One of my current projects is rewriting or reimagining most of the monsters in the Fiend Folio, in among other things a more minimalist OD&D or Seven Voyages of Zylarthen style. As I implied in a previous post, it was my four-year-old son who inspired me to give the Fiend Folio another look.. And if I ever publish the damn thing, it will be dedicated to him.
Zak S made a fine start on it here, which I intentionally stopped reading so as not to bias myself and unintentionally steal stuff. Also, of course, some of Zak's ideas aren't exactly kid friendly.
The project is fun but it's also annoying. There are a number of monsters I don't want to rewrite or reimagine--either because I think they are silly or pointless and I can't quickly think of an alternative, or because their descriptions are lengthy and complicated and I'm too lazy to adequately understand or parse them.
So I follow the same strategy I followed when I took the SATs. When I come to a monster that I don't want or know how to deal with, I skip over it, intending to come back later.
I've skipped over Drow three times.
On Saturday, I drew the line. I would deal with Drow once and for all. And so I spent most of the day thinking about what to do with them.
And in the process I realized I hated their guts.
Here are ten reasons.
I did eventually reimagine the Drow in a way that I found satisfactory, but this post will take me a much shorter time to write. I will never get back those three hours.
Ten Reasons Why I Hate Drow:
- Ideally, all elves should be dangerous, mysterious and somewhat creepy. Creating a new category of elves that are almost defined as such, effectively means that elves in general (all the other elves) will not be dangerous, mysterious and somewhat creepy.
- Drow did not appear in the three little brown books or the supplements. They were introduced in AD&D. For this OD&D curmudgeon, that makes then prima facie suspect.
- Teenage girls like them. Or at least they're the sort of thing that I imagine teenage girls liking.
- Some of the very worst "new school" art depicts Drow. Indeed, the "Drow vibe" almost defines new school art.
- In 4e, everyone looked like Drow.
- They're too complicated in terms of text length. No monster should have multi-page descriptions. If you cannot grasp a monster in a few minutes or a paragraph, it's too complicated.
- They're too complicated in terms of...complexity. Drow are Fighter/Magic-Users and Fighter/Clerics. The males may progress to X level as a Fighter and possibly Z level as a Magic-User. The females may progress to Y level as a fighter and Z level as a Magic-User. Only females may be Clerics and they may only progress to X level, while still being Fighters who progress to Y level. But only on Wednesday. And only if you have a double Fizbin.
- Drow encourage an annoying faux engagement with the occult.
- Drow exemplify social ecology bloat par excellence. I don't know and I don't care about the rivalries and intrigue between "House Focker" and "House Flying Focker."
- Ed Greenwood called Drow "Gary Gygax's greatest, most influential fantasy creation."
Drow should all be enveloped, flumphed or tirapheged to death.
Or overwhelmed by hordes of Men & Magic Goblins, Kobolds or anyone else with two sentence descriptors.
Ooh, they're so dark!
No, actually. Just boring.
Blog post picture is by Helmuttt.