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D&D 5E The New Drow Replacement?

Zardnaar

Legend
The Drow were originally conceived as a challenge for high level opponents.

As we all know the encounter guidelines are wonkybat the best of times and the Drow have been watered down with each successive edition to the point they're not really scary unless the DM goes above and beyond.

By that think Tucker's Kobolds with Drow, poison and more magic plus hit and fade etc.

See once the late 90s I've had a race if ancients whose presence is more implied than felt. They're theoretically extinct in the ancient Desecration Wars which ended with the Day of One Thousand Sun's.

They're 7' tall humanoids, 6 digits on hands blue skinned purely milky eyes kinda like a cross between a Gith and Elf in appearance.

In concept they're a precursor type race. Died fighting the gods with a few survivors as undead, stasis, time bubbles etc. The original concept was the Valheru from the Riftwar Saga combined with Melinbonians/Atlanteans.

Also looking at mixing in Isu influence from Assassin's Creed. Basically they have extra senses. In game terms the foresight spell effect as an innate ability.

Not sure if they are born or created. They also great wizards or Artificers. Anyway thoughts on my concept and a bit of world building with the phb races.

So any help with brainstorming ideas?

Feel free to change appearances (Drow as Albinos), fluff (Elves as Melinbonians) etc. You can also suggest 1-4 other races for a new campaign to add to the PHB ones around 15 races give or take.

The Isu are more amoral vs bwa ha ha evil so NE generally. Tasha's will be used weak races can be buffed.
 
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Anybody as leShays?



I guess they are from a erasured timeline and they want to recover their home, but this may cause a time paradox. A good reason for a future event about a multiverse crisis.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Anybody as leShays?



I guess they are from a erasured timeline and they want to recover their home, but this may cause a time paradox. A good reason for a future event about a multiverse crisis.

Never really liked them and basically more elves
 


NotAYakk

Legend
One thing I'm trying to do is move away from race-as-culture.

What do you lose if these are just a precursor civilization? Possibly some of the races will have been created after them, but no need to force that.

A civilization of the first people, who gained access to powers to rival the gods. They are where people -- elves, humans, dwarves. They empowered themselves and fought and died.

This empowering could result in unique features, and might not be uniform. You could imagine a bunch of castes, just to provide variety in enemies. I might steal Solars from Exalted.

Destroyers, Dominators, Corruptors, Nightmares and Liars.

Destroyers are armies of one.
Dominators rule.
Corruptors warp reality.
Nightmares instill terror.
Liars convince you it is for the best.

I might use Psionics to represent their ancient power source. Their writing is psychometry based, hieroglyphs that impose the thoughts on those who read them. And by impose, I mean impose; reading their texts is a kind of mind control. You learn the information, but become convinced that the point of view of the writer is the correct one.

They, themselves, have a different opinion. They consider the Gods to be venal automatons, and the process of exaltation is akin to being born anew. Unexaulted mortals are treated ethically as important as pets, cattle, ants or the like. Such lesser beings are the flesh upon which exaltation can be grown, but not beings of moral significance.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
One of the setting secrets of my homebrew and revealed during a campaign was that the story of the drow was actually quite different from that known by most non-elven people (and even some elves themselves).

There were two rumors about the drow:

1. They were a myth that never actually existed or if they existed they are long gone and just a elvish bogeyman.
2. The typical story familiar to D&D players. They are a race of evil dark-skinned elves driven underground millennia ago and always looking for a chance to return and wreak havoc on the surface world, yadda-yadda.

In reality, while the second one was closer to the truth, it was still a lie. Many of the dark-skinned elves had been wiped out and were a rare sight, but they were not drow and definitely not inherently evil. Rather, the surface elves reinforced that story to hide the fact that "drow" was not a sub-race but a template granted to those elves (and elf-related beings) who give their lives over to their spider god, granting them the various powers associated with traditional D&D dark elves. Yes, they had been driven underground, but a drow city actually has elves of all kinds within its borders, all raised to serve the dark goddess. The elite among their kind having the "template." So it is totally possible to run into, for example, a wood elf "drow."

In other words, the high elves used racism as a buffer against "drow," hiding the role of their own people, and for the most part not caring or thinking through the effect on actual dark elves, or the role that might have played over the millennia on their being shunned, driven away, or just killed.
 

add something in they were already defeated one destroyed long past the ability to have a viable population the few survivors made a plan.
they would make their victory increasingly likely.

they would be time and the arch of history to their ends.

to know of them makes them stronger but to do nothing about them makes them stronger still.

they wield Ontopathogenic power to corrupt reality, they infect the world.

try stealing bits from the Daevites
 

AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
I wanted a more monstrous species to fit the demonic-spider-worshipping-schemers so I lifted the aranea into that roll. They use their shapechanging to take any PC-eligible-race’s humanoid form, coming natively from a parallel Otherworld that they enter the prime plane in dark shadowy places, or ruins of arcane disasters.
 

cbwjm

Hero
Sounds like the hyperboreans or even the serpentmen from the Conan stories. I like the idea of having them be a people powerful in sorcery (or wizardry in DnD) whose magic took them to a height of power unseen today. It would be the perfect opportunity to give them home-brewed or even earlier edition spells updated to 5e that the players have never come across. They could even have powerful rituals outside the normal spell slot structure or perhaps still use spell slots but casting time is a prolonged ritual that makes the spell more powerful than a typical spell of the same level, perhaps in area of effect or targets affected.

Since these people would likely be the source of many ruins for players to explore, their scrabbling around may activate a clone of one of these ancient people who sets about shadowing the PCs and harassing them with ancient magics, perhaps even employing the PCs by acting as someone benevolent and then enacting a ritual that brings their people back to the world.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Sounds like the hyperboreans or even the serpentmen from the Conan stories. I like the idea of having them be a people powerful in sorcery (or wizardry in DnD) whose magic took them to a height of power unseen today. It would be the perfect opportunity to give them home-brewed or even earlier edition spells updated to 5e that the players have never come across. They could even have powerful rituals outside the normal spell slot structure or perhaps still use spell slots but casting time is a prolonged ritual that makes the spell more powerful than a typical spell of the same level, perhaps in area of effect or targets affected.

Since these people would likely be the source of many ruins for players to explore, their scrabbling around may activate a clone of one of these ancient people who sets about shadowing the PCs and harassing them with ancient magics, perhaps even employing the PCs by acting as someone benevolent and then enacting a ritual that brings their people back to the world.

The ruins as such hard to find. Day if 1000 sun, buried or deliberately buried.

PCs discovered location of one of their cities still couldn't find it. It had been destroyed the buildings torn down and dumped in a lake.

I think the origin of the Drow dates from this era. The Drow went down the same paths the ancients did and the normal elves were influenced by them as well.

The Yuan Ti are also tied to this era and origin of the Elves as my elves culturally more like Melinbonians.

The Wood Elves are the "nice" ones and they're not around much.
 


jgsugden

Legend
I use humanoids as threats throughout the levels, including high level games. I have not experienced any difficulty in making them intimidating. Especially drow in large numbers with their sleep poison, darkness, and faerie fire. 45 1/4 CR drow are scary regardless of the level of the PCs when the drow get the drop on the PCs. I don't feel like I'm going "above and beyond" in these encounters - just having them act intelligently. Why do you think drow are not intimidating?

Generally speaking, any race that has versions with class levels can be pretty hard for PCs to handle.
 





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