Dungeons & Dragons (D&D)
If the only thing that comes to mind is a deep dark cave with a nasty dragon caught in it, then I might make the safe assumption that you do not know this role playing game. When you guess it is just another fantasy computer game, you probably have not heard about the “real” thing.
Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 is a fantasy role-playing game (RPG). D&D assigns each player of the group a specific character, who embark together upon imaginary adventures within a fantasy setting. A Dungeon Master (DM) serves as the game’s referee and storyteller, while also maintaining the setting in which the adventures occur. The characters form a party that interacts with the setting’s inhabitants (and each other). Together they solve dilemmas, engage in battles and gather treasure and knowledge. In the process the characters earn experience points to become increasingly powerful over a series of sessions.
No computers, though no real swords or capes either. Only the imagination of the DM and his players, handbooks, little figurines and pen & paper.
I wrote about it on Figments of a Dutchess before, when we were still roaming The Old Empires. The chilling end fight has not found its way to the blog world of the Dungeon Dutchess… yet! The writing is somewhat delayed by the necessity of reporting about the new campaign: The Underdark first.
This new adventure takes place underground! Yep, under the ground! There is a vast subterranean network of interconnected tunnels and caverns, stretching beneath entire continents. The Underdark is inhabited by lots of strange and sinister creatures. Believe me, you would not want to go there on a Sunday stroll!
Living in the dark, apart from an occasional phosphorescent fungus, does not bring out trust and confidence. Nearly all of the creatures and races are of a hostile nature. There is hardly any natural food, since most of the vegetation is poisonous.
Welcome to the empire of the Drow!
In ages past, the elves were torn by discord and warfare, driving out from their surface lands their selfish and cruel members, who sought safety in the underworld. These creatures, later known as the “dark elvenfolk” or drow, grew strong in the arcane arts over the centuries and content with their gloomy fairyland beneath the earth, though they still bear enmity towards and seek revenge against their distant kin, the elves and faeries who drove them down.
They are described as chaotic evil in alignment, and highly intelligent. They are described as black-skinned and pale haired in appearance, around 5-feet tall and slight of build with somewhat sharp features, with large eyes and large pointed ears. Their equipment (magical boots and cloaks, and fine mesh armor similar to chainmail) is black in color and described as being empowered by exposure to the strange radiations of the Drow homeland, losing this power and eventually falling apart when exposed to direct sunlight and kept from the radiation for too long.
Females are inherently more powerful than males, and only females may be clerics or fighter/clerics; male drow are commonly fighters, magic-users, or both classes at once. Drow move silently and with a graceful quickness, even when wearing their armor, and blend into shadows with ease. They carry long daggers and short swords of an adamantite alloy and small one-handed crossbows which shoot darts carrying a poison that causes unconsciousness.
Drow are difficult to surprise as they are able to see very well in the dark, have an intuitive sense about their underground world similar to that of dwarves, and can detect hidden or secret doors as easily as other elves do. Drow are highly resistant to magic, while all drow have the ability to use some inherent magical abilities even if they are not strictly spellcasters.
There are rumors of vast caverns housing whole cities of drow which exist somewhere deep beneath the earth, and now that the drow have dwelled in these dark labyrinthe places they dislike daylight and other forms of bright light as it hampers their abilities. They are able to communicate using a silent language composed of hand movements, and when coupled with facial and body expression, movement, and posture, this form of communication is the equal of any spoken language.
Do you know what the fun – and yet extremely difficult – part is? I am playing a drow cleric, named Lilith Xaniqos. A female! Drow consider themselves superior to other races. Furthermore drow women, especially clerics, are superior to males! How about that? Arrogant and suspicious, all is about power and dominance. While role playing, I expect males to simply obey. And if not, I punish them or worse. Of course others can not stand me and will plot against me if I carry it too far.
Me! Playing a bitch! While I always play the balancing part, holding people, nature and animals in high reverence. Druid, paladin. Goodie good characters. Can you now understand what is the difficult part? If someone is attacked, a slave, I can not run to the rescue noooo, I just ignore the poor bastard. Or even help him to the other side! How cruel and awful. Horror! LOL. Only acts that help my House or the Spider Queen Lolth are worthy.