Making a non-evil Drow


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König Drosselbart wrote:
@Cyrad: Did you read the description of the "Lantern Lighters"? Apparently not.

No need to be hostile. My post addresses the general issue of playing non-evil drow. I'm trying to help -- not rain on everyone's parade. If there's a drow character that overcomes the issues I listed, then all power to them!

König Drosselbart wrote:
So, explain to me how this is "going against established lore", if it comes from those that established the lore in the first place. I mean, Paizo introduced a good orc and a redeemed succubus too - so why shouldn't there be good drow around?

Listing rare exceptions does little to help your argument. That doesn't change the fact that a drow character needs a very compelling reason to not be evil because canon firmly establishes drow as having an evil culture motivated by hatred and lust for power. It's also worth noting that the Lantern Lighters are not prevelant enough for Paizo leadership to allow any character with drow heritage in Pathfinder Society.

König Drosselbart wrote:
And what are those "cynical reasons" you are talking about?

Creating a PC that -- in the perception of fellow GMs and players -- compromises the integrity of the setting's lore and atmosphere is a cynical decision. It is cynical to create a character at the expense of the lore and the fun of your fellow players and GM.

König Drosselbart wrote:
Clichés are not necessarily a bad thing. It is cliché to play a wise old wizard too, or an aloof elven archer, or a grumpy dwarven fighter, but while these clichés are expected and encouraged, playing a good drow is reviled. Seems hypocritical to me.

Cliches are bad because they're inherently boring and uncreative. Most players and GMs prefer to share a table with someone who brings an interesting or creative character because they're more fun to play with.

König Drosselbart wrote:

It doesn't take any more work and cooperation than playing a half-orc, or a tiefling.

Speaking of half-orcs, how do you feel about half-drow?

Half-orcs and tieflings are different because they have highly diverse canon cultures. In addition, playing a half-orc or a tiefling against type is not a cliche.

Half-drow can still suffer from the issues I listed.


Ryan Freire wrote:
blahpers wrote:
Nothing wrong with a non-evil dark elf. Frankly, more than half the offensiveness of Drizzt-and-clones is the "racially evil" garbage Golarion (and Forgotten Realms before that) use for dark elves in the first place. The rest is angsty "I'm the only one of my people who gets it" pap; the above simply makes it an easier model to realize. Non-evil dark elves don't seem that cliché when you have entire societies of dark elves with alignment distributions comparable to those on the surface.

I mean....comparable to orc societies, where the mean is chaotic evil and demon worship is the state religion.

Its not at all like tieflings or half orcs who are, generally raised among baseline neutral societies. Very few of which make demon worship the state religion (cheliax excepted)

Congenital evil in orcs is just as silly as it is in dark elves.


blahpers wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
blahpers wrote:
Nothing wrong with a non-evil dark elf. Frankly, more than half the offensiveness of Drizzt-and-clones is the "racially evil" garbage Golarion (and Forgotten Realms before that) use for dark elves in the first place. The rest is angsty "I'm the only one of my people who gets it" pap; the above simply makes it an easier model to realize. Non-evil dark elves don't seem that cliché when you have entire societies of dark elves with alignment distributions comparable to those on the surface.

I mean....comparable to orc societies, where the mean is chaotic evil and demon worship is the state religion.

Its not at all like tieflings or half orcs who are, generally raised among baseline neutral societies. Very few of which make demon worship the state religion (cheliax excepted)

Congenital evil in orcs is just as silly as it is in dark elves.

Socialized evil, not congenital.

Particularly if, you REALLY want to dig into it. Say a species has a genetic/hormonal tendency to aggression, and is raised in a society that not only encourages it, demands it to survive to adulthood and routinely devalues the lives of non members. Add to the mix demon worship or actual power granting deities whose demands for that power include making war on others, pillage, slavery and sentient being sacrifice.

Its not that far fetched to imagine 99.99999% of the people who actually survive to adulthood in those conditions sit somewhere close to the societal mean.


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@Cyrad: I understand that written communication lacks the means of face-to-face communication, but I can assure you that I wasn't being hostile.

Let's put it this way: The existence of drow isn't even common knowledge, for most people a drow would just be a strange looking elf. Yes, there are APs and settings where they'd have no place and you need to talk to your group and your DM about it in any case, but even at worst it is not worse than playing an orc and the "Carrion Crown Player's Guide" even lists playing an orc as a possibility - with all due caution of course. But all this contempt for drow PCs really just seems irrational. Having to put more thought into the backstory is hardly a bad thing.

Heck, playing an orc would be even worse, because many, if not most people wouldn't recognize a drow for what he is, but most, if not all people would recognize an orc for what he is. That brings us the the question of half-orcs. Playing half-orcs and tieflings should be even more disruptive than playing a half-drow. Do you really think that the common people recognize a half-orc as a half-orc? I'd figure that many could and would mistake them for an orc, or a tiefling for a demon, while a half-drow (or a pure-blooded drow for that matter) would just seem like a strange looking elf to them.

Pointing towards the good orc and the redeemed succubus (and the occasional neutral undead) just serves to show that in every evil race there are exceptions and to show that the notion that there can be no good drow at all is, quite frankly, ridiculous. I do agree with you that this doesn't automatically mean that they'd make good PC races, but generally speaking the occasional good drow is not as game-breaking as many people make it out to be. Certainly not more so than a good orc and arguably not a lot more than tieflings, half-orcs, skinwalkers and dhampirs.
Heck, with all those kitsune, skinwalkers, grippli, tengu, catfolk, dhampirs, ratfolk and the phletora of other exotic races, many an adventuring group is such a freak-show that a drow would be the most normal of them.

Clichés can be bad, but they can just as well be tools to create a good story with. Pretty much every adventurer group is a walking cliché anyway and if you want to avoid each and every cliché there is, you'd be sitting in front of a blank character sheet. Thus I fail to see how the good drow/orc/[other generic evil race] is worse than, for example, the grumpy, hard-drinking, swearing dwarven fighter with a fondness for good ale and a dislike for "pointy-eared pansies".
At best an unusual race brings a lot of interesting story and roleplay potential to the table.

Cyrad wrote:
In addition, playing a half-orc or a tiefling against type is not a cliche.

So, playing a tiefling or half-orc against type is not cliché, but playing a drow against type is? Doesn't sound logical to me.

@Ryan Freire: And yet Paizo has officially mentioned a good orc, so there is that.
The notion that a race of roughly human intellect and mental capabilities would be always chaotic evil, without exception, streches believability more than the occasional individual and the occasional hidden community that is good.

Half-orcs and tieflings may potentially have been raised by someone who instills a sense of right and wrong into them, but that doesn't mean that strangers they meet are going to assume that automatically. They see someone that looks like an orc (in the case of half-orcs), or someone that looks like a demon (in the case of tieflings) - if it were true that a good drow would get shot full of arrows in any settlement before he had a chance to say a word, half-orcs and tieflings would meet the same fate.
Or we assume that good and/or law-abiding citizens generally won't kill someone preventatively.


How many good orcs and demons has paizo mentioned in all their products?

Like one of each?

Edit: I mean there's literally nothing stopping you from troping up another "from an evil race/family/group but twue wuv changed me" character. Its just not innovative new or interesting in any way and always seems like a rp justification to play a higher powered race.

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In addition to the good orc that fathered a paladin, there's a tribe of good-aligned Sarenrae-worshiping orcs in Belkzen.

Only one good demon - that is supposed to be impossible.


Ryan Freire wrote:
I mean there's literally nothing stopping you from troping up another "from an evil race/family/group but twue wuv changed me" character. Its just not innovative new or interesting in any way and always seems like a rp justification to play a higher powered race.

I haven't said that the proposed backstory at the start of this thread is in any way innovative, I was just commenting on the bite reflex that grips some people whenever they hear, or read the sentence: "I want to play a good drow". No, neither have I played one, nor do I plan on playing one, but the aforementioned bite reflex is just irrational, especially if it is limited to drow. And I strongly dislike the notion of an always chaotic evil race that is always chaotic evil, down to the very last member. (And I am not talking about demons and undead in general, since they are no born race, they are more or less evil incarnate - but if even amongst them there are some individuals that are not evil, then this is all the more reason that there are a few good drow somewhere, presumably forming small communities).

Maybe, just maybe even I myself would secretly roll my eyes, if I heard that sentence, but not because I think that specifically playing drow would be such a hideous act, but because I prefer more "normal" races in general (core races plus maybe aasimar, tiefling and changeling). I would equally roll my eyes if someone would play a kitsune, or a grippli, or a tengu, or an orc, or a kobold, or some other freak-show race. Half-drow on the other hand should be okay and not be handled any differently than half-orcs.


König Drosselbart wrote:

And I strongly dislike the notion of an always chaotic evil race that is always chaotic evil, down to the very last member.

People always have to fall back to that strawman in these discussions because wanting to limit the exceptions to the rule in a campaign is a lot harder to argue against than this thing no one claims.


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In the end play what you want as long as you enjoy it and the group is supportive.

Evil Aasimar - cool
Friendly Tiefling - neat
Halfling with a soul - interesting

If you need any more proof that non-evil Drow exist look up the Blossoming Light Cleric archetype from the Adventurer's guide.

"These clerics are increasingly at the vanguard of the organization's efforts to redeem the fallen, particularly Drow who seek to escape their society's strictures."


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Ryan Freire wrote:
König Drosselbart wrote:

And I strongly dislike the notion of an always chaotic evil race that is always chaotic evil, down to the very last member.

People always have to fall back to that strawman in these discussions because wanting to limit the exceptions to the rule in a campaign is a lot harder to argue against than this thing no one claims.

I beg your pardon, how exactly is this a strawman argument? You have argued that the drow are depicted as being always chaotic evil, as do most of the people who are vehemently opposed to playing a drow and I responded to that.

I suggest that you refrain from making unsubstantiated claims of strawman arguments and keep the discussion constructive.


No one has said drow are all always chaotic evil, many have argued that non evil drow should be exceedingly rare. I personally argued that many races are socialized evil and that surviving to adulthood in their society is going to be nigh impossible for good aligned beings. You've dipped directly back to the strawman in the very course of protesting against being called on it.


Ryan Freire wrote:
Its not that far fetched to imagine 99.99999% of the people who actually survive to adulthood in those conditions sit somewhere close to the societal mean.

That sounds pretty close to "always chaotic evil" to me. And the notion that a society that is 99,99999% evil in a way the drow are depicted would even survive for a decade is far fetched indeed. (If you reread my statement that you quoted, you'll notice that I didn't say that only "being born evil" bothers me. A race that is supposed to be socialized as always chaotic evil and every member that survives wants it to stay that way is just as ludicrous.)

Yes, good drow should be rare, but not 0,00001% rare. Logically there should be small communities of good drow, akin to the tribe of Sarenrae-worshipping orcs.


Your non-evil drow could've spent a couple decades living in some mortal community that wouldn't give two figs about a person being an elf with an unusual palette - places like Kaer Maga (which is practically a city of outcasts) or Quantum (which has a serious case of "anything goes" - up to and including having an invisible stalker(!) and an openly practicing demon cultist on the city council).

The Lantern Bearers' homicidal agenda's pretty irrelevant if you live in area where they don't have squat for influence. They don't have the numbers to be everywhere.

For example, I'm pretty sure a drow could just openly live in Cheliax; their biggest concern there would be getting mistaken for some sort of tiefling.


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evil drow > good drow

there's no contest. Drizzt was badass. But that's because he's singular. All other good drow are dross.


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That no one has mentioned Jarlaxle at all has saddened me.


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Belraist wrote:
That no one has mentioned Jarlaxle at all has saddened me.

Jarlaxle being made an anti-hero saddened me.


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I seem to recall reading a Forgotten Realms novel that had a chaotic neutral priestess of Lolth as a main character. She was obviously no Drizzt clone, and she would have made a fine PC.


Belraist wrote:
That no one has mentioned Jarlaxle at all has saddened me.

I still owe Jarlassh$&@ a righteous beat down from his Baldur’s Gate 2 shenanigans. Some wounds never heal...


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In Golarion, Drow have literally been changed at the genetic level by demon worship. I think that is a fair reason to make good Drow exceedingly rare.

I do believe that a good campaign world should distinguish between violent and savage races and intrinsically evil ones, and give some sort of reason for the later. Tolkien Orcs, for example, were created beings made from Elves in some fashion and probably didn't have enough free will to be anything but evil. The men that served Sauron were not intrinsically evil, but were certainly dangerous.


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Yet Tolkien himself wasn't happy with the implication that the orcs in his story were always born evil without free will and explicitly didn't exclude the possibility of redemption, even though he didn't expand on that subject.

And staying in Golarion, alu-fiends, the literal childs of literal demons are explicitly described as not being inherently evil. So this should apply ten times as much to a race that is not blood-related to demons and "only" worships them.
And of course we have tieflings, who too are direct descendents of demons and who are also explicitly described as not being inherently evil.

I don't concur with the notion that a good campaign world has to have intrinsically evil mortal races. Quite the contrary. Villains that are evil because they can't help it are no more interesting than animals that kill because they are hungry. (And if drow really are devoid of free will, then they shouldn't have an alignment, similiar to animals.) Interesting villains are those that have a rational motive and the capacity to realize the difference between good and evil.

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Like i mentioned in another thread don't forget that even the Forgotten Realms had the CG Godess Eilistraee for good drow.

Drizzt was not the only one!

But some like it simple and that's okay too.


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It's worth noting that one of the goals of the Lantern Bearers section of the Adventurer's Guide, both from my perspective and Paizo's, was to explicitly show that drow were not "genetically evil" or anything of the sort. Drow culture is evil, but the drow themselves are not inherently so - no more than half-orcs, or changelings, or any other humanoid race.

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König Drosselbart wrote:

Clichés can be bad, but they can just as well be tools to create a good story with. Pretty much every adventurer group is a walking cliché anyway and if you want to avoid each and every cliché there is, you'd be sitting in front of a blank character sheet. Thus I fail to see how the good drow/orc/[other generic evil race] is worse than, for example, the grumpy, hard-drinking, swearing dwarven fighter with a fondness for good ale and a dislike for "pointy-eared pansies".

At best an unusual race brings a lot of interesting story and roleplay potential to the table.

You're confusing cliches with archetypes and stereotype. By definition, cliches are boring, overused, and uncreative tropes. Non-evil drow PCs became cliche because of the popularity of Drizzt clones. And many GMs and players see it as juvenile to cynically create a character at the expense of the integrity of the campaign setting.

I'm not saying one cannot make a drow character. I'm pointing out there are obstacles to doing so. If someone makes a non-evil drow character, they need to make the character interesting and have solid justification for it. Otherwise, most players and GMs will roll their eyes and think the character is boring and uncreative.


@Isabelle Lee: Could you please cite that section of the Adventurer's Guide?


Bearserk wrote:

Like i mentioned in another thread don't forget that even the Forgotten Realms had the CG Godess Eilistraee for good drow.

Drizzt was not the only one!

But some like it simple and that's okay too.

IIRC she got murdered by lloth during some crisis or another.

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Personally, I like the Drow race, but there are a few things people aren't really thinking about. They weren't changed at a near genetic layer by the worship of demon lords. They were changed at that level by proximity to Rovagug, so yes, as far as that goes, they are born evil as, essentially, proto demons. For another, people haven't mentioned the Dark Fate. Elves who have turned to evil, far enough to evil and with certain other circumstances we don't really know about, have spontaneously transformed from your basic surface elves into the new drow model.


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Cyrad wrote:


I'm not saying one cannot make a drow character. I'm pointing out there are obstacles to doing so. If someone makes a non-evil drow character, they need to make the character interesting and have solid justification for it. Otherwise, most players and GMs will roll their eyes and think the character is boring and uncreative.

I agree wholeheartedly with you, with the addition that every character should have a sound backstory, not just a drow.

The differences between clichés, stereotypes and archetypes are very superficial, there are only slight nuances between these three.
Playing a clone of Drizzt is no better or worse than playing a clone of Gimil, Legolas, D'Artagnan, or Old Shatterhand. Falling back to the cliché of "defector of an evil, corupted and debauched society" is not better or worse than the cliché of "poor orphaned outsider who is struggling to find his place in society", or "valiant knight that ventures forth to save the fair maiden he is in love with".

But the widespread automatical assumption that every drow PC is going to be a Drizzt clone is just irrational. (Yes, I know that you didn't state that, this is just a general assessment.)


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Ryan Freire wrote:
Bearserk wrote:

Like i mentioned in another thread don't forget that even the Forgotten Realms had the CG Godess Eilistraee for good drow.

Drizzt was not the only one!

But some like it simple and that's okay too.

IIRC she got murdered by lloth during some crisis or another.

I think she’s back again.

Speaking for myself, good drow were popularised by Drizzt, but in 1E, good drow cavaliers were one of the few class/race combos explicitly listed as being able to ride unicorns, and all drow could wield two one-handed weapons at the same time without penalty.

Speaking as someone who played a LG drow called Chemlak in 1E, wielding two long swords, I just sort of groan at being called a “Drizzt wannabe”. Good drow existed before Drizzt. Play what you want to play.

The Exchange

Ryan Freire wrote:
Bearserk wrote:

Like i mentioned in another thread don't forget that even the Forgotten Realms had the CG Godess Eilistraee for good drow.

Drizzt was not the only one!

But some like it simple and that's okay too.

IIRC she got murdered by lloth during some crisis or another.

Aaand came back like other deitys.

Even Helm is alive and well.

Death not really means a lot in the FR.


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Liriel Baenre is the priestess/wizard that I read about and mentioned earlier. I did an online search for her stats but found them to be all over the place. She appears to have changed her patron deity at least twice.


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There even is an official favoured class bonus for drow paladins in pathfinder. (Yes, real paladins, not antipaladins.)

Val'bryn2 wrote:
They were changed at that level by proximity to Rovagug, so yes, as far as that goes, they are born evil as, essentially, proto demons.

Yet alu-fiends, the literal children of literal demons are explicitly described as not being inherently evil, neither are tieflings, the literal descendents of literal demons.

So, there appear to be two ways to become a drow: Firstly by elves that spontaneously transform into drow, because they are especially vile and are at the same time somehow tainted by Rovagug and and secondly by being born to already transformed elves. Being born shouldn't make them automatically evil, if they retain their free will - a notion that the Adventure's Guide seems to share, because it appears to be stated there that drow are not born evil either, like alu-finds and tieflings.

Maybe they are somewhat predisposed to evil and their society definitely pushes them towards evil, but they are certainly not inherently evil and not born evil.


Ryan Freire wrote:
blahpers wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
blahpers wrote:
Nothing wrong with a non-evil dark elf. Frankly, more than half the offensiveness of Drizzt-and-clones is the "racially evil" garbage Golarion (and Forgotten Realms before that) use for dark elves in the first place. The rest is angsty "I'm the only one of my people who gets it" pap; the above simply makes it an easier model to realize. Non-evil dark elves don't seem that cliché when you have entire societies of dark elves with alignment distributions comparable to those on the surface.

I mean....comparable to orc societies, where the mean is chaotic evil and demon worship is the state religion.

Its not at all like tieflings or half orcs who are, generally raised among baseline neutral societies. Very few of which make demon worship the state religion (cheliax excepted)

Congenital evil in orcs is just as silly as it is in dark elves.

Socialized evil, not congenital.

Particularly if, you REALLY want to dig into it. Say a species has a genetic/hormonal tendency to aggression, and is raised in a society that not only encourages it, demands it to survive to adulthood and routinely devalues the lives of non members. Add to the mix demon worship or actual power granting deities whose demands for that power include making war on others, pillage, slavery and sentient being sacrifice.

Its not that far fetched to imagine 99.99999% of the people who actually survive to adulthood in those conditions sit somewhere close to the societal mean.

And there's my beef: The alignment descriptor for a bestiary entry describes the norm for a species, not a society. So long as that continues to be true, this is going to be a problem. PC races don't have that problem because they get special rules treatment instead of generic "this is a typical member of the species" stat blocks in the bestiary. Nobody expects 99% of humans to have the same alignment and then is surprised when Cheliax has a different alignment distribution than Taldor. Indeed, the Inner Sea World Guide has alignment descriptors for various societies, which is more benefit of the doubt than non-PC races ever get.

TL;DR: Intelligent races should not have alignment entries at all. That should be limited to society write-ups at the broadest.


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König Drosselbart wrote:
Cyrad wrote:


I'm not saying one cannot make a drow character. I'm pointing out there are obstacles to doing so. If someone makes a non-evil drow character, they need to make the character interesting and have solid justification for it. Otherwise, most players and GMs will roll their eyes and think the character is boring and uncreative.

I agree wholeheartedly with you, with the addition that every character should have a sound backstory, not just a drow.

The differences between clichés, stereotypes and archetypes are very superficial, there are only slight nuances between these three.
Playing a clone of Drizzt is no better or worse than playing a clone of Gimil, Legolas, D'Artagnan, or Old Shatterhand. Falling back to the cliché of "defector of an evil, corupted and debauched society" is not better or worse than the cliché of "poor orphaned outsider who is struggling to find his place in society", or "valiant knight that ventures forth to save the fair maiden he is in love with".

But the widespread automatical assumption that every drow PC is going to be a Drizzt clone is just irrational. (Yes, I know that you didn't state that, this is just a general assessment.)

my dad is a fallen space paladin, and i was raised on an abandoned planet, secretly watched over by a hidden space paladin this whole time. when tragedy befalls my adoptive family, i learn the fantastic destiny which is in front of me, and take to space with a motley crew to fight the evil space overlords and my evil space dad.

i am not luke skywalker.

listen, whoever is going to make a drow character who is just trying to be good is going to make Drizzt. It's just what's going to happen. The drow are intentionally one dimensional EVIL in capital letters.

so... your story is... you don't like evil! and take to the surface world to do good!

that's Drizzt. Now, don't get me wrong, Drizzt is awesome. Huge fan. I've read like 12 Drizzt books. No regerts. BUT I would guess that 99.9% of players who draw up a Drow character are making Drizzt clone #4325-A


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blahpers wrote:
TL;DR: Intelligent races should not have alignment entries at all. That should be limited to society write-ups at the broadest.

ridiculous.

the point of the alignment entry in the monstrous book is to help DMs understand what kind of monster the PCs are encountering.

can it be reasoned with? is it going to follow norms? is it going to side with rebels or with authorities? if i'm out there trying to find the ROD OF LAWFUL are these things that will support that quest or oppose it?

it's shorthand which is invaluable to the actual table-top game.

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König Drosselbart wrote:

The differences between clichés, stereotypes and archetypes are very superficial, there are only slight nuances between these three.

Playing a clone of Drizzt is no better or worse than playing a clone of Gimil, Legolas, D'Artagnan, or Old Shatterhand.

That's actually not true. There are distinct differences between cliches, stereotypes, and archetypes. Just because they have overlap doesn't mean they have "superficial" differences. The major difference with cliche is directly relevant to the conversation. Cliches largely have to do with the level of creativity and novelty of a concept.

It's also worth noting that the Legolas and Gimili are supposed to represent a typical (though heroic) member of their respective race. Drizzt is an atypical member of his race. Many people copying Drizzt undermines the uniqueness of the character and compromises the concept of an non-evil character of an evil race. As a result, copying Drizzt is significantly worse than copying Gimili. The overuse of the concept has a more damaging affect on the perceived novelty of the concept. This is why the concept of an non-evil drow is a cliche.


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König Drosselbart wrote:
@Isabelle Lee: Could you please cite that section of the Adventurer's Guide?
Adventurer's Guide, page 112 wrote:

Redeemed Drow

In recent years, the Lantern Bearers have begun to more ardently pursue the ideal of drow redemption, despite misgivings from some within the organization. While opportunities to pursue this noble goal have been fleeting, the Lantern Bearers are aiding several promising converts on the path to goodness. Now that the group spends its resources on providing support to drow who seek new lives rather than on obscuring the existence of drow, progress is swift.

Drow raised from childhood in societies outside of the traditional demon-worshiping cruelties in the Darklands retain all of the typical drow abilities (as such, they are more powerful characters and can be used as PCs only at the GM’s discretion). The fact that they lose none of these powers upon shifting alignment is all the proof the Lantern Bearers need that being born a drow does not mean one must be evil, and that redemption is possible for all.


As they say, All art is derivative. Just wanted to get that out of the way.

Anyway, the difference between cliche, stereotype and archetype is mostly subjective opinion (and to some degree exposure), which isn't the same as "superficial", but it still means that what is cliche to one group can be perfectly fine to another. There is no "universal cliche", it all depends on context.

(As a side note, at least part of the reason why I like playing fetchling is that can be vaguely described (with some squinting, if you tilt your head just right) as non-evil human drow-equivalents.)

There are players I'd trust to make an interesting good drow character. There are others I wouldn't trust with it. There are groups who I'd trust to handle a good drow character as a party member, and others I wouldn't. Again, context is all.

That being said, if I made a drow?

Drow Concept:
Still evil lovable coward that just looks for a place where he can live without constant fear of a dagger in his back, cooperating with the group because of that ("I don't betray you, you don't betray me. Deal?"), who only becomes non-evil over time. Alternatively, if the group had a "no evil characters" rule, that'd be the backstory, with a focus on "he's not good, he just grows really attached to people who treat him well and builds his morality around their approval".


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LeMoineNoir wrote:
König Drosselbart wrote:
@Isabelle Lee: Could you please cite that section of the Adventurer's Guide?
Adventurer's Guide, page 112 wrote:

Redeemed Drow

In recent years, the Lantern Bearers have begun to more ardently pursue the ideal of drow redemption, despite misgivings from some within the organization. While opportunities to pursue this noble goal have been fleeting, the Lantern Bearers are aiding several promising converts on the path to goodness. Now that the group spends its resources on providing support to drow who seek new lives rather than on obscuring the existence of drow, progress is swift.

Drow raised from childhood in societies outside of the traditional demon-worshiping cruelties in the Darklands retain all of the typical drow abilities (as such, they are more powerful characters and can be used as PCs only at the GM’s discretion). The fact that they lose none of these powers upon shifting alignment is all the proof the Lantern Bearers need that being born a drow does not mean one must be evil, and that redemption is possible for all.

So the Good-only PrC is no longer into genocide? Nice.


Yakman wrote:
blahpers wrote:
TL;DR: Intelligent races should not have alignment entries at all. That should be limited to society write-ups at the broadest.

ridiculous.

the point of the alignment entry in the monstrous book is to help DMs understand what kind of monster the PCs are encountering.

can it be reasoned with? is it going to follow norms? is it going to side with rebels or with authorities? if i'm out there trying to find the ROD OF LAWFUL are these things that will support that quest or oppose it?

it's shorthand which is invaluable to the actual table-top game.

Hogwash.

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blahpers wrote:
Yakman wrote:
blahpers wrote:
TL;DR: Intelligent races should not have alignment entries at all. That should be limited to society write-ups at the broadest.

ridiculous.

the point of the alignment entry in the monstrous book is to help DMs understand what kind of monster the PCs are encountering.

can it be reasoned with? is it going to follow norms? is it going to side with rebels or with authorities? if i'm out there trying to find the ROD OF LAWFUL are these things that will support that quest or oppose it?

it's shorthand which is invaluable to the actual table-top game.

Hogwash.

So sayeth the hoggy!


König Drosselbart wrote:

Maybe they are somewhat predisposed to evil and their society definitely pushes them towards evil, but they are certainly not inherently evil and not born evil.

No one is making this argument, no one HAS made this argument, it is continually reiterated as though its some sort of gotcha point but its not as no one has made the argument that they're inherently/born evil.

The argument is that drow society does not produce a large number of non-evil drow, as the things you have to do to survive all the way to adulthood likely mark you out as evil, and behaving in a fashion that marks you out as good aligned is likely to get you killed while you're young and helpless as a "weakling".

The argument is that good aligned drow are eyeroll worthy. And they are, the "why i'm good" is always thin thin thin, and always seem like justifications to play a more powerful race (say what you will, any race that can feat its way into 11+ character level spell resistance is more powerful than average).

People are aware of the lantern bearers, people are aware of non evil npc's. The disconnect is that exceptions aren't the rule, they exist to highlight the rule.

OP here's some on topic advice. Nothing about falling in love makes a person good. In fact falling in love as a chaotic evil person would just likely make your character more possessive of the object of affection and liable to wreak horrible vengeance for wrongs committed against them.


I just noticed the thread's nearly a year old now, so I'm not sure how much OP would be helped by anything in the past day or so. They might have moved on to other ideas.

The Adventurer's Guide is newer than this thread, even, so the idea of redemption via Lantern Bearers wouldn't have been an option then. As far as I can tell, anyways. I can't find any older references to the group's change of heart.

Given how recent the book is, I'm sure there's still some people that aren't aware of the Lantern Bearer's new mission statement.

Edit: Actually, a Google search on the subject of Lantern Bearers redeeming Drow just showed that OP posted a somewhat similar thread just a few months ago asking a question about how the Lantern Bearers' would react to a Drow Paladin, and was referred to the changes in the Adventurer's Guide.


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@LeMoineNoir: Thanks for providing the section that deals with the redemption of drow.

@Ryan Freire: There are a number of reasons why a drow that has survived for a bit would try to escape the society or try to subtely reform his corner of influence. Not necessarily out of the kindness of his heart, but because inspiring loyalty in your underlings and being loved/respected by your equals is a lot more beneficial to both your personal health and to the stability of your power base than having to fear constant betrayal. Thus it is more likely than not that some undiscovered pockets of non-evil drow communities exist somewhere. Nowhere near the majority, but it should be a lot more than only a handful of individuals.
And since the Adventurer's Guide has come out it is official that a handful of drow are being actively redeemed by the elves to the best of their ability.

But I agree with you that "true love redeemed him" is not a particulary creative backstory and on its own not a very compelling reason why a drow has turned away from the evil ways of their kin.

And they absolutely should not be chosen simply because they are a strong race, but in that case the problem lies primarily with the player, not the chosen race.

Cyrad wrote:

That's actually not true. There are distinct differences between cliches, stereotypes, and archetypes. Just because they have overlap doesn't mean they have "superficial" differences. The major difference with cliche is directly relevant to the conversation. Cliches largely have to do with the level of creativity and novelty of a concept.

The concept of "lone rebel turns against the evil and injustice of his people" is a cliché that is about as old as literature itself. Drizzt is a stereotypical "loner outcast with a dark and troubled past" and the archetype of the "good drow".

See? These three terms have slightly different meaning, but can be used almost interchangeably.

As I said, the stereotype of the "lone rebel against injustice" is a very old literary motive. There is not much uniqueness to Drizzt on a fundamental conceptual level. Figuratively speaking every second book and movie that has an evil race/faction in it features a deserter that turns away from said evil race/faction.

And formerly unique ideas becoming mainstream in literature is not necessarily a bad thing. Before Tolkien wrote his books, elves were akin to fairies - little pranksters with butterfly wings, but I don't think anybody is complaining that his vision of elves entered the mainstream and has lost its uniqueness.

yakman wrote:

my dad is a fallen space paladin, and i was raised on an abandoned planet, secretly watched over by a hidden space paladin this whole time. when tragedy befalls my adoptive family, i learn the fantastic destiny which is in front of me, and take to space with a motley crew to fight the evil space overlords and my evil space dad.

i am not luke skywalker.
------
so... your story is... you don't like evil! and take to the surface world to do good!

that's Drizzt.

Your comparison is flawed - in the first part you set up a very specific backstory akin to Luke Skywalker and in the second part you just write a generic "you are a drow and not evil - you want to play Drizzt". And that is exactly the problem with the expectations of many people. If your comparisons were actually equal, they would be along the lines of:

"I am the son of a fallen paladin." - "You are a copy of Luke Skywalker."
"I have been terribly wronged and am seeking revenge." - "You are a copy of the Count of Monte Christo."
"I have formed a bond of blood brotherhood with a wild elf." - "You are a copy of Old Shatterhand."
"I have made a deal with a devil." - "You are a copy of Faust."
"I have escaped from an evil society and are working on my redemption." - "You are a copy of Drizzt."

Yes, a player that wants to play a good drow that wields two daggers and has a tiger companion sounds like he wants to play a Drizzt clone, but just generically announcing that you'd like to play a good drow provides on its own not enough reason to assume it is going to be such a clone.


Cyrad wrote:
König Drosselbart wrote:

The differences between clichés, stereotypes and archetypes are very superficial, there are only slight nuances between these three.

Playing a clone of Drizzt is no better or worse than playing a clone of Gimil, Legolas, D'Artagnan, or Old Shatterhand.

That's actually not true. There are distinct differences between cliches, stereotypes, and archetypes. Just because they have overlap doesn't mean they have "superficial" differences. The major difference with cliche is directly relevant to the conversation. Cliches largely have to do with the level of creativity and novelty of a concept.

It's also worth noting that the Legolas and Gimili are supposed to represent a typical (though heroic) member of their respective race. Drizzt is an atypical member of his race. Many people copying Drizzt undermines the uniqueness of the character and compromises the concept of an non-evil character of an evil race. As a result, copying Drizzt is significantly worse than copying Gimili. The overuse of the concept has a more damaging affect on the perceived novelty of the concept. This is why the concept of an non-evil drow is a cliche.

There's an extra step in there, I'd say. The concept of a non-evil drow makes people think of Drizzt clones, which are themselves a cliche.

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Coidzor wrote:
There's an extra step in there, I'd say. The concept of a non-evil drow makes people think of Drizzt clones, which are themselves a cliche.

That's a very good point. However, I would argue that since a concept's status as a cliche is based on perception and use of the concept, that would mean non-evil drow are (unfortunately) frequently seen as cliche as a consequence.

König Drosselbart wrote:
Cyrad wrote:

That's actually not true. There are distinct differences between cliches, stereotypes, and archetypes. Just because they have overlap doesn't mean they have "superficial" differences. The major difference with cliche is directly relevant to the conversation. Cliches largely have to do with the level of creativity and novelty of a concept.

The concept of "lone rebel turns against the evil and injustice of his people" is a cliché that is about as old as literature itself. Drizzt is a stereotypical "loner outcast with a dark and troubled past" and the archetype of the "good drow".

See? These three terms have slightly different meaning, but can be used almost interchangeably.

As I said, the stereotype of the "lone rebel against injustice" is a very old literary motive. There is not much uniqueness to Drizzt on a fundamental conceptual level. Figuratively speaking every second book and movie that has an evil race/faction in it features a deserter that turns away from said evil race/faction.

And formerly unique ideas becoming mainstream in literature is not necessarily a bad thing. Before Tolkien wrote his books, elves were akin to fairies - little pranksters with butterfly wings, but I don't think anybody is complaining that his vision of elves entered the mainstream and has lost its uniqueness.

Again, you're arguing semantics and committing a fallacy of equivocation while failing to recognize or comprehend the difference between archetypes, cliches, and stereotypes. The issue lies with collective perception and novelty of non-evil drow characters, which have frequently become seen as uncreative and overused to the point of undermining that made them appealing concepts in the first place. Calling other character concepts cliche fails to further your argument that drow aren't cliche.

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In one campaign that I played in, long before Drizzt ever surfaced, there were two non-evil drow priestesses of an earth goddess who helped found a surface trading city. They eventually were able to contact some of their relatives and have limited trade relations.


Considering Elistraee has a following (her rather obnoxious death at the same time as so many FR gods notwithstanding), a population and even community of good-aligned drow resisting the Llolthite tyrants is quite reasonable.

And it's never entirely clear whether the demon-loving Llolthite drow are the primary branch of drow society, or if the Llolthite drow centered around Menzoberranzan are simply the drow who get the most publicity, and are the perspective organization for the race, but other drow communities worship other gods and are less mustache twirling (elven lack of facial hair notwithstanding).


Yeah but neither of those gods exist in golarion/pathfinder. Pathfinder drow are demon worshippers without their own personal pantheon. (personally I like that aspect better as different houses will have their own "feel" based on their patron rather than generic racial god)

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I'm playing a non-evil CN drow bard (sage background) in a homebrew 5th Edition game. He survived getting his throat cut, but now he cannot sing, only whisper. He's bitter and will be seeking vengeance. He wears black robes and cloaks, with his face obscured by shadows. Basically a wannabe Witch-King of Mumblemumble from LotR, but with a rapier instead of a big giant flail. I took the message cantrip for flavor purposes, but it ended up being actually useful!

He's CN, mostly because I don't want to play an evil character, not for any deep character reason. We're playing Sunless Citadel from Tales of the Yawning Portal, and I tried to keep Meepo alive because I've heard he's an important NPC on the boards, but I didn't do a very good job of it. I haven't done anything evil yet, but I haven't really done anything good yet, either.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
Yeah but neither of those gods exist in golarion/pathfinder.

Yeah, Pathfinder only has the Lantern Lighters, a branch of the Lantern Bearers allied with Sarenrae, who focus on redeeming drow and who officially have helped built some communities for non-evil drow to live in.

Sarenrae is Pathfinder's Elistraee, the same way their evil goddess has been replaced with general demon worship.

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