The Realms of Adventure
The drow of Faerûn are undisputed masters of the Underdark as well a scourge of surface lands. Their realms extend across the underworld, poking to the surface here and there like deadly fungi. Over the last century, they have been driven out of ancient elven dominions, taken tremendous losses in the campaign of Lolth against other drow deities, and suffered setbacks in the wake of the Spellplague. But now, united under Lolth’s authority, the drow are one of the most potent threats in the world.
The center of drow power in Faerûn is the Underdark realm of Northdark, wherein lies the mighty city of Menzoberranzan. Other major drow settlements exist there as well, such as Ched Nasad.
The drow took advantage of the Elven Retreat from the Forest of Cormanthor in the middle of the last century. Several drow factions, House Jaelre and the Auzkovyn clan chief among them, invaded abandoned settlements and places where resistance was weak. Jaelre drow settled in old elven holds, while the Auzkovyns were content to roam the woodlands. Ilsevele Miritar drove the drow back into the Underdark when she retook Myth Drannor, but they remain a problem in areas beneath Myth Drannor and Dalelands.
Millennia ago, the Ilythiiri elves launched a war of conquest, battling other elven nations in Faerûn. During these clashes, the Ilythiiri called on the power of evil gods, including Ghaunadaur and Lolth. In the end, the Seldarine (the elven gods) cursed the Ilythiiri and their elven allies, making sunlight painful to them. Within months, the dhaeraow (“traitors” in Elven) retreated to the Underdark in what was named the Descent. Even after the Descent, the drow continued to wage war to claim subterranean territory. In so doing, they earned the enmity of dwarves and other underground races. Since then, drow have spread across the Underdark, bringing war, oppression, and strife to their neighbors and the surface world. They still nurse a deep grudge against the Seldarine, whom they believe cursed the drow because of jealousy of their successful ancient campaigns.
Araushnee was once Corellon’s consort, the Weaver of Destiny and patron to all elves who shared her lovely dark features. But near the beginning of recorded history, she betrayed the Seldarine and attacked Arvandor with the aid of Ghaunadaur and other malevolent deities. She lost the battle and was cast into the Abyss, where she took the name Lolth, Queen of Spiders.