Rise of the Drow

Created by AAW Games

Purchase at drow5e.com

Latest Updates from Our Project:

almost 2 years ago – Thu, Jun 20, 2019 at 09:52:16 PM

Written by the Dominion Faction members.

It was a clear and moonlit night as the Dominion Council of War decided to end the war between themselves and the Bulwark alliance by attacking the surface. Meanwhile, the Outsiders assured the council they would defend Scionsfell if there was any sign of attack.

While the negotiations with the Outsiders took place, some drow prayed to the albino spider to get blessings, some were blessed, others were cursed.

As soon as they made it to the upperworld, they noticed strange things there, such as dancing drow in the moonlight. Even though the fact that dancing for Eilistraee was considered heresy, they decided to keep on their attack. As soon as they reached the upperworld village of Rybalka, everything grew quiet.

At this point, alliances that should have been liquidated earlier turned into betrayal. The council learned that the drow city of Holoth itself was under attack. It was a classic "war on two fronts". On one hand, the alliance between Upperworlders and the Rebels and on the other, the former Outsider alliance. “If they had not done it, we would have done it” was heard among the council. The Dominion army sacked and burned the village of Rybalka in its owners’ absence as the council members teleported back to Holoth.

The council returned to Holoth to help with its defense and held the Upperworlders at bay with spells and ballista fire, but the rebels had made a deal with two houses of Holoth to help overthrow House Gullion and the council. The traitors opened the city gates to the rebels and the drow fought back with fervor. The Outsiders had followed the drow army into the city through a hidden entrance while this unfolded and trapped the Dominion within. The fighting was arduous but several drow victories emboldened the city’s fighters.

In the end, it was a war the drow simply could not win. So, the council gathered itself hastily to make a decision with far-reaching consequences. They informed Matron Maelora of House Gullion that she and her house were now responsible for the fates of Holoth, that the council had planned their last, greatest deception. Each member of the council vowed to pay the price, and the Matron could now enact whatever last-ditch measures she possessed to ensure the success of the Dominion.

Afterward, the members of the council, each of them a noble and powerful drow, driven by their own ideals, fled to Torogrith Tower, while their city was crumbling and falling around them. They sped up the stairs to a great artifact in the form of giant tall crystal, the Vidrefacte, the consumer of souls. Once they reached it, they remained silent and motionless for a moment. Then, as one they drew their weapons and drove them simultaneously into the core while shouting “Naraneus shall never be defeated. Every single living being within Holoth is dead!"

Their weapons and magical power reached the Vidrefacte core. Within the next moment, there was an explosion and blinding light - Holoth and every single invader and drow in it was no more.

If the drow could not win the war, the least they could do was to ensure that nobody else could claim victory either. May Naraneus have mercy on her faithful. The council trusted that from the seeds left planted in Rybalkan soil, the Dominion would rise again.

ONLY 3 DAYS LEFT TO COMPLETE YOUR SURVEY! / Check out this gorgeous new art for the book!
about 2 years ago – Tue, May 28, 2019 at 10:45:24 PM




What have we been up to?

A lot of activity has been taking place here at AAW Games!

Here's some eye candy from the Rise of the Drow: Collector's Edition project to show you some of what's been in the works over the past couple weeks. 

Spider Temple Guard by Bryan Syme
Spider Temple Guard by Bryan Syme
Preliminary sketch of a battle between occupants of the Spider Temple and the characters.
Preliminary sketch of a battle between occupants of the Spider Temple and the characters.
Spider Temple Priestess
Spider Temple Priestess
Some magic items in the works (left) / Tolgorith Tower - overview of tower levels for DM reference (right)
Some magic items in the works (left) / Tolgorith Tower - overview of tower levels for DM reference (right)
Mushroom Gardens of the Fungi Forest -- Part of the Mushroom Mini-Game, a surprise included in all copies of the book for all backers!
Mushroom Gardens of the Fungi Forest -- Part of the Mushroom Mini-Game, a surprise included in all copies of the book for all backers!
Fungi Forest battlemap by Tommi Salama -- vinyl battlemap #3 to be printed by Gale Force Nine! Note: grid will be added in printing with 5' squares
Fungi Forest battlemap by Tommi Salama -- vinyl battlemap #3 to be printed by Gale Force Nine! Note: grid will be added in printing with 5' squares

Only 11 days left to complete your survey! / Some words from Thomas Baumbach in layout & development
about 2 years ago – Mon, May 20, 2019 at 07:54:32 PM

Complete your survey now!

This is your last chance to complete your survey before things lock down. We need the last 9% of backers to do this ASAP. Don't miss out on your awesome rewards, complete your survey now

Thomas Baumbach shares some sneak peeks from layout & development

The Layout Man Cometh

Despair not, valued backer. This wonderful book is slowly taking form and I’m here to show you behind the scenes of that process. I’m the layout lead for AAW Games but on this project you might more accurately call my role "developer". Not only am I arranging the text on the page, I’m developing new content generated from the notes and thoughts of the writers. Let me show you what I mean.

Here’s a page from the fourth chapter, Descent into the Underworld.

This spread describes the area around Krelgar Keep, the location where our heroes will find an entrance to the Underworld. Krelgar Keep has a distinctly troubled history, so the environs are rife with danger. In the previous version of Rise of the Drow, this information was spread over four and a half pages. Now, reorganized and converted to 5th edition, it fits on a neat 2 pages. All the pertinent information is here, in close proximity, making it easy to understand the relationships these different encounters have to the region and to each other. Let’s zoom in for an example.

This is the statblock reference for a “diseased” treant. This bit of text tells you it has the same statblock as a treant, but is modified slightly to accommodate lower-level characters—when your players experience Krelgar Keep, their characters will be about 5th level, but a treant has a 9 challenge rating. 

If this information was presented in-line with the main text, it would still be easy to understand. But here’s the critical part: it would have pushed this little tidbit to the next page, where it could easily be forgotten, so far away from the treant heading.

That’s an example of development, and possibly my favorite contribution to this book. Just 30 pages prior, the party encounters a potentially friendly treant who may grant them a boon. Yet because the previous versions of the book were written years apart by several authors, the link between these two events went unnoticed (except, perhaps, by a clever GM). Now these two chapters share a subtle story link that reinforces the whole! Exciting stuff I tell ya!

Here’s another example of how this book benefits from development.

This is what I think of as “extra information.” This text (after some editing) is part of the original content, but it’s not specifically germane to the encounter. The information in the main text is describing the environs; there’s no reason to interrupt that flow with a skill check that may or may not be relevant. Thus, it becomes an extra. This bit of marginalia is a hint about a later potential encounter in the area, also given a page reference for ease-of-use.

One more look behind the curtain? Ok.

That red box in the lower right is undeveloped real estate! In general there are three types of margin notes, and you’ve seen two of them: statblock references and extra information. The third type of marginalia is a more general note to the reader. Sometimes this is a “GM Advice” note, other times is an “additional setting information” note. We’re still developing the core of the book—the adventure and setting—concurrently with layout, but as the book approaches completion these red boxes get filled in with helpful hints to assist you in getting the most out of this tome.

Layout and final development on the Rise of the Drow 5th Edition book is nearly 1/3 of the way done. I’m a little behind where I wanted to be by mid-May, but it’s not far off. The Pathfinder version is next. Even though con season is upon us, I’m confident saying that delivery will be on time. 

Thomas Baumbach

Rise of the Drow: Collector's Edition

Layout & Development

Chessex™ Faction Dice!
about 2 years ago – Thu, May 09, 2019 at 05:50:57 PM

Cheesex™ Faction Dice!

The sample dice for the Dominion, Outsiders, Rebels, and Upperworlders Faction Dice Sets have arrived from Chessex. What do you think? We're pretty excited!

Once the samples are approved, large-scale manufacturing of the dice begins! 

Which factions sold the most dice sets? List your guesses in order from most to least in the comments!

Jonathan G. Nelson

AAW Games

Rise of the Drow BackerKit is 85% completed!
about 2 years ago – Thu, May 02, 2019 at 09:14:03 PM

We're almost there!

Congratulations! We're 85% of the way in Rise of the Drow BackerKit. 

If you've already completed your survey please be sure to make any changes to your address before the lock down date of June 1st. Also, be prepared for the extra funds to process on July 1st. 

If you haven't filled out your survey, please remember to do so before June 1st, as orders lock that date and credit/debit cards will be processed on July 1st. 

Did you lose your survey? Click here to get back in!

Did you miss the Kickstarter? You can still get the pre-order here! 

Questions about the BackerKit Survey and Add-ons

There have been quite a few repeat questions from backers so I will clear those up here:

Why are the dice sets $12 instead of $10?

In order for Chessex to ship us these special, custom dice sets and keep them neatly contained we had to add two additional custom dice to complete the set to a solid 12 dice which forms a hyperrectangle and fits into a nice plastic container from Chessex which you can use to store your dice for travel. This increased the total price per set to $12.00 USD. Honestly, at the cost of custom dice we aren't even breaking even as the dice cost around $1 each to make and the box is $1 plus the S&H from Chessex. It's just a special bonus we wanted to offer our backers.

Is there a limit on the drow plush dolls?

Initially we declared a "1 item per customer" limit on the plush dolls before sending surveys but later changed this to allow backers to get as many as they want. We are crafting 500 and will never make these again. They are collectible dolls, after all which is part of the fun of getting one! However, at some point during the BackerKit survey process, a few backers saw the old text crop back up stating they could only get one doll. This was a disappointment to a couple people who were ordering five or more. FEAR NOT! There are enough drow plush dolls to go around, I've checked our numbers and even with the limited 500 being produced, we're still ahead of the game with 85% of backers already choosing their add-ons. There are enough to go around and for some people to get multiple dolls, so have at them and make sure your home is thoroughly overrun by drow interlopers!

Where is the Pathfinder print book?

Some backers were confused by the terminology during the Kickstarter and in the FAQ so I'll reiterate here. There isn't a Pathfinder RPG print book add-on or pledge level because ALL PATHFINDER PDF backers at the $59 level will be getting the PRINT-ON-DEMAND version of the hardcover. You will pay the cost to produce your book (same cost we would pay) plus S&H from either the USA or UK (whichever is cheaper). That will occur once the PF version of the book has been completed (some months away) and all PF PDF backers will receive an email from DriveThruRPG.com with a link which you click to redeem, add to cart, and pay your cost + S&H. Then you just wait for it to arrive. There's nothing else you need to do! 

What happened to playing Clash of the Factions game via Discord and Fantasy Grounds?

This has become quite the challenge with the number of participants and varying time zones. However, I would like to get something going perhaps once I catch up on creating this epic tome for you all! What we might do is set up games run by different DMs in different time zones then once every month or two have a massive game where everyone can stay up late/get up early to join in on an all-hands-on-deck Fantasy Grounds game. Another idea is that I run a game once a month and just set the date/time and whoever can make it, makes it. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

Have a great weekend! I'm gaming on Friday, we're playing D&D 5th Edition in Aventyr. What are you playing? Share your game!

Your friend,


The World's Best Virtual Tabletop Comes to Kickstarter 

As many of you already know, I'm an avid supporter of Fantasy Grounds and truly believe it is the best of the best when it comes to VTTs. Please check out this project and pledge your support so we can all game online together in the future! Onward and upward!