Drow live underground. As a consequence, their skin has grown almost transparently white, because why would they need melanin? It doesn’t make sense that they would have even more pigmentation than surface elves. Therefore, they don’t. They are incredibly pale. Their hair is pale, and their eyes are pale but it’s hard to tell because they’re so massively dilated all the time so that they can see. You might think they had very dark colored eyes, in fact, because of how big their pupils get.
The drow are organized within their colonies into Houses.
Some Houses have more power and affluence than others. The most noble of drow are those who bear the House names, and of those, there’s still a main family. But each House comprises many families who may have married in, sworn allegiances, owed a debt, or even been bought. Regardless of why a person is a member of their House, even if they’re a servant, it’s still a matter of pride and even necessity to have a House to belong to. Drow without Houses are outcasts, with no protection or support.
Their culture tends to be competitive, with an emphasis on maintaining dignity and keeping cool like all the time. That means that everybody competes to be at the top of the pack in their chosen pursuit, while skillfully pretending that they’re not competing at all.
To the Drow, it’s genuinely puzzling to not have any ambition. Aspiring to be the best may make life a bit cutthroat at times, but everybody is pretty driven, and effort is respected. It’s naturally assumed that everybody has some ultimate goal or other that they’re striving for, even if it’s not always clear. An unmotivated person is a true abnormality in Drow culture.
Because ambitions are so integral to their society, a common act of kindness is to help others along towards achieving their goals when you can, as long as they don’t conflict with yours.
For the most part, Drow are very Drow-oriented. They live underground, after all. Sometimes, at night, they come up to the surface to trade, raid, party, or whatever. They’re viewed as nightmarish monsters because of their tendencies to just emerge from seemingly nowhere at night, with their pallid, ghostly skin and unclear intentions. Some cultures on the surface tell their children that the Drow will hunt them if they’re not in by nightfall, to get them to obey a curfew.
Since the Drow don’t really give surface-dwellers a second thought, they often depersonalize them, resulting in some pretty savage raids and oppressive attack campaigns. The people who are attacked by Drow, or hear the scary stories associated with them, have no real outlet to seek revenge, recompense, or even to see them in any other more normal context for balance. The Drow spend all their regular, morally-varied, hanging with family and friends, doing chores time in the Underdark, far away from the common folk.
Surface Elves especially hate the Drow, which doesn’t help things either, since common folk are much more trusting of Elves.
There are 9 Drow colonies in Gantórran.
A century ago there were 10, but the great Tarantula colony fell to ruin and now is lost. Survivors of the colony fled and took refuge in sister colonies. Usually the Drow are not accepting of intruders or competition, they’re definitely not likely to take in refugees, but the Tarantulas were accepted because of their honored status. None spoke at all of of the downfall, and now that time has passed, the mystery has aged into legend.
The Houses marked with a (†) are Tarantula colony Houses. Many of the survivors who fled (Houses fled together, or at least met up where they knew their best allies were) were able to reassert themselves as prominent families.
The Colonies are:
- Bluebloom †
- Goliath †
- Greenbottle †
The Jumping Colony is beneath the island that is now the human kingdom Lorop. It is the second largest colony with a population of 2.7 million drow. The nations of Jumping and Lorop actually get along quite well. The total population of Jumping is closer to 3.5 million if you take immigration into consideration.
The Netcaster Colony is below the southern mountain range in Dathannachy. These are the Drow that most frequently emerge from their city to walk the surface at night. The Netcaster population is 1.9 million.
- Lesserblack †
The Pipeweb Colony is beneath the southermost island of the Third Realm. Its population is 2.2 million.
- Bloodleg †
- Graysmoke †
- Yellowknee †
The Spiralorb colony is under the western mountains of the Third Realm. It’s one of the largest Drow colonies with 3 million inhabitants.
The Tangleweb Colony is located under the northern coastline of the Third Realm, along
whatever that bay up there is, west of Galangal. It’s got a population of 1.8 million.
The Trapdoor Colony is the smallest of the Nine Colonies, under the northern mountains of the Wrecked Country. Its population is about 1.2 million.
The Waterhunter Colony is beneath the
Bigass Island off the west coast of the Third realm. Its population is 2.2 million.
- Rustred †