From the introduction:
Drow; the dark elves. Banished to the Underdeep millennia ago by their surface cousins, they plot, scheme and struggle for survival. Beautiful yet wicked, brilliant and deadly, the drow are the knife in the dark, the threat in the deeps.
Since the drow were introduced to the roleplaying world some 25 years ago, they have become both favourites of many Games Masters and terrible foes to uncounted parties of Player Characters. Sadly, over time they have also become overused and oversimplified. There is no mystery to them any more. Players know exactly what to expect from an encounter with drow and exactly how to cope with it. Games Masters find themselves saddled with innumerable clichés and presumptions about the drow, making one raiding party just like any other, one drow city just like all the others.
Which is where this book comes in.
The philosophy behind The Tome of Drow Lore is that as a race, the drow are as complex and vibrant as any inhabitants of the surface of the world. This book is dedicated to the drow and to exploring all their varied, wicked splendour. In the millennia since the drow were forced underground in the Great Betrayal and dispersed throughout the Underdeep in the Sundering, the intense pressures of life beneath the surface have caused them to change dramatically. For years, they have been thought of as a sophisticated and cruel race, governed by an even crueler spiderworshipping matriarchy with absolute power over every drow. The truth is not so simple and arrogant adventurers who set out beneath the surface of the world, certain they know the full measure of the drow, will find themselves quite unpleasantly surprised.
Within The Tome of Drow Lore, Games Masters will find information on a variety of drow cultures, religions, societies, Houses and even sub-races. In addition, there are new drow spells, feats and drow equipment, of magical, alchemical and mundane natures.
The Tome of Drow Lore may be used as a standalone product, or it may be used in conjunction with The Quintessential Drow and Encyclopaedia Arcane: Drow Magic. As with any good roleplaying book, The Tome of Drow Lore is here to assist, not instruct. Games Masters should feel free to take what they like from these pages and ignore the rest.