Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Why no drow?

Drow came up as a suggestion for monsters I should include in my DF game.

I said: "No drow. Period."

Why?

On my ride home from work I thought I'd probably need to address that, if only because at least of my players likes the drow. Here is that attempt to address it.

Basically, because the drow come with a lot of baggage.

First, you have the AD&D baggage of the Eiservs clan, the Against the Giants series, and the Vault of the Drow. Good stuff, but it has a definite shaping of what drow are and what people expect from them.

Second, you have the baggage of later editions's versions of what drow are like, or do.

Third, you have those novels by Salvatore. I haven't read them, but they carry a lot of weight in terms of what people expect drow to be like.

Finally, I have the baggage of how drow were in my own Forgotten Realms-based GURPS game.

They are a pretty interesting race. But there is now way to use them without bringing in expectations that would fundamentally change how people react to them and deal with them.

Contrast that to, say, the six-fingered masters of Felltower. Who are they? What are they like? It's all built in play. There are no expectations of what they are like. There are no novels about them, no memories of how someone's half-drow elf was run, no thoughts about how "good" or "evil" or whatever they should be. They simply are, and what they are is defined by what happens in play.

Simply put, putting in drow would stamp out some of the uniqueness of Felltower and replace it with canon and preconceptions. And that's not a positive.

17 comments:

  1. Thats no Drow, but is it no Shadow Elves or Dark Elves? Because that's a different thing altogether (see Warhammer etc)

    Even Intruders from Pyramid are another option for a sort of Elvish, but really very different thing.

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    1. The players would assume they were re-skinned drow, or drow-like, and probably make assumptions based on that. Better to go a whole different direction.

      Shadow Elf minis make great cone-hatted dudes, though!

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  2. Excellent point about the six-fingered masters. I meant to follow up that they pretty much have a certain kind of equivalency or similar role as Drow (if we think about their role in G1-3...not exactly, to be sure, but vaguely similar).

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    Replies
    1. Or maybe not! That’s part of the fun...trying to figure out the mystery.

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  3. Fair enough. I just sort of read your blog to see how GURPS does Dungeon delving and one of my favorite monsters were the drow and I am just curious about they would be done with DF. Anyway I understand your point about not wanting them in your Dungeon.

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  4. I'm fine with no Drow. The six-fingered masters are much cooler.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. I'm glad they intrigue you guys.

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  5. Drows are embarrassing. If you want to play that way, do Werewolf or VTES

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  6. FYI, this is one of the reasons Dave Arneson turned from historical gaming to fantasy. Since none of the troop types or siege weapons in Blackmoor existed in reality, none of the players could complain that Arneson had gotten his facts wrong.

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  7. Replies
    1. I do, too - just they don't travel light.

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  8. I like to mix up the drow, by playing against pre-conceptions from canon, and to build out new power groups/vaults that have no connection to or interest in spiders, Lolth, giants, etc.

    It helps to keep drow fresh, and the players on their toes, too. If 15+ variants of elves are running around on the surface, there's no reason that there can't be more dark elf variants in the drowic underworld!

    Allan.

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    Replies
    1. Oh sure, I don't see why not. I just want to start with a blank slate, something that is new to the players and presents a mystery to them to solve in play. Much like how the drow were originally. I use enough monsters straight up, or modified to play against expectations - but neither of those gets me want I want here, which is a blank slate.

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  9. I fill their niche with Dark Ones,but keep them on the Elder Thing Spectrum .

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    Replies
    1. Dark Ones are a good choice - and equally are more of a blank slate.

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  10. Intruders FTW.

    Nothing says "surprise" to PCs like homogenous humanoid enemies

    ReplyDelete

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