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 Drow: A Guide to Being a Dark Elf

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PostSubject: Drow: A Guide to Being a Dark Elf   Fri Mar 18, 2016 7:50 pm

Cruel and cunning, drow are a dark reflection of the elven race. Also called dark elves, they dwell deep underground in elaborate cities shaped from the rock of cyclopean caverns. Drow seldom make themselves known to surface folk, preferring to remain legends while advancing their sinister agendas through proxies and agents. Drow have no love for anyone but themselves, and are adept at manipulating other creatures. While they are not born evil, malignancy is deep-rooted in their culture and society, and nonconformists rarely survive for long. Some stories tell that given the right circumstances, a particularly hateful elf might turn into a drow, though such a transformation would require a truly heinous individual.

Physical Description: Drow are similar in stature to humans, but share the slender build and features of elves, including the distinctive long, pointed ears. Their eyes lack pupils and are usually solid white or red. Drow skin ranges from coal black to a dusky purple. Their hair is typically white or silver, though some variation is not unknown.

Society: Drow society is traditionally class-oriented and matriarchal. Male drow usually fulfill martial roles, defending the species from external threats, while female drow assume positions of leadership and authority. Reinforcing these gender roles, one in 20 drow are born with exceptional abilities and thus considered to be nobility, and the majority of these special drow are female. Noble houses define drow politics, with each house governed by a noble matriarch and composed of lesser families, business enterprises, and military companies. Each house is also associated with a demon lord patron. Drow are strongly driven by individual self-interest and advancement, which shapes their culture with seething intrigue and politics, as common drow jockey for favor of the nobility, and the nobility rise in power through a combination of assassination, seduction, and treachery.

Relations: Drow have a strong sense of racial superiority and divide non-drow into two groups: slaves, and those that are not yet slaves. In practice, however, races that may share similar inclinations (such as hobgoblins and orcs) and those who serve willingly may be treated as servitor races and granted a measure of trust and modest rank in drow society. Others, such as dwarves, gnomes, and halflings, are deemed fit only for the lash. Manipulative drow delight in exploiting the weak character of humans. While they claim no kinship with fetchlings, the drow harbor a curiosity toward the shadow race, as both are adaptations of races exposed to extreme and dangerous conditions. Finally, the drow's hatred of elves sets these beings apart from all other races, and the dark elves desire nothing more than to ruin everything about their surface cousins.

Alignment and Religion: Drow place a premium on power and survival, and are unapologetic about any vile choices they might make to ensure their survival. After all, they do not just survive adversity—they conquer it. They have no use for compassion, and are unforgiving of their enemies, both ancient and contemporary. Drow retain the elven traits of strong emotion and passion, but channel it through negative outlets, such as hatred, vengeance, lust for power, and raw carnal sensation. Consequently, most drow are chaotic evil. Demon lords are their chosen patrons, sharing their inclination toward power and destruction.

Adventurers: Conquerors and slavers, drow are driven to expand their territory, and many seek to settle ancient grudges upon elven and dwarven nations in ruinous and dreary sites of contested power on the surface. Male drow favor martial or stealth classes that put them close to their enemies and their homes, as either soldiers or spies. Female drow typically assume classes that lend themselves to leadership, such as bards and especially clerics. Both genders have an innate talent for the arcane arts, and may be wizards or summoners. Drow make natural antipaladins, but males are often discouraged from this path, as the feminine nobility feel discomforted by the idea of strong-willed males with autonomous instincts and a direct relationship with a demon lord.

Male Names: Arcavato, Drovic, Firyin, Kaelmourn, Mirrendier, Pharnox, Syrendross, Zov.

Female Names: Belmarniss, Cylellinth, Ilvaria, Johysis, Loscivia, Tyvorhan, Ulumbralya, Volundeil.

Standard Racial Traits
  • Ability Score Racial Traits: Drow are nimble and manipulative. They gain +2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma, and –2 Constitution.
  • Type: Drow are humanoids with the elf subtype.
  • Size: Drow are Medium creatures and thus receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Base Speed: Drow have a base speed of 30 feet.
  • Languages: Drow begin play speaking Elven and Undercommon. Drow with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following languages: Abyssal, Aklo, Aquan, Common, Draconic, Drow Sign Language, Gnome, or Goblin. See the Linguistics skill page for more information about these languages.


Defense Racial Traits
  • Immunities: Drow are immune to magic sleep effects and gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against enchantment spells and effects.
  • Spell Resistance: Drow possess spell resistance (SR) equal to 6 plus their total number of class levels.


Feat and Skill Racial Traits
  • Keen Senses: Drow gain a +2 racial bonus on Perception checks.


Magical Racial Traits
  • Spell-Like Abilities (Su): Drow can cast dancing lights, darkness, and faerie fire, once each per day, using their total character level as caster level.


Offense Racial Traits
  • Poison Use: Drow are skilled in the use of poisons and never risk accidentally poisoning themselves.


Sense Racial Traits
  • Superior Darkvision: Drow have superior darkvision, allowing them to see perfectly in the dark up to 120 feet.


Weakness Racial Traits
  • Light Blindness: As deep underground dwellers naturally, drow suffer from light blindness. Abrupt exposure to any bright light blinds drow for 1 round. On subsequent rounds, they are dazzled as long as they remain in the affected area.


Alternate Racial Traits
The following alternate racial traits may be selected in place of one or more of the standard racial traits above. Consult your GM before selecting any of these new options.
  • Ambitious Schemer: Seduction and treachery are tools for advancement in drow society, even for the martially inclined. Drow with this racial trait may choose either Bluff or Diplomacy as a class skill, and gain a +2 bonus on such skill checks. This racial trait replaces keen senses.
  • Ancestral Grudge: The enmity between the drow and elves and dwarves is long-standing and deeply entrenched. Drow with this racial trait gain a +1 bonus on attack rolls against humanoids with the dwarf or elf subtypes (with the exception of drow) because of their special training against these reviled foes. This racial trait replaces poison use.
  • Blasphemous Covenant: Since their twisted beginnings, the drow have consorted with demons. Some drow have strong ties with these creatures and may call upon ancient and obscene associations to sway demonic cooperation. Drow with this racial trait gain a +2 bonus on Diplomacy checks made against unbound creatures with the demon subtype. Furthermore, demons conjured with any summon spell gain +2 hit points per Hit Die. Lastly, the cost of bribes or offerings for any planar ally spell cast by these drow to summon a demon is reduced by 20%. This racial trait replaces keen senses and poison use.
  • Champion of Dark Powers: Some drow offer themselves to dark patrons, particularly demon lords. Drow with this racial trait apply their spell resistance only against spells with the good or healing descriptor or against spells cast by a divine spellcaster who worships a good-aligned deity. Anytime a drow with this racial trait casts a spell with the evil descriptor, the DC to resist the spell's effects increases by 2. This modifies the spell resistance racial trait.
  • Defensive Training: Many drow cities are frequently beset by attacks from aberrations, prompting the residents train themselves to defend against them. Drow gain a +4 dodge bonus to AC against aberrations. This racial trait replaces drow immunities, keen senses, and poison use.
  • Poison Minion (4 RP): Drow sometimes augment their slaves and frontline warriors by making them toxic, causing their bodies to internally produce mawbane poison (see below). The resulting poisonous creature makes a potent weapon in the effort to discourage neighboring monsters. Any creature that hits such a character with a bite attack is immediately exposed to its poison. The save DC for this poison is equal to 10 + 1/2 the character's Hit Dice + the character's Constitution modifier. Mawbane Poison—ingested; save Fortitude as above; frequency 1/round for 4 rounds; effect 1d2 Constitution damage; cure 1 save. Drow can take this trait in place of drow immunities, light blindness, spell resistance, and weapon familiarity.
  • Seducer: Certain drow possess an innate understanding of the darkest desires that lurk in every heart. Drow with this racial trait add +1 to the saving throw DCs for spells and spell-like abilities of the enchantment school. In addition, drow with a Wisdom score of 15 or higher may use charm person once per day as a spell-like ability (caster level equal to the drow's character level). This racial trait replaces drow immunities.
  • Stalker: The lands outside of drow cities, from rough-hewn tunnels to rocky caverns, are treacherous to navigate. Drow with this racial trait may move through difficult terrain without penalty while underground. In addition, drow with a Dexterity of 13 or higher gain Nimble Moves as a bonus feat. This racial trait replaces the spell-like abilities racial trait.
  • Sure Step (2 RP): Adventurers can spend their whole careers in the alleys and sewers of large cities or the tunnels of the Underworld. Characters with this trait suffer no movement penalties when blinded or moving in darkness. Drow can take this trait in place of keen senses. Source PPC:BoS
  • Surface Infiltrator: Some drow dwell close to the surface lands, either because they serve drow causes or they were exiled. Drow with this racial trait gain low-light vision, allowing them to see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light. This racial trait replaces the darkvision and light blindness racial traits.
  • Underworld Guide (2 RP): Those who brave the lightless tunnels below the world's surface learn to identify the dangerous phenomena that characterize the Underworld. Characters with this trait gain a +2 bonus on initiative checks, and on saves against traps and hazards when underground (from a lifetime of dodging accursed pools, cave-ins, and green slime). Drow can take this trait in place of keen senses.
  • Voice in the Darkness (2 RP): Prerequisite(s): Charisma 13+. Characters who practice coercion and intimidation in the Underworld or on the Shadow Plane learn to do so in dim light or no light at all. As long as they are in dim light or darker conditions, characters with this trait gain a +2 bonus on Intimidate and Stealth checks. Drow can take this trait in place of weapon familiarity.
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