Drow

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Drow

The drow carve out a deadly existence out of the ruined continent of Xen'drik. The dark-skinned elves who believe it is they, not the rebels who fled to Aerenal, who truly preserve the dignity and valor of the elf race. Allied with monstrous scorpions, the drow battle the drow battle the fallen race of giants over the ruins of the mysterious continent. As the most civilized inhabitants of ruined Xen'drik, the drow are heirs to both the lingering might of giant nations and the ancient elven spellcraft once learned at the feet of dragons. The homeland of the drow is a contradiction of sorts – an ancient ruin that nonetheless holds magical treasures of almost unimaginable might. As Siberys shards fall on the broken landscape and jungles, explorers from other continents brave sahuagin-filled waters to crowd the port city of Stormreach.

Drow have few of the political struggles and rivalries that other races have. Family groups are simply too small and scattered to hve anything other than sporadic contact. This intermittent contact is fraught with peril, though, as larger and more powerful family groups seek to absorb smaller groups of drow.

Relations: Most drow have little interaction with members of other races; they fight the iants and monsters that roam their savage continent, and even avoid other drow family groups when possible. Drow are very suspicious of outsiders, and the few who interact with other races do so though the port of Stormreach. When dealing with outsiders, drow reveal nothing of themselves or their family groups whenever possible, always attempting to use the outsiders for their own ends without exposing the secrets of Xen'drik. For this reason, members of other races often find the drow to be a suspicious and sinister group.

Drow Lands: The jungles of Xen'drik are a harsh and unforgiving land; the drow dwell in the underground realm of Kyber as often as they haunt the ruins of above-ground Xen'drik. Covered by thick jungle and the ruined cities of the ancient giant kingdoms, the continent houses too many dangers fort he drow to be able to establish large and stable cities such as those on Khorvaire. The largest drow settlements are above-ground. Drow settlements are small, temporary affairs. Occasionally a relatively large and powerful tribe might stay for some time in the ruins of a giant city, but such ocupation are short-lived. The drow stay only long enough to plunder what artifacts they can; and to collapse exceptionally enticing ruins before outsiders from other lands can claim whatever remains for themsleves.

Dragonmarks: Drow never bear dragonmarks, an oddity that has stumped scholars of elven lore since the Mark of Shadow first appeared. Though many theories abound, it is most likely the dark elven patron that could be the answer to this conundrum. The drow have long been enmeshed in the alien designs of the Vulkoor, the Scorpion God, and with denizens of the Plane of Shadow. Theoretically, these connections have disassociated the drow from the Draconic Prophecy and its revelations.

Religion: Drow worship a scorpion-god named Vulkoor. He is often envisioned as a giant scorpion, or as a hybrid with the head, arms, and upper torso of a strong male drow and the lower body of a scorpion. Many drow believe that Vulkoor and the Mockery are one in the same. As a general rule, the drow also revere arachnids, with scorpions being by far the favorite – other arachnids are considered lesser servants of the drow's patron deity, Vulkoor.

Language: Drow speech is related to Elven in many ways, but the two races have been separate for such a long period that even their languages have grown apart.

Adventurers: Powerful, deadly, and shrouded in mystery, drow make exotic and interesting characters. Although they have seldom left the desolate continent that they call home, they sometimes join groups of adventurers setting out from Stormreach – mostly to use the outsiders to further some ends of their own. Most drow adventure out of necessity – the dangers of their homeland constantly push them toward that life. Exploring the ruins of giant cities is one of few ways for most drow to improve their lives; finding the treasures of the ancients can ensure the welfare of an entire family group, not just a single drow. Drow greatly desire personal power, and many make up the mantle of adventurer seeking to satisfy this urge. Whether this is simple greed or reaction to the brutal continent on which the drow make their home is a question best left to the drow themselves. Although the drow are relatively few in number, the dangers of Xen'drik encourage a higher than normal percentage of the population to learn the skills of the adventurer. They fight for their existence daily amid dangerous jungles and ruined cities; adventurers powerful enough to face down giants and other foes are thus essential to a drow family's survival.

Racial Traits: Drow observe varied racial traits based upon their tribe of origin. To date, only three of these tribes are known to the world at large. Yet Xen'drik remains a largely unexplored continent of both alien and wondrous locations, so it is impossible to accurately estimate just how many of these tribes might exist. Both tribes are described below. Drow from the Sulatar tribe possess both the ancestral grudge and surface infiltrator traits, while the Umbragen tribe favors the darklands stalker trait, and the Vulkoori tribe prefers traits such as ambitious schemer and seducer; Vulkoori priestesses, and the rare few priests, also have a tendency to take on the blasphemous covenant trait.

ETA: Drow carry a +2 ETA, while drow nobles carry an impressive +3 ETA! Players interested in dark elf characters might instead consider playing a new variant introduced in this campaign setting known as the drow runt. Drow runts carry only a +1 ETA. To play a drow runt, use the normal statistics for drow PC's, with the following modifications. Subtract 60 feet from the race's darkvision; reduce the character's spell resistance by ½; the character may only use a spell-like ability once per day, but may use any of the spells noted.

Drow Tribes

The drow are a splintered race that has fragmented into countless tribes and clans wandering about the wilds of Xen'drik. These distant family groups rarely come into contact with one another, gathering only when a threat is profound enough to endanger Xen'drik or their race as a whole. Still, while roaming freely these tribes can sometimes come into accidental contact. These encounters usually come to pass with high tensions, but little real violence. Drow tribes are always ready to defend themselves, however, as larger clans seek to absorb smaller ones and bolster their own ranks. Drow tribes are culturally homogenous, formed of drow from one of many different tribes.

Vulkoori

The majority of drow are Vulkoori, devoted to the tenets of their race's patron deity Vulkoor. Tribes of Vulkoori respect those traits they feel make good leaders and champions – ambition, power, and authority. In their daily lives, Vulkoori drow are consummate schemers. Their choices are practiced affairs, careful decisions in which the dark elf has measured each possible outcomes. Yet this meticulously schooled calm is constantly on the verge of shattering, for no drow suffer such near-blinding passions as the Vulkoori. A terrible rage burns within their breast, and anger that aliens and foreigners come to their land to steal the treasures and knowledge that the Vulkoori believe are theirs by birthright. This rage presents as a savage determination to protect the cyclopean ruins of Xen'drik from being defiled by outsiders looking to rape them of their secrets. Any adventurer will tell you that surviving a drow ambush is no easy feat, but encounters with the Vulkoori are wild and brutal.

Those with an intimate knowledge of the drow anatomy can recognize a member of the Vulkoori tribes by the ashen and grey hue of his flesh, by the rich violet of his pupil-less eyes, and by the glittering sheen that confers a more silver-tint to his colorless hair. But those unfamiliar with these fine details can rest assured that they, too, can recognize a Vulkoori encounter when it happens. Vulkoori revere scorpions as the most holy servants of Vulkoor, and ritually scar themselves with the venom of such beasts to inscribe tribal tattoos upon their flesh. Furthermore, the greatest of Vulkoori warriors are honored by their tribes and presented with special armor fashioned from the chitin of monstrous scorpions; this armor can be treated as splint mail, but outside of very specialized novelty shops it should not be available for characters to purchase.

Sulatar

Among drow tribes, only those that are Sulatar seem to be anything resembling "advanced." They are masters of elemental binding, and may even have been the source of Zilargo's knowledge on the subject. This is a form of magic that dates all the way back to the Age of Giants; the name "Sulatar" even translates from giant into "fire binders." Sulatar do not believe int he practices of their Vulkoori brothers. Instead, they have chosen to remain loyal to the arcane teachings of their giant masters. They believe that in staying true to the eldritch studies and obsession of the fallen giant empire, they will some day be lead into Sulaphren, the "Promised Land of Fire." Many scholars believe this to be Fernia, the elemental plane of fire.

The teachings that Drow follow dominate their spiritual endeavors, but offer no deities to worship. Instead, Sulatar are devoted to the Promise of Fire. The Promise tells Sulatar that fire is the most holy of artifacts, is dual nature as both purifier and tormenter, agent of new beginnings and harbinger of destruction, proof enough to them of this truth. They respect the many use of flame with the same devotion that a priestess might respect the works of her god, and even maintain an unending flame in the heart of their territory, the Obsidian City. Many of the adherents to the Promise believe that when they prove their devotion to fire, they will be granted access to the Promised Lands and be blessed with immortality and unending power.

Skin tones among the Sulatar are of lighter hues than their cousin tribes, often even reaching into pale shades of violet. Their eyes are spheres of mottled crimson and yellow, like vast pools of molten rock. Their warriors often bear armor and weapons etched with flame-like designs, and the greatest among them are gifted with equipment bearing fire-based enchantments in reward for exceptional service to the tribe.

Umbragen

When the dragonflights of Argonessen devestated Xen'drik, the ancestors of the Umbragen fled deep beneath the surface of Eberron. For generations they suffered a pilgrammege through the very depths of Khyber, before coming to rest in their "promised land," beneath the Ring of Storms. Along this journey they encountered the remnants of the daelkyr, once invaders from the insane world of Xoriat now reduced to prisoners of the world they sought to conquer. A new war erupted deep within the heart of Eberron as the Umbagen struggled to survive not only the harsh environments of Khyber, but also the merciless ravages of daelkyr aberrants. In order to secure their people's continued survival, these dark elves made a pact with the spiritual essence of strange creatures that once lived in those very same lands – the Qabalrin – and in so doing learned the ancient secrets of their long-forgotten magics.

The Qabalrin were elves, now long-extinct, who made their home in the lands that would later become the Ring of Storms. These elves were not enslaved to the giants, due in no small part to their strange and unique magical power; a blending of conjuration and necromantic principles they reffered to simply as Umbra. It is said that the first undead to rise and blight the world of Eberron was crafted by Qabalrin eyes, though this is something only the most devoted sages know. In the end, the fall of the Qabalrin came at the hands of an unavoidable natural disaster; a massive sibyris dragonshard fell from the heavens and crashed into their only city, smashing much of the ruins deep within Khyber. It is this power of Umbra that the Umragen drow, seen by the spirits and undead Qabarlrin that still exist as their spiritual descendants, have been granted. They use this power to fight a losing war against the daelkyr remnants, though their leadrs constantly scour the surface of Eberron in an effort to locate allies and weapons that can help turn the tide of this battle in their favor.

Drow of Umbragen tribes have dark, ebony skin to better blend with the shadows of their surroundings. Like all drow, their eyes lack pupils; the eyes of Umbrgen elves are such a deep, rich and dark blue as to almost appear black. Their hair is stark white and often maintained far shorter than other tribes of drow, or kept in carefully maintained braids.

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