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

Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
As someone else said, Bregan D'aerthe of Forgotten Realms are the best "model" for how to do low-leveled Drow on the surface.

For males its especially easy; you're not happy with being a second-class citizen, so you leave to carve your own path on the surface.

For females its a little trickier (the status-quo benefits you after all) but you could easily just be on the run for failing some test, or having a fling with a rival House, or something else.

This really isn't that hard to do. I'm honestly so curious what your group is like that they've never requested a drow, as when I started 5E and went to a beginners MeetUp group, drow is one of the more popular choices (it was probably tied with normal elf). This really might be a divide between new players and old ones, but I've got no idea.
 

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MonkeezOnFire

Adventurer
For females its a little trickier (the status-quo benefits you after all) but you could easily just be on the run for failing some test, or having a fling with a rival House, or something else.
I'm not super familiar with FR lore (I did read the dark elf trilogy, but that was long ago). As the privileged sex are females given freedom to determine their own fate? If so would it be really out of place to have a female drow leave the underdark to pursue an adventuring life?

I get the vibe that the drow culture heavily favours putting the drow first, but their culture also heavily encourages treachery. Basically what I'm trying to get at is do we have a sense overall of how many drow follow in Drizzt's footsteps and break away from the culture propagated by Menzoberranzan and can a drow do it willingly?
 

Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
I'm not super familiar with FR lore (I did read the dark elf trilogy, but that was long ago). As the privileged sex are females given freedom to determine their own fate? If so would it be really out of place to have a female drow leave the underdark to pursue an adventuring life?

I get the vibe that the drow culture heavily favours putting the drow first, but their culture also heavily encourages treachery. Basically what I'm trying to get at is do we have a sense overall of how many drow follow in Drizzt's footsteps and break away from the culture propagated by Menzoberranzan and can a drow do it willingly?

I think you're right that females technically have the freedom to do what they want, but their society tends to be theocratic and militaristic, so freedom as a general rule for anyone isn't really common. So I think females are allowed a lot more freedom as to what role they choose in society, and are more easily able to get leadership positions, but they're still expected to be a part of society and contributing to their House.

More generally, it's clearly @Zardnaar 's POV that a drow would never willingly go to the surface if their life was going ok, so I'm trying to work within that framework. I think you can easily just write the classic "I was born in a bad society/family and decided to leave because I intrinsically knew it was bad and didn't like it" but @Zardnaar probably wouldn't accept that explanation.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I think you're right that females technically have the freedom to do what they want, but their society tends to be theocratic and militaristic, so freedom as a general rule for anyone isn't really common. So I think females are allowed a lot more freedom as to what role they choose in society, and are more easily able to get leadership positions, but they're still expected to be a part of society and contributing to their House.

More generally, it's clearly @Zardnaar 's POV that a drow would never willingly go to the surface if their life was going ok, so I'm trying to work within that framework. I think you can easily just write the classic "I was born in a bad society/family and decided to leave because I intrinsically knew it was bad and didn't like it" but @Zardnaar probably wouldn't accept that explanation.

That's fine but it's more the logistics of getting from the underdark to the surface.
 

cbwjm

Seb-wejem
Playing baldurs gate 2 and the Drow city that you infiltrate is fairly close the the surface (I think they say itbwas the first location the drow settled when fleeing the surface). Might only be a day trip to get from the drow city to the surface world.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Playing baldurs gate 2 and the Drow city that you infiltrate is fairly close the the surface (I think they say itbwas the first location the drow settled when fleeing the surface). Might only be a day trip to get from the drow city to the surface world.

Drow cities are often only 1-2 miles from the surface as the crow flies/ Xorn digs.

Some sort of trading emporium.
 

Kurotowa

Legend
Here's your first major decision gate for a surface drow: Are you there by choice or by necessity?

A drow on the surface by choice might be philosophically opposed to the dominant drow culture and seeking alternatives. They might have left seeking something that can't be found at home, such as treasure or power or true love that doesn't come with the threat of poison knives in the back. Or maybe they're on a special long term mission and only feigning being an outcast.

A drow on the surface by necessity is one who can't go home even if they wanted to and found acclimating to surface life preferable to being alone in the underdark. Maybe they were exiled. Maybe they're fleeing a death sentence for some offense, great or small. Maybe their faction lost a power struggle and anything was preferable to kissing the boot of the winner.

The reason this distinction is important is that the former group are more likely to have assimilated to surface culture, while the latter have greater leeway to hold on to their old attitudes and beliefs.
 


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.

I absolutely LOVE that last option. If my current character dies, I might just have to steal it.
 


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