The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters
“Every secret you have discovered about my homeland hides a thousand more.”
—Parik Xiv’inn, drow scorpion wraith
The drow carve a deadly existence out of the ruined continent of Xen’drik. The dark-skinned elves believe it is they, not the rebels who fled to Aerenal, who truly preserve the dignity and valor of the elf race. Allied with monstrous scorpions, the drow battle the fallen race of giants over the ruins of the mysterious continent.
As the most civilized inhabitants of ruined Xen’drik, the drow are the heirs to both the lingering might of giant nations and the ancient spellcraft once learned at the feet of dragons. The homeland of the drow is a contradiction of sorts—an ancient ruin that nonetheless holds magical treasures of almost unimaginable might. As Siberys shards fall on the broken landscapes and jungles, explorers from other continents brave sahuagin-filled waters to crowd the port city of Stormreach.
Lands: The jungles of Xen’drik are a harsh and unforgiving land; the drow dwell in the underground realm of Khyber as often as they haunt the ruins of aboveground Xen’drik. Covered by thick jungle and the ruined cities of the ancient giant kingdoms, the continent houses too many dangers for the drow to be able to establish large and stable cities such as those on Khorvaire. The largest drow settlements are underground.
Settlements: Drow settlements are small, temporary affairs. Occasionally a relatively large and powerful tribe might stay for some time in the ruins of a giant city, but such occupations are short lived. The drow stay only long enough to plunder what artifacts they can.
Power Groups: Drow have few of the political struggles and rivalries that other races have. Family groups are simply too small and scattered to have anything other than sporadic contact. This intermittent contact is fraught with peril, though, as larger and more powerful family groups seek to absorb smaller groups of drow.
Beliefs: The drow they worship a scorpion-god named Vulkoor. Vulkoor is often envisioned as a giant scorpion or as a hybrid with the head, arms, and upper torso of a strong male drow and the lower body of a scorpion. Many drow believe that Vulkoor and the Mockery (one of the group of evil deities known as the Dark Six) are one in the same. The drow also revere scorpions, considering other arachnids to be lesser servitors of Vulkoor. Xen’drik drow ritually scar themselves using scorpion venom, leaving white tattoos on their black skin.
Language: Drow speech is related to Elven in many ways, but the two races have been separate for such a long period that even their languages have grown apart.
Relations: Most drow have little interaction with members of other races; they fight the giants and monsters that roam their savage continent, and even avoid other drow family groups when possible. Drow are very suspicious of outsiders, and the few who interact with other races do so through the port of Stormreach. When dealing with outsiders, drow reveal nothing of themselves or their family groups whenever possible, always attempting to use the outsiders for their own ends without exposing the secrets of Xen’drik. For this reason, members of other races often find the drow to be a suspicious and sinister group.
Adventuring Drow: Powerful, deadly, and shrouded in mystery, drow are exotic and interesting. Although they have seldom left the desolate continent that they call home, they sometimes join groups of adventurers setting out from Stormreach—mostly to use the outsiders to further some ends of their own.
Most drow adventure out of necessity—the dangers of their homeland constantly push them toward that life. Exploring the ruins of giant cities is one of few ways for most drow to improve their lives; finding the treasures of the ancients can ensure the welfare of an entire family group, not just a single drow.
Drow greatly desire personal power, and many take up the mantle of adventurer seeking to satisfy this urge. Whether this is simple greed or a reaction to the brutal continent on which the drow make their home is a question best left to the drow themselves. Although the drow are relatively few in number, the dangers of Xen’drik encourage a higher than normal percentage of the population to learn the skills of the adventurer. They fight for their existence daily amid dangerous jungles and ruined cities; adventurers powerful enough to face down giants and other foes are thus essential to a drow family’s survival.
Character Names: Drow typically have only two names, a personal name and a family name. Drow are very careful about sharing their family names, and it is considered an insult in drow society to ask about a family name. Among drow, sharing a family name is sometimes a sign of trust and friendship, but more often it is a sign of submission to a more powerful individual. Drow guard their family names so carefully not because of any personal danger or need, but because family is the ultimate source of loyalty for any drow; a drow never wants to give away any information that might weaken the family. Drow proper and family names feature multiple syllables, glottal stops (represented by apostrophes), and hard consonants.
Male Names: Ek’ann, Kaxxar, Xen’kar.
Female Names: Curra, Kas’asar, Kirris, Xen’va.
Family Names: Gen’thac, Torkak, Xar’cha.