drow are from the 18th century

July 4th is a time for Americans to celebrate the Founding Fathers, and what better way than with a discussion of the DROW?

Visually, what’s the most interesting thing about drow? Is it the ebony skin, which lures cosplayers into racially complicated situations? No! It is the WHITE HAIR.

Costume-wise, perfectly white hair usually implies powdered wigs, which imply, in turn, the 18th century: the founding fathers, Mozart, Marie Antoinette. What if we used the 18th century aesthetic to inform our concept of the drow?

While the United States’ national story has the Founding Fathers as unequivocal heroes, most everyone else in a powdered wig is creepy in some way: bad old King George! Debauched Mozart! Sinister Salieri! that creepy guy from Dangerous Liaisons!

Drow actually make a fine addition to this creepy collection. Therefore, drow should probably wear silk jackets and high heeled boots. They should carry sword sticks (that crumble if exposed to sunlight). Their beauties – men and women both – have white beauty marks. The drow attend masques and balls in which they exchange innuendo and assassinate their rivals. (Drow dances, like those of Melnibone, are to the well-tempered screams of tortured slaves.) Drow attitude to non-drow is a heightened parody of the pitiless indifference of French nobility for the lower orders.

Furthermore, drow worship Lolth, the Queen of the Demonweb Pits. Here’s a statue of her from Pax East 2012.

Throw a dress on her, and her silhouette reminds me of another queen, also famous for her indifference to the lower orders:

How to use drow in your campaign:

Make them charming. Witty, even. Have them take snuff. Play harpsichord music as background music when they’re around. They can be just as diabolical, unfeeling, and sinister as ever – more so, even.

4 Responses to “drow are from the 18th century”

  1. Brandonshire says:

    This is an AWESOME idea. I may definitely have to do this. Drow society is often described as decadent, but I’ve never been quite sure how best to characterize it that way quickly for the players. This is an excellent idea. I think I may run with it…

  2. Chawunky says:

    Yeeeah. Yeah! I’m a like this too. Even the rough’n’ready Drow that are away from Court and seeing REAL action could take part, dressing in those high-collared “Brotherhood of the Wolf” highwayman outfits–although that might be a little too “dungeonpunk.”

  3. Omega says:

    Ditto. Hiding spider legs under a super poofy dress is an Awesome Idea. Capital Letters even. :)

  4. Claire Claire says:

    Wow!! I agree!!! So good!! I can’t believe I didn’t see this post until today. The decadent 18th century drow are delightful (although I’m interested in the fact that Salieri doesn’t have _that_ powdered hair–is there room for a kind of gloomy thwarted drow asceticism? they have naturally white hair, right? what would it mean for a drow to powder his hair with, like, coal dust or iron filings or something in protest of their decadent culture? but then again Salieri would like to be a decadent guy, since he gives that lady those nipples of Venus.) But like Omega I’m DAZZLED by the Marie Antoinette silhouette as HIDING SPIDER LEGS!!!!! why didn’t you come up with this idea before last Halloween?! Also, that statue of Lolth is terrifying and possibly misogynist but I LOVE IT. What is up with her disturbing scarified groin!!! It would be so Spenserian/possibly Swiftian to cover that scariness up with a giant skirt. What about a campaign where this Marie Antoinette silhouette is the fashion at the human or elf court, and there’s some kind of Savonarola/John Knox religious fanatic running around warning everyone that the skirt is evil because it allows women to hide their spider legs, but the truth is that he’s RIGHT? Again, the gender politics would be problematic, so, uh, don’t try this at home unless your gender politics are already in the right place?

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