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 A question on 3.5 Drow spell-like abilities
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Learned Scribe

106 Posts

Posted - 26 Oct 2011 :  07:53:54  Show Profile  Visit BlackDragonKarameikos's Homepage Send BlackDragonKarameikos a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Ok, My question is this.

I have a player who is going to be playing a Drow; he says she's been on the surface for about 5-6 years now, how long would it take for her to lose the total use of her spell-like abilities?

Also, would she lose her Spell Resistance from being on the surface for so long? or is the SR of the Drow an innate ability that's tied to the race and not to the Underdark?

And thanks in advance for the help.


33 Posts

Posted - 26 Oct 2011 :  09:20:56  Show Profile Send Salacar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
From what I've been able to gather, a drow doesn't actually lose their innate spell-like abilities when coming to the surface, Drizzt can use his powers just fine even after several years on the surface.
The drow magical weaponry and items crafted using Faerzress however, is weakened and destroyed/disenchanted quite quickly when coming into contact with sunlight. Mind you, Drizzt's noble levitation ability was in fact a product of his house insignia, which was also "disenchanted" after coming to the surface.
Their SR most likely won't go away either, I haven't heard anything of the sort at least. I'm not 100% certain where the SR comes from, could be the drow "curse", the effect of Faerzress radiation over many thousand years, or a result of their encounter with the Imaskari who first taught them arcane magic. Your guess is as good as mine.

Remember the golden rule though, if you feel that Drow should lose their spell-like abilities after a period of time away from the Underdark (and possibly the Faerzress radiation) then go right ahead and do so, I'm certain it'd lead to some interesting RPing as well.

EDIT: I just remembered about a feat in Races of Faerun, called Highborn Drown, which actually gives detect good, detect magic and levitate 1/day. I'm still pretty sure that the drow noble insignia is what allowed most drow to levitate, so I'm not sure what to think of this feat.

Edited by - Salacar on 26 Oct 2011 09:29:46
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Joran Nobleheart
Senior Scribe

495 Posts

Posted - 26 Oct 2011 :  10:51:43  Show Profile  Visit Joran Nobleheart's Homepage Send Joran Nobleheart a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I believe that when Liriel carved the rune on the tree, that drow items became immune to sunlight, and that drow abilities function on the surface without penalty. Spell resistance and all the rest are normal as well, from what I can remember without looking at any of my sourcebooks, which are currently nowhere near me.

Paladinic Ethos
Saint Joran Nobleheart

Edited by - Joran Nobleheart on 26 Oct 2011 10:52:24
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Great Reader

2449 Posts

Posted - 26 Oct 2011 :  13:58:17  Show Profile  Visit Hoondatha's Homepage Send Hoondatha a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Right, that was one of the big changes between 2e and 3e, one that Elaine weas kind enough to provide a semi-logical explanation for in Windwalker.

The short version is, in 2e a drow would lose their powers within a few months of dedicated surface living (see Drizzt's initial surface travels in Sojourn for an example). That's everything; all SLA's, magic resistance, and items (though items usually fall apart faster).

In 3e, powers don't go away, period. They also mostly removed the drow "quasi-magical" items as they shifted the way magical items were created, so drow items don't disintegrate either. Personally, I think that was one of many stupid 3e design changes-for-change-sake, but at this point, whatever.

So the answer to your question is essentially, which edition are you using? 2e, they've been gone for years. 3e, and after something like 1370 DR, they're there. Unless you want to knock down the drow's LA, in which case getting rid of the SLA's is a perfectly valid start.

Doggedly converting 3e back to what D&D should be...
Sigh... And now 4e as well.
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25 Posts

Posted - 27 Oct 2011 :  05:36:16  Show Profile Send Mantis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Whenever my group had a tough rules call we always just allowed the GM to make what he/she thought was the proper call because in the end its your story/campaign.
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Learned Scribe

118 Posts

Posted - 27 Oct 2011 :  18:04:45  Show Profile Send MisterX a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Both Salacar and Hoondatha are quite right. ;)

In 3.5e, Drow don't loose any innate powers, neither spell resistance nor spell-like abilities. Drow Magic Items don't disintegrate by default – there is, in contrast, a special quality (like, for example, flaming or keen) called "drow crafted". This ability works only in the underdark (and can be lost, if the weapon's exposed to sunlight) and gives the weapon an additional enhancement-bonus (+2 iirc). So they didn't take that out completely (you'll find this ability in the Underdark Sourcebook).

originally posted by Salacar
Mind you, Drizzt's noble levitation ability was in fact a product of his house insignia

Completely right, going by the stats published in the FRCS, but not default. There's a feat in the Drow of the Underdark (of 3.5e!) called "Noble born Drow", which gives the character access to levitation as a spell-like ability…

BlackDragonKarameikos, you're in the lucky position, that you don't need to change anything on the player's stats. He can (by the rules and as long as your group doesn't decide otherwise) keep all the bonuses of his drow-heritage, but will also keep the +2 racial adjustment.

If you'd decide to strip his powers (due to a start at Lvl 1, for example), I'd propose to let him play with an elve's stats – just with white hair and black skin.

I've lost track of recent realmslore, since my campaigns are still in the 1370ies. :-)
When talking about rules (and related stuff) I always refer to 3.5e unless explicitly noted.

Edited by - MisterX on 09 Nov 2011 07:24:18
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Alystra Illianniis
Great Reader

3750 Posts

Posted - 09 Nov 2011 :  01:03:51  Show Profile Send Alystra Illianniis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Actually, you could even try a hybrid, with the drow elf stats, but no SLA's, and the darkvision of drow (this is natural). This keeps them without a LA, but still gives you the distinct drow racial "feel".

The Goddess is alive, and magic is afoot.

"Where Science ends, Magic begins" -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491

"You idiots! You've captured their STUNT doubles!" -Spaceballs

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My stories:

Lothir, courtesy of Sylinde (Deviant Art)/Luaxena (Chosen of Eilistraee)
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Learned Scribe

118 Posts

Posted - 09 Nov 2011 :  07:26:23  Show Profile Send MisterX a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Talking of hybrids, you could also adapt the weapon profiencies. Especially taking the longsword out and giving him a short-sword could balance the darkvision-trait proposed by Alystra Illianniis (thank you for that, Alystra, hadn't think it… *blush*)…

I've lost track of recent realmslore, since my campaigns are still in the 1370ies. :-)
When talking about rules (and related stuff) I always refer to 3.5e unless explicitly noted.
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Great Reader

2349 Posts

Posted - 06 May 2018 :  16:40:38  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I guess this question should go in this thread.
Did anyone here take a look at 3.5 Drow of the Underdark - in particular, the expanded spell-like abilities as feats with prerequisites?
Deceptive Illumination (Silent Image) <- Dancing Lights
Fascinating Illumination (Hypnotic Pattern) <- Dancing Lights
Dazzling Fire (faerie fire that makes it hard to see for the target) <- Faerie Fire
Radiant Flicker (as Blur, but glows) <- Dazzling Fire, Faerie Fire

IMO some form of expansion makes sense, given that there were some variations already, and the drow drive to improve on whatever they have and have one more trump in the sleeve than the next guy or gal.
But is it the best way to do so (even in 3.x only)? What do you think about this approach? Also, how would you make it in Players Options (if you used these)?
What other possible abilities would you add?
I would propose:
* Rainbow Pattern <- Hypnotic Pattern
* Color Spray <- Dancing Lights
* Mirror Image <- Silent Image + Faerie Fire
* Image Trap <- Mirror Image + Color Spray (from Dragon #243; that's pretty much what it is - Mirror Image, but sprays at the attacker if popped)
* Hand of Darkness <- Darkness + Faerie Fire
* Dancing Motes (more or less Glitterdust, just with tiny "stars" instead of dust) <- Dancing Lights + Faerie Fire
and/or Revealing Illumination (Nystul’s Golden Revelation), maybe without revealing ethereal, but discerning life/unlife forces and magic auras) <- Color Spray + Faerie Fire
* Runefinger <- ? (it can stick to things, but then it can float too). Hilarious, but finger painting with glowy lines can be useful quite often.
* Faerie flames ("Arcane Lore: Demihuman Priest Spells" by Robert S. Mullin, Dragon #236) <- ? + Faerie Fire (curiously, Drow of the Underdark 3.5 apparently had "burning faerie fire" ability in draft, but it got edited out).
Perhaps with damage of selectable type (like one of the lesser "so many colored beams" spells or maybe like radiance elemental's attack)
* Some sort of Darkfire imitation, as a status thing. With prerequisite something like...
* "witchfire" - as Darkfire in use, but as Faerie flames in nature and effect.

But what's else?
Should it apply to other creatures with similar SLA (seeing how there are different methods to acquire SLA, some of them are already in 3.x mechanics)? Something similar with other SLA?
Would it be a good idea to create a lesser spellcasting class (similar to bard variants or Maztican magic artisans) for the drow who are into it more than the others? And just multiclass into it.
These abilities are spontaneous magic and even SLA, but fixed and with prerequisites - thus the class would have idiosyncrasy (though not as much as elementalist's).

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch

Edited by - TBeholder on 05 Jul 2019 22:18:06
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Stones Finder

30 Posts

Posted - 07 Jul 2019 :  03:30:13  Show Profile Send Stones Finder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
IIRC, 1st edition Unearthed Arcana said PC drow retained the spell-like abilities, but lost magic resistance and saving throw bonuses. When a player made a drow character in my campaign, I had him drop spell resistance, and reduced the ECL to + 1.

Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it - Advice for the 5e design team
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