PDA

View Full Version : Drow society



Jayngfet
2008-07-20, 04:05 PM
After re-reading war of the spider queen I began wondering...

How does drow society work, in theory elves in general take a long time to grow into adulthood, competent wizards, clerics, and fighters take longer still. And yet the matron mothers seem to be fine with killing their best wizards, sending the closest thing they have to loyal high level fighters on suicide missions, and generally act stupidly.

How does a society like this survive on it's own, let alone an inevitable slave rebellion, male rebellion, a seige, and an organization? They can't even stop killing each other for nonsense reasons in the middle of war and surrounded by enimy warriors(one drow stabbed another in the back when running from angry slaves).

Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll
2008-07-20, 04:14 PM
They're Drow, they don't need to survive.

Really, I think they've survived thus far through extreme luck. And the meddling hand of Lolth, intervening regularly.

Tengu_temp
2008-07-20, 04:17 PM
The Drow fluff is written by fanboys who love evil, darkness, women in black leather and BDSM subtext blatant BDSM elements. Don't expect logic.

DMfromTheAbyss
2008-07-20, 04:18 PM
It doesn't work... simple as that.

The "author", "DM", or person (s) controlling the world that use them in this way do so becouse drow are "cool", popular and chaotic evil... so it's sortof a what would a chaotic evil society that works look like... which if you think about it... yeah it doesn't... they wipe themeselves out and the few survivors get aten in the underdark...

But that would make them poor villains... so people ignore it... as an extinct elves aren't popular or cool

comicshorse
2008-07-20, 04:19 PM
If Drow breed like rabbits then the competive advancement thing kind of works. Just not if they have any non-Drow enemies waiting to take advantage of them

Myatar_Panwar
2008-07-20, 04:25 PM
As far as I can tell, the Drow society exists purely because of Lloth. If they were just a bunch of godless evil elfs, then they would have probally all died off by now. But through Lloth they can find some form of order.

Lloth keeps the males down by giving her females great abilities, and giving them obvious favor. If you were a male, and saw that Lloth of course exists, why would you go against her priestesses and risk her wrath?

Priestesses dont usually act without reason. Sure, they may take down a house or two to gain further favor, but wouldent risk anything drastic without at least some form of a nod-of-approval from Lloth.

Which reminds me, I need to finish that War of the Spider Queen series after I get caught up with the whole Drizzt line.

Jayngfet
2008-07-20, 04:38 PM
Well if Elistrae is any sign Lolth isn't that smart a goddess. Come th think of it, why do drow even worship her, she's cruel, unforgiving, her afterlife will likely kill you(after her oether worshipers probably did), she let's her two main groups of followers slaughter each other for fun, Her Plane of existence defies all logic(STARS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY), could kill you and eat you're soul because she was bored ...or for no reason, beign even more chaotic than evil. She gets her own children to commit genocide over each other so she can posses the survivors.

...What in the nine hells do the Drow see in her?

Zeta Kai
2008-07-20, 04:39 PM
The Drow of the Underdark book specifically addresses this on page 26, in the section A Final Word on Drow Society. The short answer is basically that Lolth directly intervenes in Drow society & that without her, the Drow would destroy themselves. She likes the Drow the way they are, but she knows that they must be kept from killing each other.

I always suspected that this what Gruumsh does for the orcs.

Devils_Advocate
2008-07-20, 04:51 PM
How does D&D society in general function, with horrible mosters launching raids on peaceful villages and BBEGs trying to take over/destroy the world all the time?

Oh, wait. That stuff doesn't happen all over the place, all the time. It's relatively rare, and the lives of most humans in the world actually center around really boring stuff, like tilling grain. But because that stuff is boring, it doesn't get a lot of screen time. The on-camera action is not a representative sample of human society.

Similarly, one should not expect that the on-camera action in a story about drow will give a representative sample of how drow society functions. Rather, one should assume that one is being presented with the most interesting happenings, and that the average drow's life is considerably less exciting than this most of the time. Sure, a single drow lives long enough to eventually encounter some significant events just by waiting around until significant events happen nearby. But most of their lives are going to be spent doing relatively dull things; they've pretty much got to spend way more time rebuilding the damage from the last major calamity than they do causing the next one. You don't see a bunch of novels about drow just quietly looking for opportunities to grab power but never actually doing so because a good one never presents itself, not because that doesn't make up a significant fraction of the average drow's existence, but because it doesn't make for compelling reading.

(Although I think that could make for a pretty good book.)

Unless the official material actually says that the Underdark is a non-stop murderfest or something, in which case the authors are just stupid, or at least not even trying to make things believable. I haven't actually read the books, I'm just speculating here.

comicshorse
2008-07-20, 05:00 PM
I'm not sure I always thoguht all the mundane, peasant stuff in Drow society was done by slaves. Freeing the Drow to devote themselves to politics, personal power and murdering each other

Jayngfet
2008-07-20, 05:02 PM
let me sight an example a second time:

We have a commoner drow, not a Priestess, or a wizard, or a fighter, just some commoner/expert who builds boats for a living. She has a kinfe and is on the run from very angry escaped slaves, armed to the teeth and burning stone homes to the ground. Her only allies are a few low level commoners and a couple of Clerics with no spells and few items. If any of them slow down they will be left behind.

She stabs a business rival, and no one questions it.

This was when her life was on the line and everything was falling apart around her. Not even a noble vleric or a matron mother making a power grab, some boat builder stabbing another to get rid of the competition.

comicshorse
2008-07-20, 05:06 PM
Yeah but if she justs wounds him. He will drop, the slaves will waste time finishing him off and she will have a better chance of getting away.
In a LARP I saw a Rager hamstring a fellow part member while pursued by a pack of shadow hounds. We'd have complained but it did save all our asses

mostlyharmful
2008-07-20, 05:08 PM
They are shielded by the power of plot, completely selfdestructive societies with breeding cycles in the centuries and cities in materially desolate locations surrounded by enemies and beset by an insane God that has no redeeming features from it's worshippers point of view....:smallconfused: From a mechanics point of view it's even worse with their +2 LA and a Con penalty they pretty much suck below mid to high levels in an LA buyoff world and Suck Utterly without buyoff, and they don't even get anything amazing for that, a little SR and some crappy SLAs and small stat bonuses:smallyuk: These guys are so utterly beyound believable its laughable, at least the greenskins have got their breeding rates and clanish tendancies to justify them, Drow should just be a laughing stock

Jayngfet
2008-07-20, 05:08 PM
If memory serves she didn't wound her, she killed her. And the victim screamed loudly.

Mark Hall
2008-07-20, 06:55 PM
A quote from someone else...

"The drow do not live in a matriarchy. The live in a psycho *****iarchy. Look at their patron deity. Lolth is a crazy teenage girl who really hates the funny feelings that boys give her so she beats them, devours them, and then cries about why no one wants to talk to her. Sometimes she wants to be nice, but she can't give up that 'necro-goth' spasm0anger image she worked so hard to build. She wants to go to the prom, but everyone will make fun of her, so she'll just light their houses on fire and kill their babies instead. Her hair is black this week, blue next week, and shaved clean off the week after that. All the while, she's killing everyone who looks at her, everyone who ignores her, everyone who worships her, and everyone who forsakes her. She's practically a goth cheerleader."

Tengu_temp
2008-07-20, 07:09 PM
I love that we can all agree at least on one thing - that drow suck!

comicshorse
2008-07-20, 07:20 PM
I think Drow just tend to be overwritten if the infighting is made more for political position and less to the extermination of entire noble houses, they could work.

KillianHawkeye
2008-07-20, 07:42 PM
From what I read in Drow of the Underdark, Drow beliefs can be summed up with two points:

1) Drow only care about power. It can be political power, magical power, personal power, whatever. Drow don't care about wealth, unless that wealth can give them power. And a Drow will do anything to get power, since they have no feelings or morals.
2) Anybody who isn't a Drow is a meaningless tool. Any Drow is by definition better than any non-Drow (even if they are a threat or more powerful, such as Aboleths, Mindflayers, or revolting slaves). Also, Drow females are by definition better than Drow males. (Even the males are raised to believe this.)

This has the following effects on Drow society:

1) Personal interaction between Drow is based entirely on domination and control. Any two Drow that come into repeated contact with each other will attempt to gain some power over the other until a clear dominant emerges. This is the basis of the Drow hierarchy. Females always have an advantage in this situation. Of course, the subservient Drow will always be looking for a way to tip the balance back in their favor, which is why a Drow with anything to lose is by necessity extremely paranoid.
2) Might makes right. This is an undeniable fact of Drow society. A Drow will do whatever she thinks she can get away with. A Drow noble can murder a merchant on a crowded street for no reason and there will be no repercussions. Generally, a Dominant Drow can do anything even to another (less powerful) Drow because the victim doesn't have the power to do anything about it. There are no police in Drow society, because if the victim of a crime or misfortune is unable to defend or avenge herself, then the attacker is considered justified in doing whatever was within her power to do.

There are a couple of exceptions to this, however. Occasionally a weak Drow will make a (temporary) alliance with a more powerful one in order to take down a mutual enemy (or get revenge against one). Also, the Priestesses sometimes interfere in other people's business. Due to Lolth's position at the center of Drow society, the Priestesses almost always exert some control within a Drow city.

---===---

So, with that in mind, to address the situation where a Drow merchant killed another merchant while they were running away from a slave revolt, consider any of the following motives:

- If the killer was in a submissive position, she may have used the chaos of the revolt to off her rival in the hopes of avoiding consequences from the victim's family.
- The killer may have had some reason to seek revenge against the victim and simply took the opportunity, since gaining that power would be more important to her than some insignificant slave revolt.
- The killer just wanted the satisfaction of killing the other Drow herself, so she made sure to do it before the slaves had a chance to catch up and kill them all. (This one's a little unlikely, since a Drow wouldn't normally be this desperate.)
- A hundred other reasons that probably make sense to a Drow.

The reason Drow society is so difficult to understand is because Drow are so deranged and inhuman. It's hard for us as humans to put ourselves in their pointy shoes, since it goes against all of our real world experience.

Jayngfet
2008-07-20, 09:00 PM
Has anyone seen anything in 4e on this subject? I'd be tempted to convert for that alone.

Doomsy
2008-07-20, 10:21 PM
Honestly. My biggest gripe about Drow society is why the guys take it so easily. Think about it.

You're considered disposable and treated like a second class citizen. You're also generally pretty well armed. They will kill you at a whim and make it hurt and draw it out horribly anyway most of the time just because they can.
You have absolutely [I]nothing[I] to lose.
So why the hell not just whip out the knife and see how many you can kill before the rest drag you down once things start looking down? Or just on a bad day, since you're doomed anyway? Just go nuts and do your best to die rather than get taken alive.

Jayngfet
2008-07-20, 10:42 PM
Honestly. My biggest gripe about Drow society is why the guys take it so easily. Think about it.

You're considered disposable and treated like a second class citizen. You're also generally pretty well armed. They will kill you at a whim and make it hurt and draw it out horribly anyway most of the time just because they can.
You have absolutely [I]nothing[I] to lose.
So why the hell not just whip out the knife and see how many you can kill before the rest drag you down once things start looking down? Or just on a bad day, since you're doomed anyway? Just go nuts and do your best to die rather than get taken alive.

Especially bad considering there was a rebellion, despite the fact that the females had next to no magic and were weakened by a hoard of rampaging slaves armed to the teeth.

One wonders how Gromph takes it like he does, considering that he is quite possibly the most powerful mortal being in the universe, capable of binding powerful elementals and transforming demons into pure undiluted evil capable of giving a cleric powers without Lolth .

TheOOB
2008-07-20, 10:45 PM
Honestly. My biggest gripe about Drow society is why the guys take it so easily. Think about it.

You're considered disposable and treated like a second class citizen. You're also generally pretty well armed. They will kill you at a whim and make it hurt and draw it out horribly anyway most of the time just because they can.
You have absolutely [I]nothing[I] to lose.
So why the hell not just whip out the knife and see how many you can kill before the rest drag you down once things start looking down? Or just on a bad day, since you're doomed anyway? Just go nuts and do your best to die rather than get taken alive.

Because your goddess tells you to accept that fact that your are a male, and thus inferior to a female. People do a lot of crazy things because of religion. Look at real-world religions who suppress females for example, oftentimes not only do the females not go against it, but they chastise the ones who do. Religion is a powerful tool.

Jayngfet
2008-07-20, 10:57 PM
Powerful enough to have someone live through centuries of oppression, ending when you're given a sub-par place in a gloomy doomy afterlife(where you're probably eaten by some unholy thing, or eventually killed by demons).

Dervag
2008-07-20, 11:34 PM
Well if Elistrae is any sign Lolth isn't that smart a goddess. Come th think of it, why do drow even worship her, she's cruel, unforgiving, her afterlife will likely kill you(after her oether worshipers probably did), she let's her two main groups of followers slaughter each other for fun, Her Plane of existence defies all logic(STARS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY), could kill you and eat you're soul because she was bored ...or for no reason, beign even more chaotic than evil. She gets her own children to commit genocide over each other so she can posses the survivors.

...What in the nine hells do the Drow see in her?Power. Overwhelming power, with no real restraints. For the kind of people the drow are, isn't that enough?


The Drow of the Underdark book specifically addresses this on page 26, in the section A Final Word on Drow Society. The short answer is basically that Lolth directly intervenes in Drow society & that without her, the Drow would destroy themselves. She likes the Drow the way they are, but she knows that they must be kept from killing each other.

I always suspected that this what Gruumsh does for the orcs.Thing is, the orcs are sort of quasistable because they naturally form bands with strong leaders. They don't necessarily fight each other all the time, and they aren't quite as likely to betray each other as drow are. Also, they breed quickly which makes them less likely to be killed off quickly. So while orcs may all be killed if they're too aggressive against the neighbors, they won't end up destroying their own culture as easily as the drow would (without divine intervention).


Honestly. My biggest gripe about Drow society is why the guys take it so easily. Think about it.

You're considered disposable and treated like a second class citizen. You're also generally pretty well armed. They will kill you at a whim and make it hurt and draw it out horribly anyway most of the time just because they can.
You have absolutely [I]nothing[I] to lose.
So why the hell not just whip out the knife and see how many you can kill before the rest drag you down once things start looking down? Or just on a bad day, since you're doomed anyway? Just go nuts and do your best to die rather than get taken alive.The short answer is "because you are a member of an alien species." Drow aren't human. They don't think like human beings. The "better to die on your feet than live on your knees" reflex you describe is bizarre to them. They will scheme and plot and maneuver to regain control in a dominance relationship, but they won't risk death to bring an end to the whole sordid affair.

Other answers:
-Any drow male who revolts dies horribly now, rather than a century or two down the line."
-The drow males are quite literally beaten into submission from infancy. Is it any more surprising that they don't revolt against their wives than it is that medieval women didn't revolt against their husbands?

ArmorArmadillo
2008-07-20, 11:35 PM
According to DotU, Drow also differ from elves in that, although they live for a thousand years, they reach adulthood in about twenty, allowing them to breed fast enough to make up for their massive mortality rate.

Drow society still doesn't make sense, but at least now it makes a little less nonsense.

Jayngfet
2008-07-20, 11:49 PM
-The drow males are quite literally beaten into submission from infancy. Is it any more surprising that they don't revolt against their wives than it is that medieval women didn't revolt against their husbands?

Submitting to you're wife is one thing, but not killing the slave who's physically powerless, threatening you're leader, and causing the last meatshield to mutiny because she happens to be female seems a bit stupid.

Emperor Tippy
2008-07-21, 12:26 AM
Honestly. My biggest gripe about Drow society is why the guys take it so easily. Think about it.

You're considered disposable and treated like a second class citizen. You're also generally pretty well armed. They will kill you at a whim and make it hurt and draw it out horribly anyway most of the time just because they can.
You have absolutely [I]nothing[I] to lose.
So why the hell not just whip out the knife and see how many you can kill before the rest drag you down once things start looking down? Or just on a bad day, since you're doomed anyway? Just go nuts and do your best to die rather than get taken alive.

Your gripe comes from not understanding psychology. If you know what you are doing you can take a child and get them to believe anything and have that belief last for their entire life. To break that kind of conditioning requires either a truly shocking event that their beliefs explicitly say can't happen or years of continuous effort. Neither of those would occur in drow society.

Add in the fact that they are a might makes right society and that their god is trying to keep everything the same and it gets even worse.

SolkaTruesilver
2008-07-21, 12:34 AM
:
-Any drow male who revolts dies horribly now, rather than a century or two down the line."
-The drow males are quite literally beaten into submission from infancy. Is it any more surprising that they don't revolt against their wives than it is that medieval women didn't revolt against their husbands?

A drow male isn't exactly like the Midieval women. After all, Drow males have a lot of power of their own, both magical and martial, and can stand their own against most.

But the thing is, I think the males stay in their place because.. THEY HAVE SOMETHING TO LOOSE. They aren't considered worms in that society, hey! They are on the 2nd and 3rd tier of a society that has about 6-7! Noble Males are of higher rank than slaves, commoners, female commoners, etc... Only the priestresses and the Noble Priestresses are of higher ranking, and the commoner priestress knows better than to upset a powerful male nobledrow.

Jayngfet
2008-07-21, 12:40 AM
1. Ryld said that dispite being a high ranking weapons master can not give orders to a random female redshirt, a noble wizard can barley contemplate killing a slave because she's a priestess.

2. "and that their god is trying to keep everything the same and it gets even worse."

Lolth keeps calling herself a deity of chaos but we repeatedly find order in both her and her "chaotic" followers.

ArmorArmadillo
2008-07-21, 12:53 AM
1. Ryld said that dispite being a high ranking weapons master can not give orders to a random female redshirt, a noble wizard can barley contemplate killing a slave because she's a priestess.

2. "and that their god is trying to keep everything the same and it gets even worse."

Lolth keeps calling herself a deity of chaos but we repeatedly find order in both her and her "chaotic" followers.

Yeah, I've never really bought the "Drow are Chaotic" thing. They live in this insanely rigid caste-driven society. They kill each other constantly, but even that is ordered: Drow aren't random, you can count on them to kill each other. They're very orderly about it.

They drow are like fidgety kids forced to dress up and pose for a Lolth's twisted Christmas card photo from Hell. (Well...the Abyss technically.)

SolkaTruesilver
2008-07-21, 01:21 AM
1. Ryld said that dispite being a high ranking weapons master can not give orders to a random female redshirt, a noble wizard can barley contemplate killing a slave because she's a priestess.

2. "and that their god is trying to keep everything the same and it gets even worse."

Lolth keeps calling herself a deity of chaos but we repeatedly find order in both her and her "chaotic" followers.

Openly. The point here is Openly. Ryld was a very lawful Drow, and he adhered to the rules. But I am sure that anydrow worth his salt in deviouslity would be able to kill such slave priestress.

Sholos
2008-07-21, 01:24 AM
Wait, when did the whole "high-ranking male get scared of a female slave" thing happen? That doesn't sound like drow. And a slave priestess??? I was thinking only high-ranking (like, ruling families level) females were priestesses.

Kiara LeSabre
2008-07-21, 01:30 AM
let me sight an example a second time:

We have a commoner drow, not a Priestess, or a wizard, or a fighter, just some commoner/expert who builds boats for a living. She has a kinfe and is on the run from very angry escaped slaves, armed to the teeth and burning stone homes to the ground. Her only allies are a few low level commoners and a couple of Clerics with no spells and few items. If any of them slow down they will be left behind.

She stabs a business rival, and no one questions it.

This was when her life was on the line and everything was falling apart around her. Not even a noble vleric or a matron mother making a power grab, some boat builder stabbing another to get rid of the competition.

That's just good capitalist thinking right there. Betcha Trump would hire her.

Jayngfet
2008-07-21, 01:31 AM
Openly. The point here is Openly. Ryld was a very lawful Drow, and he adhered to the rules. But I am sure that anydrow worth his salt in deviouslity would be able to kill such slave priestress.

That wasn't Ryld, it was Pharun. The man who fed hundreds of souls to a demonic ship because he didn't have plane shift. The man who nonchalantly says he accidentally murdered a record amount of students.

And the same drow was the one who only managed to contemplate killing the slave priestess after she had no spells, clan, allies, or any possessions beyond some armor with no ranged weapons for several months.

And this particular slave used to be the daughter of a matron mother, until her house fell and she was taken prisoner.

SolkaTruesilver
2008-07-21, 01:33 AM
Wait.. when was that? Were they talking about the Bard/Priestress, or did that happened before leaving Menzo?

Jayngfet
2008-07-21, 01:38 AM
No, we're talking about Danifae, who in addition to Hallistra's bad situation is also made so she can't kill her master, even less magic, and actively attempts to kill party members.

SolkaTruesilver
2008-07-21, 01:45 AM
Ah, I see. Well, Danifae is a High-Born slave. It's like if you compare a man's favorite slave with the random mook-slave.

Still, there has to be some lowly-born slaves who become priestress (in ordre to preach to the lowly Drows, I guesS), and I am sure a noble wouldn't flinch at killing them.

It's all a question of station. No one will try to take revenge on the random lowly-born priestress, outside of her own lowly-born family. Maybe the High-Born priestresses of Lolth, if it made public, will have to take actions. But if the High Priestresses of Lolth are allowed manoeuvering range to "look the other way", they won't really care about that random priestress.

Except, off course, if that random priestress was a good friend of High Priestress XXX.. anyway, you see what I mean? The rules are... flexible. It always depend on who's ready to take offense for the one you killed, and who's willing to look away after the kill.

Helgraf
2008-07-21, 02:03 AM
Lolth keeps calling herself a deity of chaos but we repeatedly find order in both her and her "chaotic" followers.

So, is the Computer from Paranoia lawful or chaotic?

SolkaTruesilver
2008-07-21, 02:08 AM
So, is the Computer from Paranoia lawful or chaotic?

Silly question. The Computer from Paranoia is Your Friend.

And that's all you'll ever need to know

hamishspence
2008-07-21, 06:17 AM
Reference to drow maturing faster than elves (age 20 odd) Race of the Wild makes it clear elves mature fast (full maturity at 25) and the Adventurer age is simply the age most elves choose to go out, not the age of maturity.

Eldariel
2008-07-21, 06:21 AM
Thing is, the orcs are sort of quasistable because they naturally form bands with strong leaders. They don't necessarily fight each other all the time, and they aren't quite as likely to betray each other as drow are. Also, they breed quickly which makes them less likely to be killed off quickly. So while orcs may all be killed if they're too aggressive against the neighbors, they won't end up destroying their own culture as easily as the drow would (without divine intervention).

The primary reason Orcs don't get killed off is that they live quite secluded from other tribes (so conflicts generally don't kill that many of them) and because they're friggin' rabbits. The primary reason is the same as with Goblins; they breed more than they kill. Also yea, Orcs do follow strong leaders and few Orcs are smart enough to really backstab or try to usurp the leadership through means other than brute force. Therefore, once the strongest member of the tribe is leading, there's relatively little intertribe combat there. Drow are another story entirely.

Khanderas
2008-07-21, 09:21 AM
Because your goddess tells you to accept that fact that your are a male, and thus inferior to a female. People do a lot of crazy things because of religion. Look at real-world religions who suppress females for example, oftentimes not only do the females not go against it, but they chastise the ones who do. Religion is a powerful tool.
Exactly. Female circumcision is almost always done by a female relative or on orders from a female relative. Just one example.

Drow males do know they are seen as lesser beings compared to drow females. While they can gain power though weapons or wizardly magic, the clerical magic is strong, the female clergy sets politics and they keep a VERY close watch on male upstarts. Some books/sources mention that drow females, unlike many humanoids, are bigger, stronger and meaner then their male counterparts (selective breeding and Lolths influence problebly have alot to do with this) not to mention better training.

Even ignoring the Cleric-zillas the clerics are, a female warrior is stronger, better trained, better equipped then her male kollegue. If they each punches the other, guess who is tied to the altar ? Any slight, real or imagined can get a male whipped without reprecussions (except if a female has him under his wing). Being of a race that is killed on sight by pretty much everyone else, plus raiding parties from Lolth ensures that most don't try to escape the societies. A few books mention most males join all-male hunting parties and be off patrolling borders and the like to get out sight (and punishement) from the matriarchy.

Revolt ? Basically, if you not strong and try to act like you were, you get killed, sacrificed to Lolth. You must survive long enough unnoticed by the matricarchy to GET strong and by then you are used to atleast cover your tracks well. If you are deemed a threat to the matriarchy (and with the trecherous race the Drow are, the more members in on the secret the higher risk of being turned in) they WILL take you down. When you have a high status (for a male) you may as well enjoy the respect and power you got.
Unfair ? you bet.

Gwain
2008-07-21, 11:09 AM
When you have a high status (for a male) you may as well enjoy the respect and power you got.
Unfair ? you bet.

Exactly, and about Llolth being "lawful", remember that


Drow law is a cruel facade to cover the chaos of ruthlessy-striving, ambitious drow fighting each other: A mockingly ironic set of rules in which the only ones to be punished are the ones to get caught.

the concept of station has always striken me as legal, but even a CE society needs some "laws" to follow (if you want more than one drow alive at the end of the day).

Doomsy
2008-07-21, 11:58 AM
The whole raised to be subservient thing does not actually pan out. If I remember right there is at least one city of Drow run by men, and a rather large number of cults who give men equal thrift. So while Lolth is technically Queen *itch, she should actually have a lot few male 'true believers' who actually swallow her crap. Secondly, the religion offers no benefit to men at all again - unlike most religions there is NO real reward offered for playing by the rules especially if you're a guy.

Secondly, by their very nature and all depictions Drow are depicted as *encouraging* the traits of being intelligent cynical, paranoid, ambitious, traitorous, and generally looking out for number one. Drow that are NOT sharing those traits tend to die fairly quickly. So again: You have an entire gender who is bred to not trust any ones word for anything and to basically view women as dire dangers to their own survival, along with being bred for excellent critical thinking skills, and you're telling me they basically are kept in line because people tell them to do so or the great spider-*itch in the demonweb pits will kill them - which she was planning on doing anyway by all of their stories and legends. While Lloth is very real even a cursory overview of her legends will show she is both extremely fallible and somewhat lacking in vision. Since men can't even really be high in her priesthood that means they have even LESS of a societal impulse to buy into Lloth.

Leave it to her to make a race that would basically ask, "What's in it for me?" when confronted with religion.

Jayngfet
2008-07-21, 11:59 AM
A better question is why Lolth keeps saving the drow, it's not like she doesn't have other races wholly devoted to her and her causes.

Tengu_temp
2008-07-21, 12:07 PM
A better question is why Lolth keeps saving the drow, it's not like she doesn't have other races wholly devoted to her and her causes.

They're her pet race. Others might be stronger, but she likes the Drow most.

ArmorArmadillo
2008-07-21, 12:09 PM
Reference to drow maturing faster than elves (age 20 odd) Race of the Wild makes it clear elves mature fast (full maturity at 25) and the Adventurer age is simply the age most elves choose to go out, not the age of maturity.
It's strange how rarely Elven near-immortality comes into play. It's the string theory of DnD.

"My elven wizard is three hundred years old."
"Amazing, how has that affected his personality?"
"I dunno."

EvilElitest
2008-07-21, 03:01 PM
After re-reading war of the spider queen I began wondering...

How does drow society work, in theory elves in general take a long time to grow into adulthood, competent wizards, clerics, and fighters take longer still. And yet the matron mothers seem to be fine with killing their best wizards, sending the closest thing they have to loyal high level fighters on suicide missions, and generally act stupidly.

How does a society like this survive on it's own, let alone an inevitable slave rebellion, male rebellion, a seige, and an organization? They can't even stop killing each other for nonsense reasons in the middle of war and surrounded by enimy warriors(one drow stabbed another in the back when running from angry slaves).

wait a second, i remind you that in the books, their society barely is able to hold together. Drow are extremely smart, powerful, uber magic users and good fighters, so they never fall apart completely, but it is the reasons you've mentioned taht keeps them from dominating the underdark, which is made clear quite a few times in the series (at least when it was still good)

from
EE

EvilElitest
2008-07-21, 03:25 PM
also OP, a correction


1) the women stabbed her rival in the back, because she figured that the drow would put down the rebolt quickly, she had a high cleric for protection, her own boats had been destroyed, so when this thing blew over, she wanted to be somewhat ahead. basically every drow wants to be azula
2) Actually, Lolth doesn't hold the drow togeher, she tears them apart. Drow are actually rather lawful by nation, the class system, the miltary, the priesthood ect. They are almost too lawful, hence why Lolth makes sure to cause some chaos every now and get to keep them on their toes (survival of hte fittest).
3) The reason why the Drow stay with lolth is
a) They live underground, surrounded by nasty enemies, so they turned to lolth for protection. It is pretty much a cultural thing now
b) All of the other gods are small, not well known, and often require a certain vigor to worship (elistree is barely above a demi godess, and lives on the surface, so no luck there).
c) Lolths does a very good job of purging heretics and what not, trying to keep knowlage of the other gods hidden
d) most drow are purely evil, or at least inclined towards evil and as of such, they tend to enjoy the lack of limits or morals in their society.
e) elistree, the only good godess, not only has to put up with lolths, she has to fight hte other 4 evil drow gods, and other evil gods. So not much of a following there proplery
f) Simply put, Lolth gives them power. Lots of power, the drow are possible the most powerful force in the underdark. Sure, they will never be able to expand logically because of this, but as the drow have no nationalistic ideals and are totally seflish, show cares?
4) males are kept in place (as lower caste, but not bottom caste citiziens) both by the clerics, and by lolth herself
5) They stay alive (barely) because quite frankly, they are extremely powerful, both individually and as a nation.

from
EE

ArmorArmadillo
2008-07-21, 05:30 PM
wait a second, i remind you that in the books, their society barely is able to hold together. Drow are extremely smart, powerful, uber magic users and good fighters, so they never fall apart completely, but it is the reasons you've mentioned taht keeps them from dominating the underdark, which is made clear quite a few times in the series (at least when it was still good)

from
EE
Their incredible power generally works against them. They are enough of a threat that they have many serious enemies who want them dead, and turn that
strength against each other as often as against those enemies.

The only rational way that Drow society can survive is through some massive divine fiat, perpetrated by Lolth. She would reasonably maintain the chaos within them, but she needs to protect them as well to keep that chaos from destroying them.

Dervag
2008-07-21, 05:53 PM
Solka, could you stop spelling "priestess" with two "r"s? For some reason it makes my brain itch. I know this isn't very reasonable of me, but... I can't resist the urge to ask.


Submitting to you're wife is one thing, but not killing the slave who's physically powerless, threatening you're leader, and causing the last meatshield to mutiny because she happens to be female seems a bit stupid.On the other hand, it's a level of stupidity humans are quite capable of. And the drow grow up in a society that drives them all totally insane by human standards; is it any wonder they can be that stupid?


wait a second, i remind you that in the books, their society barely is able to hold together. Drow are extremely smart, powerful, uber magic users and good fighters, so they never fall apart completely,Arguably, they should be more likely to fall apart because they're such powerful magicians and fighters, because they don't need to depend on each other for survival as much. Being powerful may protect them from outside threats, but it doesn't explain why the nobles haven't managed to kill each other off.

KillianHawkeye
2008-07-21, 06:32 PM
Arguably, they should be more likely to fall apart because they're such powerful magicians and fighters, because they don't need to depend on each other for survival as much. Being powerful may protect them from outside threats, but it doesn't explain why the nobles haven't managed to kill each other off.

It's because a Drow noble would only kill a rival that they can be certain can't be avenged by their family. And they always have to watch out for temporary alliances of their enemies, so they avoid pissing off their direct rivals too much.

And it goes against Drow nature in general to depend on someone else for survival. Needing someone gives that person power over you. That is not why Drow stick together (inasmuch as they could be said to do so).

EvilElitest
2008-07-21, 07:37 PM
drow are not just powerful, but also able to work together, see the ruling house of Drizzt's house. They are uberly advanced, all drow are dangerous even without PC class levels. The only thing that keeps them in check is Lolth demand of constant infighting


lolth isn't hte one keeping them together, she is the one who tears them apart. Drow natrually seem to be extremly lawful, see their absurd caste system and the "rules of chaos", which ironically goes against Lolth, as they try to be bring order to her chaos. She keeps them fighting each other
from
EE

KillianHawkeye
2008-07-21, 10:02 PM
I realize that I am not familiar with the literature depicting Drow society, but I think a hierarchy does not necessarily imply a Lawful society.

Just like the "Law of the Jungle" doesn't make jungles Lawful societies. :smallwink:

Cuddly
2008-07-21, 10:34 PM
Why (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/DrowUnderdark_Gallery/104486.jpg) the (http://drowcampaign.roleplaynexus.com/images/Drow_Girls.jpg) Drow (http://isleofdrow.com/DrowPriestess.jpg) exist (http://www.disarm.se/data/bildunttext_nsfw/drow.jpg) . (http://drowcampaign.roleplaynexus.com/images/Xullrae_and_Alya_by_DarrkestDrow.jpg)

And this one:
http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/DrowUnderdark_Gallery/104441.jpg

Some of that's probably mildly NSFW. I picked through a lot of drow porn to find you guys that. I hope you're appreciative.

EvilElitest
2008-07-21, 11:30 PM
odd, it is almost like your implying that drow are used as a sex object for lonely nerds, hence their popularity. But that wouldn't be the case right?
from
EE

Jayngfet
2008-07-21, 11:33 PM
Ironically that answers a good deal more questions in universe than it should if you think about it.

Helgraf
2008-07-21, 11:38 PM
Silly question. The Computer from Paranoia is Your Friend.

And that's all you'll ever need to know

The question was meant to elicit thought, not smarm.

Recaiden
2008-07-21, 11:38 PM
Drow society is how it is because Lolth is crazy and likes it, so she keeps it that way. And since after the Lady Penitent Series all the other drow gods are dead that isn't going to change.

Jayngfet
2008-07-21, 11:39 PM
The question was meant to elicit thought, not smarm.

Why not both?

EvilElitest
2008-07-21, 11:42 PM
Ironically that answers a good deal more questions in universe than it should if you think about it.

What, did you say something? I'm too busy admiring the drows.......eyes
from
EE

Jayngfet
2008-07-21, 11:50 PM
What, did you say something? I'm too busy admiring the drows.......eyes
from
EE

Huh, now that you mention it none of those drow have the "usual" red eyes.

SolkaTruesilver
2008-07-21, 11:52 PM
The question was meant to elicit thought, not smarm.

Original Meaning is Irrelevant. Do you question your Friend the Computer's jugement?

EvilElitest
2008-07-21, 11:54 PM
Huh, now that you mention it none of those drow have the "usual" red eyes.
wasn't drizzt unique because of his eye color.
from
EE

Jayngfet
2008-07-21, 11:58 PM
wasn't drizzt unique because of his eye color.
from
EE

Come to think of it, so was Quenthel, and she had a niece of the same eye color...

Tsotha-lanti
2008-07-22, 12:05 AM
I realize that I am not familiar with the literature depicting Drow society, but I think a hierarchy does not necessarily imply a Lawful society.

Quite the opposite, in fact. A Chaotic society, like that of the drow or orcs, will have a hierarchy based on the thought of "might makes right", and the concept of "might" is very tangible. If you can destroy it, you are the mistress/master of it.

Jayngfet
2008-07-22, 12:16 AM
Drow society is how it is because Lolth is crazy and likes it, so she keeps it that way. And since after the Lady Penitent Series all the other drow gods are dead that isn't going to change.

Well Ellistraee I can sort of see, anyone who couldn't see that mess with the crescent blade coming a mile away is too stupid for a pantheon based on evil treachery.

EvilElitest
2008-07-22, 12:16 AM
Ah drizzt clones, i cuse ou


Quite the opposite, in fact. A Chaotic society, like that of the drow or orcs, will have a hierarchy based on the thought of "might makes right", and the concept of "might" is very tangible. If you can destroy it, you are the mistress/master of it.

actually, that is lolth's effect upon the society, but hte drow themselves seem very lawful. They follow a very strict set of rules, and while they break them, they are still people who natrually are drawn to law, hence why lolth feels the needs to throw more chaos into the mix
from
EE

Weirdlet
2008-07-22, 12:23 AM
Most living things and thinking beings are drawn to *some* kind of order, if only because that means survival is easier when you can sort of predict what will happen when- if you hunt, you'll eat, if you go under trees, the rain won't get you, if you follow the strongest hunter you'll eat more often, etc. The drow cling to whatever little scraps of stability they can in a world that is very likely to turn itself on its head at the slightest provocation, and they forge those scraps into as rigid a framework as they can to cling to and climb on, to reassure themselves of their power and likelyhood to survive.

That said, I agree, the society makes no sense whatsoever and while I respect that it's an alien viewpoint, I think I would've liked to see something a *little* more workable, with the mayhem dial on ten rather than eleven.

Dervag
2008-07-22, 12:37 AM
Original Meaning is Irrelevant. Do you question your Friend the Computer's jugement?In a word, yes.

Seriously, if you're not interested in addressing the question, why bother? Stuff like that can be hilarious as long as someone takes the question seriously enough to provide an answer, but when the only answer you get is a joke it's just annoying.


Most living things and thinking beings are drawn to *some* kind of order, if only because that means survival is easier when you can sort of predict what will happen when- if you hunt, you'll eat, if you go under trees, the rain won't get you, if you follow the strongest hunter you'll eat more often, etc. The drow cling to whatever little scraps of stability they can in a world that is very likely to turn itself on its head at the slightest provocation, and they forge those scraps into as rigid a framework as they can to cling to and climb on, to reassure themselves of their power and likelyhood to survive.

That said, I agree, the society makes no sense whatsoever and while I respect that it's an alien viewpoint, I think I would've liked to see something a *little* more workable, with the mayhem dial on ten rather than eleven.I think the problem is that everyone creates exaggerated stories about drow that exaggerate the fetish-fuel and wildly unstable aspects of their society, with the implication that it's like this all the time. The drow society as originally outlined back in the very beginning was probably more stable than what it looked like after the novelists got done with it.

Khanderas
2008-07-22, 02:16 AM
How do they not extinct themselves ?
- Normal elves have a low conception rate and long lives. Drow have (problebly by Loth's blessing) a very high conception rate and still very long life (unless killed, naturally). Lolth wants it so, since this is "survival of the fittest" and frankly she seems to try to breed a powerful, fierce race. It can be said that is a sucess.

Why don't the male revolt ?
- Indoctrination. Being taught since birth about something, even disadvantageous thoughts, do tend to stick. Especially if a Godess, that is very real and pops by now and then, encourages and enforces this on a regular basis (for a chaotic being). Also, trying to change this tend to get you killed... fast, with almost mandatory torture and then sacrifice. Being Drow you are still better then any other race anyway.

Slave female > male noble/freeborn ?
- No. A male can have a female slave whipped and killed. But HIS suprierors could find that presumpteous of a male. Non drow females can be used to breed new slaves anyway, would be a waste, don't waste your clan matrons property. If the slave is mouthing off, a swift kick in the face is "proper" unless she is the property of another house. If she is a slave from another hosue you need to be more diplomatic (drow diplomacy usually means no witnesses).

Drow society is Lawful not Chaotic. Look at all the rules they got, and structure.
- Well they do got rules. But what makes them chaotic is that the rules don't matter if you can get away with it. Example: Murder is illegal, obviously. But you can murder someone and be respected for it if you can make sure there are no evidence you did it. Even if everybody knows. Advancement by assassination happens all the time, the thought being if he can kill you and take your place, he deserved it more then you since you were too weak to hold the position.


That is my take on a few of the issues mentioned. Granted I'm not a huge fanboy of the Drow (facinated, though not extremly so), but I did read alittle Dragon magazine, a few Drizzt books and alittle drowtales.com .

SolkaTruesilver
2008-07-22, 02:26 AM
In a word, yes.

Seriously, if you're not interested in addressing the question, why bother? Stuff like that can be hilarious as long as someone takes the question seriously enough to provide an answer, but when the only answer you get is a joke it's just annoying.


All right, I apologise.

The thing is, I think the Computer was meant to be Lawful, but.. entropy somewhat made him chaotic. Hackers, sabotages, etc... all of this eventually messed up global thinking routines.

So, you have a being who, on the micro scale, acts very, very lawfully (Lawful Evil, I might act), but on the global scale, acts chaoticly.

Helgraf
2008-07-22, 02:38 AM
All right, I apologise.

The thing is, I think the Computer was meant to be Lawful, but.. entropy somewhat made him chaotic. Hackers, sabotages, etc... all of this eventually messed up global thinking routines.

So, you have a being who, on the micro scale, acts very, very lawfully (Lawful Evil, I might act), but on the global scale, acts chaoticly.

:smallwink:Exactly. The drow may have "laws" but they're damned well not lawful. The system is there to perpetuate the ones at the top, but if you can break the system and nobody notices (or is in a position to do anything about it because you've got them blackmailed with something even _worse_ if they do blab), then you still 'win'.

Drow are chaotic. Individual drow may be exceptions, but drow as a whole and as a society are, in fact, very strongly chaotic.

Ethdred
2008-07-22, 04:54 AM
Why (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/DrowUnderdark_Gallery/104486.jpg) the (http://drowcampaign.roleplaynexus.com/images/Drow_Girls.jpg) Drow (http://isleofdrow.com/DrowPriestess.jpg) exist (http://www.disarm.se/data/bildunttext_nsfw/drow.jpg) . (http://drowcampaign.roleplaynexus.com/images/Xullrae_and_Alya_by_DarrkestDrow.jpg)

Some of that's probably mildly NSFW. I picked through a lot of drow porn to find you guys that. I hope you're appreciative.


Granted, that's probably a big reason why Drow have continued to exist and become so popular, but when they started there were none of those connotations (well, no more than you are always going to get with classic ideas of elves and a female-dominant society). Even the Drizzt books didn't really play on that (at least not as I remember) - after all, he was male and spent most of the time outside Drow society. That was the last contact I really had with the Drow backstory, so I'm rather shocked by what's been revealed here :) My view of the Drow had always been that, while they will do each other over at the slightest provocation, they see more opportunities for power in attacking and dominating other races - certainly the noble houses see it this way. After all, the more slaves and slave warriors you have, the better, and if you've taken out a non-Drow settlement/ caravan/ adventuring party then you've probably got more treasure and magic items. But if you attack another House, then even if you win you will be temporarily weakened, and so become an enticing target to everyone else. So they remain more of a threat to outsiders than each other, except in certain circumstances. (The original G-D-Q series had one noble house trying to use the giants to cause trouble on the surface and so gain power. By the time the party reach the Drow city, the fact they've defeated this plot means that that House has been weakened, perhaps fatally.)

KillianHawkeye
2008-07-22, 05:10 AM
Quite the opposite, in fact. A Chaotic society, like that of the drow or orcs, will have a hierarchy based on the thought of "might makes right", and the concept of "might" is very tangible. If you can destroy it, you are the mistress/master of it.

That's not actually the opposite of what I said. You are in fact agreeing with me, since what I basically said was hierarchies are NOT limited to Lawful societies. If you meant to agree with me, then ignore this, I just wasn't sure if you were expanding my point or objecting to it.


The drow may have "laws" but they're damned well not lawful.

I have to disagree. Drow society doesn't have any laws. Drow do whatever they can get away with. There's no police. There's no justice system. The only controls on a Drow's behavior are the ability and likelyhood of whoever is left to take revenge. A noble can murder a commoner in the most crowded marketplace and nothing will happen because the victim's family is too poor and weak to take retribution without getting completely wiped out by the noble's counter-retribution. The most powerful noble house in town could just as easily wipe out the weakest house if they wanted, and the only thing they'd have to worry about is if the Priestesses decided they were getting too uppity and convinced 2 or 3 other houses to band together and knock them down a few pegs.

I don't see how people can think the Drow are even a little Lawful (as a race/society) when they have no laws. The main thing keeping their society from falling apart (besides the divine intervention) is the fact that every single Drow is super-paranoid all the freakin time.

And as for the prevalent Drow fan service :smallwink:, I like how Drow of the Underdark mentioned that the more powerful & confident a Drow was, the less they wear. It's a show of force, a visual representation of their lack of any need to defend themselves (because their powerful position guarantees their safety). :smallbiggrin:

Gwain
2008-07-22, 08:42 AM
That's not actually the opposite of what I said. You are in fact agreeing with me, since what I basically said was hierarchies are NOT limited to Lawful societies. If you meant to agree with me, then ignore this, I just wasn't sure if you were expanding my point or objecting to it.



I have to disagree. Drow society doesn't have any laws. Drow do whatever they can get away with. There's no police. There's no justice system. The only controls on a Drow's behavior are the ability and likelyhood of whoever is left to take revenge. A noble can murder a commoner in the most crowded marketplace and nothing will happen because the victim's family is too poor and weak to take retribution without getting completely wiped out by the noble's counter-retribution. The most powerful noble house in town could just as easily wipe out the weakest house if they wanted, and the only thing they'd have to worry about is if the Priestesses decided they were getting too uppity and convinced 2 or 3 other houses to band together and knock them down a few pegs.


that's why he wrote "laws", i think.
i agree completely tho.

also, it seems that we refer as "drow society" while we should say "menzoberranzan". There was at least one city in 2nd edition officially run by male wizards.

hamishspence
2008-07-22, 09:17 AM
Point to remember is that generic drow are Neutral evil, its the clerics, etc, that are Chaotic Evil. Underdark suggested that orders of LE drow monks exist.

Add in the fact that way back in 2nd ed LE was the alignment given for basic drow, in some cases, and its clear Drow are not the type specimens of a CE society. Instead they are a NE society with CE power centers.

Dervag
2008-07-22, 09:18 AM
All right, I apologise.

The thing is, I think the Computer was meant to be Lawful, but.. entropy somewhat made him chaotic. Hackers, sabotages, etc... all of this eventually messed up global thinking routines.

So, you have a being who, on the micro scale, acts very, very lawfully (Lawful Evil, I might act), but on the global scale, acts chaoticly.See? That was an awesome and insightful answer. Now we can go on.


I have to disagree. Drow society doesn't have any laws. Drow do whatever they can get away with. There's no police. There's no justice system. The only controls on a Drow's behavior are the ability and likelyhood of whoever is left to take revenge.So...

The drow don't really have laws, only patterns that they tend to follow consistently? That is, as you say, quite chaotic.

Any intelligent being will behave in ways that can (usually) be described by rules. If nothing else, they have to eat and sleep regularly and things like that. So if to be chaotic you have to behave completely randomly, then no one is chaotic, which is absurd.

This is why I share your interpretation: it is chaotic to have a society where the patterns of your actions are decided entirely by individual stuff, and not be social concerns. The drow aren't worried about fitting into social norms or maintaining order. They're worried about not getting stabbed in the back. If they follow a rule, it's because they're convinced that breaking it would be more trouble than it's worth, possibly because someone would stab them in the back.

Hence, while they may be individually disciplined and they may follow predictable rules, their society is chaotic because the predictable rule is "do whatever you jolly well please, as long as you feel that you can do it without too much trouble." They're chaotic, but not chaotic stupid in the sense of a PC adventurer who just randomly smashes things regardless of consequences.

hamishspence
2008-07-22, 09:27 AM
Getting caught doing something large scale and not doing it right is a big no-no in drow society: House vs house suprise attack that fails to wipe the other house out completely means survivors petition the rest of the city for "drow justice" as Zaknafein cynically called it. The result: entire offending house is destroyed.

in general, the drow are big on vengeance: when a low ranking drow murders a high ranking one and fails to conceal the evidence completely it is likely that the family of the victim will come down on the perpetrator like a ton of bricks. It is not a total free-for-all: society does have some structure, mostly based around rank and tradition.

EvilElitest
2008-07-22, 09:40 AM
I have to disagree. Drow society doesn't have any laws. Drow do whatever they can get away with. There's no police. There's no justice system.

They have justice and police, the matron mothers each judge offenders of their own house (the top eight matron mothers judging more offensive crimes) and they have police who keep the peace from out right rebellion or too avert actions


The only controls on a Drow's behavior are the ability and likelyhood of whoever is left to take revenge. A noble can murder a commoner in the most crowded marketplace and nothing will happen because the victim's family is too poor and weak to take retribution without getting completely wiped out by the noble's counter-retribution. The most powerful noble house in town could just as easily wipe out the weakest house if they wanted, and the only thing they'd have to worry about is if the Priestesses decided they were getting too uppity and convinced 2 or 3 other houses to band together and knock them down a few pegs.
However the more avert you act in drow society, you get in trouble by enemies. If the noble murdered the commoner, he could get away with it, but remember the rule established in the very first drizzt book (chronology speaking) the main rule of drow society is "don't get caught". the more aver your act, it will catch up with you (hence why they tend to use subtle assassinations instead


I don't see how people can think the Drow are even a little Lawful (as a race/society) when they have no laws. The main thing keeping their society from falling apart (besides the divine intervention) is the fact that every single Drow is super-paranoid all the freakin time.

here is the thing through, the drow themselves act in a lawful manner as a group. While they back stab, betryal, and fight each other, when the have a greater danger, they are highly organized, rigid, and almost fanically close minded.

Look at the ruling house of Drizzts home town. Absurdly organized, focused, conducted, et.

When it comes to their society, they are almost ridged at times. They orginized themselves in this extremely over elaborate semi feudal caste system, with a very ridged hierarchy .

now they often break these rules of course, and yet they always seem to revert back to these rules, and follow the rules of their society as a whole. This makes them neutral evil. I think if we took lolth out of the picture (and thus they would lose their devotion to massive in fighting to an extent) they would be lawful evil. As a society, they are neutral evil.



And as for the prevalent Drow fan service :smallwink:, I like how Drow of the Underdark mentioned that the more powerful & confident a Drow was, the less they wear. It's a show of force, a visual representation of their lack of any need to defend themselves (because their powerful position guarantees their safety). :smallbiggrin:
Through it is hardly prudent in some sense

I find it interesting taht in Salvator sex among drow was a bit of a silent matter, with the exception of the orgy at the acadamy.
from
EE

LongVin
2008-07-22, 11:35 AM
The drow society as originally outlined back in the very beginning was probably more stable than what it looked like after the novelists got done with it.

I agree completely with this statement. Those who write about the Drow suffer from brain bugs where they have to make each occuring inclusion of the Drow more extreme and more chaotic. Meanwhile in the earliest books about the Drow while they are still sadistic and revel in killing, incidents of Drow on Drow violence is relatively rare.

Look at the first book in the Dark Elf trilogy. Attacks on other houses are extremely rare occuring only when their is a great advantage to do so and after years(perhaps decades) of planning. In all of Drizzt's years in Menzo there were only two attacks against other houses. Nor were there any(atleast that we see) random wanton killings of members of House Do'urden outside of one oppurtunistic killing.

Even when Drizzt was in the academy there were only two non-accidental deaths which were deemed naturally "because a dagger through the heart will naturally kill you"

LongVin
2008-07-22, 11:41 AM
that's why he wrote "laws", i think.
i agree completely tho.

also, it seems that we refer as "drow society" while we should say "menzoberranzan". There was at least one city in 2nd edition officially run by male wizards.

Sshamath(sp?) is the Drow city that is run by Wizards.

ArmorArmadillo
2008-07-22, 12:20 PM
Why (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/DrowUnderdark_Gallery/104486.jpg) the (http://drowcampaign.roleplaynexus.com/images/Drow_Girls.jpg) Drow (http://isleofdrow.com/DrowPriestess.jpg) exist (http://www.disarm.se/data/bildunttext_nsfw/drow.jpg) . (http://drowcampaign.roleplaynexus.com/images/Xullrae_and_Alya_by_DarrkestDrow.jpg)

And this one:
http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/DrowUnderdark_Gallery/104441.jpg

Some of that's probably mildly NSFW. I picked through a lot of drow porn to find you guys that. I hope you're appreciative.

That's unfair...Drow aren't just eye-candy.

So are angels, tieflings, aasimar, non-drow elves, succubae...pretty much every fantasy race which has females and isn't Githyanki.

Hesquidor
2008-07-22, 12:47 PM
Sshamath(sp?) is the Drow city that is run by Wizards.

I know it's supposed to be male dominated because over years there were more boys born then girls, but is there any more in-depth information or novels about it?

LongVin
2008-07-22, 01:36 PM
I know it's supposed to be male dominated because over years there were more boys born then girls, but is there any more in-depth information or novels about it?

The Lady Pentitent series features the city, it is where Q'ryland(sp?) Melarn goes.

The books don't really go into detail too much about the city except that it is ruled by a council of wizards each representing a sanctioned college. There appear to be no houses present in the city aside from the sanctioned ruling wizard colleges and dozens of smaller non sanctioned ones. Clerics are given no power in the city, though every religion is technically tolerated.

The city also atleast appears to allow non-drow to dwell within it. The criteria for being free and being a slave is never established.

Worira
2008-07-22, 01:38 PM
By the will of Vulkoor.

Jayngfet
2008-07-22, 08:42 PM
That's unfair...Drow aren't just eye-candy.

So are angels, tieflings, aasimar, non-drow elves, succubae...pretty much every fantasy race which has females and isn't Githyanki.

Then explain the war bikini (http://www.settimatorre.com/razzefr/images/githyanki.jpg).

Turcano
2008-07-22, 11:26 PM
After reading this thread, all I can say is that I'm very used to the idea of elves with very brutal natures, but this is just ludicrous. LongVin probably has the right of it, in that the absolute absurdity of it all is due to one-up-manship by competing writers.

And Mark Hall, that quote is one of the best things ever.

ArmorArmadillo
2008-07-23, 12:18 AM
Then explain the war bikini (http://www.settimatorre.com/razzefr/images/githyanki.jpg).

I always saw them as a parody of the thing...a race of fantasy creatures whose women dress sexily but are hideous.

Tengu_temp
2008-07-23, 02:52 AM
I always saw them as a parody of the thing...a race of fantasy creatures whose women dress sexily but are hideous.

Eh, she doesn't look that bad compared to some DND illustrations. Most pictures in BoEF, for example.

Conners
2008-07-23, 10:57 AM
The "killing each other" thing may have been grossly exaggerated in what you were reading. When actually threatened by another nation/force/whatever-the-heck, I think drow cut down seriously on slaughtering their kin.

Also, consider this: Drow -- unless they've changed drastically since Drizzt Do'Urden's days -- tend to have adamantine weapons and armour, powerful clerics and spellcasters (you got to hand it to the drow, nothing says "level up fast" like the threat of death wafting around every possible angle), various powerful magic items, and the UNDERDARK between them and their foe (that's probably 70% of the challenge for non-underdark race, 30% for the underdark races).

Combine all that with the fact, "who the h*ll WANTS to mess with dark elves when you don't even see them?" and they have a pretty safe set-up. In fact, the only reason they afford themselves to quarrel to grotesquely is probably on the fact they're so very safe. At the same time, probably the only reason they haven't conquered all is that they're so petty ("Let's travel a two week's dangerous journey, with careful planning--just to kill a group of twenty or so elven non-combatants!!").

That seem like a decent explanation as to the Drowish Race's survival?

AslanCross
2008-07-23, 04:04 PM
I love that we can all agree at least on one thing - that drow suck!

Well, Lolth's drow do. I prefer Vhaeraun's and Eilistraee's. Vhaeraun's make more sense as villains and Eilistraee's are just so much fun.

Tokiko Mima
2008-07-23, 05:28 PM
A quote from someone else...

"The drow do not live in a matriarchy. The live in a psycho *****iarchy. Look at their patron deity. Lolth is a crazy teenage girl who really hates the funny feelings that boys give her so she beats them, devours them, and then cries about why no one wants to talk to her. Sometimes she wants to be nice, but she can't give up that 'necro-goth' spasm0anger image she worked so hard to build. She wants to go to the prom, but everyone will make fun of her, so she'll just light their houses on fire and kill their babies instead. Her hair is black this week, blue next week, and shaved clean off the week after that. All the while, she's killing everyone who looks at her, everyone who ignores her, everyone who worships her, and everyone who forsakes her. She's practically a goth cheerleader."

Thank you for the quote. Everytime I read about Lolth, this is what I think but can never put into words. She strikes me as an incredibly immature goddess, despite her power and fame. She spends so much time tormenting a race that she has designed right down the the genetic level to worship her.

While it's easy to see the sadism in everything she does, Lolth's treatment of the drow reveals more than a little of her masochistic streak. One of her chosen forms is a female drow and therefore she must identify with the drow on some level, and to put so much effort into keeping their society working for no reason other than she likes her race to be in a constant state of murderous betrayal is no small effort for a goddess. Is there any other deity so intimately concerned with the preservation of the social order of a single mere mortal race?

Weirdlet
2008-07-23, 05:45 PM
Is there any other deity so intimately concerned with the preservation of the social order of a single mere mortal race?


The other gods won't play with her, so she has to make her own toys.

Jayngfet
2008-07-23, 07:54 PM
It's more along the lines of stealing her ex boyfriend's toys.

Though I guess it's justified with the whole getting her pregnant and leaving her thing.

Arakune
2008-07-23, 08:00 PM
It's more along the lines of stealing her ex boyfriend's toys.

Though I guess it's justified with the whole getting her pregnant and leaving her thing.

Wait, what? :smalleek:

Jayngfet
2008-07-23, 08:07 PM
Wait, what? :smalleek:

From what I understand.

Lolth and Corellon used to to be together

Out came Vhaerun and Ellistraee

Lolth turned into a demon

You can figure out what happened next.

Arakune
2008-07-23, 08:09 PM
From what I understand.

Lolth and Corellon used to to be together

Out came Vhaerun and Ellistraee

Lolth turned into a demon

You can figure out what happened next.

Oh... then that's what happen when you have a Psycho Lesbian (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PsychoLesbian) as a goddess...

Scary... :smalleek::smallfrown:

Jayngfet
2008-07-23, 08:15 PM
On a side note, In just remembered:

Ryld said it was standard for animals in the underdark to use their own children as bait. To make matters worse, Ryld(from the underdark) can't so much as comprehend not running and leaving you're children as a distraction(the surface elves weren't amused). What the hell?

LongVin
2008-07-23, 08:53 PM
On a side note, In just remembered:

Ryld said it was standard for animals in the underdark to use their own children as bait. To make matters worse, Ryld(from the underdark) can't so much as comprehend not running and leaving you're children as a distraction(the surface elves weren't amused). What the hell?

Once again that seems like something that developed over time. Because going back to "Homeland," in the opening scene when House Do'Urden is raiding the other House all the children were hidden away in secret rooms. They had to be rooted out and then killed.

Ganurath
2008-07-23, 09:25 PM
I believe drow society functions as such:

Drow female picks out a mook male, has a bunch of kids over the course of a decade, and kills their father. Net gain of about nine drow of a roughly even gender split of +5F and +4M.

Previous batch of daughters raise current batch of daughters during their own adolescent years while previous batch of sons prepare fresh batch of sons for military/grunt work. Assuming inevitable accident and/or "accident," we'll remove one of each gender, so we're now at a net gain of +4F and +3M.

Males have finished training. Those fit for combat are assigned to join the slaving parties and honor guard, while those unfit for combat are taught wizardry to create magic items. Females, by contrast, are now undergoing priestess training which is somewhat more... rigorous. +3F and +3M.

Slavers make their runs, return with riches and spoils. This draws hostile attention from old rival clan, so they send their slavers to raid the clan. Violence commences, and the defenders are victorious if only through strength of numbers. +2F and +2M. (Most of the casualties were slaves, and the surviving gain will probably die from mistreatment or the arena.)

The clan's capacity to create magic items now exceeds its capacity to use them. In order to gain an ally after having just been weakened by a skirmish, one of the males is shipped off to another clan to provide their alpha female with a bunch of children. +2F and +1M.

Despite having gained an ally, the clan that attacked is indignant about their loses. An assassin priestess is dispatched to eliminate the clan's alpha female, and either succeeds or winds up killing the daughter the alpha female most suspected of treachery, depending on if the alpha female anticipated the assassin at the correct time. In either case, the assassin does not escape her mission. If it was the alpha female who was killed, one of the daughters is going to kill another one of the daughters to establish dominance over the clan. +0.5F and +1M.

Overall, a net gain for both genders so long as the alpha female is worthy of holding her station, and always with more spoils. The gain occurs at the rate of human generations, and when combined with undead minions allows for casualties to occur in the various "diplomatic" meetings with mind flayers, slaving runs gone sour, and adventuring parties.

Tengu_temp
2008-07-23, 09:31 PM
On a side note, In just remembered:

Ryld said it was standard for animals in the underdark to use their own children as bait. To make matters worse, Ryld(from the underdark) can't so much as comprehend not running and leaving you're children as a distraction(the surface elves weren't amused). What the hell?

I agree - what the hell? Does the guy who wrote it have any idea about how basic ecosystems work? A species that uses its young as bait will die out within several generations.

Conners
2008-07-23, 09:43 PM
I believe drow society functions as such:

Drow female picks out a mook male, has a bunch of kids over the course of a decade, and kills their father. Net gain of about nine drow of a roughly even gender split of +5F and +4M.

Previous batch of daughters raise current batch of daughters during their own adolescent years while previous batch of sons prepare fresh batch of sons for military/grunt work. Assuming inevitable accident and/or "accident," we'll remove one of each gender, so we're now at a net gain of +4F and +3M.

Males have finished training. Those fit for combat are assigned to join the slaving parties and honor guard, while those unfit for combat are taught wizardry to create magic items. Females, by contrast, are now undergoing priestess training which is somewhat more... rigorous. +3F and +3M.

Slavers make their runs, return with riches and spoils. This draws hostile attention from old rival clan, so they send their slavers to raid the clan. Violence commences, and the defenders are victorious if only through strength of numbers. +2F and +2M. (Most of the casualties were slaves, and the surviving gain will probably die from mistreatment or the arena.)

The clan's capacity to create magic items now exceeds its capacity to use them. In order to gain an ally after having just been weakened by a skirmish, one of the males is shipped off to another clan to provide their alpha female with a bunch of children. +2F and +1M.

Despite having gained an ally, the clan that attacked is indignant about their loses. An assassin priestess is dispatched to eliminate the clan's alpha female, and either succeeds or winds up killing the daughter the alpha female most suspected of treachery, depending on if the alpha female anticipated the assassin at the correct time. In either case, the assassin does not escape her mission. If it was the alpha female who was killed, one of the daughters is going to kill another one of the daughters to establish dominance over the clan. +0.5F and +1M.

Overall, a net gain for both genders so long as the alpha female is worthy of holding her station, and always with more spoils. The gain occurs at the rate of human generations, and when combined with undead minions allows for casualties to occur in the various "diplomatic" meetings with mind flayers, slaving runs gone sour, and adventuring parties. According to the Darkelf trilogy, the drow don't keep more than two sons (any third son is sacrificed to Lolth), by the way.

Also, deaths -- for nobles at least -- seem to be kept to a minimum while the house is in a strong position. Perhaps 1 death every thirty years for a "good" house, and... a lot more for a not so "good" house...?

Since drow are reasonably sex-obsessed, and they don't have any marriage system (the closest you seem to get in the Matron Mother and the Patron of a House--but he rarely lasts long). So it's assumable they commit adultery enough that there are enough kids born to fight back their losses.


I agree - what the hell? Does the guy who wrote it have any idea about how basic ecosystems work? A species that uses its young as bait will die out within several generations. Depends on how many young they have and how often their bait is, "nibbled". Should the parent strike its lured prey long before its young is harmed, and supposing it has a lot of young, it could be just as well as if they were rabbits (though it's unlikely they're that skilled).

Ganurath
2008-07-23, 10:10 PM
According to the Darkelf trilogy, the drow don't keep more than two sons (any third son is sacrificed to Lolth), by the way.I'm shooting for an explanation in a setting that cares about worldbuilding.
Also, deaths -- for nobles at least -- seem to be kept to a minimum while the house is in a strong position. Perhaps 1 death every thirty years for a "good" house, and... a lot more for a not so "good" house...?The numbers I gave were for the loses and gain in the time it takes for a drow to go from birth to adulthood. Since drow presumably age at the same rate as elves, that's 110 years. Add in how the slave raids that look like the catalyst for violence may be a rare event with proper breeding programs, and you have a stable ecosystem.

Conners
2008-07-23, 10:32 PM
I'm shooting for an explanation in a setting that cares about worldbuilding.

The numbers I gave were for the loses and gain in the time it takes for a drow to go from birth to adulthood. Since drow presumably age at the same rate as elves, that's 110 years. Add in how the slave raids that look like the catalyst for violence may be a rare event with proper breeding programs, and you have a stable ecosystem. Erm, I think only Houses do it, by the way (how are they going to enslave men if there are none left to enslave :smalltongue:?).


110 years...? Drizzt was a proper warrior at about twenty or thirty, wasn't he? The idea of ANYTHING staying a baby for forty years (:vaarsuvius:"Being an elf does have its downsides." :haley:"Like what?" :vaarsuvius:"Forty years in diapers..." :haley:"Ah... right.") is mad to me--how the h*ll does that work out for the species? In the medieval period DnD is in, there's CERTAINLY going to be some war or catastrophe, if not fifty, in the time it takes for an elf to grow up...

LongVin
2008-07-23, 10:35 PM
According to the Darkelf trilogy, the drow don't keep more than two sons (any third son is sacrificed to Lolth), by the way.

Not entirely true. I think it is just the first son to be born third, because there are mentions of Matron Baenre having more than 3 sons alive at once.

Mark Hall
2008-07-23, 11:37 PM
Drow tend to be short-lived, compared to other subraces; their adolescence starts at around 50 (as compared to 80 for gold elves, and 75 for silver elves), and their adulthood at around 80 (120 and 110, respectively).

A drow youth of about 65-70 is probably fairly adult in appearance, though they wouldn't be fully adult, either physically or mentally.

EvilElitest
2008-07-23, 11:59 PM
Thank you for the quote. Everytime I read about Lolth, this is what I think but can never put into words. She strikes me as an incredibly immature goddess, despite her power and fame. She spends so much time tormenting a race that she has designed right down the the genetic level to worship her.

While it's easy to see the sadism in everything she does, Lolth's treatment of the drow reveals more than a little of her masochistic streak. One of her chosen forms is a female drow and therefore she must identify with the drow on some level, and to put so much effort into keeping their society working for no reason other than she likes her race to be in a constant state of murderous betrayal is no small effort for a goddess. Is there any other deity so intimately concerned with the preservation of the social order of a single mere mortal race?



I think the deal with Lolth is, as a godess of chaos, infighting and internal strife, the drow fighting each other actually helps her, she draws power from that you might say


on the child thing, i'm pretty sure it is the first male child to be born first


on the bait thing, for drow it is somewhat understandable, you can make new kids if you flee to get away. But for creatures other than drow? that is freaking moronic
from
EE

Ganurath
2008-07-24, 12:42 AM
Erm, I think only Houses do it, by the way (how are they going to enslave men if there are none left to enslave :smalltongue:?).No, no. The men are enslaving humans, orcs, and goblinoids. Dwarves and other savage humanoids are possible, but the first three groups reproduce enough to endure all sorts of crap from outside their borders.
110 years...? Drizzt was a proper warrior at about twenty or thirty, wasn't he? The idea of ANYTHING staying a baby for forty years (:vaarsuvius:"Being an elf does have its downsides." :haley:"Like what?" :vaarsuvius:"Forty years in diapers..." :haley:"Ah... right.") is mad to me--how the h*ll does that work out for the species? In the medieval period DnD is in, there's CERTAINLY going to be some war or catastrophe, if not fifty, in the time it takes for an elf to grow up...It works for Drow because they live in the Underdark: They have fungus to warn them where trouble is coming at them, and can assemble slaver raiders to attack after the invaders have been softened up by the natural predators of the Underdark. Hypothetically, they could "domesticate" chokers and destrachens by offering them food in exchange for opening up ambushes with disruptive attacks: yanking the enemy healer toward the ceiling, starting a controlled cave-in...

As for how the age things works for surface elves, they have humans to hide behind and epic wizards.

Orzel
2008-07-24, 01:06 AM
A drow house is like a Batman villain and his henchmen. They each worship Crazy, are very power powerful smart or skilled, are not against attacking each other, and can only be temporarily stopped for the most part.

The men are like the henchmen. They KNOW Batman and his sidekicks will beat them up but it's better than being alone or challenging Joker.

The Drow and maybe the whole Underdark, functions like the underworld of the major cities in popular comics. The Underdark is like Gotham City or Marvel's NYC.
There's your evil superpowers, then their supervillain henches, and mooks. The primary villains are so powerful that even if the do something stupid, suffer a defeat, or get doublecrossed; basically nothing happened.

Jayngfet
2008-07-24, 01:11 AM
It's funny, I was watching Dark night today and couldn't help but think how much better and more honest Menzoberanzan would be if Joker ran it, hell even Two Face, at least they didn't have the whole demon worship and oppressed gender thing going on.

AslanCross
2008-07-24, 01:23 AM
Men aren't exactly seen as chattel in Lolth Drow society. They can still gain very enviable positions such as archmage or house weapon master. However, these are the pinnacle of what a Drow male can achieve, and if a Drow male dies, it's often no big loss.

Females can still be relegated to grunt soldier status (I see this over and over again in the Drizzt novels), however, this is because these particular females are lowborn. The daughters of Matron Mothers will almost exclusively become priestesses.

I don't really think Lolth just lets her children slaughter each other. While she doesn't mind them fighting each other for supremacy (and sometimes even encourages this, as she did in Siege of Darkness), I think she empowers her "chosen" enough to have them stand strong even when lesser houses turn against them. (Again seen in Siege of Darkness.)

Keep in mind as well that Lolth, no matter what the priestesses believe, can and has favored males as well. Jarlaxle is a very clear example of this. He's not even truly evil and doesn't even fit in the mold of Drow society, but he thrives on chaos and opportunity. Despite his double-crossing tendencies, he's continued to survive. Of course, he's too valuable to anyone for them to just up and kill him, but one could argue that he does indeed have Lolth's favor.

Heck, for all the chaos Drizzt causes in Drow society, one could argue that he is, albeit unwittingly, an agent of Lolth in Drow society.

The infighting isn't so much intended as self-destruction as it is intended to keep the strong in power and the weak dead. It's a perverse form of natural selection that has its drawbacks in limiting Drow population from exploding. (Which, in their harsh environment, sort of makes sense.)

Khanderas
2008-07-24, 02:11 AM
Men aren't exactly seen as chattel in Lolth Drow society. They can still gain very enviable positions such as archmage or house weapon master. However, these are the pinnacle of what a Drow male can achieve, and if a Drow male dies, it's often no big loss.

Females can still be relegated to grunt soldier status (I see this over and over again in the Drizzt novels), however, this is because these particular females are lowborn. The daughters of Matron Mothers will almost exclusively become priestesses.
Exactly.


I don't really think Lolth just lets her children slaughter each other. While she doesn't mind them fighting each other for supremacy (and sometimes even encourages this, as she did in Siege of Darkness), I think she empowers her "chosen" enough to have them stand strong even when lesser houses turn against them. (Again seen in Siege of Darkness.)

Keep in mind as well that Lolth, no matter what the priestesses believe, can and has favored males as well. Jarlaxle is a very clear example of this. He's not even truly evil and doesn't even fit in the mold of Drow society, but he thrives on chaos and opportunity. Despite his double-crossing tendencies, he's continued to survive. Of course, he's too valuable to anyone for them to just up and kill him, but one could argue that he does indeed have Lolth's favor.

Heck, for all the chaos Drizzt causes in Drow society, one could argue that he is, albeit unwittingly, an agent of Lolth in Drow society.

The infighting isn't so much intended as self-destruction as it is intended to keep the strong in power and the weak dead. It's a perverse form of natural selection that has its drawbacks in limiting Drow population from exploding. (Which, in their harsh environment, sort of makes sense.)
Again, you must be right, since I agree with you :smallbiggrin:
Long life + Constant reproduction = high nativity that must be delt with. Drow themselves are well prepared, well armed and well trained. Cannon fodder is for slaves... The way things are is problebly the way it must be to keep their numbers down. Lolth wants a special kind of Drow, that is opportunistic, feral and chaotic. This is how she gets it... done right this is what Drow are.

On sacrificing of the 3rd son... If I may mention Drizzt, he was scheduled to be sacrificed since he already had two elder brothers, but the middle one killed the eldest (by backstabbing in the middle of a battle) and suddenly Drizzt was useful as a "backup" and was allowed to live. Despite strange eyes and later insubordinate behaviour.
Seems to me really that matron only really needs one son, perhaps two for backup and let the rest be sacrificed to Lolth for her favour. Not sacrifice on the third, 'just because'.

hamishspence
2008-07-24, 09:48 AM
Even the Drow Clerics are Always Female rule occasionally gets broken: Rai-guy in Servant of the Shard and The Silent Blade is a high priest of Lolth.

Jarlaxle, like Drizzt, is a surviving 3rd son (explanation is in Road of the Patriarch). Maybe its a thing, that 3rd sons turn out to be troublemakers of some sort.