Matriarch Rank/Title in Kelbonnar | World Anvil


The leaders of Drow poleis, Matriarchs are the ultimate authority in Drow society. They direct all of the decisions and policies in the polis that they rule and are regarded as being the ultimate arbitrator and decider of any position.   However, their positions are tenuous, with no set succession other than the murder of their predecessor, which means that Matriarchs have to be clever, devious and scheming in order to maintain their positions and with them, their lives.


There is no educational or status requirement to become a Matriarch, with the only restriction on who can be a Matriarch being a gender one. Drow  society is highly matriarchal, with the women leading families and generally having the most prestigious positions within a polis. Therefore, Drow will traditionally only accept a female leader.


New Matriarchs are appointed upon the death of their successor, when it can be clearly proved that they were the ones that led to the death of their predecessor. Whilst this system of appointment can seen anarchic to outsiders, Drow believe that the position can only be earned by a potential Matriarch taking what they strongly believe is theirs through murder, which not only proves their fervour to hold the role, but also their surety that they will be able to conduct the office competently.   However, the system does mean that many female Drow have died, revealing their hands too soon, or through acting too carelessly with their plots being discovered by reigning Matriarchs and their secession brutally crushed.


The benefits of being a Drow Matriarch are vast. Most Drow poleis will have sumptuous, often palatial residences for their Matriarchs, where they are provided with the finest food, drink, slaves and entertainment that can be procured for them.   However, with these benefits, comes the constant uncertainty and nagging worry that another ambitious Drow is waiting in the shadows to stick the knife in one’s back and claim the title for themselves.

Grounds for Removal/Dismissal

To remove a Matriarch, a female Drow must, either with their own hand, or through another (with conclusive proof needed to verify this) kill the incumbent of the position. There is no other way to remove or dismiss a Matriarch.
Nobility, Non-hereditary
Form of Address
Madame / Matron Mother / Matriarch
Equates to
In terms of their rank, most Matriarchs are equal in stature to the heads of large cities or the rulers of city states. They do not regard themselves as being the same as Kings or Queens, or indeed equivalent to the Emperor of Turelion and Kelbonnar of the Empire of Turelion, nor would they encourage a comparison, as they deem monarchs to be weak for having been given their power rather than seizing it for themselves.   Some Matriarchs, such as the Matriarch of Kar-Marrontal have significant influence, though not dominion over many other Drow poleis, which puts them another rung again above most other Matriarchs. However, for outside observers, there are no direct indications of which Matriarchs are deemed to be above their peers, and it is something that must be inferred from the delicate and complex political intricacies that the Drow poleis engage in with one another.
Related Organizations
Source of Authority   The source of a Matriarch’s authority is debated, with some more hard-line theological Drow claiming that their authority comes directly from the goddess Lolth herself, whereas some take a more pragmatic approach and claim that their authority and power comes more from their sheer force of will, rather than direct from any deity.   Another school of thought, which many Drow Matriarchs believe is the case, but few dare to vocalise is that the source of their authority actually comes from the continuing approval of their people. After all, it only takes another female Drow with enough political acumen, wherewithal and resourcefulness to decide that it should be them in charge and attempt to usurp a Matriarch’s position.

Cover image: by Chris Pyrah


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