“[Drow] theocracy is also a matriarchy of the type envisioned by the recently divorced.” —Phil Foglio
I’ve been planning to showcase a villainess and a battle-mage for a while now. I stumbled across this Drow caster while checking out a Tumbr for female RPG characters and just had to roll with it. In a lot of ways, I think it’s harder to find sartorially smart villainesses than it is heroines. Possibly the most common archetype for evil female characters is the seductress—the personification of dark, sexual allure. The result, unfortunately, is that we end up with a lot of dark queens in black or crimson lingerie, sorceresses in swimwear, and black leather armor with cleavage windows (I laughed my ass off browsing these pictures). And since the Dark Elves are about as irredeemably evil and sexually prolific as a fantasy race can get, it’s especially hard to find sensibly attired Drow females.
I’ll be honest, the Drow crack me up. For any not familiar with their ways, they are a rather vile race of spider-worshiping subterranean Dark Elves. Though an incredibly powerful and prolific race, they spend too much time murdering each other to pose a serious threat to the surface races. Males of the species are second-class citizens useful only as thralls, studs, and cannon-fodder. As Drow tend to hate each other at least as much as they hate all other races, the majority of their ventures end in double-crosses and back-stabbings (regardless of success or failure). While I’m sure all this is intended to create a Draconian/Darwinian society where only the strong and shrewd survive, the result is the most comically self-destructive race in fantasy history. (Kind of the medieval-fantasy equivalent to the Sith, really.)
With this in mind, Ryoma’s formidable Drow battle-mage was a refreshing find. Clearly, this girl is more interested in mopping the floor with a group of trespassing adventurers than in seducing their party’s leader.
Her armor is among the more impressive I’ve seen. The innermost visible layer is some kind of bodysuit, light and flexible for quick movement. Next layer is a knee-length, light chain-mail coat, strong against slashing and bludgeoning in close combat. The split between our Drow’s knees intrigues me somewhat as well, since this tends to suggest that the armor might be for riding as well. The outermost layer, interestingly, is a flexible leather hauberk, providing decent protection from knives and arrows. All-in-all, I find this a durable and adaptable set of layered armor.
Her accessories are impressive as well. The asymmetric spaulder is on the left shoulder, which is important since right-handed fighters tend to lead with their left side. Boots look effective as well: armor-plated with flexibility at the ankles and sensible heels. Her two-handed sword is rather nasty-looking, though I typically caution against blades with hooked edges, since these have the potential to snag on enemy armor or ribcages.
My earlier satire aside, Drow make for incredibly powerful warriors and spell-casters. This girl has mastered both. The very fact that she is still alive is testament to her strength, power, and cunning. Raised to slay surface-dwellers in the name of the Spider Goddess, her stance, expression, and battle scars all say “I just soloed your cleric, rogue, and wizard. Your turn to dance, paladin.”