• Following Eilistraee – A Character Creation Primer


    Dungeons and Dragons is a game spanning more than thirty years of history with source books and methods of play which have changed over a long time. This tutorial is very generalized and covers some of the basic aspects of a Priestesses of Eilistraee. The concepts are mostly 1st edition AD&D (old school) but can be easily ported to 3.0 or 3.5. D&D 4.0 rules may be used, but D&D 4.0 is not recognized by Eilistraee.org as a valid release due to the radical divergence from the foundations of D&D.

    Priestesses of Eilistraee may come in many forms, but the three most common forms are: Cleric or Paladin. Special classes are covered in an upcoming document. The Cleric and Paladin are very similar with respect to Eilistraee. Paladins and Clerics tend to differ in their choices of weapons and their ability to use spells. Priestesses of Eilistraee are significantly more battle-oriented and sword proficient than the average cleric, making them nearly equivalent to a Paladin. The major difference between these two roles is the way they are played. A cleric spends more time with spells, aiding people, and trying to teach the ways of Eilistraee. The Paladin is a weapon with the sole duty to rain holy wrath upon the evil and wicked. A Paladin must be battle ready at all times and totally fearless.



    Clothing and Armor

    The primary edict amongst the Dark Ladies, a common name for the followers of Eilistraee, when clothing is concerned, is: utility. Clothing can be decorative, flagrant, or even sexy, but only for special occasions. For normal day to day life, clothing should be comfortable, durable, and practice to the events at hand. Contrary to popular view, Priestesses of Eilistraee do not run about in the nude all of the time. Nudity is reserved for any sacred dancing, song, and prayer. The only time nudity is allowed in combat is during the yearly ritual hunting event, known as “The Hunt”, where Priestesses run into the forests with only their holy symbol and a sword to prove their devotion.

    Typical armor for a Priestess will include chain mail and thin, flexible, cloth clothing. Paladins will wear field plate, scale mail, or ring male armor. Both Priestesses and Paladins will wear Elvin Chain or magically enhanced armor if possible. Elvin chain is perhaps the most common armor for a cleric of at least fifth level, allowing her to truly move without hindrance. Helms are cowls are commonly worn, but shields and full plate armor are rarely worn. The Paladin of Eilistraee must balance armor with the need to retain dexterity.




    Typically, D&D prevents cleric classes from using swords, the chosen weapon for followers of the Dark Maiden, but this rule must be removed. Often, a Dungeon Master will merely swap swords for blunt weapons, like maces and morning stars. The favored weapon for a Priestesses is a Bastard Sword. The Bastard Sword is effectively a slightly elongated Long Sword, normally a one handed weapon. The Bastard Sword typically requires either two hands or special training to use. Elves are able to greatly bypass these issues with their use of magical swords. The typical Priestess of Eilistraee will carry a magical sword of not less than +1. Elite Priestesses, High Priestesses, and Chosen Priestesses may carry even more powerful swords.



    Character Ability Stats



    The ability to swing a sword is an important factor in becoming a Priestesses of Eilistraee. Strength is not as important as dexterity when it comes to to swordplay, but a strength of at least 15 is a good place to start. Too weak and a character will be forced to rely more heavily on spells.




    Flexibility and lithe reflexes allow a Priestesses to swing her sword very fast and dodge the strikes of others. As a Priestess of Eilistraee, dancing is a daily event. Like any professional dancer, the flexibility and overall dexterity of the body are on par with Wisdom as the two most important abilities. A dexterity of 18 is always the goal. Any means to obtain or plead with a dungeon master for this stat may be well worth it.




    Constitution governs more than the number of drinks you can imbibe before passing out. The poison you can withstand, and damage you heal each day, and your own ability to withstand hours of dancing for some powerful spells, if you choose to play realistically, are the meat of this stat. In general, the more realistic you wish your game to be, the higher this stat should be placed.




    Intelligence is important to Eilistraee. Blind faith is not as important to the Priestess because she can actually interact with her Goddess, face to face, each night. The followers of Eilistraee are few and their struggle is great, thus the need to defeat evil with careful strategy requires a high intelligence.




    Wisdom is the most important state, along with Dexterity, for the Priestess. She must be wise in the clerical powers which course through her body and through her song. The mind and intellect are of great use, but the Priestesses of Eilistraee are taught to experience life, existentially. Only through wisdom can a Priestess hope to defeat the forces of evil.




    Charisma is perhaps the most misunderstood stat in D&D. Charisma is not a measure of physical attractiveness, as it is commonly thought to be, but rather a measure of the ability to command a presence and influence others by your words or deeds. Most of the greatest leader (and villains) of history have had great charisma. Priestesses need charisma to speak to the lay worshipers, but this stat is not as important as for other characters because deed is the greatest measure of a follower of Eilistraee.




    Comeliness is a measure of physical attractiveness. There is no actual requirement for a person to be attractive to be a Priestesses of Eilistraee. Physical beauty can be a bonus when interacting with potential followers, but should convey virtually no effect when interacting with other elves or followers of Eilistraee. Elves are a very much more concerned by deeds and the rational of a players actions, than by their beauty.


    How To Act


    As a Priestesses of Eilistraee, you are a member of a small and reclusive religion. Your fellow members are few in number and far apart. Each small group of followers, called a Coven, must be relatively self sufficient and able to defend itself. Your attitude will be one of a good-aligned but chaotic and un-trusting person. Priestesses find themselves hiding from the greater parts of the world and typically remaining in the forests for protection. With evil lurking around every corner, a priestess must be prepared for combat at any moment, but she must also be ready to lend a helping hand, whatever the risk to herself.



    The most common race of a priestess of Eilistraee is a Dark Elf (Drow). You are a member of a hated race of the most evil form. Drow are known for their vile acts, such as killing their children, slavery, murder, and even genocide. The act of being seen will often provoke otherwise goodly folk to attack or flee (or both). A priestess has to be very mindful of keeping her appearance and beliefs hidden whilst in any populated area. She can expect the goodly and learned nobility to know of her people, such as a high goodly priest or a goodly archmage. Besides these very uncommon folk, the regular people will generally attack on site. Most priestesses will remain in the forests and wilds to avoid these problems. This does accommodate the need for ritualistic hunts and lengthy outdoor dancing bathed only in moonlight.


    Priestesses are expected to perform common rituals, such as ceremony for birth, marriage, and death. Healing should be granted to all, regardless of ability to repay. Further, the payment for such spells should be a good meal, a warm bed, and a glass of wine. In short, Eilistraee tends to grant spells to her followers without the need for expensive spell components, but with the need for her message to be heard. When performing a spell, perhaps healing a hunter who was attacked by goblins, the Priestess need merely let the deed be the message. If the priestess can manage to allow the wounded person to let her heal their wounds, though she is of an uncommon religion (or even a Dark Elf), the Dungeon Master must take into account the significance of this event to the regional view of Eilistraee and Dark Elves.


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