Growing up in the 80s it was not uncommon to have multiple, independent groups of people playing D&D. I have fairly vivid recollections of different groups talking about this adventure or some other book. But the epic of the time was GDQ series and everyone was playing it. I'll talk about the Giants series on "G" day and Queen of the Demonweb pits on "Q" day. But today I want to talk about the "D" series, Descent into the Depths of the Earth and Vault of the Drow.
Once upon a time, back in the days of Walkmen, MTV, and Rubik's Cubes, the Drow were not what we think of them today. This was the Pre-Drizzt Do'Urden days.
For those that didn't live this at the time the Drow are dark elves, cursed to live underground and worship the demoness Lolth. Elves were good, and fair and full of light. Drow...not so much. The big reveal of the Drow as the main enemies of the GDQ series of adventures is akin to the Classic Star Trek episode "The Balance of Terror" that introduces the Romulans as a big bad. Not just as another race, but an offshoot of the Vulcans. Evil Vulcans if you will. The drow were everything the elves are not and they are also the cause of the giants and the kuo-toa raids.
These two (originally three) adventures are the action sequences to the big plot build up, though even the drow are just pawns in a larger threat.
I have such great memories of these adventures. I started playing them, but like so many others I never finished them. They are the next adventures for my kids and I in our "Come Endless Darkness" campaign.
The one thing I have struggled with though is we live in a post-Drizzt world now. Drow are no longer the scary dark-elf threat of the unknown. Today they are potential heroes and a viable race option.
I want to take the drow back to the days where they were a mostly unknown threat. Also I have proposed a number of other changes to them as well. Making them more blue in skin tone like the Morlocks of the Time Machine movie.
|Not so much these guys|
|but more like this|
I covered some of this a while back in my post "Drow should be Lawful Evil, among other things." So instead of covering that ground again I will let that stand and move forward.
The nice thing about running these adventures so many years after the fact is there is a wealth of information about them out there. I have read reviews, play-by-plays and even read the novelization by Paul Kidd. The book was actually kind of fun and the characters, introduced in the earlier White Plume Mountain, are likable. I am thinking of introducing Evelyn, the half-pixie ranger as my own homage to the novel. She would be the daughter of the two main characters Escalla and The Justicar.
One of the best things about these adventures and the G series before and the Q after, is the number of really cool NPCs. Top of that list has to be Eclavdra, drow priestess. She has been described as being a priestess to Lolth, an attaché to Grazzt and even a convert to the worship of the Elder Elemental Eye, who in my game is another name for Tharizdun. This fits in so nicely with my plans that I feel the need to detail her more.
We know she is a drow and an exceptionally beautiful drow at that. She is introduced in the module G2. Here is what is said about her there:
Eclavdra (10th level cleric/fighter; H.P.: 60, Wisdom 17, Dexterity 18, Constitution 10, Charisma 18; Armor Class -8 = +3 shield, +5 chainmail, and +4 dexterity bonus), the one who fomented all of the trouble.
The Vault of the Drow (D3) features her on the cover (see above) and describes her as a 10th/4th cleric/fighter. These are of course AD&D 1 stats. I am going to use here under D&D 5. Also I want to emphasize her "conversion" to Tharizdun more. I am going to make her a 10th level Cleric/4th level Warlock with a Pact of the Blade and Tharizdun as her patron.
To prepare I have also been buying up Drow minis.
Really, really looking forward to running these.
- Retrospective: Descent into the Depths of the Earth
- Retrospective: Shrine of the Kuo-Toa
- Retrospective: Vault of the Drow