Table of Contents
Like elves of the light, dulim (singular dulam) are immortal, ceasing to age upon reaching maturity at about the age of 25. The route to Faerie is closed to them, however, and if a dark elf is not killed, his fierce, fiery spirit eventually uses up his body. An aging drow simply fades away, until all that is left is a Dulim Shade, a creature neither dead nor undead (drow began growing slightly translucent in their sixth or seventh century, although this has no mechanical game effects. By the middle of their eighth century, their body fades away completely and they become Dulim Shades. Dulim Shades are incorporeal creatures without undead traits and which cannot be turned or controlled as undead). Generally these shades have no power to affect the world around them, although some have been known to somehow do so. Often these shades, barely visible, inhabit tunnels and passages near drow communities which are set aside for their use. Eventually they leave even these, however, and where these cursed remnants go, no one knows.
The dark elf language, called Mordularian ("Nighted Speech") is a twisted but morbidly beautiful tongue. It uses basically the same structure and phonemes as Altarian, although the language has mutated over the millennia. Still surface elves and their dark cousins have been equally surprised upon meeting to find that they can comprehend the other's tongue. This surprise quickly fades to bitter rancor, however, as the drow invariably attack the elves of the light. (Speakers of Mordularian or Altarian can understand the other tongue with an INT check DC 10. They must make this check once per encounter.) Drow names are also strangely attractive, yet alien. Drow tend to form their names by combining a Ward Name, a name given in the drow nurseries, with an adult name, a name given upon entering drow society. They spell these names with an apostrophe. For example, a male might be named Gar'zax. These adult names are perhaps remnants of surface elf doom-names, although drow, having severed their ties with Tal-Allustiel, follow no doom.
Age.Once drow reach maturity around age 25, they cease aging. Sometime in their sixth or seventh century, they begin to grow translucent, although this has no game effects. By the middle of their eigth century, they fade completely and become Dulim Shades. They can then no longer interact with the material world and become NPCs.
Size. Male drow stand between 5'6" and 6 foot and tend to weigh between 125 and 175 pounds. Female drow stand between 5'3" and 5'9" and weigh between 90 and 140 pounds. Your size is medium.
- Automatic Languages: Mordularian, Undercommon. Choose one language.
The history of the dulim includes few years of peace. They have been forced to live in a constant state of warfare with other races and even themselves. While they rarely fight in open battle, preferring to use slaves for warfare (see the section on dulim warfare), they are extremely concerned with power. War is a constant threat and for many dulim is even a hope. Dulim strive to prove their personal power at all costs. To do this they may even attempt to prove themselves in battle. To distinguish oneself in battle is extremely risky and few are willing to take such risks, but it is also one of the fastest and easiest ways to become a respected and distinguished member of dulim society. From their earliest origins as a race, the dulim have been involved in wartime intrigue, and to this day blackmail, trickery, and double-crossing are some of the most prized dulim strategies. Although originally members of the elven race, they have significantly changed since their original descent into the depths of Núrion. While far underground in the Dark Deeps, the Serpent of Twilight, an agent of the Demon goddess Salystra, led them to a place of great power where they were able to develop abilities far beyond those of their surface cousins. It would be considered a great insult to suggest to a present day dulam that he or she is part of the Elven race.
The dulim descended from the once great Elhil house Al-Dustriel. Long ago around the year 5556 E.R., during the Battle of the Sarum, a faction of elves from Al-Dustriel sowed the seed of their eventual transformation as they turned on their brethren. They joined the evil forces. The ensuing war between Al-Dustriel and their kin was waged for centuries thereafter. Al-Dustriel lost more ground with each passing year and their defeat seemed inevitable. In the late years of the 63rd century E.R., an old mage of surpassing power came to Al-Dustriel and promised them victory. He created a huge monolith in the middle of their city and instructed their leaders in the use of this great obelisk of power. Using this newfound might, in 6301 they defeated the other Elhil at the Battle of the Dark Pass. It was not long, however, until the rest of the Elhil retaliated, attacking once more. The elves of Al-Dustriel tried again to draw upon the power of the monolith, but to no avail, and Al-Dustriel was all but destroyed in the second Battle of the Dark Pass. Soon after, the final blow was dealt, and those who would become the dulim fled down into the bowels of Núrion, into the Dark Deeps. The changes to the Al-Dustriel elves began when they channeled the power of the monolith. Their skin was blackened and many of their physical traits were twisted. The elderly mage who had brought them the monolith revealed himself again in the Dark Deeps, but this time in his true form, as the Serpent of Twilight, agent of Salystra. He promised them great power and led them to the site where the elves of Al-Dustriel would undergo further transformations, becoming once and for all the dulim.
There have been four great dulim cities throughout history. Two remain large and prosperous. One was destroyed by the surface dwellers. Another remains a sacred and historical site for the dulim, but few remain to reside in this remote location. The event that would lead to the foundation of the first dulim city occurred in the early days when the Serpent of Twilight led the great dulam captain Tralos to a powerful, long lost artifact. The history of the artifact was known to few even then, but its lore is rich indeed. Long ago in the time of the Godwars, the now deceased god Soggoth placed a portion of his life essence in a ruby skull and hid it deep beneath the surface. Thousands of years later, some dwarves stumbled upon this artifact and were twisted and changed by the power of the skull into the duergar. They settled in the area, and for several thousand years, they ruled from a great city of silver (rumored to be largely made of mithril.) Using the powers of the ruby skull, they imbued their city with great and terrible powers. Though they lived in this city for thousands of years, they were unable to finish the project, for they labored painstakingly to create a thing of perfection and thus did not rush in the least. Long before they were able to complete their city, the aboleth that lived in the underground lakes nearby began a war to rid their realm of the duergar. They were largely successful, and the duergar fled. The aboleth returned to the depths and the city lay dormant for centuries. Then the Serpent of Twilight, having learned from salystra herself of the dormant powers built into the city, saw an opportunity to make the dulim powerful, and he led their leader Tralos there. It was here that the race of dulim acquired their magical abilities, gaining them from the artifact city itself. Tralos immediately noted the worth of this city, but he also noted that it was too sacred to actually dwell within, so in 6376 E.R. he founded nearby the city of Celustel ("Silver Star"), naming this city in the language of the surface elves, for the dulim still spoke Altarian. Celustel still guards the approach to the Silver City. The only ones who dwell within the artifact city are a small sect of drow priestesses called the Keepers, who guard the Silver City carefully. Few dulim ever venture to this unholy site. An ancient prophesy holds that when the city is destroyed, the dulim race shall fail.
The second great city of the dulim was named Morclaenthaur ("Black Lake of Bondage"). It was located somewhere under present day Zeland. The city was founded by the dulam Sorcerer Nartiluk in 10,524 E.R. in an effort to expand the area of dulim territory. At the time the dulim envisioned a great underground empire with Celustel and Morclaenthaur as the northern and southern tips. As the empire grew in power, the dulim grew arrogant and decided to extend their territory above the surface. The surface dwellers responded with war and after the elven hero Fingalion returned from over the sea to help the forces of the surface, the dulim were defeated and Morclaenthaur was destroyed. This blow to the drow utterly destroyed their attempts at empire. For many centuries, contact between Celustel and the survivors was lost.
Darkonglaxsti ("Dark Rule of the Serpent Queen') was founded by Melegurtha Serpentmaid, she who killed Fingalion and led her people in retreat from the destruction of Morclaenthaur. Darkonglaxsti is located under the Stonewall Mountains. It is the largest of all the dulim cities past and present. Most of the city is located in a vast underground cavern which is full of stalactites. The dulim of Darkonglaxsti used this natural phenomenon to build a highly defensible city. All houses and other structures are located in the great stalactites hanging from the roof of the cavern. Many of the most important structures are therefore quite high above the floor of the cavern and are very difficult to access and thus highly defensible. Roadways and paths exist on the cavern floor, and some are even carved into the roof. Others are made of hanging rope walkways. This city is a great splendor of the Dark Deeps, truly one of the most magnificent sights. The dulim of Darkonglaxsti and the duergar in this area enjoy relatively good relations. The duergar were very helpful in the construction of the city and were important allies during the early years when the fleeing dulim were in need of assistance. Trade flourishes between the two races in this area.
The last of the great cities of the dulim is Z'delik, located southwest of the Belendale. It was founded in 3247 F.R. by the politician G'farunk. He was a very powerful member of the Darkonglaxsti elite who had been advocating for centuries for an invasion of the surface elves. When he finally gave up and left Darkonglaxsti, he led a huge following of dulim and slaves to the current site of Z'Delik. The city was founded as a stepping off point for a great invasion of the elves of the light. The population grew quickly, as the idea of the invasion was quite popular among the dulim in general. Political intrigue and internal strife have kept this a dream so far, but the theocrat leaders of the city have not forgotten why their city exists. They never stop scheming and plotting for the day when they will get their revenge on their surface cousins.
Age of Immortals
c. 5556-The first Great War, The Battle of The Sarum, is fought between elves and the hordes of orcs and monsters. The dwarves of Liferock aid the elves. The fight would have been easily won, except a large faction of elves from Al-Dustriel inexplicably joins the evil forces.
c. 5605-The elven King Fingalion of the house of Mithaleil destroys a huge host of hobgoblins and trolls who attempt to invade the Sarumvest.
c. 5908-Fingalion speaks the Great Prophesy, intoning, "Great is the might of the Elves; they are Lords over all. Yet their might is tied to the Line of the Swan, the star of Núrion. Should the line fail, the elves shall face the end of their time in the Hinterlands.'
c. 6028-Fingalion departs for the Havens. The elven Queen Celewen, who continues the ongoing fight against Al-Dustriel and her allies, succeeds him.
c. 6301-The elves of Al-Dustriel and their orc allies defeat the army of Celewen at the Battle of the Dark Pass.
c. 6313-The elves, mustering their forces, defeat the army of Al-Dustriel at the Second Battle of the Dark Pass. The Power of Al-Dustriel is all but smashed, although they will manage to hold out for another century.
c. 6316-The forces of Queen Celewen invade Al-Dustriel's temporary capital city of Talas, and Al-Dustriel falls. Celewen orders the execution of any member of the house of Al-Dustriel who can be found. The evil elves are forced to find sanctuary deep underground. They are to become the dulim or drow.
c. 6376-After decades of wandering, the great dulam captain Tralos discovers the Silver City and founds the first great dulim city Celustel ("Silver City') (located under the Hills of Horror). The dulim are further twisted and empowered during their time here.
c. 10, 524-The dulam Sorcerer Nartiluk founds the second great dulim city Morclaenthaur ("Black Lake of Bondage') far to the west and brings a great force of dulim there by promising to use the city as a stepping off point for the invasion of the surface elves.
c. 12, 167-The first true dulim (drow) are sighted. The Elves send an emissary to parlay with these strange "new" elves. The emissary never returns.
c. 12, 512-The dulim attack the elves in the Sarumvest from a hidden underground tunnel. The attack is repulsed with difficulty and only after the elves receive aid from the reluctant dwarves of Wawmar and a small contingent of gnomish infantry.
c. 12, 575-The past elven King and hero Fingalion returns from the Havens to aid the elves in their battle against the newly discovered dulim.
c. 12, 601-The elves, dwarves, and gnomes invade the dulim city of Morclaenthaur ("Black Lake of Bondage'), led by Fingalion.
c. 12, 602-The elves, dwarves, and gnomes barely manage to overcome the dulim and destroy the city of Morclaenthaur. The dulam priestess Melegurtha Serpentmaid kills Fingalion in the final onslaught. She then leads the remainder of her people deep into the unexplored Dark Deeps. Some of the gnomish infantry of the Sag caste, as well as their wives, vow to stay behind in the Dark Deeps, to keep the surface people apprised of the movements of the evil under the ground.
c. 12, 800-The dark elves, led by Melegurtha Serpentmaid, settle the secret dulim city of Darkonglaxsti ("Dark Rule of the Serpent Queen') deep beneath the Stonewall Mountains. Melegurtha is their new queen. During her reign she harries the male dulim and makes them her slaves. Due to her influence, dulim society becomes largely matriarchal during this time. It has long since been a theocracy.
13,000-The dulim create their powerful artifact, the Amulet of Evernight, planning to use it to attack the Elves.
c. 13, 015-The Amulet is lost, ostensibly stolen by a fell race of the deeps with heads like small octopi. This fell race and the dulim began a five-century long war. The dark dwarves enter the war at various points and on both sides alternately.
Age of Men
c. 3247-The fourth of the great drow cities Z'delik is founded by the drow politician G'farunk. The population swells rapidly.
7623-The elven Shadow Walkers, led by Aminas, slay a huge party of drow in the Stone Wall Mts.
7796-A force of drow and slaves attack the capital of Orland from an underground passage undercover of great magic. They sack Jorland's Run and move on to take Orland. Ogres from the Saltcliffs reinforce them.
Dulim society is brutal and dangerous. The threat does not come so much from the environment of the Dark Deeps, though it is harsh, nor from the attacks of other evil races, though they do wage war against the dulim; rather, the largest threat to any drow comes from other drow. Dark Elf society is a hotbed of political machination, backstabbing, and assassination. A drow, male or female, who makes it to the age of fading is a rare drow indeed.
Drow Society pays very little attention to gender as a rule. As with any humanoid race, males and females come together to procreate, but that is where traditional male and female designations end. The dulim pay close attention to their youngsters and spend much time searching for their calling. Indeed, an individual's calling is very important to the dulim. They believe that their patron goddess Salystra has a plan for each and every one of them. Each individual strives to maximize power throughout life. No roles are proscribed to females or males. It is only power that matters. When two or more people need to eat, the least powerful cooks. When undesirable tasks arise, it is the least powerful dulam that performs those tasks. Households and the larger political and genetic house groupings are often led by a female dulam. In other houses or organizations, a male may rule.
Dulim culture is very sexual, and few sexual acts are considered taboo. Monogamy is almost impossible to find amongst the dulim. Public acts of sexuality take place on a daily basis. The link between sex and procreation is barely acknowledged by the dulim. Pregnancy is often a by-product of sexual relations, but sex is sought for the sake of demonstrating power, asserting dominance, and seeking pleasure. When dulim females do become pregnant, they often end the pregnancy early. Offspring are considered a distraction from the pursuit of power. This serves to keep the dulim race small in numbers as compared to other races, even surface elves. However, the dulim are a very powerful race as a whole.
There is a class of female dulim, almost a cult really, that draw their power in society from their ability to breed. Fertility is often thought of as a drawback by many female dulim, but not amongst these special females. These females have a particular religious designation and are considered sacred, although they have a small following and wield little real power. It is with them that the future of the race largely lies, and even more important to most dulim scholars, it is these breeders that help increase the power of the patron Goddess of the dulim, Salystra. These females are promiscuous like all drow, but they derive huge amounts of pleasure from the act of childbirth itself. Dulim sexual acts are often sado-masochistic, and the combined pain and pleasure that childbirth brings to these female dulim keeps them ever seeking pregnancy. Potions, magic, and other means are used to keep their fertility levels high, and they jealously guard a secret magic that shortens their gestation time from the normal 12 months for their race to 11 months. Childbirth among the females of this cult is a time of religious celebration and intense rituals. Salystra's magic is used wantonly at this time to heighten all types of pleasurable activities culminating in the birth of the child. This group of exceedingly devout female dulim cares little for the children they produce and immediately give them up for adoption. These offspring are prized by other drow, though, for they are considered a gift from Salystra herself. This cultish group remains small, for the members are extreme pleasure seekers, and it is power that runs dulim society. Thus the female breeders never achieve high levels of personal power. They are, however, revered and respected by society in general for the necessary role that they perform. Most dulim value their children as the future of their race. This is important not only for the glory of their race but also to increase the number of worshippers of their patron goddess.
Once born, the dulim consider it very important that their young be thoroughly educated. The early years of a dulam are very rigidly controlled. Almost all offspring are placed at birth in a ward that simultaneously serves as a nursery and a school. Their education is strictly organized around religious teachings, and therefore most dulim are extremely religious upon achieving adulthood. During school years, young dulim are given a ward name, which is usually short, such as "Gar' or "Mele'. Upon graduation from their ward, dulim are awarded their second name. Thus an adult may be named "Gar'zax' or "Mele'gurtha.' The headmaster of the school is always a high-ranking member of the clergy. Secular and practical education is also taught in school, but mostly as they pertain to the greater goal of worshipping Salystra. Most practical education occurs during adulthood, though all dulim leave their ward with a chosen profession and some skill in this area. Classmates often become close friends and can even enter into a kin relationship. Equally common, however, is for ward mates to become lifelong enemies. It is not uncommon for recent graduates to kill one another once they are free of the ward's strict rules.
Once in adult society, a dulam often but not always takes a life partner or two, and in rare cases several partners. These couples, triads, or groups establish a household and share their resources to enhance their collective power in the society. They sometimes decide to raise young dulim who are either biologically related or adopted. Biological relatives are unimportant to the dulim. It is the adults and siblings that an individual grows up with that are considered an individual's family. Couples and triads that establish households may be same-sex or of mixed gender. In fact, gender matters little in the making of the match. It is usually sexual, but is also determined by strong friendship.
These bonds take place within larger extended families, called Houses. Every drow owes allegiance to one of these Houses. Dulim Houses are constantly vying for prestige, trying to curry favor in the eyes of the rulers of each city. The current level of favor that the rulers--usually the theocrats-- convey on each House provides a rough societal hierarchy. This hierarchy changes with time, however, as some Houses rise in esteem and others fall.
Dulim society is focused on power, and the best way to gain personal power is either to take it or to be granted it by the Serpent Goddess. Therefore the average drow spends her day scheming or worshipping. She dreams up plots by which she can try to rise within the ranks of her House, either by assassinating rivals or by currying favor with the current head of the House. Similarly, she machinates to improve the rank of her House in the community hierarchy, perhaps by framing another House or causing a project that another house is currently undertaking to fail. Occasionally, such scheming causes open warfare to break out between Houses, although the community rulers usually put a stop to such open hostilities (drow prefer their violence to be silent and sneaky). When she is not plotting, she spends a great deal of time worshipping Salystra. The importance of worshipping the Goddess is instilled in each drow during their rearing, and they take it very seriously. There is a practical reason for such worship, however: every drow hopes that if her prayers to Salystra are fervent enough, the goddess will grant her special favor and power in society and allow her to achieve the things that her scheming alone has failed to provide.
When not praying or machinating, a drow either takes care of the mundane workings of her daily life (like overseeing her slaves and keeping them in line, or taking care of her finances) or, more likely, she engages in one of many perverted leisure time activities. She may partake in sexual activities with her slaves or with other drow of her station (but never with drow beneath her station), she may partake of various drugs or hallucinatory substances, or she may host a torture show for her peers (all of whom are scheming to supplant her). In this popular drow pastime, a slave or criminal is tormented in artful, creative ways; the object is to produce a "scream symphony."
Whatever her daily activities, a drow's life is never dull.
While dulim are heavily involved in the planning of almost all projects concerning their communities, the dark elves leave almost every "practical craft," like the construction of furniture, textiles, food preparation, tools and implements, to their slave races. Since the dulim stemmed originally from the elves of Al-Dustriel, however, they still prize artistic objects and artistry. Certain dulim Houses, like House Ark'vax, are known for producing talented artists, and the influence of such houses increases because of this. Dark elves sculpt, paint, and craft jewelry, except their art is often described by surface races as "twisted," meaning that it has the typical slim, graceful, ornate appearance of the crafts produced by surface elves, but it appears somehow alien. It tends to have strange lines, and blade-like protuberances reminiscent of fangs often jut from the crafted object in places where such protuberances would have no function. Serpents, skulls, images of sexual perversions, and other dark themes serve as ornamentation on crafted items and as subjects of paintings.
Dulim also craft implements and tools of torture, especially sexual torture. They see these tools as objects of art the same as any sculpture or painting, and drow take as much care in creating and ornamenting these devices as they do with their more traditional artistic creations.
The only other things dulim make with their hands are weapons. They often forge their own longswords, daggers, and crossbows. Their favorite implement to construct, however, is the Dulim War Gauntlet. This is a metal and leather glove that is covered with all manner of strange protuberances and plates. With the press of a hidden button, the thin blades, hooks, and corkscrews spring forth. Dulim do not use these gauntlets to punch, as the races of the surface often use their own war gauntlets. Rather, the dark elves employ these weapons in a graceful and dexterous combat style that looks like a dance, wherein any slight touch with the gauntlet will produce wicked, torturous lacerations on exposed flesh.
Interaction with Other Races
The dulim without exception consider themselves a superior race. A powerful drow subculture considers medusas and nagas quite mighty as well, but instances of any other race achieving any real power is almost unheard of in dulim society. For the most part, the dulim interact with other races in violent ways. They often make concerted efforts to wipe out entire colonies of rival races that they encounter. Their usually-superior tactics in warfare commonly enable them to do so quite easily. They do, however, realize the great benefit to their society of taking other races as slaves. In fact, dulim society is entirely dependent on slavery. Only in matters of religion are slaves usually completely absent, but even that realm occasionally sees a member of another race performing at a high level capacity. In some cases child rearing is even left to the slaves, though most dulim see this as quite dangerous to the future of their race.
The dulim as a rule are haughty, domineering, and power hungry. Dulim culture is mainly based upon personal power, so dulim to an extent strive to keep the numbers of their race limited. The fewer dulim there are the less competition exists, these dulim believe. Instances of infanticide and the murder of young children are not uncommon. Although most dulim are intelligent enough to respect the emergence of powerful and talented individuals, it is not uncommon for adults to dispose of a young dulam who is showing too much promise and is likely to surpass his or her teacher. Many dulim suffer from a deep passionate self-hatred of their own race. These dulim mostly belong to a subculture that often look to naga or medusa as more advanced creatures.
One of the most interesting races that the dulim interact with is the yuan-ti. These half snake half humanoids were created by the dulim themselves through genetic engineering. Ever fascinated by serpents, the symbol of their goddess Salystra, dulim wizards attempted to create a master race by crossing serpents and humanoids. The experiments went well for many centuries, but the dulim failed to account for the racial empathy the yuan-ti felt for each other. Eventually the new race was able to break free from the yoke of their creators and successfully start their own society. To this day they are a difficult foe for the Dulim. Many yuan-ti are still present in dulim cities, but great care is kept to ensure they have no contact with one another. They are usually kept in positions of great solitude.
The dulim race considers genocide a glorious and unholy undertaking. They claim that the gods didn't plan for there to be a multitude of races on and within Núrion and that the drow are involved in a cleansing war to finish the sloppy job the gods started when they created intelligent life on Núrion. Each god has his or her chosen race, and the world should be reduced to at least these few. Though a few other races worship Salystra, the dulim and their slaves are her main worshippers. The dulim point to this fact as evidence of her superiority over the original gods. She is an evolved deity just as they have evolved from their surface beginnings. An even loftier goal would be for the drow to someday rid the world of all other races save Salystra's chosen race. The dulim often point to their claim to have completely exterminated the race commonly known as the deep gnomes or svirfneblin as a demonstration of their ability to cleanse the world of inferior races. These claims have not been substantiated, but sightings of gnomes in the Dark Deeps are rare.
Medusas and naga are sometimes able to hold high-level positions in drow society. Some even consider them sacred. Medusas are often prized by sculptors for their ability to petrify their prey. Dulim sculptors have been known to use these ready-made statues as their starting point for great works of art. Nagas are prized for their ability to read thoughts, and many successful politicians will buy a naga slave early in their political career. These human-headed serpents are also prized as guards for their abilities, and wealthy dulim often use naga as watch-creatures.
The aboleth and the strange, alien squid-headed race are two of the most troublesome races for the dulim. The power and cunning of these races make the practice of keeping members of their races as slaves extremely rare but not unheard of. The alien Squid-headed monstrosities that rule their own cities through mental domination are rare in dulim cities, although they can sometimes be seen trading and doing business with the dulim. The drow are loath to attack them as they usually would another race, for historic attempts have been mostly disastrous. These creatures in turn seem to be content for now to trade with the dulim, although disappearances of drow expeditions through the territory of these creatures suggest that the Squid-headed monstrosities may be biding their time. The aboleth are never seen in dulim society due to their aquatic environment. The aboleth and the dulim have for the most part enjoyed an uneasy truce due to the great power of both races and the difficulty of waging war in their very different environments. The proximity of the aboleth to Xath'dustel (located under the Hills of Horror), the site of the original dulim city, encourages continued interaction. Many scholars believe, however, that both of these races would happily destroy the other if they had the opportunity.
The duergar are another powerful race in the Dark Deeps. They are valuable trading partners of the dulim, as they excel in craftsmanship like their surface cousins. Dulim cities of any size are often located near duergar settlements, and they reap mutual benefit. This arrangement does not stop the dulim from keeping duergar slaves, however, though such slaves are more rare than many of the other races. Some of the more common slave races found in dulim cities are derro, humans, kobolds, lizard-men, grimlocks, orcs, goblins, and hobgoblins. Whatever the race, the dulim attempt to assert their dominance early and often and foster a master-slave relationship whenever possible.
Drow elves are not above mating with slaves of other races for their own sexual pleasure. Female drow would never carry the offspring of such a union to term, but male drow may for their own amusement impregnate female slaves of other races. The result is a half-drow. Half drow truly have the worst of both worlds-- they are looked upon by other races as drow and by the drow race as slaves. Still, they have their own unique gifts that might allow them to make something of their low social position.
Improved Darkvision. This ability replaces the half-elf ability Darkvision. Your drow blood gives your darkvision a range of 90 feet.
Half-Drow Magic. This ability replaces the half-elf ability Skill Versatility. You know the dancing lights cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the faerie fire spell once per day. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.
- Half-Drow Languages: Mordularian, Dark Speech, choice of one other language.
Religion, or more specifically, worship of Salystra the Serpent Queen, encompasses much of the daily life of the dulim. In truth, had it not been for Salystra, the race of dulim would not even have existed.
Dulim society is a strict theocracy, with the most powerful cleric of Salystra as leader. All aspects of the society are controlled by the clergy, including schools, nurseries and the military.
Four times each day-typically during mealtimes and right before nightly meditations-all servants of Salystra are required to devote ten minutes in prayer to the dark lady. Slaves and servants of the dulim are also required to lift up Salystra's name in prayer as well during these same periods, although they are never allowed to become clerics. Worship of other deities is absolutely prohibited in dulim society, with offenders quickly put to death at the sacrificial altar of the Serpent Queen.
There are two main high holy days in the worship of Salystra, known as Apartiax and Nepartiax. Apartiax occurs during mid-summer as known on the surface. It is at this time that the constellation of the Swan of Tal-Allustiel is closest to Núrion. This is a time of celebration and feasting among the dulim, where they give thanks to Salystra for their bounty. Nepartiax occurs during mid-winter and is the time at which the constellation is furthest from Núrion. During this time, the dulim sacrifice slaves and plead for Salystra to once again shine her favor on them.
Clerics of Salystra may choose from the Malice, Magic and Trickery domains. All clerics of Salystra are proficient with whips.
When certain drow of above-average ability reach sixth level, their goddess Salystra tests them. Although these tests vary, they are uniformly nasty. Those drow who fail are transformed into hideous half-snake half-elves called Drasps, and they become outcasts from dulim society.
As elves, dulim benefit from those magical abilities, like immunity to ghoul touch, lack of a need to sleep, resistance to charm, and resistance to cold and disease, that the swan of Tal-Allustiel grants the entire race. As possessors of the Silver City, however, the dark elves are further steeped in magic. This city, itself a magical artifact, grants all drow further powers, such as darkness, dancing lights, faerie fire, and resistance to magic, especially compulsion magics.
Being imbued with this power, an exceptionally high portion of dulim choose the mystical arts, as the large numbers of slaves leave much free time for such learning. Magic is taught to dulim early in their lives by the church-run schools, where all dulim children learn to master their inherent abilities.
While arcane magic is not uncommon in their society, most consider it inferior to clerical magic. Despite this conception, many dulim societies host large cadres of arcane magic wielders, who often gather together to share spells and magical items for mutual gain.
Dulim spellcasters, both divine and arcane, tend to specialize in mind-influencing and compulsions spells. They also show particular aptitude in the creation and use of magical items that relate to serpents. Many magic items currently in existence were created by dulim, including the Thrall's Collar, Eyes of Charming, and Rods of the Python and Viper.
Dulim spellcasters have also mastered the art of creating intelligent weapons by binding the soul of a creature inside of a magical item. This process is quiet rare, however, for it not only requires a subject to transfer into the item but also absorbs much of the life force of the caster. Despite these drawbacks, several items, many of which have artifact-level power, have been enchanted in this way.
The dulim, although they are generally cruel and murderous by their very nature and will go out of their way to be so, rarely risk their own lives on the field of battle. In every walk of dulim life, slavery is commonplace and the dulim battlefield is no exception. A dulim army, if one can call it such, consists of relatively few dulim. Poorly equipped slave races make up the bulk of such a force, be they kobolds, orcs, goblinoids, derro, humans, or other sub-human races.
In battle the slaves are ruled with an iron fist and many are usually culled for cowardice before a battle even starts. If the dulim ever bring themselves to fight in the front lines or are forced to do so, those without the luxury of advanced magical training pride themselves on being equipped with the finest armors, weapons and poisons. Such dulim usually fight in a loose skirmish formation and use their magical darkness ability to throw the enemy into disarray. Or, if fighting in darkness, they will use their minor illusion spells in an attempt to confuse the enemy before striking in a swift and deadly fashion, often with their famous Dulim War Gauntlets. If darkness did not cloak their movements, drow skirmishing hand-to-hand with these weapons would appear to be engaging in a vicious, bloody dance.
Those that do possess powerful magical and clerical abilities tend to be captains or commanders of such a force, and will, in general, use such spells and abilities primarily to protect themselves and to harm, trick or control their enemies. Thoughts of protecting allies very rarely cross a dulim's self-centered mind, though they have been known to do so if it is in their best interest, a fact that many of the dulims' more intelligent adversaries have taken advantage of in the past.
A dulim values his virtual immortality greatly, and will do his best to preserve his own life, in heartless and often selfish ways. Be it through vastly superior strength of arms, underhand uses of poisons and magic, a wall of a thousand expendable slaves, or even flight, a dulim will never fight fairly if he or she can help it, and least of all will a dulim willingly give up its own life, no matter what the cause.
Uniqueness of Farland Drow
Besides their cultural differences, dulim in Farland differ from drow in other worlds in two major ways: their fading and the source of their innate magical abilities. First, the fact that the route to Faerie has been cut off and has thus doomed them to a living death unknown among surface elves fills drow with a unique bitterness and anger stronger than that of drow on other worlds. The dulim hate life and surface elves with a burning enmity to match the fire in their souls that eventually burns away their bodies and causes their fading. Second, drow get their drow magic and their common magical abilities from their possession of their Silver Artifact City. This makes the individual dulim more dangerous and powerful than the average surface elf, but the fact that the city could one day fall into enemy hands means that their racial powers could potentially be removed. The drow know this and thus keep the city's existence a closely guarded secret. They fear the day that their sacred site might slip from their grasp.