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Making D&D Characters: Drow 1

It’s probably not a surprise to you with all my posts about MtG that I also play some Dungeons and Dragons. And that there’s a category for it on the right hand side of this post. But it turns out I’ll be jumping back into the DM seat soon for a new campaign, and I need some good NPCs.

For your information, our group uses the 3.5 rules.

These NPCs are supposed to be flavourful, not prone to sudden executions and above all else, provide quest hooks. Also to function in certain roles should the PCs decide to bring them along.

So for your entertainment I will be making said characters on my blog, because I need to exercise my ability to post things, but it’s also completely fine for you to steal what I make and use it yourself or to complain about my choices or nudge me towards a piece of information I hadn’t considered. Nothing is final! Although, the way I make characters might be a bit unusual, or maybe even do things in the wrong order, but don’t worry. Also, this will assume you have a passing knowledge of the game, but aren’t that intimate with rules and stuff or have even played before. Maybe this will even make you want to play!

So, first NPC; I want to make somebody evil, and somebody non-human. Because I’m used to having good characters and human ones too, it’s time to branch out a bit.

Race: Drow

Alignment:  __ Evil

Not going to lock in the type of evil yet (Lawful, Neutral, Chaotic), mainly I want to see where this character build goes and then decide what alignment best fits. As for Drow; it’s non-human from a predominately evil race. Can’t go wrong. Some nice abilities too with a Level Adjustment of +2. (If you don’t know what this means, I will be covering Level Adjustment later.)

It’s a Drow! Also a woman, because for some reason most of the core assumes PCs are female. Go figure.

So being an elf, and a Drow, we get a nice list of abilities straight off the bat. (Taken from the Online SRD)

Elf Traits

Elves possess the following racial traits.

  • +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution.
  • Medium size.
  • An elf’s base land speed is 30 feet.
  • Immunity to sleep spells and effects, and a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells or effects.
  • Low-light vision.
  • Weapon Proficiency: Elves are automatically proficient with the longsword, rapier, longbow, composite longbow, shortbow, and composite shortbow.
  • +2 racial bonus on Listen, Search, and Spot checks. An elf who merely passes within 5 feet of a secret or concealed door is entitled to a Search check to notice it as if she were actively looking for it.
  • Automatic Languages: Common, Elven. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, Sylvan.
  • Favored Class: Wizard.

Drow Traits

These traits are in addition to the high elf traits, except where noted.

  • +2 Intelligence, +2 Charisma.
  • Darkvision out to 120 feet. This trait replaces the high elf’s low-light vision.
  • Spell resistance equal to 11 + class levels.
  • +2 racial bonus on Will saves against spells and spell-like abilities.
  • Spell-Like Abilities: Drow can use the following spell-like abilities once per day: dancing lights, darkness, faerie fire. Caster level equals the drow’s class levels.
  • Weapon Proficiency: A drow is automatically proficient with the hand crossbow, the rapier, and the short sword. This trait replaces the high elf’s weapon proficiency.
  • Automatic Languages: Common, Elven, Undercommon. Bonus Languages: Abyssal, Aquan, Draconic, Drow Sign Language, Gnome, Goblin. This trait replaces the high elf’s automatic and bonus languages.
  • Light Blindness: Abrupt exposure to bright light (such as sunlight or a daylight spell) blinds drow for 1 round. On subsequent rounds, they are dazzled as long as they remain in the affected area.
  • Favored Class: Wizard (male) or cleric (female). This trait replaces the high elf’s favored class.
  • Level adjustment +2.

The striking out (made by me) of the Elf traits reflects the stuff replaced by the Drow traits. You may also notice that Drow have cumulatively +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, +2 Charisma all at once. Fun!

So we can already see quite a bit about what a Drow has in terms of strengths and weaknesses.


With a bonus to Int and Cha, we can see a lot of skills being affected, so on top of the fact we get extra skill points per level up we’re better at the skills we can do. A bonus to Dex makes for a more effective ranged attacker, or somebody using the Feat Weapon Finesse (replaces Str mod on attack rolls with the Dex mod for certain weapons). Drow have immunity to sleep spells, spell and magic related save bonuses and spell resistance which can make them quite good at dodging enemy magic. Darkvision is also heaps useful, as well as the three spell-like abilities that lets us cast spells as if we were a caster.


Aversion to bright light sucks, but it only counts abrupt changes, so we can probably handle that. The -2 to Con also hurts our total HP, so we can’t expect the Drow to take as much damage as other races, and hinders (but not removes) any ability we had of being a front-line fighter.

Cool. Next step on the way to creating this character is the base class. (I say base, in case I feel like working my way towards a specific Prestige class). The class should reflect the type of character as well, so first I need to decide what kind of character I want this Drow to be.





Sure, Assassin sounds good. And for those whose minds may have jumped straight to it, not that Assassin. Or that one with the hidden blades. I mean, the kind of character who strikes from the shadows to down an enemy only to immediately disappear, or who blends into a crowd with ease after slitting a throat, or snipes a perfect headshot from over 200ft. The type of all-in, one shot kill. A glass cannon. Or nearly that. Assassin also fits nicely with our Evil alignment.

This narrows a class choice down to either;

Wizard – Spells grant magical concealment, as well as being a favoured class.

Rogue – Sneak Attack for bonus damage!

Taking a step back to consider the current party composition, my group has a Fighter, Cleric, Ranger and a Rogue/Wizard. A Rogue/Wizard who primarily focuses on adding Sneak Attack bonuses to spells.

Class: Rogue

So rather than copy an existing character for hideous overlap, I’ll be building this Drow to be able to hide themselves without magic. (Also because the +2 level adjustment would restrict our spell casting abilities.) Additionally, the Rogue greatly benefits from our +2 Dex, Int and Cha.

(Not using the favoured class only means that if I decide to multi-class later it will incur a small experience penalty).

To be continued!

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