D&D Race Guide: How to Play a Drow
Always evil members of the Monster Manual turned morally diverse favorite character race for players, the Drow are ready do join your party.
Also known as Dark Elves, Drow made their appearance in Dungeons & Dragons through the Monster Manual. The elf sub-race known for living in the Underdark were hated and feared for their cruelty. But they’ve since been expanded into the collection of playable character races, so your Drow character can be anywhere on the alignment chart you want.
“Descended from an earlier subrace of dark-skinned elves, the drow were banished from the surface world for following the goddess Lolth down the path to evil and corruption. Now they have built their own civilization in the depths of the Underdark, patterned after the Way of Lolth.”
Because of the nature of Drows and their comfort in the Underdark, playing a Drow character has both interesting benefits and drawbacks. For example, your darkvision will have a range of 120 feet as opposed to the more standard 60 or 30. But the other side of that coin is that you would have disadvantage on attacks and Perception checks when in direct sunlight.
Drow also come with their own weapons training and proficiency with rapiers, shortswords, and hand crossbows, as well as natural magic ability. A character will know the Dancing Lights cantrip immediately, the Faerie Fire spell at third level, and Darkness at fifth. All of these spells can be cast again after a long rest and spell casting ability is based on Charisma. This is convenient because your Drow will also come with a +1 Charisma score increase.
Drow starting stats make them pretty well suited to any class, so there isn’t a bad choice. But with high Charisma scores, Bard, Paladin, Sorcerer, and Warlock might be some of their best classes. Any of these options would give them a natural leg up, in many cases with spell casting, which would go nicely with the Drow’s natural ability for magic.
The crossroad of these abilities is in Bard, where Charisma is very important. But Dexterity will help you to master one of your finesse weapons… and make a quick escape when you get yourself into trouble.
Drow are themselves a sub-race and variety of Elf. And as far as playability goes, there don’t seem to be any Drow variants with mechanical effects on gameplay. But in 2021’s Legend of Drizzt, WotC introduced the Udadrow, Lorendrow, and Aevendrow.
Udadrow come from deep within the Underdark city of Menzoberranzan. They are ruthless and obedient to Lolth’s teachings, which have in turn corrupted them.
The Lorendrow live in jungles to the south and draw their wisdom and inspiration from nature. They are in general much more generous and interested in harmony, but few adventurers have reached their city of Saekolath.
Finally, the Aevendrow or Starlight Elves live in the icey enclave, Callidae. The Aevendrow rejected Lolth and traveled north, vanishing into the snow.
Tips & Tricks
If you’re planning on making your next character a Drow, you’ll probably have a really good time with it. This is one of those races where your options are very open. But something worth keeping in mind is that not every D&D setting will have Drow, so before you get too attached to the idea, check in with your DM and make sure that their setting includes them.
From there, the best thing you can do is decide your character’s backstory, home, and the lore before the game starts. Plus, the history of the Drow would be a good thing to brush up on. This will really help you figure out who they are, what values they were raised with, and what their motivations may be.
Have you played a Drow character or had one in your party? Which is your favorite variant? What class would you pick for your Drow? Let us know in the comments!