Dark elves, or Drow as they are sometimes called, are the ancient cousins of elves who were banished to the underworld for practicing evil magics and worshiping dark gods. Occasionally, one of these dark elves will wander to the surface of Derlith to live instead. These rogue dark elves never have a place in society and are shunned and often attacked by other elves of the surface. As a result, they often become criminals, living as thieves, assassins, or something equally bad. The dark elf's small and slender form and long fingers gives him a fighting edge in addition to helping him in matters of stealth. A dark elf is thus very agile. However, thousands of years under the surface of the world in darkness has rendered him not as strong as some surface races.
- Adjustments: +2 Dexterity, -1 Strength, -1 Constitution, +1 Intelligence, -1 Piety
- Compatible Classes: Assassin, Bard, Berserker, Deathknight, Druid, Fighter, Fighter/Mage, Fighter/Thief, Mage, Mage/Assassin, Mage/Thief, Monk, Pureblood, Ranger, Rogue, Thief, Thief/Mage
- See in dark (infravision): Yes
- Size class: Medium
Dark elves are perhaps the most dangerous race in all of Derlith. What makes them so dangerous is that their evilness is so completely unorganized and unpredictable. A dark elf acts upon his whims above all. Whatever causes the most misery or advances the will of the dark elf is what is done above all else. Dark elves are also extremely racist to all but their own kind. The only exception is that they sometimes ally with cambions, as they believe in the similar philosophy that the weak will always be destroyed by the strong, and also they believe that cambions are related to the gods of the dark elves - the evil spider god, that is. Dark elves despise all elves, as it is the "elves' fault" that they were forced below the surface millenia ago. Elves are killed on sight for this reason. Dark elven raiding parties have been known to rise into the forest by night and destroy entire elven villages - men, women, and children, and to force the parents to watch their children be tortured and die in front of them. The other races, aside from cambions, are viewed by dark elves as future slaves to do their bidding. They believe humans are nothing but useless wastes of space and material created by the gods.
Dark elves have a reverence for spiders of all kinds, and they will never kill them, as it is a bad taboo to do so. The spider god always looks unfavorably on those who do so. Dark elves usually will use poison in combat so long as the poison causes their opponent much pain and suffering before they die. A dark elf can NEVER be trusted, as they will turn on a dime if a situation does not suit them coming out ahead in some way.
Despite being so chaotic in nature, dark elven society is amazingly more ordered then one would think. There are basically four castes to dark elven society, all sometimes intermixing with one another: nobles, warriors, merchants, and slaves. Virtually all spellcasters must be from a noble family. Warriors can be found amongst all the castes, yet they make up a caste of their own. The same is true of the merchants. Slaves are 99% made up of people not of the dark elven race. They are never elves, because elves are put to death. The majority of clerics are female, and the majority of mages are male. The spider god prefers females to be the leaders of his worship, and often a high priestess is the head of every noble family. Favor of the spider god is required to remain a noble family. Should this favor be lost for any reason (even if on a whim of the spider god), all the other powerful noble families will destroy that noble family. Wars are often declared between nobles as well. Usually if the family declaring the war does not win, they lose the favor of the spider god, and are destroyed by all the other families.
Loyalty to the dark elf is securely based on fear and nothing else. Because of this, it is very rare to find a dark elf at the head of any majorly large band of outlaws or criminal organization. They do not have the leadership ability necessary to inspire people to follow them. They must use fear to do so. Because of this, along with a general distrust people have for dark elves, drow often only are able to lead up to 20-25 individuals. However, the exception to this rule is when solely dark elves are involved in an organization. When this is the case, fear of the spider god often keeps them in line. This is what has happened in Oakspire, where hundreds of dark elves have taken over the forested city and are preparing to raise their entire race back to the surface... or so rumors hold.
So when playing dark elves, remember that they are usually selfish, backstabbing, racist, vengeful, chaotic in action, cowardly, and very disloyal. However, they are very fierce in battle, giving no quarter to their enemies - especially elves, whom they like to play with and torture before killing.
Note that in AD&D, the dark elves follow a spider GODDESS - here ,however, it is a GOD.