Drow are a decadent race of dark elves whose beauty and sophistication fail to mask hearts all too often stained in evil. The vast majority of dark elves base their behavior and attitudes on the worship of the chaotic evil goddess Lolth, also known as the Spider Queen.

Drow society is organized into houses. The heads of the most powerful houses occupy leadership positions in the various cities of the Underdark, the subterranean realm beneath Faerûn that the dark elves call home.

Physical Qualities

Drow stand just shy of human height and have slender, athletic builds. Physically, they resemble eladrin, with wiry builds, pleasing features, and midnight black skin that has a blue cast. Their eyes are fiery red, lavender, or blue. All drow have white hair, which most keep long and decorate with intricate pins and webbing wrought from precious metals. Aside from their tresses and eyebrows, drow have little facial hair, though males sometimes grow long sideburns or tufts of wispy hair on their cheeks and chins.

From infancy, a drow child must be cunning. Children can expect no kindness, no warmth, and no compassion. Such expressions engender fatal weakness. Drow are cold parents, instilling self-reliance and independence, so that their offspring will become strong enough to survive a bloody adolescence. Ill treatment reinforces their natural inclinations toward evil. In rare cases, the harshness of childhood can have the opposite effect, seeding the youth with a hatred of and disdain for drow society and expectations. Such attitudes often lead young drow to a premature end.

In general, dark elves have life spans somewhat longer than those of their surface-dwelling cousins. Drow who manage to avoid dying a violent death can live for well over 200 years, and exceptional members of the race measure their ages in centuries.

Playing a Drow

Most drow are singularly wicked. They are cruel in their dealings with others and treacherous among themselves. In the pursuit of power, status, and Lolth’s favor, drow houses compete with each other to amass wealth and enslave weaker races. The fickle whims of Lolth's priestesses demand absolute obedience, driving the race to further evil.

Though most drow are villains firmly in the thrall of the Spider Queen, not all suffer so. Some drow escape the Underdark to find new lives on the surface, while a few reject the dominance of Lolth's priestesses and form mercenary companies or trade consortiums of their own. These, however, are the exceptions. The Spider Queen’s church makes bloody examples of any it names enemies of its goddess. Few drow indeed dare to rebel against Lolth's priestesses.

Drow are born into darkness. Their society is violent and capricious, a world where life is worthless and only power has any meaning. Even drow who escape the clutches of this sinister culture find themselves scarred by the lessons they learned in their youth.

Drow understand the value of alliances and enjoy congenial companionship, but they regard any such arrangements as temporary and learn at an early age to distrust love and camaraderie. Such relationships can hide betrayal. Therefore, dark elves are ever watchful for treachery, expecting the worst in those they meet. Drow are never surprised when the knife appears, and they consequently find it hard to form lasting friendships.

From birth, drow are taught that they are superior to all other races—those who lack the strength to defend themselves deserve to be used as the drow see fit. Drow therefore can be arrogant and condescending until shown reason to respect their associates. Some free drow find these ingrained bigotries hard to overcome. Each drow who escapes the Underdark must come to terms with what he or she has been taught and what he or she sees in the world around. Those who succeed can lead more or less normal lives, while those who fail must endure a miserable existence, trapped between two worlds and finding no haven in either.

Drow Characteristics: Arrogant, cold, haunted, pragmatic, rebellious, ruthless, skeptical, sophisticated, urbane
Male Drow Names: Adinimys, Baridl, Belgos, Bhintel, Drisdhaun, Elkantar, Haelirin, Houndaer, Kelnozz, Malaggar, Nalklyr, Orkallael, Pelloth, Phaeqel, Quarfein, Ryltar, Ulvein, Vorgyrn, Xulgos, Zebith
Female Drow Names: Akneth, Alauniira, Briesril, Chali, Charinida, Diviir, Drisiml, Faeremma, Fillith, Ilivarra, Myrymma, Pellanistra, Quewaun, Shivra, Viergar, Waeren, Xune, Yasesril, Zaketrin, Zarra

Drow Adventurers

Three sample drow adventurers are described below.

Quarfein, drow ranger

Quarfein is a drow ranger and a devout follower of Kelemvor. He led a short-lived resistance in his home city, but found disaster when his lieutenant betrayed him to the leader of his house. He escaped with his life and little else. After weeks of harrowing exploration, he eventually escaped the Underdark for the surface. Now Quarfein leads expeditions into the Underdark, using his fellow adventurers to help him with his vendetta against the church of Lolth.

Faeremma, drow rogue

Faeremma, a drow rogue and the sixth daughter in her family, faced endless torments as a child from her elder and higher-ranked sisters and was promised a fate as a sacrifice on her mother’s bloody altar. Rather than die for a goddess she hated, she fled her home, slipping away with a merchant caravan bound for the surface. As her mother’s spies hunt for her still, Faeremma stays on the move, always drifting from place to place to keep a step ahead of her pursuers.

Vorgyrn, drow warlock

Vorgyrn is a drow warlock who learned to wield mystic fey powers. He soon discovered that the priestesses of Lolth distrusted his independence and his mysterious arcane powers. Vorgyrn fled to seek refuge among a more civilized and possibly more tolerant world. In the forests of the surface lands he met others who loved the beauty of nature and the touch of magic as he did, friends whom he could trust with his life. Vorgyrn has turned his back on the hateful ways of his people. He now fights for his newfound home and the folk who have befriended him.

Drow Racial Traits

Average Height: 5' 4" - 6' 0"
Average Weight: 130–170 lb.

Ability Scores: +2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 squares
Vision: Darkvision

Languages: Common, Elven
Skill Bonuses: +2 Intimidate, +2 Stealth
Trance: Rather than sleep, drow enter a meditative state known as trance. You need to spend 4 hours in this state to gain the same benefits other races gain from taking a 6-hour extended rest. While in a trance, you are fully aware of your surroundings and notice approaching enemies and other events as normal.
Lolthtouched: Once per encounter, you can use either the cloud of darkness or darkfire power.

Cloud of Darkness Drow Racial Power
A cloud of darkness obscures you, but your vision pierces it.
Minor Action Close burst 1
Effect: This power creates a cloud of darkness that remains in place until the end of your next turn. The cloud blocks line of sight for all creatures except you. Any creature except you entirely within the cloud is blinded.

Darkfire Drow Racial Power
A flickering halo of purple light surrounds the target, making it easier to hit.
Minor Action Ranged 10
Target: One creature
Attack: Intelligence +2 vs. Reflex, Wisdom +2 vs. Reflex, or Charisma +2 vs. Reflex
Increase to +4 bonus at 11th level and +6 bonus at 21st level.
Hit: Until the end of your next turn, all attacks against the target have combat advantage, and the target cannot benefit from invisibility or concealment.
Special: When you create your character, choose Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma as the ability score you use when making attack rolls with this power. This choice remains throughout your character’s life and does not change the power's other effects.

Play a drow if you want…

  • to be good at skulking, striking quickly, and employing a variety of dirty tactics.
  • to play a hero in search of redemption, or one who struggles to rise above the wickedness of his or her people.
  • to be a member of a race that favors the ranger, rogue, and warlock classes.

Character Races
Player's Handbook DragonbornDwarvesEladrinElvesHalf-ElvesHalflingsHumansTieflings
Player's Handbook 2 DevasGnomesGoliathsHalf-OrcsShifters
Player's Handbook 3 GithzeraiMinotaurShardmindWilden
Forgotten Realms Player's Guide DrowGenasi
Character Races

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