Every day they claim we one day will see the surface. That we will once more live the lives of our ancestors, prosperous and with nobody to bother us. But it's all meant to make sure we submit to this system, that we trust those in power. They promise a better future while making the present worse, creating enemies where they shouldn't be. They just want us to obey their words, not question those we fight. Like pets trained to sit on command.
After the Blazing War, some Elves fled underground and became the Drow. Following their Elven roots, centuries of research alienated them further from the outside world.
Now fed by a propaganda machine of a governing power and a dream to reclaim the surface, they rule surpreme within the Subterrane. Yet their empire is showing its cracks everywhere.
Drow have a very close resemblance to their Elven cousins, but show some distinct differences. Most noticeably is their purplish skin and white hair, a trait shared by the entire race. Most also are way thinner, having weaker muscle strength in general.
Further mutations of their arcane bloodline led to most of the population having some semblance of magic inside them. This results in many being natural spellcasters at birth.
It also makes their body able to resist the effects of spells as well. Stories tell of certain Drow shrugging Fireballs thrown right in their face, or ignoring or dangerous spells cast towards them. As such, they make formidable foes on the arcane battlefield.
High DrowSome families selectively bred themselves to have the ideal genetics, leading to the rare High Drow. Most consider them to be the purest of them all with powerful magic potential. Rumours believe them to be immune to all magic, though they also question whether or not they are healthy at all.
Thinbloods are the Drow equivalent of Half-Elves, sharing their dark skin and white hair. What makes them an issue for Drow though is how most view them as a betrayal of their traditions. As a result, not many live safe or long lives, either getting hunted by Drow or killed early in their lifespan.
Genetics and Reproduction
Growth Rate & Stages
Many Drow find themselves in their prime for almost 90 percent of their lives, being considered an adult by 15 years old. Their physical age barely changes, only being noticeable during the beginning and end of their lives.
Geographic Origin and Distribution
Drow are widespread across the Subterrane, living in vast caverns scattered around Fabulae. There are a few settlements above ground, but most prefer the shadows down below.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
Centuries of living underground improved the eyesight of Drow to be ideal for the shadows. Many can see fine in complete darkness, if not better than other races.
The major downside to this is that they can't handle bright light. Long-term exposure can downright damage the retina if not precautions are taken.
Civilization and Culture
Followers of Wynn'Oana
The state religion for most of the Drow empire, dedicated to the deitification of Wynn'Oana. For many she embodies ambition, the goal of achieving beyond one's capabilities. However, the leaders of the faith might not be as willing to let everyone achieve their dreams...
Drow put a great emphasis on their health and physical appearance, including trying to get rid of any imperfections. Harm to the body is also seen as a bad practice, including scars both accidental and intentional. Some societies even demonise the usage of tattoos.
Many take great care of their looks, keeping up their bodies both through exercise and magic. Most also hide any flaws through a layer of foundation, both for males and females.
Same as with Elves, Drow have a very loose definition on gender. Any role in their society can be done by anyone and binary gender is a non-existent idea amongst them. As such, the practise of genderfluid, nonbinary and more is wildly accepted.
Average Technological Level
We broke the code of our biology, modified it and perfected it. Magic flows through our veins so intensly you could use it to brew potions with.
With centuries of knowledge in magic, Drow have some of the greatest knowledge in the arcane. Intensive research has given them access to many spells, from basic cantrips to complex rituals. Some might even say their capabilities with magic are the greatest on the material realm.
As such, their technology is heavily Magitech-based or downright magic rather than science. Everything from street lights to transportation uses some semblance of it, making it rare to see Drow without it. A few even integrate it into their own clothing.
Drow also strive in their knowledge of biology and body modification. For them, the body is as malleable as it is formless, allowing changes to it as they please. This practise is especially common with their slaves, using it to both breed and modify them into ideal servants.
Common Etiquette Rules
Drow etiquette can be simplified as a focus on reaching a communal goal rather than a personal one. Everything a Drow does should benefit their society, whether it be improving it or purely for entertainment. Anything else gets treated as less crucial.
Common Dress Code
Most clothing worn by Drow uses silk in some manner. Little variation exists when it comes to colours, relying on basic blacks and greys to get around. More luxurious robes use purple harvested from cavern insects alongside some silver decorations.
It's a common taboo for many Drow to not have relationships with other races. For them, the idea of interspecies romance, let alone having children, is utterly despicable.
To what degree depends: some see it as a betrayal of their kind, others worthy of public execution. Certain extremists also see any alliance with other races as taboo, discouraging it completely.
After the Blazing War disrupted the Elven Kingdom, some Elves fled underground to avoid the Empire's control. The first settlers had little to work with, relying on supplies they took with them. The first settlements were mere bunkers, holes in the cavern walls for people to live in.
Throughout the first years, their society had to adapt to underground living: people adapted, infrastructure was established and the first city came to being. Many Elves even took body modifications to enhance their vision, granting their darkvision.
At the head of the operation was Wynn'Oana, who took it upon herself to keep Elven society striving. However, she did had ulterior motives, using her position to spread her ideology. By playing into the Blazing War's disaster, she instilled a hatred for the surface into the populace.
The Wynn'Oana Years
As her reign kept going, Wynn'Oana's plans became ambitious. She encouraged the research of magic and science, further advancing their technology. However, behind the scenes she further encouraged the elitism of their kind, starting to ridicule surface Elves.
Around this time, they claimed the name Drow. Further body modifications differentiated them enough from regular Elves to claim the new name. As their research in arcane advanced, the empire became self-sustaining and growing quick. As such, they began to expand outwards.
In the decades that followed, the Drow empire spread across the Subterrane at an alarming rate. The spread of Wynn'Oana was felt throughout with devoted followers of her ensuring the people's loyalty. Anyone who might oppose was quick to be accused for treachery, assuring total control.
The Post-Wynn'Oana Years
I swore my alliance to the Elven cause when I lived above, but now I swore an alliance to the Drow. I desire every single one of you to understand that together, we are stronger than anyone we might face. Remember what we lost a century ago, understanding what we want to rebuild down here. We are Drow, and I want you all to acknowledge that. To accept it. To cherish it.
After a century and a half of rulership, Wynn'Oana passed on, leaving only behind her followers. With each one being in charge of a city, she was able to sustain her ideals even after death.
However, with the expansion of the Drow empire and her death, it didn't take long for the system to distabilise. Radicalisation spread as the years went by, indoctrination corrupting the Drow mindset. Some border cities abandoned the ideals and became enemies, while other groups escalated their xenophobia to unhealthy degrees.
A growing corruption in politics also led to the system being put in favourite of the elite. The Followers of Wynn'Oana also became a state religion for the central cities of the empire. Both factors led to an increasing sense of elitism, which only divided them further.
Other races living below became either slaves or lost territory to the Drow while civil wars separated cities from one another. Paranoia grew, leading to the inevitable case where they stopped caring about going back to the surface. For many, the Subterrane is what they all knew with only a few ever seeing the surface.
Wynn'Oana was the original leader of the Drow empire when they first fled into the Subterrane. An ambitious Elf at first who helped make the foundations that Drow society exists on nowadays. However, her motives weren't as clean or innocent as it seems.
Common Myths and Legends
- All Drow are xenophobic: In truth, there are some Drow societies that do form alliances with other races. However, they're very rare.
- Drow worship Demons: Even Drow know that worshipping Demons is a bad idea, so such practises stay within underground cults.
- All Drow are evil: Most of the populace is actually willing to help on another for the better cause. It's often the elites and leaders who are morally corrupt.
- Drow can survive on magic: Despite their affinity with magic, they do need food to survive.
Interspecies Relations and Assumptions
Drow have a long and convoluted history with many species, most of it being negative. Due to their extreme elitist views, anyone that isn't a Drow either ends up seen as a lesser.
Such view on others leads them to committing atrocities, from mere enslavement to complete genocide. Only a few groups have the right to even form an alliance with them and those end up getting the short end of the stick anyways.
Their most common rivalry is that with Duergar, in which they have severe border conflicts with. Alliances are few and far between, often in times when a third enemy shows up instead. Beyond that, almost none exist whatsoever.
Another race with close ties to the Drow are Goblins, who are bred as slave labour for them. Many get treated as second class citizens, if not used to avoid more hazardous tasks. Some also claim that Hobgoblins might be a direct result of Drow experiments to turn Goblins into soldiers.
Most adventuring Drow are in some way skeptical of the lives they live. Whether it be against the governing powers or against the world. They can be driven by finding the truth, questioning their paranoia, etc. So for most to be exploring the world, they might take some time to trust their team.
1.63 m - 2.03 m
41 kg - 86 kg
Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild
Olarae & Astaroth Arcaine
Always a pleasure to read others take on the Drow :D.
The detail you put into your articles, form the information to the formatting is always a joy to see! Great article! :D