So you might have seen this tweet a few days ago:
This was my reaction to my friend Will reaching out to me to say “hey, Bill [a larp acquaintance of mine from RPI] is running a drow intrigue game; you want in?”
Because of course I had to say yes.
To quote Bill’s intro to the preparation doc:
You are members of a Drow House. Your goal? To survive… and to thrive. But with a dagger at every back, and a noose around every neck, neither task will be simple. How long can you live, and how far can you climb? Only time will tell.
In many ways, it bears some similarities to the r/rpghorrorstories-worthy game I considered joining about a year ago now. You are playing members of a drow house, in Menzoberranzan, ruthlessly striving to climb the ladder of rank in the city, etc.
But, like… without all the red flags.
At the time, I decided that if I ever played in a game like this, it had to be with people I trust, not randos on the internet. Playing evil characters is not something you want to take on without significant safety and consent mechanics in place.
But these are all folks I’ve met in real life, and larped with, and trust to not be assholes for the sake of being assholes.
Hence I jumped at the opportunity — how often would this sort of thing come up?
Now… the hardest part for me was deciding what to play. In the Game of Red Flags, I had intended to play an arcane trickster rogue, but I’ve since repurposed that concept (ish) for Jhevaeth, my drow rogue in Waterdeep: Dragon Heist. So at first I had no idea what to play.
But that was quickly replaced by ALL THE IDEAS. I even put out a poll on Twitter, crowd-sourcing the decision between four different concepts:
… and then I completely ignored the results, deciding on the paladin.
At least first.
See, I came to an agreement with Bill that I’d like to play them serially, running through the sons of the Matron Mother of a house.
Because — except for the Spores druid — these character concepts were male. Roles and jobs are highly gendered in drow society, and hey, I like
sad elf boys being sad playing drow males, because it’s much more interesting to me to be on the business end of a toxic matriarchy than to be perpetuating it.
Thus was born Kzandr, my Oath of Conquest paladin of Lolth.
… and yes, he has had to do some mental contortions in order to devoutly serve a goddess that demands his total obeisance. He is a zealot who has taken all his sublimated rage about his lot in life and turned it towards eliminating the enemies of the drow: heretics and other races. For the most part, it’s worked, too; he has the minor favor of Lolth.
As well as an anger management problem he has a death wish — his goal is streea, death in the service of Lolth.
Other than that? He’s elderboy and weapons master of the house, and has a rivalry with the youngest son (my Gloom Stalker ranger). He’s the consort of the first priestess of House Kenafin, which is the more religiously-focused of the two houses that merge and become Melarn in the future. (This takes place in 1325 DR, i.e. in canon, around the time Drizzt graduated from Tier Breche).
I’m also planning on rewriting the tenets of the oath, since right now it’s very uh order-focused, and that is kind of the opposite of Lolth.
… I expect he will die young and leave a fabulous corpse
to be animated later on in the campaign.
I will probably play the Aberrant Mind sorcerer/wizard once Kzandr is gone — second son, product of a failed mind flayer ceremorphosis, suffering PTSD from his capture. (Oh yeah, and since he has psionics, the Oblodras probably want to kill him off as competition. Because they’re still around and #3).
The fourth son (because we don’t have third sons in Lolthite society, at least not for long, or unless they’re plot-bearing) is going to be the Gloom Stalker ranger, who definitely took the lessons of Master Hatch’net (the propaganda master from Melee-Magthere) to heart, and probably has several Underdark humanoids as his favored enemies. Also he might be a Vhaeraun worshipper?
And then the standalone one is the Circle of Spores druid. Probably female, probably works with Will’s character’s aunt, definitely has a spooder pal or three. That’s all I know for now.
Wheeeee this is gonna be wild.
I was going to write more about the house we designed — whose ancient and traditional name is basically going to be the Drow equivalent of What We Do in the Shadows. But I must Meeting, so perhaps I’ll talk about House Vel’bol Li’Veldrin later?