"This is their tale. The world as it was through their eyes"
Drowtales: Moonless Age is a fantasy manga-style webcomic that has been running since 2001. In the last few years the webcomic itself has undergone significant remakes and has increased its fan base exponentially.The webcomic was originally Kern drawing the events of the RP he and some friends played in the Forgotten RealmsDungeons & Dragons setting. However, by chapter 4 the comic diverged into both its own story and had started to implement new things in the setting. As the comic expanded on the original details and gradually built up its own setting, it was decided a Retcon was needed for the first three chapters.This took place in two stages: A new first chapter and part of a second was made in parallel with the current chapter, up until chapter 12.However, by that point the comic had diverged far enough from its own changed setting that a redraw and Retcon was needed for remainder of chapter 2 up until chapter 8.This, combined with the sheer number of pages (over 1400 in the main story alone) is part of the reason the world-setting is a bit of a Continuity Snarl, especially for newer readers.Nowadays, Drowtales has an original setting with some general similarities with its DnD origins, but with a distinct flavour of its own.The story mainly follows Ariel in the first four or so chapters, but uses several viewpoint characters. This is a feature which becomes more prominent as the chapters progress, so now Ariel is a main character instead of the main character.The chronologically first chapter is the prologue while the (currently) oldest published chapter is chapter 9.New readers are advised to either start at Chapter 1 or Chapter 33, the start of the Second Arc of the story after a 15 year Timeskip.Drowtales is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, and the drow and their internal conflicts and lives are the main focus, particularly the nobles. However, it does not play any specific side or faction as good or evil, treating the drow (and other races) as individuals rather than a Species of Hats. In a sense, one of the main themes of the comic is: No one is evil in their own eyes, or at least think their actions are justified to reach their goal.Now has a recap page.Notes about links:
Links to the main story may be moved around whenever a chapter is redone or inserted. This means many links throughout this page lead to the wrong page, or no page at all. The simplest way to get a permanent link is to access a page through the archive drop-down menu and use the URL it gives you.
Hoooo boy, Quain'tana. Let's see, of her three adult children, one is dead and has been turned into a golem, Kel'noz is officially subservient to her but has his own agenda (and readily acknowledges that she was a really bad mother) and then there's Mel'arnach, who was not only disowned and imprisoned, but beaten (and implied, raped) by Quain'tana's men, and then for her trouble had the child she wanted taken away from her. And then there's Syphile, who has a trope of her own...
There are also plenty of others, and a current thread in the forum is titled "Worst parent in Chel" discussing this. The number of good parents (Shimi'lande, Kiel's mother Ven'ndia, Sarnel's caretaker Nei'kalsa if you're counting foster parents, and Waes'soloth spring to mind) can be counted on one hand...
As well as Ash'waren, who is the neglectful type. After being told that her daughter Faen has returned traumatized, her reply was "Who?" And then after being reminded when Faen was born to help her remember, she merely comments on how Faen's father was a bad lay. This was fairly shocking to fans who had thought better of Ash'waren before this, leading at least one to comment that it seems that this is shaping up to be a general trait of Val mothers no matter who they are.
Action Girl: Plenty of these, and culturally it's unusual for a female to not be an Action Girl, since females are the dominant gender in both political and military matters.
Adult Fear: All over the place given the setting, but probably the best example is what happens to Shinae's baby, which is horrifying if you've ever had children or are even thinking about having them in the future. Continued in chapter 44 where we see Chrys'tel having a miscarriage because of her taint.
Chapter 46 also sees Ariel first get stabbed in the hand and then get her arm chopped off by Kalki in full view of her mother and father, with the former completely freezing up at the sight.
Aerith and Bob: Ariel versus — just about everyone with their multi-apostrophed names. Some fans have pointed out a good deal of the names drow sport are names found somewhere on earth, often with an apostrophe. For instance, Sarv'swati is one letter off from Saraswati, a Hindu Goddess, and many Kyorl'solenurn names have Japanese roots. Quain'tana is also the family name of an obscure writer. And amusingly, there is an actual Bob: Bob the undead chicken of doom.
The Ageless: The fae races (drow, light elves, faeries) provided they live with enough other fae to generate a surplus of mana. Otherwise they will suffer from mana deprivation and will start to age much like humans do. This is what has happened to Rosof and Tralyn. If one goes back to a large enough group of fae again, before the aging has gone too long, the process can be halted. This is likely the case with Tralyn (not confirmed). For Rosof it was too late and he is slowly dying despite being among the people of his clan again. Also, plain statistics makes for fatal accidents killing people off sooner or later. The average lifespan of drow is around 200 years for a commoner/non-Val and around 1000 for Val matriarchs and Dark Elves.
Subverted in one of the audiobooks. It's stated that drow have a finite natural lifespan, though they're lucky to get within centuries of dying of old age (which for them could be circa 1000 years plus).
Also subverted- Diva'ratrika's too large to fit, and it's very likely that her decision to possess Ragini was because she would eventually grow too large to go in and out.
Alas, Poor Yorick: Kiel mimes this with the head of Sindas, one of her demon prince's, when describing what she would have done if she had been the one who killed Shimil'lande, but he can always just reattach it.
Alien Catnip: a side story and the coinciding news post suggested that chocolate is a potent drug to drow, who may have evolved from feline creatures. Evidently, students at the Orthorbbae abuse tablets of cocoa like some people abuse Ritalin in real life, and consuming too much at once will kill a drow. They're probably reacting to the Theobromine in the chocolate, which can be poisonous to both animals and humans if enough is consumed. A page posted later in the main archive had Mel'arnach and Snadhya'rune getting stoned off their arses on chocolate.
All There in the Manual: You are likely to miss a great deal of context unless you read supplemental information from other sources, like Word of God on the forums and other materials.
Alternative Calendar: As one would expect from a culture that places a great deal of importance on the moons, the drow use a moon calendar 13 months long, with 30 days each.
Amazing Technicolor Population: More subtle than most examples of this, but while drow skin tones are almost always some variant of dark brown or black there's a fair amount of diversity among them. Besides the obvious difference between drowolath and drowussu, drow from different regions can also have remarkably different skin tones. This is most obvious when comparing the Nal'sarkoth to Chelian drow, and it's implied that other drow from of the city Mimaneid as similarly colored. And even within the same clan this can vary, since comparing Nega'fanea, who was born in Val'Raveran, and Balsii, a native of Nuqrah'shareh, shows that they have different colored highlights in their skin. And mixed-race drow run the gamut of somewhere between the two and dark or light enough to pass for one but not the the other. And then you get Farasank and his brother Farhang, who are bothred, just to throw a wrench into things.
And I Must Scream: Kharla has a habit of turning people she doesn't like (and some she does like) into living "dolls".
Anyone Can Die: Especially adorable animals. This works well to create dramatic tension, especially leading up to the timeskip chapters, since so far only Ariel, Faen, Kau and Shala were confirmed to have survived. This also meant that in chapter 32 fans were extremely worried about several characters, since it was quite possible they wouldn't survive. At the end of Chapter 32 the casualty count for that chapter was one, Rek'maar's aura got drained by Khaless and the the Orthorbbae Library lists his status as deceased.
This is also the case with reader-sponsored cameos, unless the character's creator specifically requests otherwise. And even in that case the death itself might be implied but not specifically shown.
Art Evolution: Phenomenal. That post, by the way, spares you from seeing the original artwork from the very, very, very beginning (for the good of humanity, it would seem; so you'll have to seek it out yourself if you're so inclined). This is, perhaps, the Charles Atlas Superpower applied to art.
Artificial Limbs: Nihi'liir Vel'Sharen ends up with one after Faen injures her arm and they're fairly common among drow due to mana technology. Sang Niz'zre, one of Quain'tanta's devesses, lost all of her limbs due to be tortured by the Sharen and had them replaced by golem limbs.
Art Shift: When Phani'nath Vel'Sharen describes the last Ill'haress' gathering, the regular realistic style shifts to render the mighty powers of Chel'el'sussoloth as chibis. Also, in Sil'lice's chapter, it begins in the comic's traditional style but changes to a more manga like style when Sil'lice begins telling her story to the twins.
Ascended Meme: Throughout chapter 46 a Running Gag on the forum was *hooting intensifies* signifying the approach of the Kavakini troops to Felde and when they finally arrive the area on the bottom of the page that usually lists characters instead just says "Hoot."
Asteroids Monster: If a demon is damaged enough, it might break into shards, the shards essentially becoming "children" of the demon in question, with each containing a fragment of the original demon's personality.
Sandaur also serves this role in chapter 33, especially since new readers are advised to start there if they don't want to start at the very beginning. Bonus points in that he dies at the end of that chapter.
Automatic Crossbows: Averted in Chapter 18, where Syphile is shown having to load one. Played straight with the Fallen Legion's wrist-mounted crossbows, though possibly justified by golem mechanics.
Ax-Crazy: The members of the Vloz'ress clan are either this or so desperate that they had to run to the pinnacle of insanity. The average life expectancy for the troops can be measured in weeks.
Baby Factory: After the timeskip Mel'arnach is being used this way, having delivered two sons and having a daughter who's born during the story in order to give Quain'tana more heirs.
Bad Ass: Quain'tana fits this trope, as can a few others.
Badass Bystander: This woman, quickly dubbed Crossbow Lady on the forums, pulls a Shut Up, Hannibal! on Maki via a crossbow bolt to the shoulder. Even better, her hands are visibly shaking, and she seems to be either a drowussu or a mixblood.
Badass Grandma - Most of the Illharesses fit this trope. Quain'tana in particular, as she is centuries old and can still kick the asses of most of her subordinates.
The Bad Guy Wins: The Nidraa'chal war, which everyone thinks the Sharen won but really lost due to being taken over BY the Nidraa'chal in a coup, and the Nidraa'chal leaders were in fact high-ranking Sharen.
Bait and Switch: In chapter 42, the audience is at first lead to believe that Chiri was assassinated by a Vloz'ress, only to find out that she was just having a vision. Later in the chapter we find out what really happened: Shimi'lande was the one who was really assassinated, and Chiri was seeing it with herself in Shimi'lande's place.
Bait the Dog: A doozy of a one in the remake of Chapter 1. Despite the Foregone Conclusion that Fuzzy dies by Syphile's hands, the fandom was still shocked when, after Ariel begs to be allowed to keep her new pet, Syphile apparently agrees, leaving the room with only a sigh, not even chiding Ariel. Next page, cut to a week later to a suffering Fuzzy with the revelation that Syphile has locked Ariel and Fuzzy in for the whole week with inadequate food and, apparently, even no provision for the calls of nature. She kills Fuzzy two pages later by slamming his head against the wall.
Barbarian Tribe: The Black Sun is a good example of The Horde, since they're decentralized and subsist solely on raiding other settlements, and they're forbidden from gathering in large groups in Chel. The Am'saag subhouse of the Sarghress also embody this, given that they're barbarian mercenaries hired from a foreign land.
Bare Your Midriff: Ash'waren especially. The fandom nearly exploded with squee when both she and Quain'tana were in the same scene with bare midriffs.
Also, Kyuusei in chapter 42 is counting on this trope to keep anyone from questioning his plan to use Shimi'lande's assassination as an excuse to get rid of the Dutanvir-descended drowussu in their clan, claiming that the drowussu's natural inclination towards obedience to authority will work to his advantage. He's wrong.
Beast Man: What the humanoid fae sees the goblin races as due to not having an aura. In practice they are more like muggles without any technical advantages, though they have a better chance against nether beings since, lacking an aura, they can't be possessed, though they can still be injured physically. The Sarghress have taken advantage of this and formed a "War Meat" corps of non-fae whose express purpose is to go into nether infected areas and kill the nether summoners before the fae move in to finish the job.
Bestiality Is Depraved: One of the reasonsnote the other being that they're biologically incapable of reproducing with each other you won't see any fae/human hybrids in the Drowtales world. Drow consider having sex with goblins, including humans, to be roughly on par with a human having sex with a chimpanzee.
When the Highland Raiders talk about one guy named Val'Doom who kidnaps human women to mate with they flat out refer to him as having a bestiality fetish.
Bishōnen: Several, and Shan'naal was created specifically because the fans requested a cute guy character who wouldn't die.
Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: While not incredibly extreme, female drowolath and dark elves tend to be taller and stronger than the males. The opposite is true of drowussu, who are closer to human sexual dimorphism.
Black Comedy: A lot of the humor is of this variety. The chibi pages at the end of chapters are often like this and make light of events in the chapter by rendering them in chibi form.
Here's another example that takes the very seriously dysfunctional relationships between Quain and her children and treats it like this. Especially notable because the story proper never plays it for laughs.
Also, almost anything involving Kharla's dolls will have a streak of this. Yes they're horrifying, but it's hard not to snicker at something like this, especially since that particular guy deserved it.
Black Speech: Drowish evidently sounds a bit like this, since at the very least "Eat cake" prompts this reaction from a human guard at the sight of Ariel (who, granted, looks like a monster at the time, which probably helps).
Blank White Eyes: The golem Vy'chriel, Laelle'aell and Faen (when using her powers) all have these.
Blindfolded Vision: Shan'naal when first introduced. He's only worn it once that way since, for a few pages when he needed it to help his eyes adjust after Ariel's traveling group first reached the overworld.
Blood Bath: The human royal couple hunted Elves so they could bathe in their blood in a bid for immortality. Whether it actually worked is not stated, but given differences in fae and human biology it most likely did not.
Blood Spattered Innocents: Ariel, after killing Miir'kin. Especially disturbing as she's the human equivalent of being 7 years old (physically) when it happens.
Bloody Murder: Fae with blood affinity can use their own blood as weapon, and probably the blood of others as well, though this hasn't been explicitly shown on panel.
Body Double: Chapter 30 reveals that the Sharen sisters have employed one to take the place of Diva'ratrika during parades. Needless to say, the real Diva was pretty shocked to hear that "she" was holding a parade through the middle of Chel!
Boomerang Bigot: Chiri'nide hates "impure" people while she herself is the daughter of a drowussu and a light elf, and later we find out that Drowusuu are descended from light elves, making the entire Kyorl'solenurn clan fall under this as well.
Kiel'ndia considers the readers as one would imaginary friends and frequently points to them (us) and talks to her "friends." Of course, she comes from the Vloz'ressclan, so others dismiss her as psycho.
Kiel'ndia breaks the fourth wall in a tragic way. Beware, your screen might break.
Break the Cutie: The world seems determined to do this to anyone's who even minorly sympathetic or kind, especially in the case of Faen. Ariel seems on the fast track to this if she's not already there. Kiel'ndia and Naal'suul are at first examples of pre-broken cuties, but after Naal's abandonment, and then transformation Kiel becomes truly broken and crazy (-er than normal).
Breast Plate: Averted; female characters wear armor suited to a female physique, but protective and actually useful in battle. As a result, it's sometimes hard to tell the gender of certain characters when they're in armor. Even exceptions to this are justified. Sarv'swati's armor has a Cleavage Window as she's observing Zala'ess at the council, but by the time she's gone out to actually fight she's switched to a fully covering armor, indicating that the window is just for show and not intended to actually be worn in battle. And Diva's "armor" on her torso is clearly not meant to actually be worn in battle since has open sides, which is something Kiel takes advantage of with a Diva body double by stabbing under where the armor cuts off.
Breather Episode: After the Wham Episode that was Chapter 25 came chapter 26, which follows Chrys'tel, Shinae, Naal and Kiel as they look at the Moons' End Festival and do things like watch puppet shows, though it still advances the plot and provides insight into the world setting. It's then followed by 27, where Naal'suul meets her apparent end making it even more of a Breather Episode before another Wham.
Broad Strokes: The approach to older information in side stories post Retcon. For instance, Chirinide's father is still a light elf and Ariel is still the child of Mel and Zhor but specific events may have played out differently with the same results. The current version of chapter 1 is similar in that the basic series of events didn't change all that much while some events were expanded upon or omitted.
Chapter 9 was also given some minor updates for the 10 year anniversary, such as inserting some additional pages to expand on Chrys'tel and Shinae's first meeting and some minor dialog alterations to make it internally consistent with later chapters (taking out Chrys'tel calling her attack, for instance). The art itself was unchanged minus the chapter cover.
Broken Angel: One of Ariel's shapeshifted forms resembles this.
B Side Comics: both subscription and as side stories, many by different artists.
But for Me, It Was Tuesday: One part of the Deliberate Values Dissonance between drow and humans is that drow think nothing of raiding surface settlements and taking back human slaves, and even Faen, one of the most morally good characters by human standards, doesn't bat an eye about buying a light elf slave at the market. Vaelia considers the raid on her home village as a defining moment of her life, but for the drow it's a drop in the bucket.
Calling The Old Woman Out: Syphile finally tells her mother what a horrible parent she is, how she's ruined all the lives of her children, and tells her to 'do the only thing you know' and kill her, something that actually manages to impress Quain (who still kills her).
Cannibalism Superpower: One of the few known ways to kill a demon is for another demon to eat them. Partially depending on the variety, this frequently results in the demon gaining traits of its victim. To at least some degree, this will also work on Fae. One of the legends claims that consuming demonic power is how Sharess ended the demon threat.
Canon Immigrant: Kyne, who is Sil'lice's granddaughter and a former Sharen golem pilot, started off in the "Space Age" story from the Daydream section of the site. There are also the numerous roleplay cameos, but they fall more under Continuity Cameo.
Can't Argue with Elves: Averted. The fae already messed up the world pretty bad rule with brute force, and aren't that much better than the "lesser" goblin races.
Cardboard Prison: The Sharen attempt to defy this by building a prison in Chel's outer shell, which is made of crystalnote Word of God is that the cavern Chel resides in is more or less a giant geode therefore making it impossible for prisoners with earth affinities to simply bend the bars and break out. This runs into problems when a shapeshifter is among the prisoners, can turn into one of the guard's comrades and trick them into opening the gate.
Cast of Snowflakes: The modern art style, where even scenes like this with feature around a dozen characters in similar armor individuals can be told apart, and not just by hair color. Also given that many bit characters are reader cameos many have unique designs and backstories.
Characterization Marches On: Sil'lice comes off as being somewhat more likable than her earlier appearances, and she implies that she was intentionally putting on an act for Chrys'tel. Most of her more negative traits have seemingly been transferred to her daughter Kadara.
Chekhov's Gun: Since the comic has run as long as it has there are loads, some of which are only now firing after nearly ten years. Going back through the archives to find them has more or less become an official fandom sport.
Squishy, who's instrumental to helping Ariel escape Rik. And now Squishy turns out to have been even more of a Chekhov's Gun since Mel gave one of her eggs to a Jaal'darya friend in exchange for it, and that egg was later used to make Kalki.
Chekhov's Gunman: The remake chapters show several characters in the background before they become significant, including younger versions of Chiri and Shan in chapter 3. Liriel, aka Diva'ratrika is a big one as well that's only fired as of chapter 23.
Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The three Sharen sisters. After all the nasty things they've done to everyone around them — including a false coup d'état and killing their own mother — it really isn't surprising that they've started to turn on each other.
City of Canals: Nuqrah'shareh, and some parts of Chel, especially around the Jaal'darya fortress.
Civil War: Chel has had internal squabbles since its founding. The first major war was the one between the Sharen and the Sullisin'rune, which the Sharen won. As of the Timeskip, the Sarghress and Sullisin'rune clans are in open war against the Sharen, Black Sun, and Beldrobbaen clans. The Nal'sarkoth, and Jaal'darya clans have remained neutral while the Vloz'ress have become neutral. While the ill'haress of the Illhardro clan dislikes the Sarghress, she was unable to afford fighting them until recently and is just starting to join in, along with a couple of Nuqrah clans allied with her.
The Clan: Nine major ones and countless smaller ones, and the driving conflicts in the series are clan-based. Several prominent Vloz'ress believe that the solution to all these conflicts is to force the clans to disband and enter a democratic system.
The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right: No one (minus the readers) believed Kiel when she suggested that some of Naal's personality may have survived her seed taking her over but then Chapter 32 showed that she was right.
Colony Drop: Occurred in the backstory, where the elves somehow managed to take a piece out of one of the moons (the broken moon can be seen fifth from the right in the first panel) and a piece of the moon that hit the planet's surface and created the underworld. This map heavily implies that most of the underworld is actually the crater from this impact and that the "ashes" that are mentioned as causing mutations among the later drow generations may be related to the moon fragment in the city of Sha'shi. More information can be found in the Sha'shi audiobook. It's also implied that the floating cities that have been said to exist have come crashing down to the surface on occasion.
This page features over a dozen cameos from the roleplays, side comics, Daydream and comics done by other members of the staff.
Kharla'ggen◊ can be seen holding a plushie of An'Jhali, the Illharess of the Tei'kaliath clan from the visual roleplay, in several pieces of art.
Characters from the Relic Hunters visual roleplay have also made cameos in the story proper as important characters in the Highland Raiders.
In one chapter a character gets a book about the Vel'cahal, which is the subject of a Daydream story that's presented as being historical fiction. Naal later buys a doll of the Vel'cahal which gets featured in the Hope Spot at the end of Chapter 27.
Dhal'zin of the Alstrat's Journal audiobook series appears in chapter 20 with her Stone Company, but interestingly, Fen, the main character of that series does not, instead it's his descendant Kai, but Dhal confuses the two (even though they do, in fact, look very different).
Taio'shi and Cer'kal, two characters from that year's winning contest story, appear in chapter 31. It's also implied that their story may be part of the main story's canon now, since the contest story showed that Mikilu lived with Taio'shi, and that same character appeared several pages after Taio'shi and Cer'kal, the implication being that Mikilu had them plant the mana bomb that nearly blew up Snadhya's carriage which is later confirmed in the Battlefield Engineers canon sidestory, which also shows that Cer'kal was badly burned in another attempt to kill Snadhya.
Continuity Snarl: Figuring out what is and isn't canon at this point is difficult, to say the least. Word of God has helped somewhat, but with almost 10 years of continuity and thousands of pages it gets difficult.
Control Freak: This seems to run in the Sharen family, with Diva'ratrika, Snadhya'rune and Sarv'swati all showing signs at various times.
Costume Porn: Given that most characters are nobles there's a lot of this, and the Sharen probably have the most considering how much money and prestige they have.
Country Matters: Has come up twice in the story. Interestingly, both occasions involve Mel, and she's actually the one who says it the second time. It apparently doesn't have the same terrible connotations to drow as it does to Americansnote do note that the author is from Quebec, where while still a bad word it's not considered quite as bad due to their matriarchal society.
Crapsack World: A few reasons, mainly due to demons and the elves themselves.
The ever-present threat of being possessed by demons, the possibility that tainting only guarantees said possession in the long run, and the rampant (and not entirely unjustified) genocidal dogma against said tainted hurls the setting into Crapsack territory.
Also, the fact that most everyone is trying to kill most everyone else for many reasons beyond the tainting. Hopefully it wasn't normal in pre-industrial societies to tell ten-year-old children, "Don't kill a fellow student unless you can dispose of the body," and not be joking. The characters all justify their actions, and it is debatable if anyone in the setting is evil, but Chel is not a safe place to live for anyone. Even more so in post-timeskip chapters. And this is long after another war already rendered the surface unlivable for ages.
And while drow in this setting may not be Always Chaotic Evil in the way traditional D&D drow are, but they're still far from paragons of virtue. The Author makes the Drow sympathetic and rational without necessarily making them good; they still keep slaves and have death matches with few qualms about murder. Most of this is justified in some way or another, like they don't have a lot of room or resources down there so overpopulation and starvation are very real possibilities, and just because they're not "good" by modern human definitions doesn't mean they don't have feelings, and the fact their society is messed up in the way it is isn't exactly conductive to good feelings, and after the timeskip it seems many commoners have begun to realize this.
Creepy Child: Kharla and, to a lesser extent, Naal. Even Ariel has her moments, and when this page◊ came online one forum goer responded with a picture of Samara from The Ring.
Curb-Stomp Battle: A few times. Rik vs. Discordia (though that one was rigged and later severely reversed) and Sil'lice vs. Yaeminira/Vy'Chriel. And now we can add Syphile vs. Quain'tana to the mix, making it the second such curbstomping in as many chapters. Drow in general seem prone to ending up in these since their system of honor dictates that they face challenges, even if that means going up against someone several times their age and experience who they have no chance of winning against.
Curb stomp battle is the only way to describe Shinae crushing Ariel in 2 seconds flat when they fight after the timeskip
Curtains Match the Window: Some Vloz'ress, Diva'ratrika, Chiri'nide, Shimi'lande, Ariel, and Mel'arnach. Among first and second generation elves like Diva'ratrika this is natural, while in later generations it seems to be done deliberately using dyes and magic.
Cute Monster Girl: All the main characters, including the males and, from the other characters' perspective, humans.
The Dark Arts: Nether summoning is often seen this way and with good reason. In Chel, they are considered a borderline forbidden art and are the reason that the Vel clans who dabble with it have become so infamous. In Nuqrah'shareh, they are banned completely (aside from sending demons back to the nether of course).
Deadly Decadent Court: The case can be made for several of the ruling clans, but the human kingdom of Nagyescsed seems to be the best example, seeing as how the king was collecting elves to kill so he could bathe in their blood and thesuggestion that the kingdom just needed a decent push to fall over as it did, courtsey of Ariel and company. The Sullisin'rune are also experiencing problems from this.
Deadly Hug: Jer'kol attempts to smother Ariel with a hug but is stopped by Vaelia.
Deal with the Devil: This is effectively what willingly tainting yourself is, since it gives you extra strength but also turns you into a ticking timebomb. Sene'kha also offers this to Kiel, telling her that if she helps break her out of prison they'll not only Take Over the World, but possibly be able to keep Naal'suul alive. Kiel refuses after Naal tells her it's impossible.
Delayed Reaction: Kiel first realizes they have stowaways after seeing Sara, but it takes a few seconds for her to realize she's out of place and that "Elbinac" (who supposedly died in a previous chapter) is actually Anjin.
Discontinuity Nod: In a post-remake page, Ariel wonders aloud whether she should try to turn into a Drider (drow/spider hybrid) but after Kyo'nne mentions all the "icky legs" Ariel dismisses the idea. In the original, now non-canon chapters she morphed into a drider a fare bit, but now she explicitly doesn't' have enough mass to pull it off.
Disguised in Drag: In Chapter 27, Nau'kheol and Khal'harror are forced into this so they can sneak into the girls' section of the school. They're assisted by Sorane'sanil, who does this on a regular basis, and while Sorane gets caught because one of the teachers recognizes him, the other two manage to pass.
Disease Bleach: A long-term version of this occurs with both Drowolath and Drowussu, who tend to have darker hair in earlier generations (i.e. closer to their surface born ancestors) while later generations almost always have white hair. This is true of Drowussu to a lesser extent, since they tend to have color stay around through later generations, but their hair tends to be a lighter color in the first place. It's suggested that the lightened hair along with their skin is the result of the "ashes" which may be tied to the moon fragment that's in Sha'shi and was responsible for the creation of the underworld.
Double Agent: Lulianne. Sort of. Lu is spying on Mel for Quain'tana, but is sympathetic towards Mel, withholding information from Quain. She also did not bring Mel back when she escaped. Good? Bad? She's a double agent, it depends on your perception.
Dramatic Irony: For most of the story the audience has known that Ariel's mother is really Mel, not Quain, but Ariel herself still doesn't know. Additionally, any time the Sharen Sisters discuss Diva'ratrika in public has shades of this due to the fact that they know all too well that she's dead — they were the ones who did it!
Also very much present on this page, where a still-recovering from her horrific childbirth Shinae hears Mel'arnach talking about her children and saying that they might as well not exist, and mutters to herself that some people have all the luck at being able to even have children. She doesn't know the circumstances behind this statement that the audience does, or the fact that "luck" is probably the last word Mel'arnach would use to describe her situation.
Also happens on this page from the same chapter, where Yuh'le is telling Snadhya'rune about the presence of Sara'hilana at the gathering where she's collecting information for Zala'ess. Meanwhile, neither of them is aware of the presence of An'jin in the background doing the exact same thing.
Dropped A Bridge On Her: The nether summoner Sene'kha, when she was stabbed by her sworn enemy, captured by another clan, imprisoned, turned over to her Sworn Enemies, then beheaded and finally set on fire, in that exact order. And, depending on your view, Rik'shakar.
Drop The Cow: In the Daydream subscription section of the site, where the users put in options for how the story will progress, this often ends up happening, though the frequency seems to have decreased in later years. Most commonly it's because a story devolves into porn or just becomes incomprehensible and too silly, and the story is frequently put back on track in a humorous manner such as one character telling the story getting punched out by another or the characters themselves revolting. One especially memorable incident had a character that the readers had been tormenting go Rambo on them.
Dude Looks Like a Lady: Sorane'Saniil. In fact most of the males in Sorane'Saniil's entire clan. Also, given that this world has a matriarchal society, where men tend to fulfill what we would perceive as feminine roles, there are many examples of this throughout all the drow clans.
Duels Decide Everything: Standard in Mimaneid, where most conflicts are solved by duels (not to the death) with wooden staves.
The Sharen; but with them most of the worst stuff took place behind closed doors. Of what we know:
Diva'ratrika certainly lives up to the "Diva" in her name, and while she started off very controlling, drew into seclusion little by little to the point that her daughters have been able successfully pass her off as a Shadow Dictator for 16 years.
Snadhya'rune was apparently the favourite, but Mel'arnach implies that she didn't always get along with Diva'ratrika, and they certainly didn't get along after Snadhya purposely had herself tainted.
Sarv'swati is described as being "maniacal" in her control over her family.
Sil'lice has a habit of torturing people (tainted especially) and an obvious temper, but she's apparently good to her own children.
Nishi'kanta hasn't appeared much, but after becoming tainted during the war she went to live as a hermit or at least that's the official story. Also, members of her bloodline have been seen among the Vloz'ress.
Zala'ess clearly has ambitions of becoming the leader of the Sharen, and when her sisters speak of her they often refer to her as "little" and treat her accordingly.
And of course the fact that they killed their mother, had Nishi'kanta tainted and set up Sil'lice to take the fall for their war is the icing on the Dysfunction Junction cake.
Early-Installment Weirdness: Some of the very earliest chapters differ widely in tone from the later ones, including more overt references to the Forgotten Realms Dungeons and Dragons setting, Ariel being much more of a Villain Protagonist and drow sexuality being much more overt and depraved. One reason the remake was necessary was to make the tone internally consistent throughout and make the world it's set in more distinct.
Early-Bird Cameo: Lulianne appears in the new version of chapter 1 to subdue Mel.
Fae also play this trope closely if you look at their biology, drow in particular: Deep within the earth, parts of them humans can't hope to see, able to ignore some of the basic assumptions of the universe simply by existing in their own cities, dragging humans down to the horrors that probably don't leave them sane...
Note that those that are proficient with fire magic can create blazes by creating a lighter spark with a device in their armour as seen here
Elemental Eye Colours: Sil'lice Val'Sharen is both an Ice Sorceress and one of the few remaining untainted Nether Summoners.
You know, blood contains water. And water freezes so well.
Nishi'kanta was also an example before she was tainted, since she had orange eyes and a fire affinity.
The Val'Nal'sarkoth Clan also has this, since they tend to have green eyes and are some of the only people in the Underworld who have an affinity with wood.
Elemental Hair: There's a bit of this with the clan colors: Sarghress (red / shapeshifting (blood element)), Sharen (purple / summoning (supernatural element)), Beldrobbaen (black / flesh & darkness elements), Nal'Sarkoth (green / wood element), and so on.
Engrish: Shows up in the chibi pages, along with accented grammar mistakes.
Ensemble Cast: Started off with focus on Ariel but the cast kept growing until there was 4-5 important story arcs running at the same time with equally important characters. Currently there was nearly a year where Ariel was never seen with more important plot lines hogging the pages. Not to mention all those layers of plots of even greater importance that live in the background and probably will burst into foreground in the future.
Equivalent Exchange: How magic works. Ariel can change her shape, but not her mass. This is one reason she doesn't turn into a drider post-retcon, since it requires more than she has.
Everyone Is Armed: A side effect of Chel's ever escalating Civil War. Due to the nature of the Sarghress clan, this trope is particularly prevalent in Sarghress controlled districts, to the point that the commoners even form The Cavalry when the Sarghress get in over their heads.
Kiel also discovers this much to her dismay here. Of particular note is one lady who seems to have a blade in her pipe.
Everyone Is Bi: Purely heterosexual and homosexual people exist as minorities. It's also implied that drow don't even have terms that reference sexualities, so while people may have preferences the very concept of "straight" or "gay" is likely foreign to them.
Everyone Knew Already: Even before the timeskip several clan leaders already suspect that Diva'ratika is actually dead something Waes'soloth flat out admits along with saying that the only thing hindering them is that they have no definitive proof and still have to play along. After the timeskip Kiel's very public assassination of Diva's Body Double — from inside the Beldrobbaen fortress, no less finally puts an end to the act and allows Waes'soloth to pull her troops back from the fighting.
Then again when Kiel is trying to avoid her Imperial pursuers.
Exotic Eye Designs: Several variations. All Drow have a red sheen to their pupil that helps them see in the dark that their surface born brethren lack, while tainted characters have red iris that replaces whatever eye color they had naturally, and people who are fully possessed by their seeds or are sentient demons like Khaless and Naal have completely red eyes with white at the pupil and around the iris. And an even rarer variant has a white spiral appear in the pupil, with Sha'sana, briefly Liriel/Diva and Kiel'ndia the only examples so far.
Explosive Breeder: This is the main reason why the drowolath managed to become the dominant species in the underworld. Whilst its mentioned that drow and elves in general find it difficult to get pregnant (leading to low numbers overall despite a thousand year existence), it is also stated that the drowolath are somewhat more fertile than their drowussu cousins, hence why they were able to outbreed the latter and become the most populous underworld species.
Family Relationship Switcheroo: The truth behind Ariel Val'Sarghress' lineage is that her mother is Mel'arnach and her father is Zhor, but Quain'tana, her grandmother, took her away from Mel to raise as her heir. This was not voluntary on Mel or Zhor's part.
Fan Disservice - It's a pretty safe bet that almost any time nudity shows up outside of Daydream there will be an aspect of this.
There's Naal'suul for part of chapter 13 sans-clothing (though you can't see anything) the disservice comes from her body language and posture due to being imprisoned in a dark cell, and the fact that she's talking about the demon that already Mind Raped her once and will eventually take advantage of her again and kill her. And it does, in chapter 27.
And one of the few times we see fully uncovered, uncensored breasts in the main archive is... on a possessed pregnant woman, whose fetus is reaching out of her stomach and is also possessed. EUGH.
There's also the beautiful, uncovered body of Sharess, the sexiness of which is mitigated by the fact that she's a thousand year old corpse.
The crowning moment so far probably has to be in Chapter 32, largely thanks to Mood Whiplash, where Rek'mar and Lulianne's love scene goes from sweet to OMG WTF in the space of a page. Thanks a lot, Khaless.
And then there's Demon!Naal, who's completely topless and very well endowed, but it gets offset by what the rest of her body looks like, mainly that it's a giant dementedly grinning demonic face, to say nothing of the freakishly long arms that, you may recall, belong to other people and corpses that she's absorbed over the years.
Chapter 46 also has a whopper in the form of a Bedmate Reveal of two female characters. However this scene has three very big things wrong with it. The first, mainly showing that a female character used her shapeshifting to turn into a male, isn't so bad on its own (especially since it's implied that something similar occurred with Ariel and Faen) but the second is that the shapeshifter in question is Khaless, an Eldritch AbominationMind Hive and the third is that other party is Kharla'ggen, who for the most part appears to have the mental capacity of a child adding a definite layer of Questionable Consent, especially since the seduction had definite "candy in my van" vibes.
Fanservice: There's a whole subsection of the site that's expressly devoted to this, and it skirts the border between extreme fanservice and outright porn.
Fantastic Caste System: On a general level, fae < than everyone else. On a specific level, drow and elves < dragons < faeries. Drowolath (dark skinned drow) versus Drowussu (light skinned drow) on a fairly equal level, but both drow cultures < hybrid drowolath/drowussu.
Fantastic Racism: Drow tend to look down on nearly everyone else note Slightly less so for the Sarghress if you can fight. Depraved commoners. Also possibly the case for the Nal'sarkoth as they actively recruit non-drow races to build up their numbers, most of the non-drow major characters find themselves enslaved at some point, 'tainted' drow vs. 'pure' drow, grey drow vs black drow, driders vs. drow in general, "blind" drow vs. "normal drow" etc.
In short, everybody versus everybody.
Fantastic Slur: "Drowhiir" is a slur for Drowussu. Light Elves are also sometimes called "White Worms" and humans are called "beast men" and lumped in with orcs.
Drow also seem to use "motherkiller" in the same context as humans use "motherfucker". It's also mainly been used about Val nobles, but mainly directed to the Sharen, because The three sisters killed their mother and apparently that's out of the bag
Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Not all that obvious but the drow clans are comparable to actual ancient/medieval real life cultures; Sharen: Medieval Persian/Indian, Sarghress: early Roman/Mongol hybrid, Kyorl'Solenurn: Knights Templar/Feudal Japan hybrid, etc.
Fictional Geneva Conventions: There used to be several unwritten rules of warfare to limit collateral damage. The most important rule was that innocent bystanders are not to be harmed. Other rules include no poisoning water supplies and no fighting in the city. When the Nidraa'chal attacked, they broke virtually every rule, shattering the existing status quo of following the rules and causing future battles to ignore those rules.
The story of the Vel'cahal that the kids see in Chapter 26 also serves this purpose, since it's essentially what happens to Naal later on, with her keeping just enough of her consciousness to avoid eating Kiel. Just to drive the point home, Naal even gets a doll of the Vel'cahal, which she keeps even after her seed takes her over.
Free-Range Children: It's hard to tell how widespread it is (especially since Quain'tana isn't exactly the paragon of good parenting), but drow parents seem to give their children a larger amount of freedom than modern day parents, even allowing them to go to the Surface without visible protest, which is always described as a dangerous and wild place. Since the drow world seems similar to pre-industrial or even feudal societies this is Truth in Television as far as early human societies go. Partly justified by the fact Drow elite mothers are more concerned about quality of heir than how many have to die. To quote Order of the Stick, they don't care how many they have to kill they can make more in their tummy! And have centuries to do so. 'xcept for ONE drow mother...
From Bad to Worse: In Chapter 33, the city of Nuqrah'shareh is in the middle of a civil war caused by an influx of refugees from neighboring cities. And then Balsii Val'Illhar'dro attempts a coup on her cousin, and though Nega'fanea survives the city has fallen even further into chaos by Chapter 34.
Also essentially describes Chel as a whole in the years following the Nidraa'chal War. The War itself caused massive casualties and left large sections of the city uninhabited, and the issues that were either raised during or exacerbated by the War persisted for 15 years until the next Council, which ended with several clans walking out and no progress being made. Then the Sharen attacked the Sarghress and the two clans entered into open war with each other, and after 15 years of that Chel's in an even worse state than before. And then one thing that hasn't yet happened but is on the horizon is Zala arriving home with her Nuqrahsharian allies, which has the potential to upset the city even more.
Funny Background Event: These often crop up during crowd scenes, with a standout example on this page, where Shinae's hissy fit causes a woman walking by to lose her grip on her food, so it splatters against the wall. Also check the name of the shop they're in front of, which shows up again later and is implied to be the same one, or at least part of the same chain.
There's also this page where Melodia's apparently stolen something and is being chased by two drow, but most people were too distracted by Faen's Self Harm to notice.
Fusion Dance: Ragini and Diva'ratrika in the backstory, who became Liriel.
Gambit Pileup: What happens when you have 9 major clans and countless minor ones plotting against each other, on top of people within said clans plotting against each other, and then even within those groups people are plotting against each other. The clan relations chart is a relatively simple, condensed version of it.
Within the Vloz'ress there seems to be a decent Gambit Pileup, with each Nether Summoner vying for influence within the clan and for control over Kharla'ggen. With Sene'kha's death the floodgates seem to have been opened.
Gender Is No Object: Though the vast majority of leaders are women, armed forces seem to be split roughly 50/50, with perhaps slightly more female than males due to their matriarchal society.
Gender Flip: In universe, it's suggested that the story of the Vel'Cahal was originally about a male knight, but was later changed to be about a woman.
Gender-Restricted Ability: Traditional summoning can only be performed by females, due to what Word of God describes as something related to their ability to bear children. The Origin of the Jaal'darya story elaborates on this as being related to the ability to separate one's own aura from that of the child growing inside them when they give birth, with the same technique being used to create a traditional summon. Nether summoning has no such gender restriction which is one reason it's become increasingly popular.
Glorified Sperm Donor: For the most part drow society sees the roles of fathers as this, though there are exceptions where the father plays a role in the upbringing of the child like with Zala'ess' mate Sabbror and the Beldrobbaen clan, who have a tradition of turning their children's fathers into driders to serve as the child's protectors, and the Ill'hardro who teach their children who their fathers are to encourage trade between clans. The fathers of Diva'ratrika's daughters are never mentioned (and each daughter may in fact have a different father) and Quain'tana seemingly doesn't give a damn about the paternity of her various children and grandchildren.
Government in Exile: The clans of Chel'el'sussoloth started out as this, but it's persisted for a millennium, and the fact that they haven't adapted since then causes problems that become more and more evident as the series goes on and the office of the Val'Sharess is shown to be either indifferent or powerless.
Great Offscreen War: There are several of these in elven history, with the War Of The Moons having the most impact, since it's the reason the surface is no longer inhabitable, and then various conflicts within Chel's history. Specific incidents include the Sharen/Sullisin'rune War, the War between the Dark Elves and Drow, and the conflict between the Sharen and Sarghress after the collapse of the Skyhole that resulted in Quain'tana becoming barren mostly occurring offscreen and in the past. We have seen Quain's conquest of Machike in its own side story and the Nidraa'chal War makes up the story's Prologue.
Grey and Gray Morality: The last narration box on this◊ page sums it up nicely: "There is no hero nor villain in these drow tales, only actors in history, wearing their masks and playing their roles."
It really says something when Zala'ess, one of the most obvious villains in the series, is also probably the best parent of the bunch.
Groin Attack: Played straight, subverted, averted and a scary edition! Depends when it occurred and to who. A female on female version has also been the cause of many plot developments on Quain'tana's side.
Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Liriel. Her behaviour becomes a lot less funny when you learn that her drinking is to suppress Diva'ratrika's voice in her head.
Harmless Freezing: Though played straight in the chibi pages of the prologue, it was subverted in Sillice's battle with Vy'chriel/Yaeminira. Not only did she freeze to death, her fingers actually snapped apart right before the end!
Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Mostly averted, in that most armored characters wear helmets, though Sharen dragon riders seem to not wear them when patrolling only to put them on when expecting a fight. A helmet also saves a Sharen at one point and he gets off with a nasty head wound, and Ariel lampshades this trope after a scuffle where she says that she now gets why they make them wear helmets, since she got hit by some debris that dented her helmet and had some minor bleeding but was otherwise alright.
Heroic RROD: A constant danger for golem pilots, and Kyne explains that she's seen people actually die from piloting golems that drained them. This is also one of the dangers a tainted person presents, since if they get too badly injured their seed can begin to take them over.
Heterosexual Life-Partners: Arguably Kuso and Bal'liir. The two of them individually are probably not strictly "heterosexual" given drow culture (see Everyone Is Bi above) but their relationship otherwise fits.
Hidden Elf Village: The Jaal'darya clan are a variant on this, since no one knows precisely where their fortress is located. The Light Elves of Vahaheimr are an even better example, sequestering themselves in the mountains with little to no contact with the outside world, as well as an extremely xenophobic attitude.
Hit So Hard The Calendar Felt It: The current story takes place in the year 1098 of the Moonless Age. Not because the moon was destroyed 1100 years ago, but because the elves went into exile underground where they couldn't see the moon.
Honey Trap: One of the ways female students at the Orthorbbae lure in male test subjects so they can practice medicine, torture or nether summoning on them.
Honor Before Reason: Drow honor operates under this principle. They consider it more honorable to face challenges, especially great ones, even if they're fairly suicidal. See Vy'chriel and Syphile's attacks on people much stronger than them, for them it doesn't work out so well.
It's tiny, but at the end of the tragic chapter 27, we see demon-Naal picking up a doll she bought at the market, and clutching it to her chest, implying that her mind is still there, somewhere. Confirmed in chapter 32, when she pushes Kiel away rather than eat her.
Chapter 32 also has one that helps soften the blow of an otherwise pretty bleak ending for Mel. She's had her arms broken by Quain, her heart broken by Ariel rejecting her as being her real mother, and has agreed to give up at least one more child to Quain and be Quain's baby machine. However, the last page has Ariel come up to Mel and hold her hand, which hints that Ariel might have started to accept that Mel's her real mother. Apparently this ending was specifically added as something of a Writer Revolt by two members of the staff, who thought the extra page with the hand holding should be added.
Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: Rik'shakar is half-dragon, and this is possible because dragons were originally elves that were transformed into their dragon states. Though the specifics aren't spelled it out it's assumed that his mother was the drow, and the fact that he's the only half-dragon seen and implied to have been an experiment and that this is otherwise pretty unusual.
Humanoid Abomination: Kharla'ggen. According to Senekha, Kharla is no ordinary Tainted; she is a living vortex of demonic power. The main plan of the Vloz'ress clan is to imprison a demon god inside Kharla by using the fragments of its old foe as bait — one of those fragments being Discordia.
Human Outside, Alien Inside: Fae (drow, light elves, drowussu, etc.) in Drowtales are more biologically different than their humanoid appearance would suggest. The key to this is mana; the energy they generate, absorb and manipulate. It is the source behind their comparative resistance to, and lack of, diseases (they are not completely immune though). It is also what keeps them young and in a healthy condition, provided there are enough of them to generate a surplus of mana. They still need to eat and drink, but less so than a human of comparative size would, and their bodies do not store fat the way a human body does. Their nature means that they also can "starve" even when they have plenty of food and drink — if they are alone. If that happens they will start to suffer from mana deprivation and starts to age much like a human would.
Humans Are Morons: Humans are considered to be a type of goblin. Though considered somewhat cunning individually, collectively humans are viewed as less intelligent than orcs, making it a variant of the Conservation of Ninjutsu.
An Ice Person: Sil'lice. Literally. From what we can tell she was never a very nice person, but being set up by her sisters and exiled probably didn't help at all. A notable instance of using her ice abilities involves her freezing "Vy'Chriel" Yaeminira to death. This caused her fingers to snap. "Nasty way to die" indeed.
Idiot Ball: One is apparently handed to dwarves, who have terribly bad designs for man-portable cannon. They can't even handwave the over-the-shoulder cannon with A Wizard Did It, as the dwarves are explicitly lacking in magic. They also can't even manage to pull off their given role of tunnel skirmishers - their attack causes zero casualties and only minor damage.
I Have You Now, My Pretty: Rikshakar tries this twice on Ariel, the first time being stopped by Vaelia, and the second time resorting to kidnapping her. He severely underestimates her the second time and gets beaten up by her, only to become chow for the demon Discordia after she catches up with him. See Karmic Death. Note that the first time didn't happen in the original version, which was squickier, but consensual.
I'm a Humanitarian: Drow have no compunction over eating the flesh of humans and orcs, who they consider beasts, and even eat their own dead (more for reasons necessity than actually enjoying it).
Immigrant Patriotism: The Illhar'esses of the Jaal'Darya, Nal'Sarkoth and Illhar'dro clans are not natives of Chel (hailing from Damadi, Mimaneid and Val'Raveran respectively), but the three of them are collectively amongst the most outspoken at the Council in chapter 16.
Liriel just performed one of these To mark the shift from the her own personality to that of Diva'ratrika Val'Sharess, who had moved her spirit into "Liriel"'s body several years before but had been held back by her heavy drinking.
Vaelia gets the "opposite" of one in that she has hair extensions put in to signify she is no longer a slave.
Slaves are not allowed to have haircuts longer than their neck. Long hair signifies higher status, hence why Yaeminira grew out her hair when she officially "became" Vy'Chriel.
Improbably Female Cast: While drow populations are about 50/50 as far as the gender ratio goes, most of the characters who are the focus of the story are female. Justified by drow society being matriarchal and women being the leaders.
Infinite Canvas: Introduced after chapter 39, with the artists specifically citing Unsounded as an influence, perhaps best demonstrated here.
Innocent Innuendo: Chapter 45 opens with a classic example, showing Ariel moaning in deep pleasure and clutching her bedsheets while Die'tra, listening outside, praises Faen. Except Faen's just combing Ariel's hair.
One sidestory is about a drow named "Val'Doomed" who kidnaps human women to try and breed with, but because this is impossible he just earns the derision of other drow. An aversion is Mel'arnach and Zhor who initially appear to be this trope, but Zhor is in fact a Dark Elf that was transformed into his current state so it's not really this trope.
A minor but more straightforward example is the relationship between Dhal'zin and Kai of the Stone Company, which Ky'onne is the only one to notice.
Jedi Mind Trick: This is how Ash'waren◊, who's really a dark elf, has been passing herself off as a drow for the better part of 1000 years.
Jerkass Has a Point: The Kyorl'solenurn are more or less the mascots of Good Is Not Nice, and yet when it comes to their extremism about the tainted they're surprisingly justified, especially with recent revelations.
Kid with the Leash: Kiel, after Sene'Kha's death becomes one of these, holding Kharla's leash as her "big" sister. Mentally, she really is.
The Kingdom: The mega city-state of Chel'el'Sussoloth. The total population and land area is typical for a Kingdom (a cave network ~50km in diameter with around 100,000 people) culturally it is arguably a Federation with the clans serving as its 'states'.
Late-Arrival Spoiler: It becomes really, really hard to talk about many of the later events of the comic without giving away the following:
Diva'ratrika has been dead for 16 years
Diva has reincarnated (kinda) as Liriel
The Sharen sisters were behind the Nidraa'chal plot, which was a ruse to kill their mother
Ariel's mother is really Mel'arnach, not Quain'tana
Syphile dies by Quain'tana's hand after breaking Chrys'tel out of prison
Law of Inverse Fertility: Affects most female fae, since fae in general have low birth rates, but Quain'tana's case is cause of much angst and many plot developments. This also means that Diva'ratrika, while over a thousand years old, has only had five (surviving) daughters and one son, Zala'ess has had many more and Sil'lice outright says that she's had to do a lot of screwing around to get that many, though many if not most of them seem to have the same father. And because drow have No Periods, Period it means that they never go through an equivalent of menopause, which explains how Ash'waren can be as old as Diva'ratrika and still be producing children. Mel'arnach also says that she was trying for several decades to get pregnant, though it may be due to the father being Zhor than the usual problems fae face.
Light Is Not Good: Both the Kyorl and the Light Elves which makes sense considering they're related.
Lineage Comes from the Father: Inverted, drow only care about who someone's mother is. This is especially true with Vals, who can only pass on the Val title through the female line.
Mama Bear: Zala'ess is implied to be this, and she wanted to kill her daughter Vy'chriel's protector twin Yaeminira after the latter murdered her real daughter, and only grudgingly allowed her to take her place at the urging of her own sister Sarv'swati. It's also been suggested that Zala'ess' main redeeming quality is her love for her children. Shimi'lande is also implied to be this for the entire Drowussu race, seeing as she serves a sort of mother to all of them.
Mandatory Motherhood: Played with in-story. Even though women are the dominant gender in drow society, having children is a way for them to build up their families and power, and the fact that Snadhya'rune, Diva'ratrika's heir, has no family of her own is seen as scandalous. However, Snadhya does indeed have a daughter, she just had her conceived and carried outside of her womb, and it seems that Snadhya did indeed want children, just on her own terms.
Maternally Challenged: One interpretation of why Quain'tana has such a bad relationship with her children. As far as can be inferred she had no parents to speak of and was on the street from an early age, and the effect is pretty obvious on her children.
On this page and several subsequent ones from from chapter 34, Shodun is out of focus in the background behind Balsii, only to burst out of the background and kill Sandaur.
On this page from chapter 35, in the background you can see the assault on First Landing Fortress, which is talked about later in the chapter. No one in the scene comments on it, suggesting that Chelians have become jaded to the constant conflict during the timeskip.
Meaningful Name: Word of God says that Syphile's name comes from the word Syphilis, since her original character was in an RPG and the name was made up on the spot.
Character specific examples can be found on the Character Sheets but one memorable example is that of Jer'kol, a character who pre-timeskip pretended to be Ariel's father. His true nature became much clearer later on when it turned out that he was working for Syphile to kill Ariel.
The twins Kau and Shala are named after one of their older brothers, Kau'Shala, who died in the Nidraa'chal conflict.
Men Are the Expendable Gender: For the most part most drow view their males as this at best. In story the trope is averted as casualties are roughly 50/50 along gender lines, but because there are fewer male characters who have large roles this has the effect of making male deaths hit the audience harder, the inverse of most fiction, and Word of God confirms this is deliberate.
Mini-Mecha: Becomes a very common type of war golem after the Timeskip. The technology needed to power them was developed by the Jaal'darya. They are mostly used by the Sarghress, and on the opposite side, the Beldrobbaen.
Mood Whiplash: Chapter 44 page 13 has Nau being told he needs to produce babies for his clan and his mother is arranging a mate for him to the next page where Chrys'tel is having a messy miscarriage and realizing that Shinae's stillbirth was not a coincidence.
Mooning: During Phani'nath's description of the last Ill'haress gathering Quain'tana does this to Sarv'swati. It's not entirely certain if this actually happened, but it would hardly be out of character.
Kiel also does this to Snadhya'rune in a chibi page for chapter 44. Word of God also indicates she was originally going to do it in the chapter proper, but it would have been a Level Breaker, so it was kept as a parody page since it was something she would have done.
Mr. Fanservice: Shan'aal, most obviously, and Tir'ade as well. Kor'maril is this both in the fandom and in canon, where in canon he's had at least one lover and is the father of Sillice's twins and there's a Daydream story where he gets it on with both another woman and a literal Dragon Lady.
Ms. Fanservice: Although she is essential to the story, Mel'arnach is the frickin empress of fanservice in the comic. Kalki may come in second depending on if she ever puts on a shirt. Ironically (or not) they're mother and daughter, er, sort of.
Multicolored Hair: Since all drow have white hair, dyeing it, often but not always in the clan colors, is common.
Multinational Team: The comic's staff come from 13 different countries. In-story, the group on the surface contains characters from 3 different major clans (4 if you count Liriel/Diva as a Sharen), a human and a feral.
And after the timeskip, Chry'stel's group in Nuqrah'shareh consists of members of the Sharen clan (herself and Nau'kheol) as well as members of the Jie'yen, Balvhakara and Duskians, though the last one is only tagging along and providing them cover and not an official member.
Neglectful Precursors: The Dark and Light Elves are pretty much the ones responsible for turning the surface into the hell hole it is now, and by extension are responsible for the birth of the drow, and the case can even be made for Abusive Precursors considering that at least some of them were said to have opened nether gates on purpose.
Nightmare Sequence: A couple of these, one for Ariel, a several for Chiri, and one for Kiel. All of them are horrifying.
Ninja: The Fallen Legion, particularly the possessed Lael'aell and in Chapter 34 the Jie'yen clan of Nuqrah'shareh.
Nipple and Dimed: Occurs several times via Godiva Hair on topless characters in the main archive, but later averted with Demon!Naal, who has a very visible nipple showing. The author has also expressed puzzlement at and made fun of this trope several times.
Non-Mammal Mammaries: Nagas (humanoid upper body, snake-like lower body) the females of which both have breasts and are shown to be able to nurse seem like a straight use of this until you dig deeper into what they actually are. "Natural" or born nagas (as opposed to the Vloz'ress corrupted) are implied to be the descendants of fae who underwent a similar process to Zhor that replaced parts of their bodies while still keeping their basic inner biology intact. And considering that Zhor, who's not even humanoid, is able to father children nagas retaining the ability to nurse after several generations doesn't seem so far-fetched. It's also implied that nagas are still warm-blooded despite their appearance and give live birth.
Non-Standard Character Design: The artwork for the comic is to a very high standard and usually has a regular design aesthetic which was why it was all the more jarring to see this character◊(called Wordweaver Frehling) talking to Chry'stel Vel'Sharen in Chapter 34. He looked a lot more like he should be in a Disney film than in an Animesque webcomic.
Golem operated elevators frequently have a big gap between the platform and the walls and no hand rails.
The Beldrobbaen mostly live in structures built into the stalactites of Chel. Not all of their windows have glass.
No Periods, Period: Word of God is that fae do not get periods, which helps explain how even very old fae can still have children at upwards of 1,000, but female humans do, unfortunately for Vaelia.
No Sell: A proper application of mana technique can disrupt attacks before they can be fired, as Jer'kol demonstrates. Additionally one of the few advantages non-fae have over fae is that they're completely immune to possession by nether spirits, lacking auras, though they can still be hurt by physical attacks carried out by someone who's possessed. For this reason the Sarghress have begun using a non-fae squad called the War Meat to run in ahead of the regular troops and kill the nether summoners before the rest move in for cleanup.
Not Quite Dead: As one forum poster put it, it seems that Dark Elves have the tenacity of cockroaches since within a few chapters, 3 of them, Diva'ratrika through a Fusion Dance, Ash'waren through a Jedi Mind Trick, and whatever Sha'sana did, have been shown to have survived. It also lead one poster to proclaim that Snadhya'rune is really bad at killing people.
Not So Different: Despite being a Superior Species the drow in particular are not actually that different from the goblin races. Just take a look at how the drow consider the goblin races. Now take a closer look at the drow. Ironic that the ones who consider halmes akin to locusts almost destroyed their own planet for mana-based life a millenia ago, isn't it?
Later on, when Chiri'nide and Shan'aal visit the elves of Vanaheimr, the way the Light Elves try to kill them and succeed in killing the refugees they brought causes Chiri to reference the drowussu's own views about "racial purity" and begin to question them.
Only Six Faces: Played with, since the very early chapters suffered from this, but as the art style has evolved it's become less and less so, since characters are now pretty distinguishable in their facial features. Only Six Faces is also plays a role in drow culture as a whole, since most drow have white hair and similarly shaded skin they will often dye it or add accessories to distinguish themselves.
After the Time Skip, pretty much everyone knows that Diva'ratrika was murdered by three of her own daughters. The only people "unaware" are those who refuse to believe it, namely the Blue Bloods such as the Beldrobbaen, Ill'hardro, and the Sharen themselves, who's leadership are using an El Cid Ploy to prevent themselves from collapsing. Eventually, the Nidraa'chal force everyone to acknowledge that Diva'ratrika is dead, even if not under the actual circumstances, so as to throw the empire into even more chaos and knock Sarv'swati out of the game.
Snadhya'rune creates a "secret gathering" of important people to a peace conference. But so many people receive invites, that it has entered the common gossip.
Order Versus Chaos: Light elves versus Dark elves. While only loosely inspired by Dungeons & Dragons after the Retcon, Dark elves and their drow descendants are still described as being very individualistic and prone to change. Light elves and their drow descendants tend to be more disciplined and inflexible.
Our Dragons Are Different: The original dragons were elves that were altered into their present state by life sciences long lost. Dragons vary greatly in size. Surface dragons are intelligent, can fly, and can often speak. The descendants of the dragons that fled underground with the Dark Elves however have degenerated into simple animals.
Our Dwarves Are All the Same: The dwarves are a minor underground dwelling race. Their greatest cities were supplanted by the drow, who enslaved them and took their caverns for themselves. The dwarves don't stand much more of a chance against the Fae than the other races, but are capable of giving them a bloody nose by ambushing them with cannons. Gnomes are "domesticated" Dwarves.
Our Elves Are Better: Not nicer mind you, or cooler, and certainly not more "right". Basically, they are are tougher and carry a bigger stick than everybody else.
Our Demons Are Different: Demons are beings made out of nether mana from other realms. There are believed to be an infinite variety. Most of them are extremely dangerous, but only a small number are actively malevolent. Most demons are immaterial and can only interact with the physical realm via a host, but a handful of demons can manifest physically like a summon.
Our Gods Are Greater: In the old setting, goddesses were the counterparts of demons and also lived in the nether realms. It was possible for priestesses to channel their powers. None of this is true post-Retcon, but some demons are still worshipped like gods by various nether cults, such as the Vlozz'ress.
Our Nudity Is Different: Drow in Chel'el'sussoloth usually wear high collars, because the (lower) neck is considered a naughty part◊. That isn't the case with all drow nations though, nor has it always been the case in Chel. Similar to how it's normal IRL to go topless on the beach in some countries and scandalous in others.
Overly Long Name: Odelia'Sigismondo Shessembrae Val'Beldrobbaen aka The Long Name Warmaster. Several other drow names get into this territory, especially since many drow names follow the pattern of Personal name + house name + clan name.
In the case of the Elder Siblings raising the children scenario, it is generally the eldest sibling who has not yet had their own first born child, as the birth of a child is seen as the sign of reaching adulthood within Drow Society. Which was really what caused Diva'ratrika's undoing because by this rule it fell to Snadhya'rune to raise all of her sisters as she was the eldest child, and refused to give into her mothers wishes for a granddaughter. It shouldn't be any surprise then that the majority of the Sharen Sisters helped Snadhya dispose of their mother.
Zala'ess seems to genuinely love her children, and Sil'lice, who before was shown taking joy in torturing tainted gained major Pet the Dog points when she was revealed to have little twins in the form of Kau and Shala, who she named after a son who died in the Nidraa'chal war. Quain'tana's relationship with Ash'waren is also something of a Pet the Dog in regards to showing that the usually gruff and badass Ill'haress has a soft side.
Once Ariel returned from the surface, Quain'tana questioned her of her adventures on the surface, before telling her that "You make me... proud." Considering this is Quain saying this, it definitely counts.
Pimped-Out Dress: Several characters, though special mentions goes to Shimi'lande's formal dress, Diva'ratrika's parade dress and pretty much all of Snadhya'rune's dresses.
The Plague: The taint is a demonic infection in a Fae's aura that has the risk of consuming its host and turning it into a demon. Abuse of forbidden arts nearly brought about the end of all Fae life via demonic plague. While it is possible to use safe taints as a sort of vaccine, Snadhyarune has been distributing faulty "safe" taints that turn the infected into a ticking time bomb and have long term side effects on the Drow's health.
The Plan: The Nidraa'chal war turns out to have been engineered by Snadhya'rune and two of her sisters as a cover for their attempt to kill their mother Diva'ratrika. Since this this is a bunch of Drow, everyone is either running one of these, or an Unwitting Pawn caught up in the Gambit of another.
Politically-Active Princess: Most of the female cast counts, since their society is a Matriarchy, so it's expected. Zala'ess Vel'Sharen is probably the best example, since she's the politician among her three sisters.
Because Queen Diva is quite reclusive, her daughters perform most of her duties. In fact, the older sisters convinced Zala to help them wall in their mother in a secret coup.
Potty Failure: Implied to have happened to Chrys'tel (look near her feet), since she did mention earlier that she had to pee, and being trapped in an iron maiden for an entire day by your sadistic cousin doesn't offer many potty breaks.
Powered Armor: A type of armor with golem mechanisms is used by the Balvhakara, the Nuqrah'sharian cousins of the Beldrobbaen.
Psycho for Hire: Sene'kha and Ky'ovaerde... and to a lesser extent, Laele'aell, though in her case it's more that she doesn't really have a soul any more.
Psychopathic Manchild: Kharla'ggen. Her origin story seems to indicate that if just left alone she'd be fine (if badly tainted), but Sene'kha, the above Psycho for Hire, pushed her even further into insanity. Discordia is also showing signs of this, especially in her childlike behavior after she kills Rik.
Punctuation Shaker: Pretty much all the Drow names. The apostrophe is also a sign of nobility in some families, hence why Sil'lice is referred to as Sillice by the other Sharen after her exile.
Puny Earthlings: The story arc from chapters 20 to 22 has Ariel, her friends and a group of Highland Raiders storm a human city and kill the king with comparatively little effort. Whether or not this was bad writing or indicative of the power levels of the species involved (see Game Breaker above) is best left to the forums. Word of God was that the story arc was intended to be longer and include the Hermiones, another group of humans, but had to be cut down for the sake of time.
Pure Magic Being: Demons and summons. Summons are the separated auras, or "souls", of a Fae and are made out of ether mana. Demons are native to the nether realms and are made out of nether mana.
Put Off Their Food: In chapter 14, when the group of protagonists sits down for dinner, the drow Kyo'nne tells the human Vaelia that the preserved meat they're eating is human meat. She was just joking — but since they don't actually know what kind of meat it is, and since drow do eat human meat, Vaelia decides to play it safe and have bread instead.
PVP Balanced: The old-old start of the comic was this way when it was based on Dungeons & Dragons sessions. Back then, goblins still didn't have auras by default, but it was possible for them to acquire them and fight the Fae on equal terms. This gets deliberately averted in favour of story over balance in the current main comic, which is something new readers should keep in mind/be aware of.
Quantity vs. Quality: When the Sarghress and Sharen armies come into conflict during the District War, their respective strengths can be compared in this way. The Sharen army is filled with highly skilled summoners and sorcerers. The Sarghress clan is mostly made up of foot soldiers. The Sharen have the strongest mounts, but dragons are slower to breed than Sarghress wolves. Sharen golems are extremely powerful, but cost a lot of energy and are expensive to build. Sarghress golems are energy efficient and can be mass produced. Overall, the average Sharen soldier can easily match an entire squad of Sarghress, but the Sarghress outnumber them considerably and can replace their ranks more easily.
Rape, Pillage, and Burn: S.O.P. for the Sarghress, especially the Highland Raiders. Lampshaded in one chibi page. The Black Sun / Siyakorsed even more so, since they have no permanent settlements and make their living off doing this.
Rapunzel Hair: Name nearly any female character... although it is justified due to drow culture, as short hair is reserved for slaves. The one exception to the "long hair = noble" rule seem to be the Sharen protector twins like Shinae and Yaeminira, but that's because they exist in a weird state of both being and not being a noble, and unlike those two Khaless does have long hair and seems to be essentially an equal to Snadhya'rune.
Really Gets Around: Zala'ess and Ash'waren are heavily implied to be this for both genders, considering how many children they have. This was joked about in a podcast, which suggested that the two of them go out together cruising for guys.
A Real Woman Is A Killer: Quain'tania only recognizes Ariel as being worthy of the title of her heir after she kills Mir'kiin
Red String of Fate: The cover of chapter 43 seems to be using this symbolism, though the string is glowing white rather than red. Also of note is that the only one who's not actually tied to it is Kiel, who instead is holding it.
Red Eyes, Take Warning: The 'Tainted', AKA Ver'drowendar. Red eyes in Chel basically means that the person with them is a ticking timebomb that could, at any moment, turn into a nigh unstoppable engine of destruction in the form of a demon.
Red Herring: Possible example in chapter 44. When Wi'am shows up helping an apparent dark elf stand up out of a wheelchair, the fact that this elf has the same hair color as Diva'ratrika lead many to assume that it was another Diva Body Double or golem with only a few people noticing that the arms looked unusually muscular for a female. Later in the chapter we find out that the elf is actually Zhor, sporting a new humanoid body thanks to the Jaal'darya.
Relationship Reveal: Mel'arnach and Snadhya'rune had been teased at before, but chapter 17 confirmed it, and since then it's gone beyond that with the revelation that Snadhya used Mel's genetic material to make Kalki.
Religion of Evil: Played with. Nether cults like the one the Vloz'ress used to be are portrayed this way by the Kyorl, but at least under Kiel's mother they weren't exactly "evil" and had some noble intentions. Once Senek'ha took over, on the other hand...
Remember The Alamo: A particularly brutal Sharen attack against the Sarghress controlled town of Machike is what blew up the tensions between the Sharen and Sarghress into a full fledged urban war. Not only did the Sharen use nether summoning, but they even enslaved neutral commoners on behalf of their Black Sun allies. Ever since, "Remember Machike" is a major Sarghress battle cry.
The Remnant: The Dutan'vir clan fell during the Nidraa'chal War, and the survivors mostly wound up slaves or joined the Kyorl or the Sarghress. The have a decent presence within the Maeyukir House of the Sarghress, and Lulianne shows that there are a few who hope to resurrect the clan some day.
Retcon: The whole business of remaking the first several chapters.
Rich Bitch: Chrys'tel, though her sister Yami'ni seems to top her in just about every way.
"Risk"-Style Map: The Sarghress clan's progress in conquering Chel during the District War is portrayed in this way. Each chapter of the District War displays a map of Chel'el'sussoloth. The entire city map is divided into different districts. The districts each clan controls is indicated by the clan's color, and by the time the District War ends, all of the previously Sharen held territory has been converted to Sarghress red.
Rule 34: Some fans make it themselves, but a good deal comes from the writers themselves.
Running Gag: Ariel's love of cats, and her dislike of maths. Shimi'lande also has a running gag of needing chocolate to keep herself from going insane from keeping all the fanatical Kyorls in line, which occasionally leads to references like NO CHOCOLATE?! CRUSADE!
Satisfied Street Rat: Quain'tana's early history. Also deconstructed, since it left her as a horrible parent.
Also done by both the Beldrobbaen and The Black Sun en masse after it becomes obvious that the Sharen are on the losing side of the war with the Sarghress.
Sealed Evil in a Can: Being immaterial in their default state, demons cannot be destroyed by physical attacks. Nether mana also seems to be more potent than ether mana, so ordinary mana attacks only end up feeding them. Aside from attacking them with another demon, the only known way for a Fae to defeat them is to seal them inside a gem.
Secret Legacy: Ariel's true heritage. And Kalki on both sides, though she knows it.
Seen It All: Sha'sana knows critical information that could prevent Chel from going through hell all over again, but she does nothing because she no longer gives a damn about Chel or its problems.
Seers: Some people (supposedly) have the ability to look into the future. How it works is poorly understood, but Word of God states that it is a very unusual form of Empathy. Word of God eventually explains that they are not looking into the future at all. They are merely experiencing the senses and aspirations of other Fae.
Self-Made Orphan: the three Sharen sisters send mommy dearest to her room permanently so they can rule Chel'el'Sussoloth in a demonic triumvirate.
Settling the Frontier: The story is set when the Drow race is right in the middle of the colonization effort. There had been many false starts in the past, but thanks to the war, things are picking up in earnest with each faction struggling to use the colonies as a tool to take control of the population. The Illhar'dro and Nal'sarkoth clans were involved a little while ago and have a head start. More recently, the Sharen and Beldrobbaen clans have been enslaving their citizens and sending them to a Penal Colony in a desperate bid to retain their empire. The Sarghress have been much more interested in taking Chel itself, but they do have a colony in the upper portion of Machike. Snadhya'rune herself seems to have made this strategy a major keystone of her plan.
Sexiled: Poor Kau gets subjected to this in chapter 44 when Shala finally manages to hook up with Sarnel and locks him out, explaining that Sarnel "doesn't swing the threeway."
Shadow Dictator: No one has seen Val'Sharess Diva'ratrika for 16 years because she's dead, killed by her own daughters, though Ragini/Liriel, her servant/reincarnation/merger/Fusion Dance/whatever, is still running around.
Shaggy Dog Story: Chiri'nide and Shan'naal bring back Light Elf prisoners from Nagyesced to Vanaheimr, but the prisoners are killed that very night and Chiri and Shan nearly so themselves.
Ship Sinking: Sarnel/Ariel was one of the more popular (heterosexual) pairings for Ariel, but it was sunk twice over after the timeskip, once by showing that their parents tried to get them to date only to fail at it, and again by Ariel getting together with Faen and Sarnel getting together with Shala.
Kharla'ggen's hair makes her resemble Washu, especially since the demon Sene'kha plans to use Kharla to summon looks like a crab, which is Washu's symbol.
And speaking of Washu, Diva is quite similar to the original version of Washu from the OVA, in that she's really a lot more powerful than she looks, is hiding in plain sight and in a much younger body.
Situational Sexuality: Heavy implied to occur at Orthorbbae in the main comic and outright stated in Daydream, due to the gender-segregated sections of the school. Less of a case of this than usual since drow have an Everyone Is Bi society anyway, so it's not as big a deal.
Skeleton Government: Averted. Chel'el'Sussoloth's political scene is a major driving force behind the events of the story.
Slobs Versus Snobs: The main reason for the war. The snobby clans, namely the Sharen, Beldrobbaen, and Illhar'dro believe that only Blue Bloods have the right to rule. The Beldrobbaen refuse to even mate with commoners. The snobby clans resent upstart commoners trying to achieve greatness to the extent that they have even started enslaving many of their citizens to retain control. The slobby clan, the Sarghress, believes that everyone should have the right to prove themselves regardless of their background and are willing to shed a lot of blood to prove it.
Spanner in the Works: The plan of Snadhya'rune, Sarv'swati and Zala'ess to cover up that they killed their mother was going off without a hitch until Chrys'tel discovered the truth. Ironically, she saw it at the same time Sil'lice told one of their mooks that she had seen it too.
And Liriel/Diva's return isn't so much a spanner as an i-beam.
Speech Bubbles: Everyone has a unique balloon, with the exception of the occasional one-off character. Mostly this is done with color (both font and backdrop), but a few characters have different fonts as well.
Sprouting Ears: Ariel sprouts cat ears at a humorous moment in the comic. Since she can shapeshift this appears to have actually happened instead of just being a visual metaphor.
Star-Crossed Lovers: Mel'arnach believes her and Snadhya'rune to be this, the truth might be more complicated... This seems to be how Kyo'nne thinks of herself and Shan'naal as well, though with her it's played for comedy.
The Stoic: Naal'suul, Koil'dorath, Sar'nel, Sarv'swati and Chirinide are the most prominent examples
Stripperiffic: Mel'Arnach's dental floss, more so in the previous versions. With the first episode being retconned for the second time, her outfit is now just a step away from a long pants/pink sweather combo, albeit with transparent fabric over much of it and a Thong of Shielding.
Super-Deformed: Besides mini chibi-pages at the end of chapters characters will occasionally shift into this at humorous moments.
Sweet Polly Oliver: Ariel goes to the male section of the Wizarding School to avoid being trapped under the thumb of the headmistress, subverted in that she's found out almost instantly and only has her secret kept because no students are allowed to leave and spread the word, and once she is found out she has to leave. This also earns her the nickname of "The Sarghress Transvestite" among some of the other drow.
Kel'noz and Mel'narach both did this, but not in Canon. Which was the subject of a side story and a laterMythology Gag.
Sympathetic Murder Backstory: Ariel is ordered to kill Mir'kin Vel'Vloz'ress, and then kills Yafein Val'Sullisin'rune's slave Maya in a fit of rage after he pushed her Berserk Button. It's clearly hinted that the resulting My God, What Have I Done? moment resulted in PTSD. It's particularly disturbing when you remember that due to her species' slow aging process, she was physically still a small child at the time.
Taking You with Me: One thing that makes tainted so dangerous is that even if they get so badly injured that they won't survive their seeds can then take them over and continue to cause destruction, and their tainted auras can then go on to taint other people. In fact, this is used as a tactic by certain tainted, and Syphile is explicitly told that even if she dies while trying to kill Quain'tana releasing her seed should finish the job.
Tangled Family Tree: The Vel'Sharen and Val'Sarghress family tree is turning into this with recent revelations about Kalki, and to give you an idea of how convoluted it is, Ariel's step-grandmother is actually Diva'ratrika. One forum member attempted to draw up said tree◊ (warning for crazy spoilers and very big image file), and as crazy as that is it's not even everyone!
Those Two Guys: Kuso and Baliir, pair of Vloz'ress soldiers, a regular trooper and a Berserker. The trooper seems like a rather chatty and good natured fellow, while his friend is a Gentle Giant... except when he fights. He's shown fighting once in the main story and once in a guest side story. He curbstomps his enemies both times. Would be Those Two Bad Guys except they act more like Punch Clock Villains, if that.
The first occurred in chapter 1, where there was a 10 year jump.
The next happened during Chapter 2, where there was a 4 or 5 year jump.
And now the most significant storywise, between Chapter 32 and 33 there is a 15 year jump.
Tomato Surprise: Many, if not most, of Orthorbbae's female staff are actually summons, their bodies are hidden in a morgue beneath the school
Too Dumb to Live: Yaeminira who is sent on a blatantly obvious suicide mission by a mother she knows hates her. She compounds this by going alone (well, with the golem) through the front gate and challenging one of the most ancient and powerful drow known to a duel which ends in a Curb-Stomp Battle Best part? Sil'lice gives her a thorough explanation, and offers to let her switch sides which she doesn't appear to even seriously consider.
A chapter later Syphile arguably crosses into this. One image a forum member posted sums it up◊.
Tough Love: Part of standard parenting for most Drowolath noble families, but special mention goes to Quaintana whose methods of parenting left all but one of her children and said sole child later fell to demons outright hating her, feeling neutral towards her and a Jerk Ass and Jerk Ass Woobie respectively.
The Undead: Word of God is that there are no undead in the DT world, though having your aura separated from your body, as Sharess and Diva'ratrika both did is close and auras can be used to power summons or golems, but you won't see any zombies around except for people who have been fully possessed by demons, which somewhat resembles zombies in the form of The Virus.
Unusual Euphemism - the phrase "going to live as a hermit", judging from what we know about fae biology and their dependence on mana. In other words, it might in fact be code for suicide by mana deprivation.
Urban Warfare: Urban warfare was forbidden by the Empress's Peace in order to protect the commoners. But the Nidraa'chal had no regard for the rules. The Nidraa'chal War was a particularly horrific conflict because it took place within the city of Chel itself, resulting in massive civilian casualties. Worse, the nether summoners actually used civilians as weapons by turning them into demons. The clans managed to keep the Empress's Peace for a few more decades, but eventually, a particularly infuriating Sharen attack that also hit neutral bystanders caused Urban Warfare to become the norm.
The Uriah Gambit: Zala'ess does this to Vy'chriel/Yaeminira, and seems relieved to know the outcome was a success.
Utopia Justifies the Means: Multiple characters have their own vision of how they want to shape Chel, and frankly don't care about the sacrifices that have to be made in order to do it.
Snadhya'runes has tainted almost everyone with a deliberately flawed form of tainting that will kill anyone afflicted with it in 25-50 years, while keeping the safe and pure version only for herself and her followers. All she needs to do is wait until Chel self-destructs, and take over what is left.
Sha'sana, for one, is dedicating her life to bringing back Sharess so she can unite the clans and doesn't care that Chel goes to hell in the meantime.
Sene'kha was planning to blackmail all the clans into disbanding and setup a democratic state by empowering an incredibly dangerous Psychopathic Manchild with the power of a demon god and dollifying anyone that opposes it.
Vague Age: Due to the fact that fae stop aging at the human equivalent of 30 and most have trouble keeping track after a few centuries it's only really the child cast who have any concrete ages (their teens in the first arc and their 30s in the second). Mel'arnach speculates that she (and by extension Kel'noz) must be at least 300, and context would seem to put Quain'tana as at least 400.
Vapor Wear: There have been several◊ (the previous one just one of many) things that references drow nobility in particular not wearing underwear. For an actual confirmed case, Mel'arnach has a semi-transparent dress that clearly has nothing under it◊.
Villain Decay: Demons start out being portrayed as horrific, unstoppable monsters. Demons cannot not be harmed by any known weapons or spells and have brought about the downfall of entire civilizations. A few dozen Nidraa'chal were able to annihilate the entire Dutan'vir clan and the portion of the Sharen army sent to fight them. Only the Kyorl clan was capable of cleaning up the mess. But after the Time Skip, we start seeing more variations of demons, some being almost cuddly. And while other demons remain the only thing that can actually kill them, now, all the clans have sealers in their ranks, enabling them to trap the demons in gems. Thus nether summoning has been reduced to a useful, but hardly invincible art.
Villainous Valour: Althought not villains per se, the dvergar who choose to fight the drow rather than trade with them shows this. Even after being reduced to a remnant by the desperate, fleeing dokkalfar (and later outright invading drow) and having no mana, they still are a real danger to drow trade caravans and even manage to get in a few good blows against the highland raiders. Keep in mind that the last is a bit like somali pirates attacking a US battleship.
Webcomic Time: From Chapter 3, Page 14 to (as of writing this) Chapter 28 takes place over only a few months of comic time, from the end of the school year to the Moon's End Festival. Faen's fleeing was originally drawn in 2003, which means it took 7 years "real time" for Ariel to rescue Faen. Talk about "The Longest Wait!"
"Well Done, Son" Guy: From daughters to mothers, especially Vy'chriel Vel'Sharen, though she has a slightly more complicated version since she's not the real daughter, she was the real daughter's protector and killed her, taking her place, and Zala'ess is understandably not too thrilled with the situation.
Funnily enough, their arch-enemy clan of Vloz'ress used to be it too before Kiel took over and ended that plan. Their goal was to end all wars in the world by turning everyone into mind-controlled puppets...
In Chapter 16, the Val'Jaal'Darya Clan Ill'haress, Asira'malika, related a story of a frontier settlement that eventually succumbed to the ravages of war, natural disasters, and the like. Using this story, she justifies her clan's intent to destroy potential threats to Chel'el'sussoloth before they have an opportunity to present themselves.)
Also, Sene'kha planned to kill off all the nobles (with Kharla acting as prison for a demon god) to end the clan system.
Whip Sword: Zala'ess's weapon, which she hasn't yet used but has been seen on panel.
Who's Your Daddy?: After Sillice's twins were introduced, the first question many people had was who their father was. A Daydream story eventually revealed that it's Kor'maril. The twins however know who it is, so this was more for the fans.
Snadhya'rune just mentioned that the father of her daughter Kalki was a Sarghress. It's even worse than many speculated. It's Mel.
Who Wants to Live Forever?: Due to a high mortality rate most drow don't live long enough to experience this, but very old drow and dark elves often fall into this as they get older and older, in part due to the massive amounts of mana their bodies require to stay young, essentially confining them to large cities. Some dark elves underground committed suicide out of despair at the knowledge that they'd probably never see the surface again.
Why Am I Ticking?: Naal'suul may count, by virtue of having been unwillingly tainted so badly that she could die and turn into a demon at practically any moment.
Chapter 25 revealed that nearly every tainted in the setting has only around 25 to 50 years to live, meaning that a significant portion of Chel is a ticking time bomb. Including several major characters.
You Bastard: Kiel invokes this in chapter 28, and even throws a belt at the audience during her emotional breakdown. Ouch.
You No Take Candle: Vaelia, though it's because she doesn't know the drow language, and it has been gradually improving.
You Will Be Spared: In chapter 44, Snadhya'rune's speech to the gathered Nidraa'chal explains that she will spare the Beldrobbaen, Vloz'ress and Jaal'darya from her plan to throw Chel into even more chaos.
Your Normal Is Our Taboo: Bisexuality and multiple partners is the norm for Drows, while pure heterosexuals like Zala'ess and her hubby Sabrror, and pure homosexuals like Snadhya'rune and Mel'arnach are considered unusual. Cannibalism is also acceptable. With so few resources, Drow eating Drow is the norm amongst the lower class. It may have disappeared from the background materials, but a running theme in Drowtales is that a bare neck is considered a form of nudity in Chel'el'sussoloth.
Your Size May Vary: The heights of the various characters shift in-between panels from a couple of centimeters to a half a meter at times. Quian'tana and Ariel in particular fall victim to this given their tall stature, appearing giant in one chapter and looking merely bigger than average in the next.
Your Soul Is Mine: The fate of anyone killed by Snadhya'rune (or any other summoner); she can then summon their soul to do her bidding.