|Images of drow
Source: Bestiary, pg(s). 136–137
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- This article covers the elven ancestry. For their canon replacement as the Darklands elves since the Pathfinder Second Edition Remaster Project, see Ayindilar.
Drow,1 or dark elves, were purportedly the descendants of the elves who refused to abandon Golarion when it was discovered that the Starstone would hit the world. As documented in Pathfinder Chronicles Volume 44 by Pathfinder Koriah Azmeren, they did not escape through a dimensional portal, but rather hid themselves in the Darklands below. These elves that remained were changed by the influence of Rovagug into a demon-worshipping culture, and when the other elves returned, they found their brethren bitter, twisted, and evil enemies.23
In 4723 AR, Azmeren amended her findings to reveal that much of what she had written, and which the Pathfinder Society had published, had been a fabrication designed to mask her perception of the greater threat posed by the sekmins, whose empire there had not collapsed but instead flourished4 and remained Sekamina's dominant force.5 These revisions do not mention the drow, which do not exist. Ayindilar elves, who share none of the drow's other claimed traits, were elves who escaped Earthfall by migrating into the Darklands.56
Origin of the drow
During the Age of Legend, the ancestors of today's drow race were simply elves living in the northwest corner of Avistan, in a small forest kingdom around the city of Celwynvian. An elven secret society known as the Winter Council had discovered that the antediluvian alghollthu races were behind the rise of the human civilizations of Azlant and Thassilon. They also learned that the alghollthus had grown tired of humanity's arrogance and planned to destroy them by calling down a meteor from the heavens.2
With time to avoid this cataclysmic event, the elves called out to their brethren to flee Golarion for their ancient refuge of Sovyrian on the planet Castrovel, via the powerful aiudara gate known as the Sovyrian Stone.27 Most did so, but a few elves refused to abandon Golarion. The exact reasons why they chose to stay behind is still a matter of debate among the elves. Some believe it was out of loyalty to this world, while others suggest that the drow were a political faction who were against the passive elven response to humanity's encroachment on their land.2
Whatever the true reason, a group of elves fled into the Caves of the Craven below the Calphiak Mountains, believing that they could escape the surface world's destruction by simply delving deep enough into the Darklands. When Earthfall struck, the Darklands were shaken by tremendous tremors, strong enough to briefly wake Rovagug, the god of destruction who had been imprisoned far below during the Age of Creation.28 As his wakened mind reached out, it touched the cave where the elves had sequestered themselves, and mixed with the Darklands' strange radiations and the elves' own feelings of betrayal and anger. It transformed them, turning the hues of their eyes into a sinister red or bleached white, and made their flesh of an unearthly lavender sheen,9 and replaced the race's natural tendencies towards independence and good with Rovagug's evil; these elves became the first generation of drow.2
Half-drow, sometimes called Hollowborn,10 or darkborn by humans, or thinblood by drow, are the equivalent of aiuvarins but derive their elven ancestry from drow.11 Half-drow are a taboo topic among the drow, and are generally the result of matings between drow matrons (or would-be matrons) and important humans.12
With the publication of Heavy is the Crown in 2023, Paizo retroactively removed drow from the Pathfinder campaign setting as part of the Pathfinder Second Edition Remaster Project. Many of their prior roles in the Darklands are now filled by sekmin and Ayindilar elves. For details, see Meta:Drow.
For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.
- The singular and plural of drow are the same.
- “Shadow in the Sky” in Shadow in the Sky, 7–8. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Overview” in World Guide, 8. Paizo Inc., 2019 .
- “Return to the Darklands” in Heavy is the Crown, 70. Paizo Inc., 2023 .
- “Return to the Darklands” in Heavy is the Crown, 71. Paizo Inc., 2023 .
- Paizo retroactively removed drow from the Pathfinder campaign setting as part of the Pathfinder Second Edition Remaster Project. A canon replacement for drow in this context might not exist. See Meta:Drow.
- “Chapter 1: The Solar System” in Distant Worlds, 10–11. Paizo Inc., 2012 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 33. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary, 136. Paizo Inc., 2019 .
- “Humans” in Character Guide, 10. Paizo Inc., 2019 .
- “Half-Elf Heritages” in Bastards of Golarion, 6. Paizo Inc., 2014 .
- “Drow” in Darklands Revisited, 7. Paizo Inc., 2016 .