UD Guide to Drow Society (Lore/Insight)

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Darker_Thought
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UD Guide to Drow Society (Lore/Insight)

Unread post by Darker_Thought » Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:26 pm

Hi everyone!

For all of you who want to dig in and learn more about Drow roleplay, society, culture, politics and governance ive compiled a great list of materials for anyone interested.

Ofcourse I personally reccomend you to read below books for a deeper insight (And a good read!):

The Legend of Drizzt Book 1 - R. A. Salvatore
RA Salvatore's War of the Spider Queen, Volume I


But if you feel like thats to much and you do not have time, ive restored some content taken from the old Szith forum of a past server long gone with very talanted players digging into explaining the Way of Drow. These pieces belongs to everyone and this way the hard work of these people still live on today. Enjoy!

Ps: This applies usually to Menzoberanzzan, Szith, Ched Nasad, Dyon G'ennivalz, (Eryndlyn Platau), Golothaer(Lolthian area), Guallidurth, Jhachalkhyn, Karsoluthiyl, Lith My'athar, Maerimydra, Sschindylryn, T'lindhet, Undrek'Thoz, Ust Natha, V'elddrinnsshar and the more common drow cities under matriarchical rule. Sshamath being an anomaly as percieved by other cities may not be compatible in all instances.


Drow Government and Rule
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To say that the drow are governed by a matriarchal theocracy is both accurate and misleading. It is certainly true that the ruling members of drow society are the priestesses of Lolth and the matrons (and other matriarchs of the great houses), but calling them a “government” is a misnomer. Just as the drow are guided by tradition but have no formal law, they are overseen by these influential personages but have no formal government. A drow city has no duchess, reeve, or mayor; a drow nation has no empress or queen.

A drow community is governed, so to speak, through the unsteady cooperation of its three most powerful institutions. The Church of Lolth is the most influential faction among the drow. The priestesses of this church interpret and disseminate the will of Lolth, conduct rites and rituals to honor the dark goddess, and technically have the authority to demand anything in her name. If the drow were to have a formal government, it would be made up of these individuals. On a practical level, however, although the priestesses are indeed the social leaders of the drow, the church often lacks the power to take drastic action without the support of the great houses. Powerful matriarchs frequently hold power in both the church and a house—thus, what is self-interest for one must often be self-interest for the other. It is also important to understand that the church is not a monolithic entity, guided by a single voice or a single goal. It is made up of individual priestesses, all of whom are loyal to Lolth, but all of whom have the same drive to dominate the weak and advance their own cause as any other drow. Thus, although a drow priestess can bring substantial might to bear against a lone individual or small family who offends her, she cannot muster the resources of the church against an entire house, unless the house has blatantly and conspicuously turned against Lolth as a whole.

The houses of the drow hold the bulk of the community’s economic and military power in their hands. In some communities, a specific house might be a greater power even than the priestesses of Lolth, directing the activities of religious leaders with behind-the-scenes threats or open shows of force. The high priestess of a community might also be a highly ranked matriarch of a great house, using one to advance the schemes of the other. No single house has ever managed to rise to dominance across multiple drow cities, however, and few maintain a permanent position of authority even in individual communities. Each house is tied to the other houses in a complex web of treaties and conflicts, alliances and betrayals. Should one house become too powerful, others ally to bring it down (even while appearing, on the surface, to support them, playing both sides against the middle). Further, although the church usually lacks the power to single-handedly destroy a house, neither can a house afford to make an enemy of the church. Too much of the power in a community is held by Lolth’s priestesses, and a house that fails to work with those priestesses loses access to those channels of influence. Although such an occurrence is rare, the church can decree that a house has earned the disfavor of Lolth, essentially giving all other houses blanket permission and encouragement to openly turn against it. Some houses are strong enough to withstand even this sort of assault, which invariably leads to a dilution of the church’s position in the community. But more often, such a decree results in the house being weakened sufficiently for another to rise and take its place. When one adds to this already volatile mix the constant scheming of house members against one another, in the hope of gaining higher status within the house, it’s quite understandable that no single house has ever managed to hold widespread power for long.

The military is the final drow institution that, in some communities, could be a governing body. Drow communities do not have standing armies, since this would require a formal government. Multiple smaller forces make up the larger soldiery of a drow city. These consist primarily of house-loyal militias, church soldiers, and independent mercenary companies. For the most part, then, the “military” is simply the enforcement arm of a house or the church. In some rare instances, however—particularly in communities engaged in a constant war with a hostile power—the military takes on an authority of its own. Its generals, under the guise of protecting the community, usurp authority from the matriarchs who normally hold it. The house soldiers become the dominant members of the house, or at least carry sufficient authority that the matriarchs and matrons cannot ignore their input. The army might even come to guide the Church of Lolth, directing priestesses in the defense of the city and in attacks on the enemy. The generals of differing factions, such as rival houses or a house and the church, have been known to cooperate behind the scenes, artificially extending or even creating military crises to wrest supremacy from the houses and the priesthood.

It is worth noting that rank in a military unit is the only pathway male drow have to any position of authority, so they are the military officers most likely to attempt this sort of power grab.

For more information on the priestesses of Lolth, see the Religion section; for more on the great houses, see Houses of the Drow; and for more on the military, see the War header under Drow Life, all below.

Roleplaying Application: You assume that, with the exception of military rank, females hold all true positions of authority. When addressing a mixed group of nobles, priests, or similar powerful individuals, you instinctively direct your words and attention to any females present, and you are always startled when a social or political leader turns out to be male. You normally assume that any military force is, if not independent, loyal to a church or a bloodline; you’re certainly aware that other cultures have armies devoted to cities or nations, but it still strikes you as odd when you encounter it.



Drow Culture and Society

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It is one of the paradoxes of the drow that their culture, while encouraging selfish ambition and advancement through deception and murder, is still one that focuses— almost in spite of itself—on the good of the community over the good of the individual. Drow society, as a whole, lacks any concept of personal worth. An individual’s abilities or accomplishments are not, in and of themselves, of any importance whatsoever. The culture does not reward skill for skill’s sake, or celebrate individual success or ability. It’s not that the drow choose to downplay these factors; rather, they literally have no notion that they should matter. It is as foreign an idea to them as judging a person’s worth based on shoe size would be to most surface-dwelling races.

The only true measure of importance in drow society is how thoroughly and effectively an individual can direct, shape, and change that society—in other words, by how much authority an individual has over other drow and the community’s needed resources. Although personal ability and accomplishment, or birth into a powerful bloodline, often leads to such control, it is the influence itself that determines a drow’s station and status.

Like many other sentient beings, the drow think in terms of dichotomies: If something is not good, it must be bad; if it is not strong, it must be weak. Thus, if a drow with authority over others is worth-while, a drow with little or no authority is worthless. When nothing but status and infl uence deter-mine individual value, and life itself is of no intrinsic worth, a weak drow is nothing but a commodity to be traded, abused, and eventually exhausted by those more powerful. Enslavement, torture, and even murder are not crimes, when the perpetrator is a drow of high stature and the victim is not. Drow do avoid randomly slaughtering others who offend them, but this is due to a concern that they might accidentally slay the relative, servant, or slave of someone more powerful, not out of any sense of the value of life.

This core belief in power has developed the drow culture as it exists today: a society in which every interaction is deter-mined by a dominant/submissive hierarchy. A drow divides everyone—drow or otherwise—into only three categories: someone with more power, who must be appeased and placated (at least until she can be replaced); someone who is a useful tool to one’s own advancement, who must be exploited in all possible ways; and the weak, who are worthless except as labor or disposable troops. From a general giving orders to her soldiers to a shopkeeper bargaining with a customer, everything is about who holds the most power. Haggling, for instance, is all but unheard of. If a client is of higher station than a vendor, she pays what she chooses; if she is lower, she pays what the vendor demands or receives no goods. Only when it comes to trade with non-drow is bargaining an option, and even then vendors must take care, for fear of accidentally offending the slave of a powerful drow. A drow who refuses the orders of one with more power has earned whatever tortures that act brings down upon her, and can expect no pity or aid from by others.

The drow are experts in the application of pain and death; they are considered cruel by other races. This, too, is an outward sign of the beliefs at the heart of their cul­tural development. Pain caused to a superior or a rival is a necessary means to an end; pain caused to a subordinate is unimportant because the subordinate is unimportant. The drow are cruel, in part, because they literally see no differ­ence between torturing an underling, whipping a horse, or even repairing an old garden tool. It cannot be stressed enough that societal authority is the only measure of worth the drow understand.

These philosophical underpinnings result in a culture of constant scheming, in which every member of a com­munity is perpetually conspiring to gain greater power over her neighbors while struggling to keep others from gaining power over her. Paranoia is rampant, with every word and deed carefully examined to ensure that it does not contain a hidden danger. Although visitors certainly expect to . nd back-room deals and constant betrayals among the ruling castes of the drow, such as the priestesses of Lolth and the matriarchs of the great houses, they are often surprised to find them equally as prevalent among less powerful drow. A shopkeeper conspires to destroy a rival’s supply of goods, or frame him for some offense against Lolth. A soldier weakens another soldier’s armor with carefully applied acid, hoping that her death in battle will open a path to promotion. A favored servant conspires with slaves to poison the mistress of the house so that she can take over, only to later poison the slaves as well rather than provide the freedom she had prom­ised. When every interaction is a challenge for dominance, no drow can afford to drop her guard or cease her constant plotting to get ahead.

Roleplaying Application: React to others based primarily on their perceived value to you. Your adventuring companions are vital to your survival, so you won’t want to alienate them. In other cases, though, react with anger when someone you perceive as inferior disagrees with or disobeys you. Judge all individuals by how much power they wield, and offer them respect accordingly. You do not revere life for its own sake, and are puzzled by those who speak about the inherent value or dignity of living beings. This doesn’t make you a wanton murderer; it simply means that you have no compunctions about killing if doing so is the most expedient or convenient means of handling a situation (and you feel you can get away with it with minimal repercussions).

Basic View of Drow Society (An insight into the Ilythiiri)



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To the Dark Elves, power and status is everything. The strong rule the society, while the weak cower at the bottom. The Spider Queen does not tolerate weakness within her kind, and all those unfit eventually find their end. The Matron Mother sits above all others as the ruler of the House, and most favored in the eyes of the Spider Queen, otherwise she would not be Matron. The Yath maintains the Matron’s rule, and the unswerving faith of the Drow, towards the Spider Queen, Lolth. It is the Yath whom act as judge, jury, and executioners within the society. To anger a Priestess, is to find your death.

Regardless of your strength, prowess, or charisma; without the favor of the Spider Queen, you are nothing. It is this, that all Drow must undergo several Tests to prove their faith to the Dark Mother. Status and power are given by those above you. The Matron Mother can appoint, dismiss, or put to death any Drow she chooses. Proving your character’s skills to your Elders is both a good and bad thing. Only the strongest and most devious and deserving Drow will attain high ranks within the House of Mori’hyanda. But, also, it is dangerous to give status to someone who can threaten your position.

Assassination remains an easy way to attain power and status. However, to use Assassination as a means of gaining rank, you must have first proven yourself to the House of Mori’hyanda and Lolth. The Challenges of Lolth must have been completed.

For House politics, players will sometimes set someone up to challenge another, only to have this challenge met by the Weapon Master of their House. Since few Drow are true civilians, everyone is expected to defend their House, including its Honor. Either upon the field or in the challenge, House members that are ranked higher may offer to Champion lower ranked members, and this request is never refused.

Since the Time of Birth
Young are as often seen as a burden as an asset and no race of the city other than the duergar doesn’t have members willing to sell their offspring into slavery rather than care for them. Despite this, even the drow recognize the uses of children and that blood can bind more completely than any other bond. This is why the tradition of noble offspring becoming nobles (unless immediately sold into slavery) developed. The noble females of many upper houses (though not all) limit themselves to only two living male children at a time (the matron mother’s sons are referred to as the elderboy and secondboy of the house) but several notable upper noble houses do not hold to this tradition and more and more lesser houses have also dropped it, favoring instead any increase in personal power they can gain (especially since the nobles–even males–are allowed to attend the Academy). Another value most matron’s have realized their male heirs hold is also tied to their status as nobles, for the more nobles a house has, particularly sons and daughters of the matron mother, the harder it is to ensure the entire house will be brought down and the city’s “justice” avoided by any attack on another noble house. Among the small and weak lesser houses of the city this has obvious value as a deterant against more powerful houses wiping them out.

Noble House Status
A matron mother, the senior female priestess, leads noble Houses. In Lolth-worshipping drow communities, her rule is absolute, enforced by the priestesses beneath her (usually her daughters). All females of the mother’s blood, in order of their age, follow in rank, although they wield no authority until they are trained and of age (past puberty), and with the exception that the third daughter is sacrificed to Lolth.

Below the daughters come the male officers of the House; the weapons master (leader of the fighters), (chief) House wizard, and the patron (current consort of the matron mother). These ranks may be combined, and even held by the traditional next rank down in the hierarchy: the male heirs of the House. Male heirs are also ranked by age: elder boy, second boy, third boy, and so on. They are not allowed to look at the faces of other drow, or speak unless spoken to or bidden. This treatment teaches them their subordinate place in drow society. Below them are the “war-leaders” of the House (veteran warriors, who lead House patrols, attack squads, and guards, under the command of the weapons master), and the House mages (under the command of the House wizard). Beneath these “blood” members and officials of the House rank its common warriors, its craftspeople, its servants, and its slaves. All ranks are decreed, and can be changed at the whim of, the matron mother. Her position changes at death - often at the hands of her eldest daughter.



Drow Roleplaying Tips:
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Drows are evil, so try to be evil! There are some good drow living on the surface but they’re very rare. If you want to play on the surface, better choose another race or play in the Underdark - you won’t regret it when done in the right way.
Spiders are sacred! (At least in Lolth controlled society) Never harm any spider.
Try to keep the social order in mind and greet adequately! If you’re a male drow, bow to any drow you encounter. If you’re a female, bow to at least any other female drow.
Learn some Drow words! It’s not that hard and you’ll encounter some basic words anyway. Just don’t use too many of them (almost anyone would understand pure drow sentences without a translator program or dictionary).
As a drow, choose the right pet/familiar! It’s your choice, but that evil drow magician with his small fluffy bunny doesn’t really fit into the Underdark. Spiders, bats, and rats are great companions!
In Lolth controlled cities there aren’t any male clerics! If you want, you can be one and follow one of the other drow gods but better keep it for yourself and present yourself as something different.
Druids don’t have any real place in drow society. You might become a temple guardian or something compareable but the Yath (priesthood) is reserved for female clerics only.
Never forget that this isn’t a single player game and every character has a real player behind him or her. As a female, treat males as you want, but don’t exaggerate. Wink


You can use the following table as a basic vocabulary. If you encounter unknown words, just try to ask other players to learn them.
Drow English Remarks
Vendui’ Greetings If appropriate, add a title or name behind
Aluve’ Good bye If appropriate, add a title or name behind
Xas Yes Use the English or drow word - your choice
Nau No Use the English or drow word - your choice
Ilharess Matron
Yathrin Priestess
Jabbress Mistress
Jabbuk Master Don’t say “Xas, master jabbuk.”
Abbil Friend
Llolth Lolth Just to distinguish both spellings

Drow are, on the whole, sadistic, arrogant, cruel, destructive, hedonistic, and treacherous. Their eternal game of advancement at the expense of others, which is encouraged by the spider goddess herself, has transformed the dark elves into a race of scheming backstabbers eager to increase their own stations by pulling down those ahead of them and crushing their inferiors underfoot. Drow trust no one and nothing, and most are incapable of compassion, kindness, or love (or at the very least, because of the aforementioned rampant distrust, incapable of bringing themselves to express such emotions). In a drow’s mindset, there is little room for friendship, for while they may secretly value other family members or acquaintances, their overly suspicious (paranoid, by some standards) natures taint any strong relations they may otherwise form. Many dark elves go so far as to be actively murderous and delight in the giving of pain.

While most dark elves neither honor their promises nor maintain personal loyalties once it becomes inconvenient to do so, their pride lends them a certain sense of style and an appreciation of subtlety. Drow can be courteous and urbane, even to deadly rivals. They enjoy surrounding themselves with things of beauty, giving hardly a thought to the cost. This fascination with beauty extends to the physical body as well, with drow of both sexes often displaying their physiques to degrees that other societies may find vulgar. Such is the strength of this fascination, that most drow children who exhibit physical deformities or deficiencies are slain.

Furthermore; (Source 2)

The drow are a highly chaotic, individualistic people, a fact addressed multiple times throughout this chapter. They worship a deity who dwells in the Abyss and is a paragon of chaotic evil. Yet for all that, the Monster Manual gives drow alignment as “usually neutral evil.”

The truth is, the drow are at least somewhat cooperative with one another, almost in spite of their own nature. Their ambitions and desires require that their society remain at least somewhat stable. They employ few true laws, but they are tightly bound by traditions and codes, and even if they follow them primarily out of fear, they follow them nonetheless. It is ironic that a lone drow is likely to drift toward chaos, but that despite their rivalry with one another, the presence of multiple drow in a given community literally forces them into a level of cooperation beyond what truly chaotic individuals would maintain.


The informal view of the Merchantile Clans. (Commonly male organisations):
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There is another major social group within every drow society that offers those who were born male–or of other lesser social standing–hope and something to strive towards: The Merchant Clans. Though the ruling priestesses within Lolthian society outwardly repudiate the worth of such Clans, no one can truly deny that they are vital to the survival of the drow. It’s another way to live but they won’t obtain any political power - or at least no direct influence. Merchant clans are organized groups of merchants or traders travelling between the Underdark and the surface trading goods. They aren’t able to vote on any decisions felt by the drow houses but they can control various trade routes and the supply of some goods not available elsewere in the Underdark - trying to achieve their goals this way.

Merchant clans vary in organization. They are usually headed by an “inner ring” or council of the most experienced and/or wealthy merchant members, and hence are usually led by males (the “demeaning” and dangerous occupation of trading with outsiders is an almost exclusively male one). The membership of the inner ring of a given merchant clan consists primarily of male wizards who have either passed or evaded The Test. Removed as they are from drow society at large, the merchant clans have no compunction about dealing with the surface world and other Underdark societies. In fact, a great number of the “second ring”, or managers, are non-drow of various races.

The lowest rank in the merchant clan, the “assets”, are nearly all non-drow. These are the laborers and soldiery of the merchant house. Together, the merchant clans form the trade links with the outside world that enables the Noble Houses to survive.



Lolthian Drow relations to other creatures/factions:
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Drow trust no other creatures, including (or especially) other drow. Drow believe all other living beings are inferior. The relations of such a paranoid race with others is uneasy, to say the least. But they don’t just ignore or kill all none drow. They interact with various other Underdark races at least to some extent. Possible equals (the drow admit to no race as their superior) such as illithids and duergar are dealt with by a mixture of armed truces, hard bargaining, subtle threats, magic, and mutual gain pacts. Trade treaties or military alliances might be arranged when the need arises, but they won’t be permanent and only limited to a certain time. Yesterday’s ally might be a good source for new slaves tomorrow. However, they respect the strength of the duergar and illithids, as they are capable of building massive cities compareable to drow ones and were able to withstand more than one drow assault before. They are respected, but still considered inferior.

Only exceptional drow individuals come to trust another being fully (and live to tell the tale!) in the cities of Lolth worshippers. Trusting drow are more common among the worshippers of Eilistraee, but even theirs is hard to gain. The drow are the most widespread and powerful of the known Underdark cultures. Strife among themselves, and a lust for a personal power and commercial gain, always prevents drow from gathering in any concerted effort against foes. This is probably the only thing that keeps many kuo-toa, jermlaine, and disir communities intact; the drow could easily wipe out weaker neighbors if they took up arms in earnest. Oddly enough, rule over all the subterranean races (even to the powerful mind flayers and aboleth) is the ultimate goal of drow - “the First Part of the Destiny of the People,” as priests of Lolth put it. The Second Part is the extermination of all other elven races, including the seizing of surface lands and holdings. Lolth and her clergy do not, however, advocate any sort of “holy war”. Lolth sees her People best served by the competitive striving of individuals, cabals, factions among drow society, her priesthood, and by the efforts of individual drow communities. In this way, the race grows stronger without breeding in decadence, weakness, and laziness.

Their true focus of hate is reserved for the surface elves. Any chance to bring pain and death to them is more than welcome. Other races can expect being captured to serve as slaves - mostly orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, ogres and humans. Almost all basic and unskilled labor in a drow city is performed by slaves. Some prisioners, mainly higher ranking surface elves, might end on one of the many altars.

Drow even practice cannibalism when their numbers grow too great for a given hold or community. Only the aged are used as food, as the survival of the young is seen as the future of the People. Population pressures like this result because sending out expeditions to find new holds is thought too likely to provoke war with powerful neighbors. Plans to further drow rule and influence are supported with the greatest enthusiasm by drow whose present social position is good, if they are not threatened by the plan. Drow of low class are most likely to support plans that involve open warfare, or strife among drow.

If drow are treacherous among themselves, they are even more so in their dealings with others. Drow will readily “negotiate” with other races over matters of boundaries, trade, and peace. They will break any such agreements and treaties the moment that terms no longer seem advantageous (bargains with “lesser races” are not considered binding). Most races have learned to be cautious and alert when dealing with drow, and to have several tricks up one’s sleeve to deal with the treachery when - not if - it comes.

Above all others, deep gnomes hate the drow. Conversely, in all the Underdark, there is no creature the dark elf enjoys slaying more than a svirfneblin. Other traditional drow foes include dwarves, humans, and other elves of all sorts. Duergar, illithids, and lesser races of the Underdark are traded with, but never trusted or befriended, except by the most worldly and experienced drow merchants.

This is not to say that drow are an unruly, unpredictable mob of violent berserkers, engaged in a sort of endless civil war. (Elminster: Actually, a more apt description to some would be that they are a decadent, status obsessed nest of vipers engaged in an endless controlled civil war.) They strive always for personal ascendancy, yes, but their striving is governed by rules and group loyalties.

Even if freed from the authority of an established House, ruler, or realm, drow instinctively band together in groups. Survival, to these warlike folk (so often at sword’s point among themselves) is often a matter of numbers, trusted battle companions, and tactics.






Extras:

Drow society at peace?
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While Drow are not making war on the human and elven populations on the surface, they spend quite a bit of time quietly preparing the security of their current position and making or attempting to make that position stronger. As a member of House Mori’hyanda, you should expect your fellow House members (in character of course) to struggle for dominance over you. Drow Houses tend to be chaotic and friendships are usually only made based on their utility. With this in mind, any internal plot should be discussed with the House leaders and the target of your character’s ambitions to avoid out of character misunderstandings and interference with other plots that may be going on unnoticed to you. Also bear in mind, the cost of failure is very high in Drow culture; there is no greater sin than failure, and so plan well if you expect to advance using this method.

Though we are evil, grasping creatures, a House is all that makes a Drow a Drow. If he or she loses it, due to some gross breach of station and rank, failure in an important task or betrayal (that is caught), then he or she is nothing, an outcast worthy of death. One should make every effort to support the House, by providing information, defeating enemies, and obeying commands of the leaders in game. You should make every effort to put guild members above outsiders.
Assassination and war:
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The Law of Lolth

In a Lloth worshipping drow community, it is a deadly thing to slay a matron mother who holds Lloth’s favor, so mothers may reign for hundreds of years, kept alive by the magic of Lloth and the diligent service they perform to get and keep it. The assassination of a matron mother is often a punishment for losing Lloth’s good will, and marks either a new direction for the House, or if it is weak and has strong rivals, usually the beginning of its extinction.

If one House in the city openly wars on another, and fails to eradicate it entirely in a single attack, the survivors of the ruined House can call down the city’s justice on the attacking House. When this occurs, all Houses combine forces to wipe out the offending House. Houses who send assassins and saboteurs against each other for years will be forced into an open battle by the city’s ruling council, with the same results as above. This type of no win scenario allows the internal strife of drow to be strictly controlled, so that drow communities are not torn apart by continual, bloody warfare. Most internal combat therefore takes the form of eternal maneuvering for small advantages. Underhanded intrigue, poisoned knives in dark alleys, vicious trade rivalries, and dirty dealings are all a part of normal drow life. These types of scenerios are extremely rare and should be directed by a DM.




There is no true god or goddess other than Lolth. Any who follow or bow to the dictates of any other power or faith (or it’s representatives such as Selvetarm’s followers) are to be utterly destroyed, preferably a sacrifice.



Ritual worship of any other than Lolth is forbidden within the cities of the Drow. Non-Drow who violate this-once-are merely fined heavily, and expelled from the city. They may return on another occasion. Second offenders, those who scorn Lolth, or Drow worshippers are slain. Merely uttering another power’s name is frowned upon but not cause for punishment.



In practice, any Drow suspected of following Vhaeraun or his allies will be interrogated magically, and if such worship is proven to occur, they are executed (even if they’ve never performed any act of worship to the power in the city).



Anyone who mistreats an arachnid, or any creature (from slave to beast of burden) of a house, is fined and whipped by priestesses of the Spider Queen. Those who kill spiders must be punished or DIE.



For a slave to refuse any order of a Drow of the owning house is a fatal offence. The treatment of slaves it totally the affair of their owner. Slaves have no rights, and there are no strictures on punishments or duties that can be set for them.



A commoner citizen who refuses to follow the order of a high priestess can be punished as the offended priestess sees fit, up to and including instant death. The exception to this requires the commoner to be property of another House, and a noble of that House must be present and object to the punishment. In this case the priestess and the House Matron must agree on a punishment: usually a flogging delivered by the offended priestess. A student of the Academy who refuses a Matron or Mistress anything can be punished as the offended officer sees fit, up to and including instant death.



Any Drow who falsely wears the colours or insignia of another House (except by the express permission from that House), or who deliberately alters his or her hairstyle or attire to appear as a rank different from his or her own (except by express permission of the owning Matron), must be punished or DIE.



The penalty of death also waits any non-Drow who uses any means to adopt the disguise of a particular Drow, or a Drow noble rank or a House other than their own.



If one House attacks another House and fails to utterly exterminate it’s noble line (must be approved by a DM), the House that perpetrated the attack is itself obliterated, by the gathered might of the cities other Houses including the Academy in one large group to do battle (approved DM event).



If one or more Houses combine to attack another House, all of the Houses who participated in the attack are to be destroyed (approved DM even). The ruling House holds itself exempt from this rule, apparently with Lolth’s support. So do not openly attack another House faction without informing a DM.



Any House attacking another that has just survived an earlier attack (within the same year) loses the favour of Lolth. This means their priestesses lose the use of their spells during the attack and thereafter, until a great deed or service has been performed to regain Lolth’s favour; the House is unable to defend itself except by diplomatic and purely physical means, and is surely doomed. Other Houses may attack it with impunity. Thus weakening the initial attacking House to help ensure their defeat.
Assassination and Status
In the House Mori’hyanda, player verse player will be a common answer in matters of Assassination. Rules for assassination have been formulated so that all House members will know what to expect.

The challenge is made by a lower ranking character that has completed The Challenges of Lolth and is now pursuing the favor of Lolth. Only one challenge per month for each player can be made and it may only be for one rank higher. The challenge must be made directly in character using the forum and backed it up with a story behind the assassination.

Higher ranked characters should not challenge a lower ranked position, but instead bring them up on charges of treason. Although, higher ranks may be allowed to test other lower ranks and set challenges to remove any signs of weakness in the House positions. This can be rollplayed in anyway as long as it follows the TFR Rules and the PvP Rules.

If a lower ranked character were to challenge a higher ranking position, the combat may be refused with a loss of rank, gold, or items to the higher rankied character. The terms are named by the person who is challenged. Terms include method of combat and the terms of that combat ending. Combat maybe with blades, other physical weapons, spells, poisons, or even nonviolent means. Nonviolent means should be approved by a Mediator with high rank. Ending the battle may be by first blood, loss of consciousness, death, or other acceptable terms dependant upon the type of combat chosen. Some may disagree and state that nonviolent means are inappropriate.

The consequences are claimed by the victor after the battle which may include loss of title, fine, or death in which each player is required to raise the other. It is the challenged or the challenger who pays the consequences. When Champions are involved, they do not pay. If a fight is to the death, the Champion must be lifed, and their representee killed instead.

Champions
A Champion can be announced to represent the challenger. If this happens, the challenged is also allowed their own Champion. A Champion must be a rank of equal to or lesser ranked to whom is initially challenged. A Champion will fight to assist the player who has named them. If you ever must name a Champion, remember that they are fighting on your behalf. If the parties can not agree on terms, the terms may be decided by a higher rank member, who holds both parties in their chain of command and may then also decide the terms of combat. This settlement may include choice of terms, allowance of Champions, or indeed a decision to disallow the combat altogether, and issue a rebuke to either or both parties. Either combatant may ask to have the dispute overseen by a third party voluntarily without the need for an intervention.

Mediator
The parties must agree on a mediator of higher rank who will oversee the combat. The higher ranked mediator must be sure that both parties will live up to the terms, and follow the TFR Rules an, PvP Rules, and Assassination and Status Rules. The mediator is also the referee of the combat itself.

Usually, a time and place will be arranged and the individuals return to their Houses to gather a mediator. Occasionally, a Drow that is extremely angry might simply begin attacking. At this point, the other party may request that the fight be delayed, or has the option of picking up the fight on the spot.

Terms are always the same. Any weapon, any style, spells and alchemy maybe included, to the requirement of resurrecting the looser. Apologies are neither asked for nor given, but assumed at the end of the fight. Politeness is maintained throughout the entire process, lest another challenge be sparked immediately following the resurrection of the loser.




Drow Quotes for roleplay:
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* "To betray, you must first belong."
* "The best revenge is revenge."
* "Revenge is the sweetest flesh."
* "The only real difference between an ally and an enemy is that one
* deserves a quick death."
* "No woman should marry before she has slain her tenth man."
* "Never lie when the truth is more profitable."
* "Never befriend the oppressed unless you mean to murder the oppressor."
* "Never let your inferiors do you a favor -- it will be extremely costly."
* "Killing orcs is like washing a pig. Turn your back for a second, and the filth is back."
* "No witnesses" is a hallmark.
* "Your friends blade is your enemies blade"
* "All trust is foolish."
* "Do as you are ordered, and live."
* "Lolth be praised; all victory is her doing."
* "Matron Mothers know best."
* "The best knife is the unseen one."
* "The foolish and unwary find waiting death."
* "Darkness is both friend and enemy."
* "What have I told you so many times about attacking people.......... finish the job."
* "Hope is the denial of reality"
* "The best goblin is a dead goblin"
* "The best magic item is a female (male) lover"
* "The traditional is best"
* "The destiny of the Drow is to conquer all"
* "Strength at arms and wariness are survival"
* "Any food may be poison"
* "Trust in your wealth"
* "The best trusted friend is yourself"
* "Hate is a dagger--best when hidden and deadliest when precise."
* "To Walk Apart From House And Queen Is To Walk Into The Grave"
* "Trust No One More Than Yourself"
* "Watch All About, Warily, And The Goddess May Give You The Gift Of Continued Life"
* "Who Knows Better Than The Goddess?"
* "Knowledge From deceit" [Motto]
* "From Victory To An Inn" [Battle Cry]
* "Lust And Profit" [Motto]
* "Light Upon You!" [Curse To Drow]
* "Darkness Take You!" [Curse To Non-Drow]
* "Lloth Guard You"
* "The only way of solving life is death"
* "The quickest way to a man's heart is through his back".
* "Friendship is the mother of betrayal, darkness is the father"
* "He who watches his back meets death from the front"
* "Honor is that which kills one, and flatters another, and neither are wise to do unless prepared to deal with each quickly and quietly."
* "He who does not walk quietly, does not walk for long."
* "Treachery. Deceit. Death. This is the Drow way."
* "More danger, more glory...."
* "Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't there"
* "don't fear the dark...fear what's in it."
* "When you're right, paranoia is just good thinking."
* "Your closest friend is your most dangerous enemy"
* "Fear is the motivation for all, without it nothing would get done"
* "(House name) supreme!!" [Battle Cry]
* "Tired but never weak"
* "Fear the darkness, Yet shun the light"
* "Light leads to hatred, dark to delight. The best of all things, are done in the night."
* "Those who trust often find a blade in their back."
* "Deceit is often only a footfall away"
* "Stupidity should be rewarded with death"
* "Regret is the beclouding of the mind"
* "Only a fool has trust in his friend's blade"
* "The best hidden doors are the most obvious traps..."
* "To the darkness!!" [Battlecry]
* "Those who trust their lives in a drow's hands often find it gone the second you turn your back."
* "Those who Live by the Blade, get killed by those who Live by the Knife."
* "Death is not the end, but the means."
* "Live by your wits, Die by another's...
* "A weak Drow is better off dead."
* "Spill your own blood to honor, spill another's blood to live, spill a Woman's blood to die."
* "If You Ever See A Drow Smile, You Are Already Dead"
* " Pain is a crude way of obtaining obedience, but it is cheap and plentiful."
* "Trust is the key to love... unless betrayal gets in the way"
* "Trust is for the foolish, and the Dead!"
* "If you can see a trap I would recommend you look twice"
* "Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies within knife reach."
* "Exploit the trusting and the stupid!"
* "To trust is to seal your fate."
* "Dishonor lasts a lifetime, but death is instant"
* "Never underestimate your enemies, never overestimate your friends."
* "Ambition-if used correctly-will lead to ascension."
* Through destiny and might we shall rule supreme
* I have but one enemy: myself
* The lives of subordinates are coin in your hand: spend them wisely.


Drow Translator
"Perhaps you were expecting some surprise, for me to reveal a secret that had eluded you, something that would change your perspective of events, shatter you to your core. There is no great revelation, no great secret. There is only you..." - Bael Draq'Valeri

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