignment||generally known as evil race|
More commonly referred to as Dark Elves, drow have characteristics similar to their elven kin, but can be easily identified by their midnight black skin and white hair which tends to shade a pale yellow with advanced age. A matriarchal society, drow tend to live in the Underdark, where they serve their evil deity, Lolth. However, some drow choose to reject this way of life and flee to the surface of Faerûn, where they seek to show that not all of their kind are inherently evil.
Branded traitors and outcasts by their own people, some have come to Neverwinter seeking acceptance on the surface world and protection from what lies beneath...
The origin of Elves, Drow and the Eladrin are similar, with their roots in Feywild. At the dawn of creation, all Feywild races were a single race dwelling both in the Feywild and in the world, passing freely between the two. When the drow rebelled against their kin, under the leadership of the goddess Lolth, whom then was known as Araushnee (Corellon Larethian's former consort and Goddess of All Elves), the resulting battles tore the Fey kingdoms asunder. The drow were cursed and banished to the Underdark and their goddess was also cursed, twisted into the demonic spider goddess she is now known as, becoming Lolth or Lloth. Ties between the peoples of the Feywild and the world grew tenuous and eventually the elves and eladrin grew into two distinct races.
Drow were once known as Dark Elves and their nation was one of the most powerful in the world. In -30000 DR however, 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 (actually they conquered Southern Faerun and to the north up to Shantel Othreier, and perhaps only the intervention of Corellon Larethian had stopped them) and, at the time of the Fourth Crown War, they turned to Lloth and the other outcast Seldarine in the Demonweb Pits, who then gave them powerful magic and fiendish allies as a reward for their allegiance. One of these was a balor named Wendonai who bred with the Ilythiiri, giving them a taint. 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) says 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 it's cloying mists and bloody rains finally dissipated, the once-proud forest had been reduced to a blasted and poisonous wasteland. Although many of Miyeritar's original inhabitants had fled long before the killing storm hit, innumerable innocents suffered horrible deaths. The taint of Wendonai allows him to hear the thoughts of those tainted. It is only the Ilythiiri who carry it and it drives their cruel and arrogant nature. The drow, as they were now named, have always believed that they were punished for being “successful” and have remembered this perceived slight, vowing eternal revenge while still claiming the surface world as rightfully theirs.
After the so-called “Descent,” the war-like drow immediately began to violently try and establish their own territories in the Underdark, around -9600 DR. They stole dwarven magical items and used them against their former masters, creating the enmity that still exists to this day. 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 live to this day. Such cities include Sshamath, founded beneath the Far Hills in -4973 DR, Menzoberranzan, founded in -3917 DR, and Ched Nasad, founded in -3843 DR.
On the surface the drow are sometimes referred to as "The Ones Who Went Below." In old elvish, they are known as the "Ssri'Tel-Quessir." Drow are also referred to by several other names in elvish tongues, such as "tirl aukhbhey-ess," "tuer lothnil," and "duiss aszbhar." These all translate into "The Accursed."
The beauty and sophistication of the drow race fail to mask their hearts and are all too often stained in evil. In many ways, drow resemble eladrin. Drow have obsidian colored skin and pale yellow (or pale golden), silver or white hair. The latter, hair of snow-white, being by far the most common amongst children and adults. As a drow reaches a venerable age, their hair usually thins and either begins to turn a dull-yellow hue or the yellow hue becomes more prominent in those with a natural yellow hair color. Drow generally take great care of their hair, carefully grooming it and most drow wear thier hair long with jewelry and other accessories decorating it. Like all elves, drow are incapable of growing beards, though many males are fond of long sideburns.
Drow eyes are usually bright red, but some are known to have different colored, commonly much paler, eyes such as blue, lilac, pink, gray or silver. Even eyes of amber, brown and black are not unknown. All drow eyes, regardless of color, tend to grow redder when they are upset or angry. Sometimes their eyes are even green which, as well as blue, would implicate that a particular drow has some surface elven blood in their veins. The drow of the Underdark have been known to execute their newborn children born with blue or green eyes, seeing it as a sign of tainted "goodness," offering them as sacrifices to their goddess Lolth. A yellow hue in a drow's eyes usually denotes some form of illness, poisoning, disease, or the presence of detrimental magic.
Drow teeth can be white, purple, or even black and their gums, throats, and tongues can be red, pink, or even purple. Drow females are usually bigger and stronger than their male counterparts. Both genders are usually slim, lithe, and graceful in build, posture and features just as other elves appear to humans.
Drow have lifespans far beyond that of humans and comparable with the rest of the elves, although usually somewhat longer. This is, of course, presuming the drow doesn't meet a premature and violent end, as many often do, but those that survive the trials of their society and the horrors of the Underdark can live for centuries. They have higher birthrate compared to other elves but their constant genocide of their own people has kept their population in control.
Although the strongest class for a Drow is perhaps the priestess class, or female cleric, they derive their power from the demon goddess Lolth of the Spider-web Pits in the Abyss. Hence, they may not be a strong playable character class but as a good monster class. Drow are brought up to be arrogantly self-dependent, cold-hearted, ruthless and urbane. Their racial ability is tied to Lolth, those touched by Lolth can use dark powers. They are stealthy and because of them being drow, can intimidate others more easily. Drow, like their surface cousins, do not sleep but find their rest in a meditative state called “reverie” which is as restful as true sleep but leaves them aware of their surroundings.
The vast majority of dark elves base their behavior and attitudes on the worship of the chaotic evil goddess Lolth, also known as the Spider Queen. The drow of the Underdark do not believe in kindness, even towards their children. Their children must be cunning from birth or die. Drow are cold parents, instilling self-reliance and independence, which also reinforces their natural inclinations toward evil. Typical drow are cruel in their dealings with others and treacherous among themselves.
Drow understand the value of alliances and enjoy congenial companionship, but they regard any such arrangements as temporary and learn at an early age to distrust. They expect the worst and are last to be surprised at a betreyal. Thus they can never form everlasting friendships.
Drow society is a Matriarchal Theocracy (rule by religon and women) organized into Houses, each lead by a Matron Mother (Illharess) who often wages war against her rival Houses for dominance, In the pursuit of power, status, and Lolth’s favor, drow Houses compete with each other to amass wealth and enslave weaker races.Though the drow concept of war is quite different than the surface. Drow rarely openly attack each other in the streets and the use of armies is all but unheard of with only a few rare historical exceptions.
Drow conflicts are more Machiavellian in style; with quiet assassinations in dark alleys or secret hidden strike forces obliterating a rival house in a single night. If one house should make such an overt attempt to destroy another and fail in the attempt, that attacking house will then be destroyed by the entire drow city for its perceived weakness. Weakness is not tolerated. Of course, if the attacked house was weakened enough by the attacker, the community at large might choose to consume it as well.
The fickle whims of Lloth’s priestesses, the yath'rin, demand absolute obedience, driving the race to further evil. The heads of the most powerful houses, are always female drow members of the clergy. Male drow rarely hold positions of authority and are never allowed membership within the female dominated clergy. There are no male clerics of Lloth.
Within the setting of Neverwinter the one good-aligned god of the drow pantheon Eilistrasee is dead. She is not available as deity a choice for player characters. In fact, out of Lloth's Dark Seldarine Court (Eilistrasee, Kiaransalee, Ghaundaur, Selvetram and Vhaeraun) only one her former members still exists. Ghaundaur, the god of abominations, left the Dark Seldarine Court before being destroyed by Lloth.
Drow who have forsaken the evil ways of their racial goddess are often outcasts that have immigrated to the surface. Outcast drow can worhsip any of the living Forgotten Realms gods, including other elven or human deities.
There are several sections, or regional areas of the underdark, not unlike geographical distinctions made for the surface of the Forgotten Realms (Sword Coast, Dalelands etc). The underdark area that lies beneath the campaign setting of Neverwinter is known as the "Northdark". The basic geographic lands and drow cities include:
- The Northdark (beneath the Sword Coast - champaign setting for Neverwinter MMO)
- Drow Cities: Menzoberranzan, Ched Nasad (rebuilt under Lolthite control)
- The Deep Wastes (beneath the Dalelands, Cormanthor and the Moonsea)
- Drow Cities: Sschindylryn, Maerimydra (destroyed and ruled by fire gaints hundreds of year ago)
- The Earthroot (beneath Great Dale, Narfell, Thay, Thesk and Murghom)
- Drow Cities: Undrek'Thoz
- The Great Bhaerynden (beneath what was once called the Shining South)
- Drow Cities: T'lindhet
- Old Shanatar (beneath Amn, Tethyr and Calimshan)
- Drow Cities: Guallidurth
Acceptable names for Role PlayEdit
Drow names often feature double letters and are usually rather pleasing to the ear.
Some examples of drow given names in Toril:
- Male: Belgos, Bhintel, Elkanatar, Houndaer, Kelnozz, Malaggar, Ryltar, Szordrin, Vorn.
- Female: Alauniira, Charinida, Drisiml, Faeryl, Ilivarra, Irae, Myrmma, Pellanistra, Xune, Zarra.
Drow surnames are quite varied and only those of noble birth are allowed to directly use the name of their House as a surname. It is not unusual for a drow noble house to be referred to by a shorter public name while keeping its formal name reserved for special occasions.
House Daermon N'a'shezbaernon from Menzoberranzan, commonly referred to as House Do'Urden (Drizzt Do'Urden), is probably the most well known example within Forgotten Realms fiction. Other noble house names from Menzoberranzan include, House Baenre, House Barrison Del'Armgo, House Xorlarrin, House Faen Tlabbar, House Mizzrym, House Fey-Branche, House Melarn and House Vandree.
Drow within the Neverwinter campaign setting speak an accented form of elvish. The Drow dialect of Elvish is the same base language with different idioms and inflections which have developed over thousands of years of cultural separation from mainstream elvish society.
This offers a relatable platform of communication between Drow and Eladrin but that does not mean that a surface elf will automatically understand every word spoken by a drow, but there are some similarities that could offer a basic understanding of a conversation.
Prayers to Lloth are said in the elven language. Drow do not beg Lloth for favors or protection. They thank her for allowing them to live and dedicate their lives to proving themselves worthy of being her chosen people.
Drow Silent Tongue is not the same as what one might concieve as traditional Sign Language. It is not a system of finger combinations used to spell out words. Drow Silent Tongue is an extremely complicated culturally based form of communication based in body language, facial expressions and the ability to “see” with darkvision (not the same as normal elven low-light vision). An outsider, such as a human or surface born dark elf, would need to spend a significant portion of their natural life span in order to learn how to effectively use the language (50 years plus).
Drow words, phrases and titles that are based in the fiction of R. A. Salvatore's books are often used in role-play. There are several fan sites and on-line translators available on the Internet to assist those players who may be interested in making use of such words in their role-play. Many of the words, phrases, names and titles are lifted directly from the official published fiction. Learning and using these drow words and phrases are not required for role-playing a drow, though some players consider it a means for more immerse role-play. R.A. Salvatore's fiction, published by WotC, is cannon.
It is not uncommon for drow to speak underdark common tongue, elvish as well as the various languages of their neighboring cultures and races.
Forgotten Realms Drow LoreEdit
There is often a lot of confusion about Forgotten Realms drow lore and this mainly derives from differences in the Wizards of the Coast publications of “Dungeons & Dragons Drow of the Underdark” hardback book and the “Dungeons & Dragons Campaign Accessory Forgotten Realms Underdark” hardback book.
The “Drow of the Underdark” book is written for the generic default world setting of Greyhawk and not for the Forgotten Realms setting. Though “Drow of the Underdark” offers some excellent insights into the evil dark elf society, it is not cannon lore for the Forgotten Realms.
Such concepts as drow eating spiders, Arachnomancers, Dread Fangs of Lolth and the NPC Zinzerena should be ignored as they are in direct conflict with the published Forgotten Realms underdark lore. Drow lore for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting as presented in the “Forgotten Realms Underdark” hardback takes precedence to the more general and generic publications.
Sub-Races and groupsEdit
Elves, Drow and Eladrin have the same origin of Feywild but because of trifurcation of their history, they became different from each other.
Some of the most historic drow Houses are as follows:
- Aleanrahel, Arabani, Auvryndar, Baenrae, Barrison'del'armgo, DeVir, Do'Urden, Fey-Branche, Godeep, Hlaund, Kenafin, Maerret, Mylyl, Rilynt'tar, Zauviir
Drizzt is a Drow from R.A. Salvatore's books who is said to make an appearence in Neverwinter game. However many people using a deviant of Drizzt name may find hostility from player base, so please be forewarned.
Sava is a game played by Drow people.
Origin of drow word lies in scottish litreature of 19th century regarding fairyfolks. An example of such litreature can be found here and here. Plural of the word is often referenced as drows, however, in almost all D&D publications the plural of drow is consistently drow. Thus this practise has been followed in this wiki.