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|Surface Drow however are changed. This group of Drow has fought there way upward away from their dark cousins and into the light. They have broken with tradition and been blessed by Alemi. These Drow have broken with the Matriarchal traditions and now worship any god they wish.||Surface Drow however are changed. This group of Drow has fought there way upward away from their dark cousins and into the light. They have broken with tradition and been blessed by Alemi. These Drow have broken with the Matriarchal traditions and now worship any god they wish.|
|-||==Racial Traits==||+||==Racial Abilities==|
|* +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, -2 Constitution: Drow are nimble and crafty, but not as sturdy as other races.||* +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, -2 Constitution: Drow are nimble and crafty, but not as sturdy as other races.|
The Drow of the Wold are a religious and pious race. They have long worshiped Jancassis, their females leading and forming the pinnacle of society. Males are little more than slaves. Jancassis grants these her favored people many benefits and the use of other races and monsters such as the drider. These sub-terrain elves are just like the Monster manual describes.
Surface Drow however are changed. This group of Drow has fought there way upward away from their dark cousins and into the light. They have broken with tradition and been blessed by Alemi. These Drow have broken with the Matriarchal traditions and now worship any god they wish.
- +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, -2 Constitution: Drow are nimble and crafty, but not as sturdy as other races.
- Medium: Drow are Medium creatures, and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Normal Speed: Drow have a base speed of 30 feet.
- Darkvision: Drow can see in the dark up to 120 feet.
- Drow Immunities: Drow are immune to magic sleep effects and get a +2 racial bonus to saves against enchantment spells.
- Keen Senses: Drow receive a +2 racial bonus on Perception checks.
- Spell-Like Abilities: A drow can cast dancing lights, darkness, and faerie fire each once per day, using his total character level as his caster level.
- Light Blindness: Creatures with light blindness are blinded for 1 round if exposed to bright light, such as sunlight or the daylight spell. Such creatures are dazzled as long as they remain in areas of bright light. These penalties can be negated by wearing a pair of smoked-glass goggles (3gp, 1lb), but the Drow cannot use darkvision while wearing the goggles. The character may wear wondrous items that occupy the goggles slot that incorporate smoked-glass in their construction and still gain this benefit.
- Weapon Familiarity: Drow are proficient with the hand crossbow, rapier, and short sword.
- Languages: Drow begin play speaking Elven and Woldian Below. Drow with high Intelligence can choose bonus languages from the following: Abyssal, Aklo, Common, Draconic, Gnome, or Goblin.
Also check out the rules for optional Alternate Woldian Racial Abilities.
Surface Drow are kind but brooding, they are trying to overcome millennia of being forced underground and denying the part of themselves that wished to see the sun--that part that wished to worship free. Now that they are free they are loyal and fierce defenders of their friendships and their homes. They are focused and stoic and often have trouble appreciating humor. Their art is powerful but sad and their music touches the soul and makes you weep. They are a sad people who are learning happiness, and it is taking them a long time. However as the stretch into the future and into the light many things have happened to give their people hope. Males have gained places of authority and are no longer considered second class citizens. They have begun to worship all Gods, not just the goddess of revenge, casting aside their hunger to get even with those who live in the light, and most of all they have rid themselves of their evil intents and hearts. Becoming a varied people with the capacity of individuals to do great good or great harm as they choose.
The physical description of the Surface Drow is identical to that of elves with the exception of the skin, hair, and eye color. Surface Drow's skin is silky blue to black, their hair blonde to white and their eye color is Light blue, light green, black, or silver.
However, in order to mark themselves as different from their underground cousins the young have begun to dye their hair in bright brilliant colors, and designs, purples and greens and reds. Swirling together and overlapping. They wear bright colors and silks and often tattoo their dark skin in beautiful white patterns, spirals and swoops, and intricate tiny designs, becoming works of art themselves. Many of these tattoos and dyes and silks are magical to never be quite the same as these Surface Drow become living artworks themselves.
While the young pursue this others dye their hair gold, the color of the underworld queens and leave well enough alone, believing that straying too far from their past could bring calamity and forgetfulness, which is invitation to repeat the past. These golden haired ones wear the mark of royalty to show their freedom from their past and leave it at that. There is often good natured conflict between the two groups, but nothing serious as they realize that fighting among ones own clan is why they were forced into the underworld in the first place.
Surface Drow are initially skittish around any but their own kind, having to deal with millennia of prejudice against their race. However when they do make friends they are loyal to them to the death. They are happy to make friends when they are presented with the chance and proving they are nothing like their dark counterparts is first on their list of duties.
The Surface Drow live in dark forests and valleys and surface caves. They live in extended family groups called houses. House Bralfah, which means inseparable from the sun, lives in the Monster Preserve Lands of the 2nd plateau west of the 3rd Plateau and the Orchards that surround it. They were given a great set of caverns there by the High Lord Mayor of New Elenna. The now are in the process of turning it into a “living cave” to honor their ascension to the surface world. It is more beautiful each time one visits.
The Drow Below mostly worships Jancassis and while some Surface Drow continues to worship her, the others worship many members of both pantheons. This diversification bothers some of the more traditional of the House. Jancassis seems to be willing to play the two groups of her worshippers against one another. The Drow above who worship Jancassis desire further revenge on those who forced them to suffer below the surface for so many generations. These drow are in danger of becoming what they hate. Because of this, more and more of the Surface drow have left Jancassis and patron other gods.
The Surface Drow speak their own Drow tongue which is a derivative of the ancient elven tongue. They also speak Undercommon, a common language for all intelligent creatures who live below the surface. They speak common as well.
Drow always have two names, their personal name and the name of their house. Before House Bralfah’s ascension to the surface, they followed the Drow tradition of only allowing those of position with the house to carry the house surname. Now, however, all within House Bralfah proudly carry the surname of the house. Another change in nomenclature is that before their ascension, names were to be humbling rather than braggadocios. They were not even allowed to begin their name with the same letter as anything holy or important. Now, however, this has also reversed. Children are being named after the Sun, the Moons, the Gods, and especially the famous Storm Dragons and other adventurers that helped them to survive to escape to the surface. These names are usually transliterated into Drow sounding names however. There is a limit after all and traditions to preserve.
Drow take up adventuring as a way of proving their worth to themselves and to the Wold. They do so to locate and return ancient artifacts and to discover the past lost to them being trapped under the earth for so long.
Origins Of the Surface Drow
In the time of the First Age of the Wold, in the Eastern portion of the Continent of Yrth, a great elven civilization existed. The elves lived in a collection of villages that lived in harmony with the neighboring forest elf tribes. Each village had its own noble caste of warrior-priests that oversaw the seasonal cycle of planting, harvesting and war with the neighboring demi-humans to supply the constant need for manual labor. And each village sent tribute and tithe to the central high-elven, city state of Fae Skeimir.
The central temple dedicated to the worship of the god Theon, was found in the center of Fae Skeimir, and was the city was primarily dedicated to the service and learning of the Sun God. Unlike the villages, Fae Skeimir had no surrounding farmlands tended by of demi-human laborers so the scholars, priests and mages of Fae Skeimir instituted a system of tribute and were supported by tithes of food and goods from the other villages.
While the Theon was the primary deity, other deities, Pan, Triial, Lorioth and Sliryth were also worshipped in this elven civilization. Smaller head temples for each deity were located in the villages. The smallest of the villages, It-lal, was the center of the worship of Triial, the deity of darkness.
Towards the end of the First Age, a subtle shift in climate, as well as the continued working of the soil, resulted in poorer yields from the farms supporting each village and, jointly, Fae Skeimir. Coupled with that, the demi-humans were becoming more organized and able to resist the raiding parties sent out by the villages for labor. As crops failed, one village-state was not able to meet its tithe obligation to Fae Skeimir. The other villages could not meet the shortfall and attempted to force the most badly stricken village to make its tithe. For the first time in memory, the raiding parties that summer did not go outwards, but inwards. Within a relatively short period of time, the formerly peaceable land became a collection of warring villages. Fae Skeimir was eventually mostly abandoned, partly from lack of support but also as the residents returned to their home village to support it in the wars.
Small It-lal, center of the worship of darkness, was sorely pressed in the wars due to its size. As well, worship of darkness rather than the Sun made it a target. The warrior-priests petitioned their deity, offering great sacrifices in return for support in the wars. Their efforts were answered when their deity placed what was called, in the village, as the “Blessing of Night” upon all the residents of the village, including those who worshipped the Gods of Yore. Not only were their warriors able to function in full darkness, but their priests and mages became more powerful. While their armies could no longer stand upon the battlefield in the light of the Sun, they could spread terror and death by night.
This sudden change to night attacks was enough for the remaining villages to forge an alliance. Together, they uneasily gathered their armies and under the full light of the sun they assaulted the village of It-lal. Many of the dark elf inhabitants were slain in their darkened homes, but several households including the lead house of Ultrin Bralfah were able to hold off the armies with magic and sword until night fell. Too weakened to continue the fight, the survivors fled It-lal into the nearby mountainous jungle. The Army of the Sun pursued them, forcing most to take shelter in caves under the mountains. Finally, unable to pursue the dark elves further underground, the Army of the Sun sealed the caves.
It was this act of sealing off the caves that causes the Gods of Yore to begin fighting and feuding within themselves. Triial, incensed that his worshippers had been slaughtered and then sealed below ground, plotted with another of the gods. While others openly tried to cast Triial down. Turning inward, they interpreted the Jericho's instructions to "protect the Wold from threat" to mean only "outside threats." Caught up in their squabbles and intrigues, they began to ignore the pleas for help against the legions of monsters that were suddenly rising up from within to threaten the Noble Races and hence the meddling wars began, ending with their deaths and the ascension of the Gods of the Wold.
Also during this time the seeds of the downfall of the Elven Empire were sown. Weakened by the fighting against It-lal, the villages were assaulted by the demi-humans. Combined with the end of the First Age, the villages soon emptied and the fields became overgrown. With the changing of the Ages of the Wold and, finally, the cataclysm, the ruined temples of the cities are much changed. Tumbled and ruined Fae Skeimir as well as the surrounding villages disappeared from the Wold entirely and now exist only in the memories of the eldest of the old and are part of Maab’s valleys.
Thus began the second age of the Drow. The dark elves, previously marked by Triial, continue to wander deeper underground driven underground, searching for a safe home. The powers granted to them by the Triial were more powerful underground, or were, at least until the Gods of Yore were slain. Weakened and scared, the Drow turned to prayer as they had always done in times of need. And finally, when their prayers were unanswered, the priests and priestesses called out to whatever deities were listening. In this case their clerics' prayers were answered by four powers who presented themselves as sisters: Jancassis, Serenbeth, Jantierri, and Karinthis. While some Drow continued to send prayers to their previous deities, others, including the descendants of Bralfah, the deity who their head priest chose to heed was Jancassis. A separation in the Drow occurred, at this point, with some returning to the surface while many remained in hidden sanctuaries in the Underwold. Included among those who retuned to the surface were members of House Bralfah. Over time, the goddess of revenge turned the Drow into instruments of her wrath. Those Drow who remained under ground were eventually driven deeper by their dark mistresses, and soon the Underwold Drow began forging several great cities. Gradually, Jancassis became the favored of the four sisters as the Drow became ever more focused on revenge against the surface dwellers that drove them underground aided in part by the network of communication kept in place between the surface Drow and their Underwold cousins.
Meanwhile, not all the residents of It-lal had made it underground. Still marked by their dark skin, many individual Drow escaped in different directions. They and their descendents existed as haunts in the forests, jungles and hills until they too found the four dark sisters and eventually forged, first a kingdom, named after old It-lal, and then a small empire centered around the worship of the four dark sisters until rejoined by their re-emerging fellows some 40 – 40 years later. This empire flourished for some while and several monumental pieces of architecture were erected depicting the Drow, their deities and numerous reptilian creatures. It cannot be determined if these reptilians were enslaved or created by the Drow or favored servants of their deities. As is true of most evil empires, they fall. This time the fall was brought about by the Wold itself. The Drow Empire with its excesses and propensity for blood sacrifices angered the power lurking within the Crying Wood. The forest itself along with its reptilian denizens destroys the Drow at the end of the Second Age, once again sending the Drow into hiding. The surviving members of the surface Drow Empire again retreated underground, eventually reaching their Underwold Drow cousins and their cities. Those survivors who brought enough family members became minor houses, including House Bralfah who secretly continued to worship Jancasis. With this defeat of the surface Drow, and the coming of the second cataclysm, the second age comes to an end, and while the ruins of several villages rest in the fringes of the Crying Woods, the nearly undamaged remains of New It-lal are now lifted high in the surrounding mountains.
While several of the underwold’s Drow cities are lost in the cataclysms ending the Second Age, the remaining ones rebuild even stronger than before, eventually merging their two greatest cities into one huge megalopolis. With the ending of the second cataclysm, the only evidence of the surface Drow’s Empire, are the ruins of their monumental architectures. As the knowledge of the surface Drow Empire fades, and as the Drow who remember it die of old age, most mentions of the surface empire are excised from records and only tales of vengeance against the surface dwellers remain. Only House Bralfah continues to keep alive any memory of the stories of the surface realm, but fears to do more than pass them verbally. Only the Mistress of the House, her eldest daughter, the chief wizard and the master warrior, have this ancient and deadly knowledge. The third age of the Drow are prosperous and because of the vast wealth accumulated by several of the large houses a more active period of house raids and assassinations occur and there are even reports that outsiders have forced their way below to do some looting of some of the minor houses.
Once again things become topsy-turvy in the Wold and the third cataclysm again causes extensive structural damage to the Drow’s Underwold city. In addition almost as if the Wold was trying to rid itself of the memory of the Drow, much of the area where the surface Drow had lived is buried beneath a thick blanket of ash and rubble. It is during this time that the storm dragons, along with help from others and the House Bralfah destroy the Underwold, leaving only darkened ruins and trash behind. At the destruction of the Underwold, House Bralfah moves back to the surface and take up abode in a cavern system located within the monster preserve. Unbeknownst to House Bralfah another small Drow house makes it to the surface just east of the Ellenian peninsula. Their fate is presently unknown.
See also the Origins of the Drow
See also the House of Bralfah
See also Dradah Delmah
See also Ust Delmah home page