The drow of Gaeleth are scattered and nearly broken, but their legends still survive. During the Storm Wars, the 'dark race' (as they were known) were the elite forces of the Nathelian General Orcen Roreth. Attacking by stealth, in the midst of the night, their magics and their enchanted blades decimated the ranks of the Karatikan Alliance. General Roreth was very particular with his drow, and treated them well – for slaves.
General Roreth wanted more, however, and began a special program to mix the drow abilities with those of other races – even other species. Leftenant Deetrick Malkveth and Leftenant Dumas Elistan were placed in charge of the program, and the results were mixed. Though the general held onto the core forces of the Dark Race, eventually turning them over to the Dark Guard Luminar, he left the special drow program – codenamed Drow'Ari – in the care of the two lieutenants.
Malkveth and Elistan turned out drow mixed with trolls, horses, and even spirits. The drow'ari became as varied and as warped as the minds of the two lieutenants controlling the project. Some of the more fabulous of the races resulted from the drow cross-breeding program – minotaurs, centaurs, chokers, and even the rakshasa resulted from this terrible project. Even the Dark Race itself shunned these poor, condemned souls.
After the defeat of Nathel, and then of Nabrol, the drow'ari began to hide in the Sasinak Mountains of the Nabrolian Continent. Some escaped over the intervening five centuries, until the War of the Undead, and afterwards. It was after the founding of Rakore that the drow princess Genea became a duchess, and began gathering the drow about her in a place where they could live in freedom. Duchess Genea sends at least one expedition every year to bring out as many drow and drow'ari as possible from the continent of Nabrol. Because of Nabrolian priests and the terrible triremes of that land, only one in two expeditions ever return. The Duchess Genea continues to fund the expeditions, however, in the hopes that all drow will yearn for the freedom Rakore offers.
What follows is an excerpt from the Atsu Project, which would culminate in the ultimate drow'ari:
“The Shaping Wars unleashed elements of destruction such as the world had never seen. Unlike any war before, there were no conventional troops. The battles were fought strictly with magic of one form or another. Only the heads of each faction knew the true reason for the fighting – they were each seeking different artifacts that predated the Shield and the Oddity. Giran Howel and Al Mudim were only a few among the items. At the time, the Shaping Wars had no name; everything was chaos and destruction. One of the powers on the continent of Chilleth was the emperor of Tamudea. Emperor Akmaen Delture of the Delturan Dynasty's Second Reign commanded a legion of Var Gauf – the first Gaeleth had ever seen. Masterful infiltrators and assassins, their magics helped them search for a lesser item of the wars – the royal sigil of the House of Delturan. There are rumors about the power of the item, but in all probability, it was nonmagical; merely a signet ring or an amulet of some sort. Emperor Akmaen's master Var Gauf was Min Atsu. Min's specialty area was Divination, and he found valuable clues as the location of the royal sigil. The Var Gauf sewed chaos all through the war, popping in and out of locations, destroying anyone that got in their way, and lighting fires to distract the emperor's enemies within Tamudea. Most of the battles took place in Chilleth, but others spilled out along the coast of Middle Galanath, ranging from what would one day be Chesdolan all the way down to the future Alekdan Principalities. Throughout the war, Min kept detailed accounts of the search, and his service to his emperor. A faithful servant of Agincoth, his works were kept as sacred texts after the Shaping Wars, until the anhilation of the House of Delture some two millennia later. Most of the texts were assumed destroyed as the enemies of the Delturans purged them from history. The priests of Agincoth managed to smuggle some of the history of the dynasty and the house out of Chilleth; from there, the information was copied and spread to several of the major libraries of Agincoth. Towards the latter stages of the war, Min indicated his frustration with the limits of the human body. The elementals used by The Four throughout the war proved invaluable in the battles that went on. Argunas' demons were equally powerful, deciding the outcomes of several very important battles. Though very loyal to his race, Min was equally fascinated with the elves – the 'spirit folk' to the inhabitants of Chilleth. Elven infravision fascinated the Var Gauf master, and he contributed greatly to the understanding of how infravision works, and to finding its limits. The ability of the forest elves to blend in with their environment had the Emperor's diviner frustrated for several years, and he died not knowing how the elven race accomplished the feat. As well, the tactile sensitivity of elven kind made the Var Gauf master very respectful of the spirit folk. Min Atsu was a brilliant man, and his writings contributed a great deal to the libraries of Agincoth. His works aided scholars for centuries, serving as guides to elves, the Var Gauf, and the divination schools. He was arguably one of the greatest intellects Chilleth ever produced, and perhaps one of the most intelligent and widely studied men in Gaeleth's history. This is one of the reasons his works have endured, hidden away in one library or another, for millennia. Though the spells of the priests of Agincoth were considerable, the volume of works they had to deal with were tremendous. Also, it was considered a great honor to transcribe certain volumes of works, and illuminate them. After a time, the originals were lost, and only the transcriptions remained. Errors were undoubtedly made, and if the scribe added his own notes or interpretations to the text, it definitely tainted the translation or copy he was making. Five millennia after Min Atsu wrote his memoirs, came the Storm Wars, and General Roreth of Nathel. General Roreth rode over southern Galanath roughshod, tearing it apart as he went, seeing what bugs crawled out from under the rocks he overturned – and seeing what items he found in his northward journey. The general was a very shrewd man, and had under him equally shrewd and intelligent men. It was one of these men, Leftenant Dumas Elistan, that brought to the general's attention the works of Min Atsu. Those particular works were rather corrupted by millennia of transcriptions, but the core of Atsu's genius remained. In fact, some of the master Var Gauf's tactics and strategies were incorporated into Nathelian tactics – with devastating results for the north. The translation copy that Elistan saw, and brought to General Roreth's attention, mentioned possible cross-breeding among the various races of elves. The drow had just been discovered by Nathelian forces, when the news reached the general, he latched onto the idea. In the corrupted copy General Roreth had, Min Atsu lamented the fact that he did not have an elven Var Gauf that had the best of all the elven races – the power of the desert elves, the strength of the water elves, the stealth of the wood elves, and the magic of the plains elves – which were by then extinct. General Roreth agreed. As other reports began to filter into Nathel's top general about Giran Howel, the man began to envision a magically created elf wielding the God Slayer. Appointing Leftenant Deetrick Malkveth over the project, the Nathelian strategist outlined an engineering project for the new dark elven race. Malkveth used a combination of breeding, magic, and divine intervention to begin crafting from flesh an unholy soldier. Nathel's archon Nabrol aided in the project, providing several millennia of invaluable experience. As the Dark Guard Simon Luminar sent the drow race in on suicidal missions, Malkveth used body samples from the survivors – sometimes at the expense of their lives. As Leftenant Elistan conquered more and more of the eastern coasts, and General Roreth's forces swept through the rest of the south, the other elves contributed to the Atsu project, as well. When the Sebre Druids used a small army of trolls to great effect against one of General Roreth's advancements, the general hit upon the idea of using more than just the elven races to contribute to the Atsu project. Trolls, dwarves, gnomes, and other 'expendable' races were added to the flavoring of the magic that made up the project. ” -an exert from the Atsu Project
Drow'Ari Base Racial Features All drow'ari are based off of the drow race of Gaeleth – however, the drow'ari are more in tune with their strange forms, each of which varies. Drow'ari tend to have thematic variants – such as feline characteristics, a centaur-base, or even bat-like wings. Some appear as normal drow, but have strange powers and abilities. Players are encouraged to explore various possibilities, with the Dungeon Master ultimately deciding whether a concept is feasible, and making necessary level adjustments.
Example drow'ari include the PC known as Storm – who had a third set of limbs that were bat-like, giving her the power of limited flight and long glides. The PC known as N'Kara Nightstar was something of a tiger-drow hybrid, with were-tiger tendencies. The PC Fir'mae brothers had night and stealth options that indicated some sort of shadow-elemental components.
Herds of centaurs in various lands are probably a drowari force designed by General Roreth for higher-speed maneuvers.