Motes in the Serpent's Eye
Drow (also known as dark elves) are regarded by others as a merciless and cruel people, while they themselves regard these traits as necessary keys to their continued survival. Time has taught them that love and sympathy will ultimately only lead to betrayal and exploitation. While closely related to elves, they have their own society that is markedly different from their nature-loving kin’s. Most drow are unrepentantly evil, though there are certain exceptions. These individuals are notable for being out of step with their people’s traditions, which include treachery and cruelty accompanied by an unswerving ambition to climb to the top of their social ladder.
Most drow are reserved and calculating. When they speak, they do so with care, sinister innuendo dripping from their ebon lips. They tend not to place their trust entirely in anyone, especially their own kind. They are slow to form close relationships for this reason, as friends can most easily betray you. Good drow are certainly the exception to the rule. Most often, they have grown weary of the way their people constantly are at each other’s throats. They look at how far drow society has come and wonder just how much better it might have fared if its people weren’t constantly dragging each other down. Drow society is thoroughly matriarchal. Drow women are indisputably in charge. The men certainly have their uses, but only if they keep to their place. Drow culture is heavily influenced by the worship of their Spider Goddess, and her priestesses are a very powerful voice in drow politics.
It’s easy to tell drow apart from their fair-skinned and fair-minded cousins. The skin of drow is as black as the space between the stars, and drow hair ranges from a pale blond to shocking white. Their eyes are usually a baleful red. Despite these differences, drow share many traits with the surface elves. They stand between 4’6” and 5’6” and weigh between 85 and 135 pounds. Men and women are equally tall, and the men are only slightly heavier. All drow are devoid of facial or body hair. Their features are finely sculpted, and their ears taper up into points. Most people find the drow to be alluring, almost unnaturally graceful. Their well-known cruelty belies their beauty. Drow are considered children until they reach the age of 110. They commonly live more than 700 years. Like all elves, drow do not sleep, instead placing themselves into a trance for four hours every day, usually at night.
In general, the drow dislike everyone, even their dragon masters. They reserve a special hatred for the surface elves. Few drow can let an opportunity to inflict misery on an elf slip away. Despite their sense of superiority, drow swallow their pride to serve the evil lords of Asamet. The power this position grants them is too attractive to be refused. Non-evil drow have to cope with the reputation of their people when they meet someone new. The drow are known for their malignant nature, and it’s hard for most people to believe that any could be pure of heart.
Agile (+2): Dark Elves are graceful and agile. They start with a d6 in Agility instead of a d4.
Fair fights are for Fools (+1): Dark Elves strike from the shadows or wherever they hold the advantage. Whenever they strike an opponent who is unaware, whether by blade, bow or spell, they add + 2 to the damage roll.
Life in the Shadows (+1): Dark Elves live, fight, run and die in the shadows. As a result all Dark Elves begin with a free d6 in Stealth.
Light Sensitivity (-1): Millenia of underground life has left Dark Elves more adapted to the darkness of the underground than surface conditions. Dark Elves suffer a –4 penalty to resist effects involving bright light and to Notice checks when exposed to bright light without eye protection.
Low Light Vision (+1): Generations of living underground and in the shadows have given the Dark Elves the ability to see with clarity in the darkest places. They ignore penalties for Dim and Dark lighting.
Magic Resistance (+2): Dark Elves are particularly resistant to magic (including psionics, weird science, etc.). They act as if they had 2 points of Armor when hit by damage-causing arcane powers, and add + 2 to their Trait rolls when resisting opposed powers.
Mercy is No Virtue (-2): Dark Elves do not take prisoners and do not hesitate to resort to horrific means to extract information from their enemies. Dark Elves suffer a -4 Charisma penalty with those who know and do not support their murderous ways.
Racial Enemy (–1): Dark elves reserve a special hatred for their surface kin. Few drow can let an opportunity to inflict misery on a elf slip away. Members of each culture suffer a –4 Charisma when dealing with each other. Unless fettered by other authorities or common goals, individuals of the two races typically attack each other on sight.
Tenebrous Daydreams (+1): Dark Elves do not sleep, entering a trance-like state of memory instead. They need half the normal amount of ‘sleep’ as humans. This ability also grants them immunity to all magical sleep effects and +2 to any Trait rolls to resist any magical effect of the enchantment school.
Waning Essence (-2): Milennia away from the light of any sun have sapped the Dark Elves’ health. Vigor requires two points per step to raise during character generation.