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The following is general knowledge only to those with a regular involvement with Drowe. In general they are an insular and private race who have no interest in sharing their affairs with others.

The City of Dem'Orristal lies somewhere deep beneath the fens to the south of Bildteve, near to the border with the Broken Lands. It used to be one of a number throughout the Drowe Empire which flourished beneath the cities of Primus.

At the end of IM1005 massive earthquakes ripped through the under-cities of Primus and thousands died. Filled with an urge for vengeance, those who survived wandered around for ages trying to find someone responsible upon whom they could take revenge. All contact with other drowe cities was lost, and the original geography of the once great city was drastically changed.

With many dead and countless more missing, things more or less fell into chaos as everyone took the opportunity to slip a knife through each others' ribs for past indiscretions. While this was going on, scrying showed that all of the other cities beneath had vanished from Primus, now moved to some Realm best Forgotten, and totally inaccessible.

From the chaos of the Upheaval, a number of the previously strong houses started to emerge above the others in the fighting, though everything was still very much touch and go. Then in the course of one night the combined warbands of eight of the most powerful Houses massacred all of their competitors, placing their Matrons as the Council to rule over the city proper. Any sensible people simply hid.

Over the following weeks the city was carved up between them. It was always a maze of caverns and passageways rather than a single huge cave with houses built inside it, and it was turned into a notional wheel, with the centre used for trade, common areas and housing for the ronin and outcasts that survived. The outlying areas were divided into 8, more or less, mostly reflecting the original lands of the Houses and some other places they managed to grab. Much of these areas are still either rubble, impassable or derelict. There are maybe three to four thousand drowe left in the remnants of a city built for five times that number. The only non-drowe in the city proper are the goblin, orc and human slaves of the Eight Houses, and the occasional illithid or bound demon though they are enough of a rarity to attract attention. Worship of Lloth has become more fervent than it was before as people hope to ward off such a disaster happening again.

For a long time there was no contact with the outside world at all until finally one of the eight ruling houses, House Foilel, chose to summon the remnants of their race from around Primus for the first Dem'Orristal games. Those who attended included House Despana, retaining their position by being isolated from the cities and having many of their members in the mercenary caste on the surface.

Politics continues to weave its vicious threads in the city of Dem’Orristal, with alliances being formed, fracturing and broken on a regular basis, and all the while the serene faces of the Matron Mothers blankly deny that anything is going on.

For those who have spent some time in the city, the public faces of the Eight Houses are as follows:

House Mathraen

This House follows the belief that it is through supernatural might and devotion to the Spider Queen that the Drow species shall improve and secure themselves. They are notorious for training their own to destruction if needed, as well as fleecing the most promising candidates from the lower houses. A potent mage is a bargaining point if vassalage is sought.

House Nuzdaragûm

This House is known to be one of ritual power rather than military might. Scholars and schemers all, the house is always willing to trade their ritual talents for a price, and the contracts are always long and complex.

House Shalazer

An openly ambitious house that wish to raise their status in the eyes of Lloth. They are known masters of shadow magic as well as smiths of magical artefacts which they will trade at a high price. The house has been gaining many smaller vassal houses under their banner recently.

House Bilân-Kûn

This house has always lived out on the fringes of Drowe Society and is often viewed as untrustworthy. Devout to Lloth the house rarely seems to dabble in politics of the Houses and is willing to trade with all.

House Foliel

This House forms the forefront of the expansionists. The Matron is renowned for her love of a tumble in the sack with heroic explorers, and as such their focus has often been on the more physical side of their development – unusual amongst drow. Rangers, warriors and duellists find all the training they need, and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the spoils of victory. Usually high in Lloth's favour for being willing to take risks, if only a few of them come off it is of no matter because so many are out there seeking to push the boundaries of the city.

They also offer prizes to the victors of dangerous games to encourage the spirit of competitiveness, although for fairness members of the House are restricted from taking part.

House Shae'lack

Most renowned for being mediators, this House is as deeply entwined in politics as it is possible to be. More than any of the others, perhaps, it is House Shae'lack that keeps the city together and working. They tend to step in to help with disputes when they stew for too long, using their weight and influence to persuade irritated Matrons to refrain from expressing their displeasure in public.

While possessing recognised ritual power and military might, they are almost never called to act as everyone is aware that so many people owe the Matron favours that anyone taking such a foolish step would become a pariah of the Drow. Their position is only maintained however since they are prepared to remain a mid-power House rather than struggling for leadership. Rumours abound of the First Daughter's ambition and desire, though currently it is kept in strict check by the Matron.

House La'ten Ves

This is one of the oldest and most secretive houses. They are known for being cultured and upholders of their own twisted honour. However they are also known for their cruelty, treating other races with disdain, the house allows no half breeds. They effectively run the slave markets. They are all wielders of mind powers to some degree or another. They are also known to frown upon assassination.

House Radlakûm

Quick and evasive, the Matron Mother is only rarely seen and oft-times doesn't even manage to attend council meetings. It makes the House ripe for annihilation and it is only the traditional Council of 8 that has kept them in place. Outsiders see a weak House that could well fall given a push in the right direction

House Despana

In addition to the eight Great Houses, there is House Despana. An anomaly at the moment, it exists by the side of the Eight Houses. Whether they will seek to become vassals to one of the great, or seek to supplant one of them before the thought of a competitor leads to an alliance against them, remains to be seen. The presence of several members of significant potency may be all that has stayed the hand of the Great Houses so far.


Within the Houses themselves, there are a number of names of note that strike fear into the heart of the populous. More than any others these bring a shudder to the people of the city who would open their eyes wide with fear and whisper softly as they swiftly move from their path.

Master Usheric Foliel– a hunter who moves with the confidence of a man who knows he can kill almost anyone or anything he hunts. He has no need to be cruel, loud or harsh - his reputation does the work for him. Lloth herself bestowed him with a pair of knives for an unknown service he performed, and they positively thrum with her dark blessing.

Master Usharâg Bilân-Kûn – Previously a mighty warrior, the centre of the front line in his House's warband. He committed some great sin (of which rumours abound) and was transformed into a dryder. He's now a ravaging beast that is sometimes taken through the streets of the city, inspiring fear in those he turns his horrible gaze upon.

Grand Magus Artelis Radlakûm, Shadow of Lloth's Gaze – probably the most dangerous mage in the city. His magical might is unquestioned and he sweeps through the city uncaring of the lesser mortals that surround him.

Matron Etrellia Mathraen – Renowned for her fervent worship of Lloth as much as her short temper, she often seems to hunt for a perceived slight while walking the city just so she can fireball the unfortunate soul who wasn't quick enough to get out of her way. Anyone sensible steers well clear of her.

Matriarch Imreenice La’ten Ves – Supposedly the oldest drowe in the city. Rumour has it that she remembers a time before Lloth blessed the race. Her passage through the city is always accompanied by one of the few Ilithids that dwell with the drowe.
Quick note to say that anyone who is joining this campaign and wants access to the secret boards of House Despana, should drop me a PM. And have a drowe. In House Despana.


Justin C
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