"Any trust is foolish." -Haelirin Shivra
Adopted Homeland: Underdark
Drow society is matriarchal, militaristic, and heavily influenced by religion. Their city-states are formed in huge Underdark caverns, and frequently war with one another. These cities are ruled by the most powerful of the houses, and although the power of the many families changes often, the top few remain mostly stable. Males who hope to find any place of power in society often resort to ends as treacherous as the women that rule the moon elves, hoping to perhaps win a coveted place as the mate of a powerful matron mother.
It can be easy to imagine that Drow females, by comparison, have it much easier; but this is an illusion, and their prestigious position within society comes at a high cost. In fact, the teachings of Lolth, and the drive to gain more power over others, makes competition between female drow, particularly those who belong to powerful houses, violently competitive in a way that males do not have to cope with. Matters are even worse for those who seek power through venues outside of Lolth’s church, where the females have to compete not only with one another but with resentful and oppressed males.
Dark Elves are arrogant, ambitious, sadistic, treacherous and hedonistic. From birth, drow are taught they are superior to other races and should crush those beneath them. Children who resist and show kindness or love are brutally punished, so as to drive the instinct of cruelty into them. They value advancement over their peers more than anything else, pulling down their superiors and crushing their inferiors. This doesn't mean they treat all of their peers with disdain, however. Drow are not barbaric and appreciate a sense of subtlety and thus drow are typically courteous and urbane, even to their most hated rivals.
Cities are structured around the most powerful families taking the best areas, leaving the other drow to take whatever land they can. The focus of a city is often the temple of Lolth and this is often in the grounds of the ruling family. Artifacts that burn with fire of the Feywild adorn buildings as a sign of prosperity. The garrison and some of the slaves, as well as rothé farms, are kept outside the city. Often a city will seek to forge an alliance with a powerful Underdark creature, like a deep dragon or a beholder, to gain additional power.Although many drow seek to regain the surface world that they feel was taken from them unjustly, some have become so used to life in the Underdark that they would prefer to make the best of this realm and have no interest in the surface. The drow who do choose to live on the surface do not form any kind of organized society and instead live as hermits and outcasts. They will interact with other societies when they need to, but not through choice. The drow like to eat animals that are still living, believing that the meat had a better flavor.
An elite group of warriors chosen from among the ranks of the Drow military, the Winter Knights are composed of warriors hand-picked by a matron mother, and they were brought before the Queen of the Drow and bonded to her. They are fanatically loyal to the Queen of the Drow and incapable of ever betraying her, becoming a vital part of her power base. The Winter Knights are perfectly willing to die for the Queen of the Drow, and carry out her every command without question. They are the protectors of the palace, though they are deployed wherever the Queen of the Drow requires. The matron mothers and ruling houses have no authority over or insight into the Winter Knights' activities.