Wednesday, August 1, 2018

DIY 30 #1: Troll Wives

(I was thinking that perhaps this DIY 30 thing from Shane at 3 Toadstools, via Dan D on Google+, would be a good way to get back to writing--to create and write down one thing for every one of the thirty (one) days of August, so here goes ...)

First off, Troll Wives, i.e. the Drow

In the deep places of the earth, where light never shines save from the torches of the foolhardy or the lost, it is said that the trolls, those sons of Antaeus who can never die unless their feet touch not the earth and its succor, keep in secret their wives of darkness. Black-skinned, black-eyed, and yet as beautiful and lithe as lost Elves, these Troll-Wives are said to be kept in captivity in wondrous, underground cities, raised from the living stone by the tireless hands of the trolls.

Like the Elves, and yet unlike them; their ears are more wolf-like, and they shun even the light of the stars that the Elves love so much, and their speech is as different as between the soughing of wind in the pines as to the quiet clatter of stone in places deep and deeply silent.

... But in truth, these Troll-Wives, also called Drow (Drow from "Trow", a cognate of "Troll") would better be known as Troll-Mothers, for they are the ur-spring for all other trolls that plague the world of men. As the Elves are known to produce goblins as degenerate offspring, and to only rarely breed true, so the Drow produce trolls as degenerate offspring, and also rarely breed true. And all are female; reports of male Drow are few, far between, and have never been seen to be true. Their cunning in craftsmanship is equal to the dwarves, whom they hate, though they shun the use of panoplies of armor that cut them off from their lifesource, the living stone around them; and their use of magic is like to that of the Elves, of whom they are cousins, present in the beginning of the world, but dwelling in the darkness between the stars, while the Elves danced in starlight.


Drow as a B/X class:

the level progression and spell progression are exactly as that of the Elf class, though the titles are different, of course: I Granddaughter, II Niece, III Daughter, IV Cousin, V Sister, VI Aunt, VII Mother, VIII Queen, IX Queen-Mother, X Queen-Mother 10th level.

Drow are always female. They may use any weapon and carry shields, but may not wear armor of any kind, lest they give up their ability to regenerate hit points. They fight and save as Elves of the same level, and may cast magic spells while wielding weapon and shield, just like Elves.

Regeneration: Drow regenerate lost hit points at a rate of 1 hp per round per 3 levels of experience, so from the first to third levels, they will regenerate but 1 hp per round; at fourth through sixth, will regenerate 2 hp per round, etc. They are unable to regenerate if cut off from contact with the earth, i.e. by flying, or by wearing armor; and like a troll, fire or acid damage is unable to be regenerated, but must be healed either through normal rest, or by magical means. A Drow reduced to negative hit points will continue to regnerate, and return to 1 hp after 1-6 turns; the only way to ensure her death is to burn or dissolve her body, or to remove her body from contact with the earth for at least one day per her level of experience.

Light sensitivity: as creatures of darkness, Drow are accustomed to acting in darkness. If exposed to direct sunlight, a Drow is penalized by a -2 on each of her rolls; she can never be "acclimatized" to direct sunlight. Meanwhile, when exposed to lesser light, e.g. dawn or dusk, torchlight, or a light spell, a Drow is penalized -1 on each of her rolls.
Naturally, Drow are able to see in darkness out to 60 feet or so, and operate normally in near- or total-darkness.


I've always been ambivalent about the Drow. On the one hand, their (literally) darkly seductive aesthetic and their Italian-renaissance-style backstabbing House politics is certainly attractive. But I've never really been happy with "Dark Elves" as a thing, especially outside of wargames like Warhammer or 4x games like Master of Magic where they can be a separate faction. And I can't overstate how much I dislike Drizzt and the idea of Chaotic Good Drow running around on the surface world.

And anymore in my game, Elves already are Chaotic creatures inimical to the Lawful civilizations of man ... they are seductive, cruel, arrogant, and devoid of true love or real empathy. So what use to me are "Dark Elves" that are just more of the same, but under a different skin color?

But I got to thinking the other day ... there are no female dwarves in my setting (I wouldn't disallow players to play female dwarves if they want, but such a character would be unique and strange should one be rolled up). The dwarves refuse to talk about it, such that it is considered a grave insult to press the matter with a dwarf; and dwarves do rarely take wives, though of other races (usually human), and even more rarely, actually love them.

So I've got this all-male race; why not have an all-female race? If the Drow are already "matriarchal" in the D&D material, why not let that be because they're all women? And if, as in my setting, Elves produce goblins as degenerate offspring, why not let the Drow be ur-trolls, who produce trolls as degenerate offspring?

Those are my thoughts on the matter, anyway. I've introduced Drow into my game already, albeit only briefly, and now with one Drow character running around. I intend to develop them further in the future.

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