How Drow Elves compare to other elven races

In the Forgotten Realms there are five races of elf, High, Grey (or Moon), Green (or Wood), Sea and Drow Elves. For most people I guess the High, Grey and Green equate pretty much with Moldar, Sindar and Silvan. For the purposes of this discussion I am going to ignore the Sea Elves as they are not typically found in most MERP or Rolemaster campaigns.  The others most players or GMs, I would have thought, wil be familiar with.

What I have done is create a basic 1st level warrior/fighter character. I personally prefer characters with a wider range of skills than loads of boxes in just a couple of skills so that is what you will find here.

The guy has learned his weapon left and right handed, has two weapon combo (with long swords), light crossbow (a preferred Drow weapon), blind fighting, disarm foe (armed), iai strike, tumbling attack, tumbling evasion, ambush and general perception.

I have attached all their character sheets below so you can do a direct comparison but you can see there is not much to tell them a part except that even at first level the combat skills of the Drow are typically a point or two better than their brethren.  It is not always on the OB, sometimes it is on the reverse stroke, iai and tumbling skills, sometimes it is mainly on their OB.

The Drow trade off OB for Hits

The trade off is that the drow elf gets the least #Hits. In this example he gets a total of 49 compared to 51-53 for the other elves. It seems they may be a bit more fragile and better able to deal out damage than take it. These totals are based upon exactly the same dice rolls for all four characters.

Our example elf here is trained in Chainmail (AT13) which is not an unreasonable armour type for a first level character. As it happened his stats were not particularly brilliant and he didn’t get that many development points (just 32). If I had had a few extra developent points I would have liked to buy a box in Stalk/Hide and probably at least one box in Use/Remove Poison for the Drow warrior which for the others probably would be better spent on Herb Lore.

The most striking difference between the four elves is the Drows weakness in Intuition. The Drow do not make good thieves or channeling users.

Here are the four character sheets for you to have a look at.

12 Replies to “How Drow Elves compare to other elven races”

  1. You have a great website and I am having fun reading through it. I noticed your Drow Warrior #1 has a Temp CO of 90 and a Potential of 73? Is that a typo or a gift of the Chaos gods?

    1. A typo, I used the optional rule that if the chracter did npt have a 90 in their prime stat you could bump it up.

      It should be temp 90/potential 90.

      1. I did notice the same convention in a few more character stats. I was beginning to wonder if it was a programming glitch from the app that creates the sheets. I never even thought of the free 90 for Prime Req’s.

        I always get a little tingly when I think there may be same Gifts and Geas from the gods.

        1. I cannot remember if that was a MERP convention or a RM2/RMC convention. Normally I would have said that a player would put their highest stat into the prime requisite stats but this was more for illustration purposes. Likewise for a Drow warrior I would have like to have bought riding (giant lizard) and use/remove poison to complete the picture but you cannot have what you cannot afford. It was interesting that the Drow was slightly more ‘inherently dnagerous’ than the other elven races.

          1. RM2 definitely has the minimum of 90 for Prime Req’s. It actually comes in handy with some profession types and with the archetype that a player has in mind.

            I love the minimum 90, particularly if the stat is not one that generates Dev Points. Take the lowest score, drop it into the Prime Req to get the free 90, then use the higher stats in something more useful that will help with the archetype; stealthier, Bow-ier, Fight-ier, or more PP or Dev Points.

            Yes, the natural instinct is to make the prime req’s as high as possible, but for some professions, it’s not always practical, and a 90 for a stat isn’t that bad. +10 stat bonus and 8DP, I think?

            1. I like to play characters that always have something to contribute, so they are competent in a fight, they may be good a subtefuge, some kind of healing skills, some communication skills and some lore. Once you start spreading your development points out that widely then you start to want your highest stats more often than not in Intuition or Reasoning regardless of which profession you have chosen. I guess life is always a bit easier if you are smarter?

  2. That’s two sides of the same coin actually. Yes, higher IN or RE are smarter and that will give you good bonuses to skills, but one could also have lots of Dev Pts to spend and buy more ranks or have access to more skills which can also be seen as smarter. 🙂

    The determining factor for me was always the archetype I had in mind for the PC. I tried to find the best balance in stats/DP’s to achieve that goal. I have a level 8 Cavalier who was the younger of two brothers and as such, he was sent to the monastery to become the scholar/advisor to the eldest when the eldest took the throne. The older of the brothers was sent to the military academy to learn the skills needed to lead armies and eventually a kingdom.

    As Fate would have it, the older brother was killed in combat and the younger brother had to be taken from academia and thrust into a militaria. I assigned the stats as if he were a scholar at Level 0/Puberty and bought skills as though he were learning scholarly things, so the bonuses are great for those skills. Then at Level 1, I chose the profession as Cavalier and had to switch over to a new career with less than optimal stats.

    It was completely my choice to do so. I thought it would be a great background/quirk to have for the PC; a Cavalier with knowledge that wouldn’t normally be associated with a Cavalier: Poison Lore, Use/Remove Poison, etc. My knowledge skills were great and my fighting skills were mediocre, but he is really fun to play!

    1. I certainly agree, those characters with a really strong concept behind them are by far the easiest to GM for and write adventures for. I have found that the thief as a profession makes quite a good basic all rounder that you can take in all sorts of directions without having to sacrifice anything very much to play exactly the type of character you want play. The last theif I played spent time trying to fit in with a ranger, then as a faux magicians apprentice and finally tried to take on the role of Paladin. It helped that he had a couple of open channeling lists so he could case a bit of magic but foraging plus tracking was enough to give him the entry skills to hang out with rangers. His bit of magic, plus the divination skill, herb lore and poison lore and some alchemy skill and he could fit in with some magic users and learn some platemail (just AT17) and a single box in transcend armor and he was well on his way being a Paladin. All those changes in direction took about 10 levels but as the story twisted and turned so did his ambitions.

      1. That sounds like a great PC to play. You should include it in the RM2 thread for Favorite, Most Interesting, Most Fun character to play.

        In the group I just GM’d one player had a burglar. Instead of going into houses to burgle them, he set up the house and had the people come to him. He was trying to establish a casino and had the stats geared towards running a gambling establishment. He of course had the burglar skills, but he played the character as a businessman, entrepreneur. I don’t believe any of the other players knew he was Burglar profession.

        I also had one player who was an Assassin, but was playing him as Hunter profession. He was assigned to the party by the Patrician to hunt for food to keep the party viable on a long campaign. It was the perfect cover story and no one even knew. I told him the longer he kept that a secret from the players in real life, the more XP I would give him.

  3. Sadly, the very first words out of his mouth before anyone even sat down at the table or even removed their coats were “My character has to keep his profession a secret from everyone else. No one is supposed to know he’s an….”

    I cut him off before he spilled his guts. Luckily I don’t think many were listening to him at the time.

    1. Oh dear!

      I don’t think he was suitable material for the favourite characters thread. In the end I colluded with the GM to have him killed as he was over shadowing a couple of the other characters and the more capable he became the more xp he was gathering and he was outstripping the rest of the party which just made the problem both worse and self fullfilling.

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