The Drow (Dark Elves Of D&D)

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karsten wurth 7BjhtdogU3A unsplash

Hello everybody Let’s talk about the Drow. They’re popular, they’re evil, scheming, and malicious. These dark elves did not always live below the surface of Faerun. They were more or less exiled there. The Drow are a subrace of Elves. Much like Wood Elves or High Elves. The Drow have dark grey to obsidian colored skin, with white or yellow hair. But are often depicted with dark purple skin in art with white hair. There are two stories involving how the Drowcame to be, and how they came to live in the Underdark just like Aarakocra names, Kobold names, and Goliath names

The Drow once lived on the surface and was a specific tribe of elves known as the Ilythiiri. They fought other elves on the surface in the Crown Wars. It was during the Fourth Crown War that theIlythiiri high mages “called stones from the sky” and “caused the earth to boil and trees to scream.” They destroyed the realm of Shantel Othriercreating refugees from that doomed kingdom. The remaining elven kingdoms could not abide by the Ilythiiri destroying anymore kingdoms so they banded together. 

They made a decision to cast out the Ilythiirifrom Corellon’s favor. Performing a powerful ritual the high mages and clerics of the Seldarine (the good pantheon of elvish deities that followed Corellon), joined together. This ritual changed the Ilythiiri, transformed by Corellon’s magic, altering their bodies to match the corruption of their souls. The ritual altered, unintentionally, every dark elf. The corrupted dark elves were then driven underground where they were exiled. 

The elvish word “harrow,” which means traitor, was also corrupted and became the word drow. This event was known as Decent. This was the story of the forgotten realm of throw, but there is a larger mythos that was written in Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes. To start this story we need to explain Corellon, who is the main deity of the elves. Corellon fought the orc deity Gruumsh, and Corel on was wounded. From his blood emerged the first elves, whichMordenkainen’s Tome of Foes calls primal elves. They were more or fewer gods these primal elves and Corellon begin conversing with them; appreciating their ideas. However one of these primal elves did not wish to live in Corellon’s shadow her name was Araushnee but later became Lolth. 

Corellon at this time could change his physical form, as all the primal elves could. Lolth changed that, convincing the primal elves to give up their freedom, their ever-shifting ways, and take static forms. Which resemble the elves we know today. The primal elves now saw Corellon as their father, and Lolth as their mother; the primal elf that shaped their future as now static creatures. Lolth attacked Corellon but was thwarted, in an act of anger Corellon sent all the primal elves to live in the fey wild and the prime material plane. 

It appears from the readings some of the primal elves remained deities, those closest to Corellon and Lolth while the rest became the first generation of elves. Lolth was cast out to the Abyss and took the dark elves and manipulated them for her own agenda. Lolth’s worshipers gradually transformed into the drow: cruel, predatory, and wicked. As punishment, the elves were now mortal and would never fully be able to return to Corellon’s embrace and enjoy eternal life with him. From Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, it says“The so-called descent of the drow isn’t one moment in history, but the result of conflict between goldy powers in an era that has become a myth to mortals. 

My investigations indicate it occurred in different worlds of the Material Plane at different times. I have even discovered one world, Krynn, where it has yet to come to pass.” So perhaps the two stories are one and the same, with the first being specific to the Forgotten Realms. The Drow are particularly strong in the Moonsea, north, and west of the Iltkazar range. Beneath Calimshan all the way up to IcewindDale. They are powerful and few races challenge the dark elves’ subterranean mastery. The Drow worship Lolth, mainly, or I should say are most well known for worshiping Lolth. There are other evil deities the Drow worship, such as Ghaunadaur and Vhaeraun. 

Mostly defiant males worship these deities.If a city follows the Way of Lolth then the dark elven population follows certain rules and political structures. There are Noble houses that form a ruling council led by the premier high priestess of the first house. Each house is ruled by a high priestess who has the title of Matron Mother. Drow society with the Way of Lolth is matriarchal, and males serve lesser roles. Within these houses is a constant, intense, treacherous, and deadly competition to raise the status of said house. Or to defend the position of your house that it currently has. Drow society has rules and punishments for traitors, so any attacks or political intrigue must be done in secret. 

The Drow rule is “If it cannot be proven, then it did not happen.” The balance of power can shift easily, weaknesses never tolerated within Drow society, and the Dark elves are always watching their back. Trusting no-one for even your own daughter would betray you to become the next Matron Mother. Drow life is hard this way, it’s lonely, angry, and full of struggle. This is how Lolth likes it, the constant chaos. Lolth has crafted a society that is essentially structured chaos, with her subjects being constantly on alert. Might make right in drow society, laws are there to punish the stupid that gets caught. Under all circumstances the priestess of Lolthwill hand out judgment and punishments. 

Often turning males into Driders (half spider half-drow creatures), which is considered a fate worse than death. Life can be slightly different outside of city of Lolth, but the treachery remains within most drow societies. Drow cities are similar to surface cities in that they are laid out horizontally, have buildings, and consist of districts. There are farming areas within the city where cow-like creatures of the Underdark called Rothe are kept, along with Fungi fields. 

Children are born into darkness, they receive no warmth kindness, or compassion. It is believed this hardens a Drow and prepares them for the life of treachery. Love is considered a weakness that can be used against you. Drow rarely forms lasting friendships. From birth, Drow is taught they are superior to all other races. Those races that lack the strength to defend themselves shall be subjugated into slaves. It is this mentality that keeps the Drow working together to defeat other races or to protect Drow society. Despite the infighting between houses, there will always look at each other as better than the rest.


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