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© 2003 by Pasi Viheriäinen
Drow vary in shape, features, and hair color as greatly as humans do, though the vast majority share similar traits, which gives birth to the misconception among surface folk and others ignorant of the truth that all drow are the same.
©2006 commissioned art by Anna Rigby
Xull'rae Zauviir and Alya Frettlar
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Most drow have red eyes. Others have green, brown, or black. Various shades of gray, even amber and rose-hued eyes are not unknown. All drow eyes tend to grow redder when they are angry or upset. Yellow eyes usually denote illness, disease, poisoning, or the presence of certain detrimental magics. Blue and purple (and all the tints thereof) are the most unusual eye colors, and usually denote human or surface-elven blood somewhere in the drow's ancestry.
Also, much as their surface elven kin, drow tend towards highly developed senses. Millennia of living in the Underdark, where one learns to find water by timing the echoes of dripping or running water, and learns to detect incoming rock shifts or collapses by listening for the natural grating and groaning sounds of unshaped rock has given the drow a superior sense of hearing (reflected in game terms by a +2 racial bonus to Listen checks). A drow’s long, slender fingers are highly sensitive, granting them an enhanced tactile sense. This allows them, among other things, to read subtle, Braille-like “secret signs” left by fellow drow on rocks walls, message stones, and other places.
A drow’s physiology also includes an innate resistance to magic, presumably (though this is not necessarily an accurate accounting) from generations of exposure to the Underdark radiation known as Faerzress. This does not hamper them from reaping the rewards of beneficial spells and effects, however, as an individual drow may willingly lower this resistance on a temporary basis. (Some folk argue that this also leaves them temporarily defenseless against all magics.) As with all elves, they also have a naturally highly developed resistance to enchantment spells and effects, and complete immunity to any magic-based sleep effects (the latter most likely stemming from the fact that, like other elves, the drow do not need to sleep in the sense that humans do, entering a form of relaxation and meditation known as the Reverie instead, though exceptions do occur, with dark elves more likely to truly sleep than surface elves.) Being particularly willful as a race, combined with these innate resistances to various magics has granted the drow an enhanced ability to fend off those who would try to subvert or overcome their wills through magic.
The lifespan of drow (and their appropriate age categories) has been a point of much consternation down the years. Various sources within the game throughout it's incarnations, and in the accompanying novels, have repeatedly contradicted each other, and I've yet to find a concrete answer to the problem. As of the latest product updates, drow were changed to have the same lifespan and age categories as defined for elves in the Players Handbook, though traditionally drow were shorter-lived and faster-breeding than the rest of their kin on the surface.
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