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D&D General Justify A Level 1 Drow On the Surface?


Wherever your drow lived, it was attacked by mindflayers or something else. Your drow flees for their life, and gets separated from the others in the chaos. By pure luck, your drow finds a path to the surface (or maybe it was a planned escape route, but your drow was the only one to use this particular path due to it being blocked off soon after somehow). Unsure if anyone else survived, unwilling to go back into what's probably mind flayer territory now, unable to do anything but try to figure out a way to survive up on the surface.
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Try reading it helps. Wasn't the point of it at all.
If the subject doesn't line up with the title - what is the point? Like I said, your post was too long, on a subject matter I find inconsequential based on the title, for me to want to read it. No worries - you don't need my input.


  • PC is sole survivor of a surface raid, or left for dead after a raid. That fits the PC just right.
  • PC was to be sacrificed/exiled on surface. Something happened.
  • Rival/brother/sister had to make PC disappear quietly.
  • Snow White origin story redux: father/mother/slave maid hadn't the heart to kill PC like matriarch said and left them on surface instead. "Prince Charming" is coming.
  • PC got lost during training. Better stay away than go back to face the consequences.
  • Despite their black skin, PC is half high-elf. PC's origins overcomes will to remain in drow society.
  • Drow society sucks. Anything has got to be better!
  • Self-imposed exile. PC did something bad and must atone by spending life under the big bad sun.
  • Fugitive. "They would be crazy to follow me here!"
  • PC "saw the light" of Elven God or good-aligned drow god (Eilistraee?)
  • PC disappointed mother "for the last time".
  • PC isn't quite of sound mind. They even [gasp] lack cruelty!

The reason to be on the surface is relatively easy to justify. The reason to stay suggests some kind of special case against going back.
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Any number of reasons, and varies by campaign. In my campaign the only way I can see this working would be a reverse slave/kidnapping scenario. Some surface dwelling organization want to "liberate" those poor drow kids and does a raid into the underdark, whether this was the only success or not is up to you.

This would also give the PC a reason to have a hat of disguise (or a disguise kit), because in my campaign they'd probably be killed on sight.


Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
It's been a few years since I played a drow, but if I remember right, he started out as a scout. His mission was to sneak into a quiet little human village, discover what defenses and resources they had, and report back to his superiors. But as he was skulking around, a band of filthy, disgusting dwarves attacked the town! He joined the fray and ended up fighting alongside the human captain of the guard, and both were impressed with each other's fighting prowess. By dawn, an uneasy alliance (and unlikely bromance) had been formed, and the two would go on to fight alongside each other for several adventures.


Guide of Modos
Sorry, you post was too long, so I didn't read it. But based on your title my justification is . . .
"Justify A Level 1 Drow On the Surface?"
I mean, I'll skip the comments that aren't on the first or last page, but this is . . . something.

In 25 years of D&D I have made one Drow PC and never played it back in the late 90s.

I normally don't allow them but recently noticed that people don't chose them anyway. . .

Now assuming I did play one I think I would play a Rogue either CN or N. More Han Solo in the cantina than Drizzt. If the DM says no or no evil races I wouldn't bother. . .

Reason is I have found a very narrow build that only a Drow qualifies for. It's hypothetical and it's not good as such but Dex based melee sorcerer/cleric in a domain without martial weapons.
Sooo... you don't allow the Drow, you have the type of DM who would flat-out nix player ideas, and you've only wanted to play a Drow once in 25 years? Does that make this a gedanken experiment, then?

What would a level 1 Drow be doing on the surface? Erm...
  • Sleepwalking.
  • Pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities. Like showing skin at a freak show.
  • Emerging from the birth canal of a rhino. Just like Ace Ventura.
  • Being a sign from the gods.
  • Waiting in a flask. Yes, it required several shrink-spells, and you were hoping to pop out of it and surprise grandma for her 560th birthday, and it seems the flask took a severely wrong turn. But there you are.

What's your setting and when in the setting timeline are you? As others have pointed out, depending upon where and when, drow can be 'regularly' seen on the surface. Take Waterdeep in 1493DR, drow walk openly among the streets.

So, where and when?


This may help. The PHB did a pretty massive disservice to the race as playable by focusing exclusively on Salvatore's drow to the exclusion of all other official versions. In darksun I don't even thin they are differentiated from the elves & darksun's elves are.... different

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