View Full Version : I need to make a working Drow outpost

2011-09-05, 02:52 AM
The fluff in Drow of the Underdark create definitely broken society where everyone is out to kill everyone.
I want to try to build a Drow outpost that is able to actually work and (possibly) be something that a neutral PC could like.
Any tip?

2011-09-05, 02:59 AM
Maybe the Drow who live there escaped their own crappy society, the outpost serves as a refuge for non-evil Drow. But for appearance sake it has to have an actual function. Also, all non-drow are forced to hide whenever someone non-open minded Drow comes by (but this is extremely rare).

2011-09-05, 04:49 AM
Sorry, but, what doesn't work about drow society...? I haven't read many fluff books of them, so I only know the stuff from the Dark Elf trilogy (Drizzt books). From what they describe, occasionally a noble drow house gets weak, and is wiped out by another house. Other than that, I figured their murder rates would be something like Philadelphia or an Arab country, among the general populace.

2011-09-05, 05:07 AM
Drow society is pretty much anarchy in the pejorative sense.
Instead of cooperating with each other like in any other society, they kill, enslave and manipulate each other. It's a society of psychopaths and bigots of the worst kind.
They are openly nazis that believe all other races should be enslaved or exterminated.
They have no honor, they view honesty and empathy as a weakness.
Their houses are noble only in title, and if it wasn't for their riches they'd be better described as "tribes".

Their social structure is closer to orcs and goblins than other elves.

2011-09-05, 05:11 AM
....So how is this different from most surviving terrorist groups?

2011-09-05, 05:13 AM
Don't know how terrorist groups well enough to answer that.

2011-09-05, 05:31 AM
Drow society, IMO, only works because Lolth directly props it up. Otherwise, it'd just self-destruct, or the lower echelons and slaves would overthrow the noble houses.

There's a possible answer: this is a city independent of main Drow society, where some other deity has managed to push out Lolth.

You'd probably have a lot of female Drow slaves. :smalltongue:

2011-09-05, 05:39 AM
If you need just an outpost you can build it as a trade hub between drows and the other races.
Drows need to trade with "lesser" races sometimes, and this outpost, built on the edge of a drow nation and near an underdark trade route serve as a meeting point between merchant of the various races.
There unstable truce between the races gives a semblance of order and peace in the outpost.

2011-09-05, 07:42 AM
Well, all I know about Drow society is the premise, which is shown with the Drizzt books. From what I read, there wasn't any terrible destructive elements. There are a few questions to consider, as to whether a society will be annihilated:

If the death rate exceed the birth rate, without changing for the better, the society will die out.

While drow killed each other, they didn't make it sound like the streets are filled with dead dark-elves. The way it sounds, in fact, dark elves usually kill when they have a reason. Most drow enjoy killing, quite possibly--but few have the luxury that they can kill whenever they like, so this doesn't lead to an excessive death rate.

If the society has stronger enemies, which are willing and capable of wiping them out.

There are a lot of monsters underground, but it seems they only cause minor collateral damage. The main enemies, therefore, would be the dark-dwarves, the deep gnomes, dwarves, or some other race added in the 60th source book. Let's just work with the first three, for simplistic example.

First off: One of the enemies must be stronger, or the collection of enemies are stronger and willing or able to work together (IE: If dwarves are on one side of the Drow, and dark dwarves on the other side, they can both attack the Drow from two sides, even though they aren't willing to work together).
Note that tactics and intelligence counts into being stronger (if you have a great general, he can help you defeat far mightier numbers).

Secondly: They have to be willing to kill the Drow.
All three races used in the example, probably like killing dark elves. However, it is dependant on their governing system to decide to go to war.
Drow are pretty tough opponents, with their magic and fancy weapons (and racial benefits:smalltongue:). Generally, they only cause smaller levels of collateral damage, with their sadistic raids. Certainly they are unpopular, but that doesn't usually inspire a governing system to go to war.

Thirdly: They have to ignore, or be willing to deal with any repercussions. If they can wipe out one drow city, but this is likely to antagonize a much larger drow army, they mightn't be willing. Or, if starting a war is unpopular, so they won't get re-elected by doing such, that puts it out too (in most cases).
The enemy must be willing to deal with inconveniences that they fear will arise--or be unaware of the potential drawbacks (of course, if they're stupid, their power level is dropped, giving the drow an advantage).

The enemy or enemies have to be able to use their strength against the drow.

This is largely dependant on terrain, placement, and other circumstances. The Drow are underground, where it is scary and dark--so most of the surface-people can't do anything, very feasibly (attacking under such conditions would make failure very likely).
If you need to go through a very long, narrow pass, with Dark elves playing Tower-Defence against you from high ledges... attacking them becomes fairly impossible, unless the anti-drow factions are a HUGE deal stronger.

You probably get the idea from that.

The society has to be strong enough to survive their circumstances.

If you have an army of Werewolf Dragons ready to slaughter you, when they have all the advantages--you'd need to be a pretty strong society to survive.
If you have a bunch of little gnomes which are cute hanging about, in disorganized, peaceful clumps. Your society can be totally weak, because it has no strong opposition.
Same goes for dealing with things like disease and such-like. If your health systems are lacking, you could die out. If you don't supply enough food, you will starve.

So, do the drow fail at this...? Well, I don't think so. Assuming the birth rate is still higher than the death rate, and those who die are mostly the weaker ones as is intended--things are good, as long as your death-rate doesn't go up. And depending on how well the political shenanigans work, you might get smart leaders--which is a great way for a society to do well.

On the other side of things, Drow seem to be noted for having some awesome equipment, and powerful magic users. Let's not forget that their goddess seems to like supplying them with demons and so forth to use to their advantage.

Overall, these guys* sound intimidating.

*: Something of an ironic term, considering their female-dominated society.

The society must be able to adapt adequately to any changes in its situation.All things adapt, somewhat. Bears learn to steal rubbish bags, and etc.. Living Things are smart. So, it's a question of whether Drow are written to be more stupid than bears and other Living Things.

One thing worth noting, is that the dark elves planned to invade the surface world in one of the Drizzt books. Before they started their plans, they began carrying flaming torches around their city and such-like--trying to get used to light. Also, I doubt they kill each other rampantly when they're in a tough battle. The worst I saw was when Drizzt's older brother killed Drizzt's eldest brother--but the battle was already won at that point.

Don't see many circumstances where the Drow have to give up being evil to survive.

The society has to avoid its people leaving at a level which weakens it too severely.When Drizzt inspired all his thousands of cousins to become Chaotic Good rangers and go to the surface? That might've destroyed the Drow :smallbiggrin:!

Generally though... this doesn't seem likely. Drow seem to only be interested in changes of power--not changes in society. Also, what with the Underdark being terrible and killing travellers: It would be a rare few willing to risk that to leave. Heck, where would they go? Most drow won't know ways to the surface, they'll know they're hated by most other species, and the life they would live would probably be just as bad if not worse.

So, with no strong force for social change, and no strong force for immigrating... the society looks fine on this angle.

That should cover it all, I would guess.

Now! Will the Drow realistically survive as a society? ...No idea. It depends on how you answer all those question I put forward.

If the enemies of the drow are strong enough, willing, and able to take them down, and nothing unusual happens in the Drow's favour: No more drow society as you knew it (unless something else weird happens, like they become a vassal nation).
If their society is self-destructive, in the ways mentioned: They'll destroy themselves.

I don't know enough about the DnD mythos for the ten setting to make any calls on this. Heck, I don't think anyone knows, unless they homebrew up a bunch of details.

So, go ahead and use the drow outpost, how the drow are, OP.

PS: Drow are willing to trade with other races, if the Drizzt books count for anything. Right in the capitol city of Menzobaranzan, two dark dwarf traders were arguing, and were made to sell their crab meat cheaply to Drizzt's house.

2011-09-05, 10:02 AM
Thank you guys, you're been very helpful. I guess I will just throw the Drow of Underdark fluff out of the windows to replace it with a more sensible one taken from your tip.

2011-09-05, 10:10 AM
There are certainly more sensible systems than what the original drow had, certainly... Of course, it isn't much fun having the perfect race which has the perfect rules, which are obeyed perfectly, then everything was perfect :smallwink:.

2011-09-05, 11:19 AM
There are certainly more sensible systems than what the original drow had, certainly... Of course, it isn't much fun having the perfect race which has the perfect rules, which are obeyed perfectly, then everything was perfect :smallwink:.

Don't worry, they'll be messed up, only in a not stupid way (can't tell more, my players post on this forum)...

2011-09-05, 08:37 PM
Wouldn't bother personally--well, I might. Dislike most of the DnD stuff. More interested in writing other things...

If you can make the Drow more interesting, go for it.