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Drow on the far left

Descended from the original dark-skinned elven subrace called the Illythiiri, the drow were cursed into their present appearance by the good elven deities for following the goddess Lolth down the path to evil and corruption. Also called dark elves, the drow have black skin that resembles polished obsidian and stark white or pale yellow hair. They tend to be smaller and slimmer than most elves.

Ability adjustment[]

+2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, +2 Charisma, -2 Constitution

Racial features[]

Icon drow.jpg

Level adjustment: +2. Drow are more powerful and gain levels more slowly than other races. It will take more experience for a drow to reach level 2 than it would for normal races, for example.

Size: Medium

Favored class: Wizard. A multiclass drow's wizard class does not count when determining whether he takes a penalty for multiclassing.

Further history and information[]

Like the other elves, drow (dark elves) are not native to Abeir-Toril, but came as immigrants some twenty five millennia ago. The Ssri-Tel-Quessir who were the ancestors of the drow formed part of the second wave of elven immigration, which signaled the end of the Time of the Dragons. The names and whereabouts of the original elven home worlds have long since been lost in the mists of time. Using portals the dark elves passed through various realms of the Fey, but they mainly populated the tropical jungles of Southern Faerûn, in what is now the Shaar. The Dark Elves were a powerful race and quickly established large empires. The most famous (or infamous) of these was Ilythiir. We are told this mighty nation became increasingly ambitious and cruel, and mercilessly attacked the other nations of Southern Faerun. These traits are said to have sparked off the first Crown War, but as in much of elven history nobody really knows the truth of the matter.

More than thirteen thousand years ago, the Crown Wars raged among the Fair Folk, and for three thousand years the elven nations of Aryvandaar, Miyeritar, Shantel Othreier, Keltormir, Ilythiir, and others battled one another in a series of five great conflicts. At the end of the fourth Crown War, circa -10,000 DR, the corrupt dark elven Ilythiiri and others were transformed by Corellon Larethian's magic into drow as directed through the Protector's priests and high mages, and banished to the lightless depths of the Underdark.

The first drow civilizations arose in the Underdark of southern Faerun circa -9600 DR. The first great kingdom of the drow was Telantiwar, with its capital in the great cavern of Bhaerynden, the conquered heart of the first great kingdom of the Stout Folk (dwarves), which was seized by the drow in -9001 DR. The drow fought among themselves, noble against noble, priest against priest, for rule of their new realm. This war ended amid great magical explosions that brought down the roof of Bhaerynden. The ceiling collapsed entirely, burying many drow and the shattered dwarven cities they have seized. The cavern, now open to the sky, became known as the Great Rift. Gold dwarf ancestors later resettled the chasm and surrounding caverns to form the Deep Realm.

In the following diaspora known as the Scattering, the surviving drow nobles and priests gathered what people, slaves, and equipment they could seize and fled into the wilds of the Underdark. Since that time, countless cities and smaller settlements have risen and fallen in an increasing radius around the territory held by the empire of Telantiwar.

Physically, drow are characterized by skin the colour of obsidian, though there are extremely rare cases of albino drow, whose skin is bone white. Drow usually have white hair, with older members of the race having silver or other pale colors. Drow have red eyes. Any other color would suggest he/she is not of true drow heritage. Drow are shorter than other elves, and the females are taller than their male counterparts.

The drow are a largely chaotic and evil race, following after their goddess, Lolth. Drow society is female-dominated (except for those cities that worship Vhaeraun) and is composed of families, called houses, each ruled by a matron. Houses typically battle within the city, vying for power, though this battle is usually not open, as the drow pride themselves in cunning assassination and subversion. There is conflict within the house as well. The daughters of the matron are next in line to rule, and it is quite common for them to attempt to overthrow their matron mother to usurp her.

Note: Not all drow are evil. The famous chaotic good ranger, Drizzt Do'Urden is but one example.

Gameplay notes[]

While listed as a (negative) feat for the PC and reflected on the info tab for the player, the -1 circumstance penalty to attack rolls and saves for drow are not enforced in game play. The penalty to skill checks does, however, always apply while outdoors.

NWN Comparison[]

NWN did not include subraces, although Hordes of the Underdark involved the drow, including the outcast worshipers of Eilistraee, as well as more traditional Lolth worshiping drow.

DnD 3.5 comparison[]

  • Neither NWN or NWN2 implement language abilities.
  • The favored class for Drow is actually gender divided: Wizard for male, and cleric for female. Because gender selection does not come into play when determining a favored class in the game engine for NWN2, this has been excluded.
  • Traditionally the Drow have a slightly different racial weapon proficiency to the other elves: Drow receive the proficiency feats for the hand-crossbow, rapier and shortsword as bonus feats.
  • In DnD 3.5, abrupt exposure to bright light blinds a drow for 1 round. They remain dazzled if they remain in the affected area (-1 to attack rolls, saves, and Spot checks).
  • Instead of the spells faerie fire and dancing lights 1/day, Drow in NWN2 receive see invisibility.
  • Drow do not receive the Strong Will feat, even though it is listed in-game as something they should receive.
  • Light Blindness has been changed