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Drow Treachery
Dragon's-Eye View
By Jon Schindehette

I know that everyone has a different point of view on the drow. Some folks love ’em, and some folks hate ’em. Me, I love to hate them!

About two years ago I was playing in a campaign that spent a significant amount of time wandering the Underdark. Needless to say, we had more than a few run-ins with those pesky dark elves. I learned to grudgingly admire their abilities and strengths, but really despised that the Underdark seemed to be crawling with those bloodthirsty folks. The fact that I was the biggest and burliest guy in the party made me a great target for them as well. They were sneaky little guys . . .

Although I didn’t have the opportunity to play the game of treachery with the drow myself, a couple of party members did when they inserted themselves into drow society. With that experience in mind, after I got the message that we were going to do a drow-themed D&D Fortune Card set, I grew a bit excited at the potential I saw with this project. After R&D and the Creative Studio had a product brief meeting, where we gained a better understanding of what R&D wanted to do with this product, the Creative Studio played with the cards a bit, alongside the other Rise of the Underdark elements.

It was clear from playing with the cards that we were doing something new with this set, so we wanted them to be visually different from previous D&D Fortune Card sets. Here’s the thing about this round of cards: they are a lot like the drow. In other words, get ready for some intrigue, some backstabbing, some self-serving behaviors, and a whole lot of treachery.

Mari Kolkowsky was the art director on this set, and she jumped into the new direction of the product with gusto. She kicked around a few ideas and pitched an artist line-up that included the following:

With this new direction in mind, we went with a more whimsical art style to offset some of the dirty deeds play style. This style harkens back to what we did in the Player’s Strategy Guide.

I hope you enjoy this fun and fresh look at these conniving and deadly denizens of the Underdark.

Next week, I’ll share some thoughts from Gen Con and talk a bit about envisioning the ogre.

Previous Poll Results

Which creature do you think is the creature on the right? Choose one.
Troglodyte 2733 90.9%
Lizardfolk 272 9.1%
Total 3005 100.0%

Given the criteria I’ve talked about in the article, are there visual representations that you think are not represented well?
I think you've done a good job, but you missed an item or two. 1085 44.1%
I think you've hit the nail on the head. 824 33.5%
It's okay, but you missed several items. 410 16.7%
Way off the mark, and let me tell you why. 143 5.8%
Total 2462 100.0%
Jon Schindehette
Jon Schindehette joined Wizards of the Coast in 1997 as the website art director. In the intervening years he has worked as the marketing art director, novels art director, and creative manager. In January of 2009 he moved into the role of senior creative director for D&D. Jon is a long time D&D player (started in 1978), and currently plays in a Tuesday night game and DMs a random pick-up game for younger players. He can be found on Twitter (@ArtOrder) and at theartorder.com.
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