Friday, June 19, 2009

Another Early Drow

This is an image of one of the Slave Lords, drawn by Erol Otus, who seems, in retrospect, to have been responsible for many of the earliest Drow artwork. Her name is Edralve, which I think is rather telling, since it's clearly modeled on Eclavdra, the female Drow priestess who's the evil mastermind in the G-series of modules. To me, this similarity of name is a good indication that someone at TSR at least thought Eclavdra made for a good villain and wanted to clone her, much in the way that lots of unimaginative kids create characters or situations borrowed from movies or TV shows that they like. I used to think that Strahd von Zarovich of Ravenloft fame was the first significant "pet NPC" of D&D. Now I am starting to wonder if perhaps Eclavdra was the first.


  1. You should also put these additional pictures and comments into the original drow post so it can be a one-stop archive for the topic.

  2. " lots of unimaginative kids create characters or situations borrowed from movies or TV shows that they like. "

    Ouch! It's not always such a bad thing . . . I think almost everything Shakespeare did was a mash-up of one or more sources that might have had a copyright suit today. And is re-using your "own" chracters necessarily more admirable than re-imagining someone else's?
    (That said, I do like toys without a cartoon tie-in so that my son feels more free to make his own stories.)

  3. All my most original ideas are stolen from someone else.

  4. You're doing the Lord's work, my son.

  5. I think my biggest rip-off in games was in the late 80's. I needed a trio of villains to steal a magical portrait that the party would then track down (in a dungeon hide out) and fight. I based their look entirely on the three baddies from Superman 2, in black leather and all. All were around 10th level (vs. the parties 7-8th levels). "Zod" was a master thief, the kinky lady was an MU/Witch (an npc who still exists in my world), and the big strong dope was a fighter with 18/00 STR.

    Often doing blatant rips in my games would get me a round of guffawas, but the players actually really dug it.

    Just a word about the similarities of the drow names. Perhaps rather than a direct homage to the evil drow beeyatch from the modules, maybe it was an attempt to give a certain consistancy to names of a particular race? Aw what am I saying. It was a rip.

  6. James,

    You might be on to something there. Even if a party killed Eclavdra in G3, she still showed up in D3 (as a clone or whatnot). Gary even explicitly mentions that no matter her fate from Snurre's Hall, she still ruled House Eilservs by the time the PCs arrived.

    This isn't quite the same level of idiocy as Dragonlance and its "obscure death" rule, but it is clear that Eclavdra was to be an at least once-recurring villain.

  7. Another great one.

    @crazyred: lol :D

  8. Great retrospective of drow, James. Thanks! I haven't used drow in my games for quite some time -- mostly the whole Drizzle fo' shizzle effect of the FR novels. I must revisit that decision.