I have to admit, some dread was behind the writing of this article. It was put off for far to long because I was afraid of having to justify what I like about the Drow. The Drow are one of the most famous, and infamous, races in the Dungeons and Dragons Franchise. Depending on the fan, they either love this variation on the classical Dark Elves, or the utterly despise them and even ban them in their games.


Elves quite typically are embodiment of all that people consider good and holy, often angelic and morally superior to humans. Dark Elves are a classical idea, because its all about creating something completely opposite of the perfection of elves, this is how Tolkiens Orcs got their start after all.

Drow in D&D were created as villains, an opposing force to the classic elves. They live underground in massive subterranean cities and have a great affinity for evil magics, spiders, and dark gods. And as is always the case, when you make a people an embodiment of everything wrong with humanity, you are still making them relate-able with that vital spark of humanity. Naturally the evilness of them proved to not be absolute, and they eventually became a playable race.

drowbarianEventually there was a flood of players that would play the Drow, all caused by a character named Drizzt. I have no idea who, or what, Drizzt is… his name seems silly to me, but apparently he was the subject of a lot of books and the first big time “Good” Drow, and apparently way to many people made characters that were essentially clones of this character. So many in fact it seems to have tainted the Drow race, and the character himself.

Quite often Drow seem to be a banned race in most games, and it doesn’t help matters that they have extreme sensitivity to sunlight that makes it difficult for them to even be played. But thankfully tehre seems to be less of a stigma against these guys than there used to be.

Buff spider lady (fixed)I know this probabl sounds like I am being to edgy, but I like Drow because they are outsiders. They are different than most of the other raes in D&D, they operate under a different moral framework, they have different gods, the inhabit a different part of the world that others wouldn’t even begin to consider. Their affinity for spiders and other arthropods can be seen as indicative of what they are, deadly, sneaky, and sometimes misunderstood.

I am particularly fond of the Drider variant on Drow, which is their cultures equivalent of a centaur, just with spiders instead. Many time though there is one oddity, people often seem to be confused on how to create original reasons for why their Drow character is not evil, but they shouldn’t have to, most people in most cultures are not evil. Most people are just regular average everyday folk, farmers, basket weavers, blacksmiths, these are the Drow characters I would like to see more of.

Don’t overthink it, don’t try to make a Drizzt clone, don’t try to find a special reason for them to exist. Just make an average everyday person from their society, someone who went to Lolth mass every Sunday but didn’t really practice the religion heavily, someone who just wanted to get by day to day without thinking of their peoples politics.