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t209
2013-06-13, 10:58 PM
So how would you make your Drow PCs and not make them Drizzt Clone?
-An outcast but still viewed as unlikable in views of "good race". It's like he or she is a goody two shoe in drow's morals but a despicable jerk in "good" race's morals (like Elric of Melnibone).
- An insider's view on why Drow's are evil (like they do "bad" things to curb overpopulation and resource scarcity).
- A drow mecenary who just join in the party for money.
Any ideas?

JusticeZero
2013-06-13, 11:19 PM
I dislike the Drow culture as depicted; it makes no sense, and the problems are just too huge and glaring. So I don't use the race at all, unless I completely redo the culture from the ground up first.

Fable Wright
2013-06-14, 12:55 AM
Step 1: Have the campaign be situated in Eberron.
Step 2: Enjoy avoiding any chance of an accidental Driz'zt clone.

Omegonthesane
2013-06-14, 01:16 AM
Well the first thing I do is I use the Races of War Drow (http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/Races_of_War_%283.5e_Sourcebook%29/Playing_Unusual_Races#Drow) instead of the one where you get LA +2 for a bunch of non-abilities. Or anything involving LA at all, because it's the most efficient way to **** up the game.

The second thing I'd do is decide whether or not to research D&D drow, because most of my perception on how drow "should" act comes from Drowtales rather than D&D.

The third thing I'd do is check with the DM about the diplomatic status of Drow on the surface. If the canon Lolthians hold sway and are still kill-on-sight to the surface then you're not going to get archetypes other than Drizz'l with a class change, but if relations are such that killing drow for being drow is about as frowned on as doing the same to the other kinds of elf, then you can get trade relations of some kind and therefore have it plausible that people might leave Lolthian territory for reasons other than "My god, my god, every single one of my culture is a lunatic".

If that doesn't float your boat, address any silliness you feel is still present in the drow. Say there's some rebel enclave on the surface, or in a different bunch of caves, that doesn't universally worship Lolth and if applicable has found a way to en-masse escape her divine retribution. Once she's out of the picture the stupidest excesses of drow society will probably iron themselves out within half an elf generation.

---

Of course, I've just mentioned all of the above without touching on the unfortunate implications of the fact Drow are evil black elves. Making them not universally or majority evil solves this, or is close enough for government work at least.

t209
2013-06-14, 01:35 AM
Well the first thing I do is I use the Races of War Drow (http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/Races_of_War_%283.5e_Sourcebook%29/Playing_Unusual_Races#Drow) instead of the one where you get LA +2 for a bunch of non-abilities. Or anything involving LA at all, because it's the most efficient way to **** up the game.

The second thing I'd do is decide whether or not to research D&D drow, because most of my perception on how drow "should" act comes from Drowtales rather than D&D.

The third thing I'd do is check with the DM about the diplomatic status of Drow on the surface. If the canon Lolthians hold sway and are still kill-on-sight to the surface then you're not going to get archetypes other than Drizz'l with a class change, but if relations are such that killing drow for being drow is about as frowned on as doing the same to the other kinds of elf, then you can get trade relations of some kind and therefore have it plausible that people might leave Lolthian territory for reasons other than "My god, my god, every single one of my culture is a lunatic".

If that doesn't float your boat, address any silliness you feel is still present in the drow. Say there's some rebel enclave on the surface, or in a different bunch of caves, that doesn't universally worship Lolth and if applicable has found a way to en-masse escape her divine retribution. Once she's out of the picture the stupidest excesses of drow society will probably iron themselves out within half an elf generation.

---

Of course, I've just mentioned all of the above without touching on the unfortunate implications of the fact Drow are evil black elves. Making them not universally or majority evil solves this, or is close enough for government work at least.
Drowtales as in
- Clan wars are situated outside of infrastructure and populace centres to avoid unnecessary casualities (that was until the current civil war).

SiuiS
2013-06-14, 01:41 AM
So how would you make your Drow PCs and not make them Drizzt Clone?
-An outcast but still viewed as unlikable in views of "good race". It's like he or she is a goody two shoe in drow's morals but a despicable jerk in "good" race's morals (like Elric of Melnibone).
- An insider's view on why Drow's are evil (like they do "bad" things to curb overpopulation and resource scarcity).
- A drow mecenary who just join in the party for money.
Any ideas?

Two that have shown up in games I've been in;

A drow elf captured by a Grey Elf raid, which went in to exterminate all citizens of a dark elf outpost. The mother was in labor, and the capturer concluded that since the baby was unborn at time of attack, it wasn't a citizen.

A century and a half later, the dark elf had been raised by a particularly cult-ish version of the grey elves, who wanted to reunite all the elven races under one banner. He was a completely loyal assassin and scout. He ended up sacrificing his life and soul for the good of the 'elven nation'.


The second was a self centered genius with no morals. He was originally a high elf who was afflicted by the same curse as the drow for turning against his people for the sake of his magic studies. He was mechanically drow, and a necromancer who played long term conquest. The one and only D&D character I've ever had who was influenced by M:tG

Craft (Cheese)
2013-06-14, 01:44 AM
I dislike the Drow culture as depicted; it makes no sense, and the problems are just too huge and glaring. So I don't use the race at all, unless I completely redo the culture from the ground up first.

Drow culture makes perfect sense, so long as you stop thinking of them as a group of people and start thinking of them as a convenient source of leather outfits. Mmm, leather...

Anyway, my favored method? Just be a Drow. When people call you out and say "Hey! Aren't Drow supposed to be evil!?" just pretend (in-character) you have no idea what they're talking about. If they persist, act like they're the crazy ones. No need to get angsty over it.

TuggyNE
2013-06-14, 02:25 AM
The second thing I'd do is decide whether or not to research D&D drow, because most of my perception on how drow "should" act comes from Drowtales rather than D&D.

Drowtales is probably the only webcomic archive I've read (out of hundreds) that I've neither finished within days at most, nor given up on in disgust; I've been slowly plugging away for at least six months on it. So my limited knowledge of that and of regular drow prevents me from discerning this: what, precisely, differentiates Drowtales from a slightly-logic-boosted version of D&D drow? :smallconfused: (Well, OK, they don't seem to have the same sort of goddess, and there's some stuff about demon summoning/sealing that I don't quite get, but yeah.)

kardar233
2013-06-14, 02:38 AM
I once had an idea for a Drow PC who was a total Drizzt clone...

Because he was actually masquerading as Drizzt to take advantage of his reputation. He figured it was the best way not to be killed by random people and gets him tons of respect; he just has to step lightly around certain people. Privately, he laughs at the whole "angsty CG" act, but he does it well enough that he can trick anyone who's not familiar with the real thing.

t209
2013-06-14, 02:45 AM
Drowtales is probably the only webcomic archive I've read (out of hundreds) that I've neither finished within days at most, nor given up on in disgust; I've been slowly plugging away for at least six months on it. So my limited knowledge of that and of regular drow prevents me from discerning this: what, precisely, differentiates Drowtales from a slightly-logic-boosted version of D&D drow? :smallconfused: (Well, OK, they don't seem to have the same sort of goddess, and there's some stuff about demon summoning/sealing that I don't quite get, but yeah.)
Well, before the current Civil War, they have been fighting outside population centre and avoid using Scorch Earth tactics.

erikun
2013-06-14, 02:58 AM
If you are familiar with the Drow in Forgotten Realms, you have a lot of choices.

Followers of Vhaeraun are almost entirely male, resent the female-dominated population and work in secret to support each other and harm the female power structure. They are also evil, focused on stealth and the occasional assassination. This can give an evil-motivated character reason to side with a good-aligned party against some drow matrons (or just to save his own skin).

Wizards, despite having their own power base and status in drow cities, are always second-class citizens to the priestesses of Lolth. Much like the followers of Vhaeraun above, they can be willing to work with others for their own goals - possibly even more so, because drow wizards are frequently just interested in "more power".

Followers of Eilistraee are good-aligned drow who tend to view the surface world in a positive light. Unlike Drizzit, large groups of drow tend to be distrusted by most other races - especially other elves. Whats more, followers can be anywhere from secretive to very open in attempting to get others to accept them, which can come of as quite questionable behavior from someone generally considered to be evil.

And of course, there are just the random ideas: The neutral drow who is cruel but not evil, the evil drow who is allying with surface characters to take down a rival, a drow druid and all the interesting variants a subterranean druid might entail.

Omegonthesane
2013-06-14, 03:37 AM
Drowtales as in
- Clan wars are situated outside of infrastructure and populace centres to avoid unnecessary casualities (that was until the current civil war).
That's a big part of it yes, but also the idea that they're in no way universally evil despite being meant to be more capricious than baseline humans.

Also, a smaller quantity of BDSM material, and - in contrast to the stereotype of D&D Drow as opposed to what the fluff actually says - males are actually allowed to advance quite far in society before hitting the glass ceiling.


Drowtales is probably the only webcomic archive I've read (out of hundreds) that I've neither finished within days at most, nor given up on in disgust; I've been slowly plugging away for at least six months on it. So my limited knowledge of that and of regular drow prevents me from discerning this: what, precisely, differentiates Drowtales from a slightly-logic-boosted version of D&D drow? :smallconfused: (Well, OK, they don't seem to have the same sort of goddess, and there's some stuff about demon summoning/sealing that I don't quite get, but yeah.)

The fact the majority of them aren't verifiably Evil is a big one, unless you consider that part of "slightly-logic-boosted", but I accept the surface similarities are numerous enough. The demon summoning & sealing is a feature of Drowtales' magic system rather than an intrinsic part of the culture, and that's enough of that because that's a somewhat spoiler-y zone.

Hyena
2013-06-14, 03:41 AM
It's easy. Be chaotic good rebel. Dpn't agnst about it - you don't pity your race or want it to be like you desperately. You realize it's impossible and despise them for it.

TuggyNE
2013-06-14, 04:07 AM
The fact the majority of them aren't verifiably Evil is a big one, unless you consider that part of "slightly-logic-boosted", but I accept the surface similarities are numerous enough.

I'd peg most of them on the south side of Neutral, but eh.

Certainly there are few or no Good-aligned Drowtales drow. No, the various templar-y types don't seem to count from what I've seen. :smalltongue:

Fallbot
2013-06-14, 07:00 AM
Make a Chaotic Good drow and come up with a reason for them being a Chaotic Good rebel. Any reason.

Bam! You have avoided making a Drizzt clone.

Omegonthesane
2013-06-14, 08:58 AM
I'd peg most of them on the south side of Neutral, but eh.

Certainly there are few or no Good-aligned Drowtales drow. No, the various templar-y types don't seem to count from what I've seen. :smalltongue:

Non-Good is still broader than Chaotic Evil, and the majority of the named cast are still in the Neutral zone if you ask me. Or at least they have understandable reasons for being Evil rather than "MUAHAHAHA! BETRAY AND SCHEME!".

CoffeeIncluded
2013-06-14, 10:22 AM
If you can't get past the scheming, make a Machiavellian drow who seeks power to, well, become powerful, but is smart about it and so makes him/herself needed in society.

The Fury
2013-06-14, 01:19 PM
I don't know a lot about the Dark Elf Series but I can think of some obvious ways to avoid a Drizzt clone; no scimitars, no dual-wielding, no purple eyes.
Depending on if you're starting at high enough level to have the Leadership feat, (or something similar,) maybe play a PC that's out to settle a group of drow expatriates?

Blue Ghost
2013-06-14, 02:16 PM
A Lawful Evil rebel who despises the decadence and pointless backstabbing of the drow culture, but who does not have a proper moral compass to embrace in its place. He adventures to purge the world of evil as he perceives it, and will go to any lengths to do so.

tbok1992
2013-06-14, 02:40 PM
I had an idea for a female CG Drow druid who worships/totemizes spiders; but thinks that Lolth makes a mockery of their good name. Her nickname is Facebiter. Can you guess what she does in Wild Shape?

vasharanpaladin
2013-06-14, 04:59 PM
A completely buckfug insane (by the other PCs' standards, anyway) ex-con with little to no understanding of money and the supreme confidence to disregard most clothing norms as well (as in, the only thing guaranteed to be covered is the neck, for modesty). Oh, and a tendency to dye her hair and/or reapply her signature facial markings with her newest kill's blood.

Intentionally played to be disturbing as all hell. :smallbiggrin:

Fortis
2013-06-14, 07:13 PM
I played a drow once who was an escaped slave and ran away to the surface. On the good side of the spectrum, since I pretty much always play good characters. He doesn't give a rat's ass about the culture of the drow one way or another, except maybe to stay as far as he can from it. Instead, he's just enjoying being on the surface, thinking it's a paradise in comparison to the underdark, and is currently seeking another culture to adopt as his own.

t209
2013-06-14, 08:29 PM
A Lawful Evil rebel who despises the decadence and pointless backstabbing of the drow culture, but who does not have a proper moral compass to embrace in its place. He adventures to purge the world of evil as he perceives it, and will go to any lengths to do so.
Like Elric of Melnibone? I mean he's more of a humanitarian in eyes of decadent Melniboneans but an prick in eyes of humans.

AuraTwilight
2013-06-14, 11:47 PM
Exist in a setting where societies are divided by geographical and cultural contexts instead of by racial barriers so that no race is predisposed towards any sort of trends or dispositions; be a Drow who is just some dude, you know?

TheCrowing1432
2013-06-15, 12:20 AM
-Pick Lawful Evil
-Give him some goal which coincides with the parties due to arbritary reasons
(You need to assassinate an earl, the party just HAPPENS to be working for that earl to save his son. You save the son and when you sit down for a thank you dinner, you stab him and vanish)

horngeek
2013-06-15, 12:38 AM
For whatever reason, the character wasn't raised in the drow culture at all, instead being raised in a temple or by an adventurer.

Has about as much idea of drow culture as anyone else does.

Lord Vukodlak
2013-06-15, 01:59 AM
Not exactly drow but fairly close

I once played a half-drow(but 100% Elven) Who was rather cheerful and usually upbeat. There was no resentful mother or distant stepfather. He and his siblings were raised by a loving High Elf father and Drow mother. For him brooding about the world that wouldn't accept him was just letting the *******s win. So if someone gave him grief over his Drow heritage he told them to kiss his elven arse.


Wizards, despite having their own power base and status in drow cities, are always second-class citizens to the priestesses of Lolth. Much like the followers of Vhaeraun above, they can be willing to work with others for their own goals - possibly even more so, because drow wizards are frequently just interested in "more power"
Not in the city of Sshamath, long story short a few thousand years ago there was a civil war which saw every single house Matriach dead and the wizards in control of the city.

TheThan
2013-06-15, 02:23 AM
If you are familiar with the Drow in Forgotten Realms, you have a lot of choices.

Followers of Eilistraee are good-aligned drow who tend to view the surface world in a positive light. Unlike Drizzit, large groups of drow tend to be distrusted by most other races - especially other elves. Whats more, followers can be anywhere from secretive to very open in attempting to get others to accept them, which can come of as quite questionable behavior from someone generally considered to be evil.


One of these days Iíll get around to playing my drow priestess of Eilistraee (bard/bladesinger)

Yora
2013-06-15, 02:59 AM
I once played in a very large campaign where some of us where playing a bunch of drow heretics worshipping the god Vhaeraun, who had to flee their city when their cult was discovered, and ended up on the surface. As it is part of the gods agenda, some of us noticed that life on the surface is not as bad as the Lolth priestesses always said and except for the sun it's actually a lot better in almost every way.
They were still all bastards and kept stealing whatever they needed in food and equipment, but they knew they had to keep it down as they had not the numbers to deal with human patrols and hunting parties trying to take them down. They were not Good, but pragmatic enough to be "not evil" out of neccessity. Some even favored allying with evil wood elves.

Souju
2013-06-15, 05:21 AM
i'm a fan of unconventional drow portrayals myself. I'm also a fan of the Drowtales comic, which has a universe loosely based on D&D, but the drow society makes a bit more sense. i.e., there's lots of political maneuvering...but no more or less than something like Game of Thrones...except with demons!
IMO the idea of anything being "always chaotic evil" is absurd unless you're talking about actual personifications of the concept (Such as demons and other things that can't actually live without evil).
As for ideas within the universe we have to work with, here are some of mine:
1) An Eilastraee-follower like society, detailed above.
2) A character who loves their home and family, and only left because they wanted to seek their fortune or whatever. They're not evil in any way, but they do view things differently than the rest of the party: you can have them view "beast races" as nothing better than slaves, but not out of any sort of malice or hatred, but more of "white man's burden" type of thought process. It would give the paladin something to do, at least. Though you want to be careful...cuz I tried something similar to this and had a hard time convincing the paladin I wasn't evil. Then again I actually had to change my character TO non-evil at the last minute because he decided to play a paladin >_> long story.

I can think of more but really, a lot of them involve rewriting drow society. It's really no surprise that the whole Starlight and Shadows trilogy in Forgotten Realms had to invent things to make non-evil drow for 3rd edition (as well as making drow magic work on the surface...)
There's also the pathfinder pseudo-interpretation that drow represent literal corrupted elves. And another story along those same lines that has drow (or, rather, dark elves) as the result of the usual stick-in-the-mud elves giving in to some emotion or another (such as pleasure, hatred, etc.) which makes them far more varied and interesting just from the description of the concept. They wouldn't be EVIL, just consumed with a particular vice, from anger, to paranoia, to lust, or...religious zeal, arcane studies?

Man on Fire
2013-06-15, 06:18 AM
Step 1: Have the campaign be situated in Eberron.
Step 2: Enjoy avoiding any chance of an accidental Driz'zt clone.

I'm not familiar with Eberron, what's so different about them, aside their god is a scorpion?

TuggyNE
2013-06-15, 06:26 AM
I'm not familiar with Eberron, what's so different about them, aside their god is a scorpion?

And they're not especially evil, and most of them live in the jungles of Xen'drik, and they used to be slaves many thousands of years ago to the giants.

There's actually quite a few differences.

Souju
2013-06-15, 12:31 PM
yeah eberron is both the campaign setting with really good ideas, such as drow living in the jungles (thus justifying having dark skin without having magical curses involved) and some really...weird...ideas.

Yora
2013-06-15, 01:26 PM
Which is actually based on the backstory of the drow in Forgotten Realms, who originally were tropical elves before they were cursed and went underground.

And just look at these guys:
http://www.rottface.com/images/mg_dr_01.jpg

tbok1992
2013-06-15, 02:18 PM
Well, there was also an idea in a sadly cut short 4e campaign I was in that gods had various different aspects; and Lolth had three: The Creator, The Protector and The Destroyer, and she wasn't so much evil as whimsical and weird.

There's also my idea for Drow in my Dungeonworld setting; who are still aristocratic and snooty; but more varied societally (With more a tendency towards Neutrality than anything else) as a society of beverage-makers (Hence why they revere Spiders; since spiders liquify their food) with decent relations with the master-chef elves.

There's also the other idea I had for a setting using ALL THE OPEN CONTENT (Not just Pathfinder and WotC stuff; but stuff from Mongoose; Fantasy Flight; anything else that's open content), the Drow would be mostly slaves to a nastier race (Perhaps the Phrenic Slayers?); backstabbing more out of desperation than evil; and there would be small; nomadic Underdark bands of free nature-worshipping drow (With the women being mostly Druids and the men being mostly Rangers) trying to fight to free their brethren.

Man I need to get to that last one one of these days.