To the Dark Elves, power and status is everything. The strong rule the society, while the weak cower at the bottom. The Spider Queen does not tolerate weakness within her kind, and all those unfit eventually find their end. The Matron Mother sits above all others as the ruler of the House, and most favored in the eyes of the Spider Queen, otherwise she would not be Matron. The Yath maintains the Matron’s rule, and the unswerving faith of the Drow, towards the Spider Queen, Lolth. It is the Yath whom act as judge, jury, and executioners within the society. To anger a Priestess, is to find your death.
Regardless of your strength, prowess, or charisma; without the favor of the Spider Queen, you are nothing. It is this, that all Drow must undergo several Tests to prove their faith to the Dark Mother. Status and power are given by those above you. The Matron Mother can appoint, dismiss, or put to death any Drow she chooses. Proving your character’s skills to your Elders is both a good and bad thing. Only the strongest and most devious and deserving Drow will attain high ranks within the House of Mori’hyanda. But, also, it is dangerous to give status to someone who can threaten your position.
Assassination remains an easy way to attain power and status. However, to use Assassination as a means of gaining rank, you must have first proven yourself to the House of Mori’hyanda and Lolth. The Challenges of Lolth must have been completed.
For House politics, players will sometimes set someone up to challenge another, only to have this challenge met by the Weapon Master of their House. Since few Drow are true civilians, everyone is expected to defend their House, including its Honor. Either upon the field or in the challenge, House members that are ranked higher may offer to Champion lower ranked members, and this request is never refused.
Since the Time of Birth
Young are as often seen as a burden as an asset and no race of the city other than the duergar doesn’t have members willing to sell their offspring into slavery rather than care for them. Despite this, even the drow recognize the uses of children and that blood can bind more completely than any other bond. This is why the tradition of noble offspring becoming nobles (unless immediately sold into slavery) developed. The noble females of many upper houses (though not all) limit themselves to only two living male children at a time (the matron mother’s sons are referred to as the elderboy and secondboy of the house) but several notable upper noble houses do not hold to this tradition and more and more lesser houses have also dropped it, favoring instead any increase in personal power they can gain (especially since the nobles–even males–are allowed to attend the Academy). Another value most matron’s have realized their male heirs hold is also tied to their status as nobles, for the more nobles a house has, particularly sons and daughters of the matron mother, the harder it is to ensure the entire house will be brought down and the city’s “justice” avoided by any attack on another noble house. Among the small and weak lesser houses of the city this has obvious value as a deterant against more powerful houses wiping them out.
Noble House Status
A matron mother, the senior female priestess, leads noble Houses. In Lolth-worshipping drow communities, her rule is absolute, enforced by the priestesses beneath her (usually her daughters). All females of the mother’s blood, in order of their age, follow in rank, although they wield no authority until they are trained and of age (past puberty), and with the exception that the third daughter is sacrificed to Lolth.
Below the daughters come the male officers of the House; the weapons master (leader of the fighters), (chief) House wizard, and the patron (current consort of the matron mother). These ranks may be combined, and even held by the traditional next rank down in the hierarchy: the male heirs of the House. Male heirs are also ranked by age: elder boy, second boy, third boy, and so on. They are not allowed to look at the faces of other drow, or speak unless spoken to or bidden. This treatment teaches them their subordinate place in drow society. Below them are the “war-leaders” of the House (veteran warriors, who lead House patrols, attack squads, and guards, under the command of the weapons master), and the House mages (under the command of the House wizard). Beneath these “blood” members and officials of the House rank its common warriors, its craftspeople, its servants, and its slaves. All ranks are decreed, and can be changed at the whim of, the matron mother. Her position changes at death - often at the hands of her eldest daughter.
society.txt · Last modified: 2007/08/28