The drow who inhabit the subterranean caverns of Ashfar are a more disciplined, sinister breed than those found in other planes and campaigns. Their alignment is typically lawful evil, rather than neutral. At this point in their evolution, they are both zealously religious in their worship of She and highly militaristic, favouring lengthy combat training, execution of the inefficient, merciless slaughter of foes and ruthless efficiency in the field. They work in groups, rather than as solitary assassins and have a rigid chain of command. The females are always given the superior position.
The drow are organised into tribal clans or ‘houses’, which in turn form allegiances of their own. Each house has an official ruler, though there may be (and often are) other powers pulling the strings. The current dominant house, the most favoured of the Dark, is House Jar’Allin. They control the largest of the drow settlements and receive tribute from the other houses. The allegiance of drow houses over which House Jar’Allin rules is referred to as the Ennead, as there are nine principal houses involved in it.
They are decadent, but it is the decadence of Berlin Cabaret (officers enjoying evenings of grotesque and ribald entertainment) rather than of Rome. They have a fondness for uniforms, sadism, polished skull-shaped coat buttons and the obliteration of anything that does not fall into their vision of how the world should be. Their ultimate dream is of a world swamped in darkness, of perfect order and subjection to their authority.
The drow of Ashfar have a custom of ritual cannibalism, gleaned from the spiders that they adore. Eating another is seen as an assertion of authority, not as an insult or as a
means of honouring the dead like it is in some other cultures. For example, any officer may order a subordinate to be killed and brought to him as a meal if he feels that the lower ranks are not sufficiently respectful of him. A female drow may sometimes eat a male after mating, as an indication that the status of the female is always superior, whether she takes a male as a mate or not.
The following customs apply to drow cannibalism:
• Any female drow has the right to kill and eat any male of any species with whom she has mated, even if that male is married to another. She must, however, do so within one week, or the right is forfeit.
• Any female drow has the right to kill and eat her young before the age of one year.
• Any drow has the right to kill and eat any other drow of inferior rank, so long as this does not significantly weaken the military strength of the unit under her command.
The drow are monstrously xenophobic. They view all who are not drow as pollutants. These scum disrupt the perfection of the Dark. They can either be subdued and made useful as servants (as the duergar have been) or wiped from the surface of the earth. Nonetheless, a drow female may sometimes pretend to be interested in a male of a lesser species, purely for the purpose of extracting what he knows from him. Once he is no longer useful, he will be killed and possibly eaten. The females of the drow species far outstrip the males in cruelty and inventiveness.