The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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    Default Drow: Do's and Don'ts

    So I've been thinkin' of rolling up a Drow at some point and/or writing somethin' with them in it.

    What are the do's and don'ts of the Drow, exactly? I've got that as far as D&D is concerned, there's a matriarchal society and there's a spoopy spider-goddess Lolth that wants them to kill eachother for reason that don't make sense. 'side that and don't give them more than one scimitar at a time, I really don't know much about the dark elves.

    Are they always gray/black, or are there purple ones?

    Etc, etc.

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    Default Re: Drow: Do's and Don'ts

    If you are the DM, you can do whatever you want.

    Some of the general don't things for drow are:
    -Hypersexualized drow clerics, priestess, fighters, etc
    -Playing Drizzet word for word
    -Being cartoonishly or over the top evil
    -Unneeded textbook racism for Elves and other races
    -Insane obsession with spiders and other creepy crawlies

    Things you can and probably should do:
    -Don't be freaked out by spiders and creepy crawlies
    -Have some moxie, but don't be a total prick about it
    -Familiarity with crossbows, scimitars, and other Drow weapons
    -See poison as a tool, nothing more or less
    -Respect your mom


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    Default Re: Drow: Do's and Don'ts

    Geddy's points seem fair.

    Quote Originally Posted by ThinkMinty View Post
    Are they always gray/black, or are there purple ones?
    In D&D, I believe skin is shades of grey only, hair is white only (though dye exists in most settings). Eyes are usually red, but there is a bit of variation.

    I don't know about half-draw.

    Other things to keep in mind: Drow of the Underdark use a lot of slaves; even the lowest-class drow lives a 'noble' kind of life. Hence all the rapiers and time spent on political scheming.
    Drow pronounce it 'Loth'. But you'll probably look like an idiot if your fellow players don't know that.
    Drow have their own pantheon (though they don't necessarily have to worship any of them). In the lore, I believe all of the Drow gods except for Lolth are now dead, but if you're the DM, you can easily resurrect them. In the Forgotten Realms, a popular human deity for Drow is Shar, Goddess of darkness and loss.
    Drow interact with the other races of the Underdark, all of which they consider inferior to themselves. That includes things like beholders and illithids, which they hunt for sport.
    Last edited by Ninja_Prawn; 2015-09-16 at 10:18 AM.
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    Default Re: Drow: Do's and Don'ts

    Drow: Don't Do it.
    jk

    Seriously, you'll need to check with the DM what setting it is, if Drow even exist their society could be varied.

    The standard now is Forgotten Realms, where they live in cities in the underdark and predominantly worship Lolth, demon queen of spiders (though a few outliers worship other evil deities or demons). Matriarchal society with priestesses at the top, males can't have social standing or power, or be clerics as far as I know. Strong male warriors are prized servants and consorts. Mostly chaotic evil society divided by strong family/clans, so the strongest, smartest, most ruthless families rule and enslave the weaker. Everyone mostly schemes to gain more power and become the most favored of their goddess.
    They are completely black skinned with white hair.

    In Mystara they are called Shadow Elves, have purple skin, are still evil, but have totally different society.

    In Greyhawk they are similar to forgotten realms, living in the underdark with black skin and white hair (because that's where they and the underdark originally came from, in the "Against the Giants/Descent " modules).
    Last edited by Thrudd; 2015-09-16 at 10:17 AM.

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    Default Re: Drow: Do's and Don'ts

    One thing that bugged me was the dark skin. While I don't go along with the allegations it has some racist connotation (it's black black or grey, not melanin black), from a practical perspective, exclusively cave dwelling creatures tend to be pale. So I had the idea that the 'black' skin is actually a kind of sunscreen worn during surface raids, which is when most other races tend to meet drow, so hence that's where the legends come from of 'dark' elves.
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    Default Re: Drow: Do's and Don'ts

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens_cry View Post
    One thing that bugged me was the dark skin. While I don't go along with the allegations it has some racist connotation (it's black black or grey, not melanin black), from a practical perspective, exclusively cave dwelling creatures tend to be pale. So I had the idea that the 'black' skin is actually a kind of sunscreen worn during surface raids, which is when most other races tend to meet drow, so hence that's where the legends come from of 'dark' elves.
    In the lore, it was a curse applied to them by the Elven deities for their betrayal. The race was marked with black skin so they would always be identified as enemies, and cursed to not be able to tolerate the sun's light.

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    Default Re: Drow: Do's and Don'ts

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    In the lore, it was a curse applied to them by the Elven deities for their betrayal. The race was marked with black skin so they would always be identified as enemies, and cursed to not be able to tolerate the sun's light.
    So, almost literal Deus ex machina. Got it.
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    Default Re: Drow: Do's and Don'ts

    Don't: Adhere to the stereotype that all dark-skinned people are evil, nor that all evil females are scantily-clad fetishists.
    Don't: Subvert that stereotype by making literally all of them Chaotic Good rebels.

    Do: Remember that Drow rhymes with Bow.

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    Default Re: Drow: Do's and Don'ts

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens_cry View Post
    So, almost literal Deus ex machina. Got it.
    Well, I think originally they may have been inspired by the idea of Svartalfar (literally dark elves or black elves) of Norse mythology. They were described as swarthy elves that lived underground, as opposed to the Ljosalfar, light elves, that lived in a realm in the sky near the gods. They were created as part of the Giants modules, which are also creatures of Norse mythology. Most people I think identify fantasy dwarves more with svartalfar, but the duality of "light elves" vs "dark elves" I'm sure prompted this idea that there are underground dwelling mirror-opposites of the normal type of good elf.

    It was always magical/mythological origins, rather than looking for any sort of naturalistic explanation for how a species adapted to living in a realistic underground environment.

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    Default Re: Drow: Do's and Don'ts

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    Don'tDo: Remember that Drow rhymes with Bow.
    ****, I've been thinking it rhymes with Cow this whole time.

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    Default Re: Drow: Do's and Don'ts

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    Well, I think originally they may have been inspired by the idea of Svartalfar (literally dark elves or black elves) of Norse mythology. They were described as swarthy elves that lived underground, as opposed to the Ljosalfar, light elves, that lived in a realm in the sky near the gods. They were created as part of the Giants modules, which are also creatures of Norse mythology. Most people I think identify fantasy dwarves more with svartalfar, but the duality of "light elves" vs "dark elves" I'm sure prompted this idea that there are underground dwelling mirror-opposites of the normal type of good elf.

    It was always magical/mythological origins, rather than looking for any sort of naturalistic explanation for how a species adapted to living in a realistic underground environment.
    Yeah, but I, personally, prefer a naturalistic option if one exists. Overuse of magical explanations makes things, ironically, less magical.
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    Default Re: Drow: Do's and Don'ts

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens_cry View Post
    Yeah, but I, personally, prefer a naturalistic option if one exists. Overuse of magical explanations makes things, ironically, less magical.
    Yep. Personally, I just think of them as an ethnic group within the Elf species, but that's just a headcanon.

    Although, if a Drow and a Human make a baby, that kid's crunch is still a Half-Elf, so there's that.
    Last edited by ThinkMinty; 2015-09-16 at 11:43 AM.

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    Default Re: Drow: Do's and Don'ts

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    Don't: Adhere to the stereotype that all dark-skinned people are evil, nor that all evil females are scantily-clad fetishists.
    Don't: Subvert that stereotype by making literally all of them Chaotic Good rebels.

    Do: Remember that Drow rhymes with Bow.
    Do: remember that Drow are raised in a ruthless society which encourages taking what you want by any means necessary from those that are weaker than you, and almost everyone you would have known growing up has this outlook on life.

    Remember: Drow are raised to believe all other species are inferior to them, and rightly belong to them as slaves or else should be wiped from existence (surface dwelling Elves, and probably Illithids). It would be very rare for a Drow to encounter others of their kind that did not believe this.

    Remember: Drow have a specific undying hatred of their surface dwelling cousins and their gods, and will attack and execute them on sight, preferring to sacrifice them to Lolth rather than enslave them. A Drow without this outlook would be peculiar indeed.

    Remember: Surface dwellers that are aware of Drow know them to be ruthless killers and slavers, and any civilized society will generally immediately consider them enemies to be attacked on sight. Only other similar violent slaving societies, criminal enclaves etc., would do business with them or tolerate them.

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    Default Re: Drow: Do's and Don'ts

    Quote Originally Posted by ThinkMinty View Post
    ****, I've been thinking it rhymes with Cow this whole time.
    Psst! There are two ways to pronounce Bow.

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    Default Re: Drow: Do's and Don'ts

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    Psst! There are two ways to pronounce Bow.
    Then why are we using it as an example?

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    Default Re: Drow: Do's and Don'ts

    Quote Originally Posted by DireSickFish View Post
    Then why are we using it as an example?
    Probably to **** with me. In retrospect, I appreciate the ribbing. Touché!

    ...yes, I'm using touché correctly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    Don't: Adhere to the stereotype that all dark-skinned people are evil, nor that all evil females are scantily-clad fetishists.
    Don't: Subvert that stereotype by making literally all of them Chaotic Good rebels.

    Do: Remember that Drow rhymes with Bow.
    Bow as in Bow/Curtsey or Bow as in Bow/Arrow?

    edit: D'oh as in ninja'd
    Last edited by Nightcanon; 2015-09-16 at 12:13 PM.

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    Default Re: Drow: Do's and Don'ts

    Quote Originally Posted by DireSickFish View Post
    Then why are we using it as an example?
    Because entertainment has significantly more inherent value than pedantry.

    Citation: People pay for entertainment. Nobody pays for pedantry.

    Quote Originally Posted by ThinkMinty View Post
    Probably to **** with me. In retrospect, I appreciate the ribbing. Touché!

    ...yes, I'm using touché correctly.
    Nah, not intended to mess with anyone.

    I figured most people would either read it in their preferred pronunciation (because priming), or would get the humor.

    EDIT:
    Quote Originally Posted by Nightcanon View Post
    Bow as in Bow/Curtsey or Bow as in Bow/Arrow?
    Yes, exactly.
    Last edited by Nifft; 2015-09-16 at 12:15 PM.

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    Default Re: Drow: Do's and Don'ts

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    Citation: People pay for entertainment. Nobody pays for pedantry.
    Counterexample: copy editors exist and get paid.

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    Default Re: Drow: Do's and Don'ts

    I get that the drow skin color does cause some issues, but I just cannot bring myself to hate it because it looks so cool. Black is the new peach!

    Also, quick question: Which setting is this in? A standard D&D setting? I was under the impression that even Lolth varied a bit between the canonical settings.
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    Default Re: Drow: Do's and Don'ts

    Don't : Walk into sunlight. It'll make you sparkle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThinkMinty View Post
    Yep. Personally, I just think of them as an ethnic group within the Elf species, but that's just a headcanon.
    The beauty of an RPG is you can make your own setting or alter an existing one, and, in that setting, your funky change is canon.
    Quote Originally Posted by ThinkMinty View Post
    Although, if a Drow and a Human make a baby, that kid's crunch is still a Half-Elf, so there's that.
    Well, there is half-drow, so it's possible to have a setting where they are distinct if so wished.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    In the lore, it was a curse applied to them by the Elven deities for their betrayal. The race was marked with black skin so they would always be identified as enemies, and cursed to not be able to tolerate the sun's light.
    I don't particularly like this, and if I ever run a setting with Drow I'll be having it as a mark of ownership, so 'good' Drow (or those who don't follow Lolth) in this setting would have their skin lighten to tan/dark grey over several months, although they'd keep the white hair and discover that despite their natural skin colour they might as well be called 'lobster red elves'.

    Quote Originally Posted by ThinkMinty View Post
    ****, I've been thinking it rhymes with Cow this whole time.
    As has been said bow can be pronounced two ways.

    Quote Originally Posted by DireSickFish View Post
    Then why are we using it as an example?
    Because there is such a big division on how to pronounce it (I say it rhymes with cow, but many say crow), to the point we are all fed up with it. We settled on bow as a compromise, because it only matters if you are at the same table.
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    Default Re: Drow: Do's and Don'ts

    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    Also, quick question: Which setting is this in? A standard D&D setting? I was under the impression that even Lolth varied a bit between the canonical settings.
    An original story setting for an atypical fantasy serial I'm working on. It's kinda like if fantasy was in the Googie-tastic retrofuture of yesteryear instead of in Tolkein's backyard. There's a kid, he's a sorcerer who reads a lot of forbidden tomes. Adventure ensues.

    I get that the drow skin color does cause some issues, but I just cannot bring myself to hate it because it looks so cool. Black is the new peach!
    Seconded. Drow skintone is aesthetically pleasant, to the point where I don't mind it being technically inconsistent with their cthonic thing from a point of view. Maybe they have it to blend into cthonic darkness, hypothetical hard sci-fi pedants who insist that they should be pale.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThinkMinty View Post
    This is why you're the best, Ninja Prawn.
    May I sig that, please?

    Quote Originally Posted by ThinkMinty View Post
    Incidentally, I invented a fictitious tempura/dojo franchise called Way of the Prawn that sells tempura and has dojos in malls, strip malls, and a couple office buildings. They're mortal enemies with Pyrate's Porringer, who sell more New Englandey style seafood. Intense restaurant rivalry is intense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    May I sig that, please?
    Please do.

    Yay! I'm a thing! I'd love to see that written up as a Monastic Tradition.
    It was previously Way of the Shrimp, but you (yes, you) made prawn cool enough to edge shrimp out, as recorded for posterity in the document I keep all my updatey changes in. I have...a lot of background notes on this setting, it's insane. Everyone's a magical radioactive monster, and some of them are wizards. Fun stuff.
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    Default Re: Drow: Do's and Don'ts

    But anyways, I'm moderately more informed about Drow.

    ...wait, their eyes are always red? Since when is this a thing?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThinkMinty View Post
    But anyways, I'm moderately more informed about Drow.

    ...wait, their eyes are always red? Since when is this a thing?
    Not always but it's the most common. In R.A. Salvatores novels seeing Drizzts lavender eyes was commented on as being super unusual. I'm not sure what other colors they can be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThinkMinty View Post
    But anyways, I'm moderately more informed about Drow.

    ...wait, their eyes are always red? Since when is this a thing?
    I don't know. Maybe I'm misremembering. My 5e PHB says: "They commonly have very pale eyes (so pale as to be mistaken for white) in shades of lilac, silver, pink, red, and blue."

    *shrug*
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    Default Re: Drow: Do's and Don'ts

    Most of their eyes are red, to the point that other colors really stand out. At least that's the case in the Forgotten Realms. I'm holding a copy of Drow of the Underdark right now that says red, white, purple, green and gold occur with equal frequency with red being slightly more common than the others.

    Even in the source material, there's a lot of variance, so it's really going to depend on what kind of drow your DM is running with.

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