These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
YMMV: Drow Tales
Angst? What Angst? - Khal'harror is surprisingly perky for a member of his clan, and some fans were angered by his apparent lack of reaction to Naal's death, where he seemed more concerned about having lost Bob, the undead chicken. There is, however, a level of Fridge Brilliance to his behavior, since he already lost many members of his clan at once and the same incident left his sister forcibly tainted and later gets taken over by her seed as well as see his clan's power decline as many members simply gave up hope, so his attitude may in fact be a front and his lack of reaction to Naal's death may be simple denial.
Even though Syphile is dead, bringing her up on the forum is a surefire way to start a flame war. It's also fairly common for people to compare new flame wars to the Great Syphile Flame War of '09, when this reached its peak during the chapter where she dies.
Quain'tana Val'Sarghress. Like Syphile, since she's seen as either a Complete Monster or a horrifically realistic depiction of her brand of conqueror.
Some fans are vocally annoyed by Shinae's abrasive personality, while others like her very much.
And though it's not really a character, any time humans versus elves comes up half the fandom excitedly starts debating it while the other half groans at the fact that they're talking about it AGAIN. There was even a Daydream story designed to specifically address this out of continuity with drow coming into contact with the modern world, though it wound up not lasting very long.
Yet another Base Breaker; when Wafay turned up, the subject of drowning babies came up in the forums, thus her popularity with the fans is based on whether they're for or against on the topic.
Any time the subject of Mel'arnach versus Quain'tana comes up, the forum tends to explode. Amusingly, Ariel herself seems sick of this in-story.
Diva'ratrika is another major base breaker. Was she a character who had to do bad things to keep her empire stable or was she a bad ruler with an inflated sense of self importance which led to Chel's current state and her own eventual downfall at the hands of her daughters? Her actions towards the defeated in the Sharen/Sullisin'rune War? A necessary step to keep the peace, or is Ash'waren justified in wanting revenge? If the shoe were on the other foot, who is to say that the Sullisin'rune would not have done the same (or worse) to the Sharen?
Another point the forum disagree on is whether her possession of Ragini can be justified or not. Many who think this event to be a Moral Event Horizon for her discount the fact that she obviously did not take the decision lightly and gave Ragini her freedom beforehand. Others who see the event as justified tend to dismiss Ragini because she was a slave and supposedly unimportant to the story on the whole.
Snadhya'rune causes this as well. See also Draco in Leather Pants for one reason, and a major topic of debate is whether she really loves Mel and both sides of the debate have long lists of why their theory is correct and the other side is full of it.
Tur’geis and Sorin, two cameo characters in chapter 40. The actions of their characters (insisting he had the right to take loot and slaves and killing a civilian against orders, respectively) sparked a rather lengthy forum argument spanning several days that really boiled down to 'Old Sarghress ways', to 'New Sarghress ways'note For the record, both Tur'geis' and Sorin's players thought they were behaving perfectly in character. When the forum mod Suntiger and Kern step in to sort things out you know it's been heated.
Kiel herself has become a bit of a base breaker since becoming the official comic mascot, with many finding her antics annoying and childish, labeling her a Spotlight-Stealing Squad, and others finding her zaniness a welcome distraction from the oftentimes depressing war setting.
Complete Monster - Sene'kha is also one of the few characters almost universally agreed to be one of these. Her plan to take over Chel puts her here, if nothing else, as did the fact that she turned the Vloz from a weird but harmless Ragtag Bunch of Misfits into its current form by setting up Kiel's mother for death and using Kharla, who had been getting better, for her own purposes and planning on turning her into even more of an Eldritch Abomination.
Crack Pairing: Quite a few, among the weirdest are Kessen and Sang'oro, whose only interaction was fighting each other and one is now dead and fanart has been drawn of Sarv'swati and Quain'tana making out in a prelude to "the most epic of hatefucks."
And though it's more like Crack Offspring (with the pairing part only being implied) someone pointed out that Jysmur kind of looked like some deranged lovechild of Kiel and Ariel, so this happened.
Tar'shay and Kery'awa, two cameo characters, to the point that their players sponsored a chibi page about them, based around a mutual love of fruits (melons and strawberries respectively).
Crowning Moment of Heartwarming - Courtesy of Ariel and Faen, Mel, and Vaelia, also Kiel and Naal. Any moment where two characters are shown to truly care for one another.
Designated Protagonist Syndrome - Ariel to some, who tend to find Kiel, Chyrs'tel or even Chirinide much more interesting and engaging. Even the authors seem to realize this and have made Ariel a protagonist of the comic rather than the protagonist in later chapters.
Designated Hero - To prevent this page from devolving into natter (again) let's just say the fanbase is extremely vocal about everything in regards to morality within the Drow world.
Die for Our Ship: A good number of Ariel/Faen fans have declared that Quain'tana has to die now that it's been revealed that fear of her disapproval is the only apparent thing standing in the way of the ship.
There are a few fans out there who love to gush about how awesome, badass, and honorable Quaintana is, while either excusing or forgetting the disgusting things she's done to her own children. It even gets to the point where some think her treatment of Mel is justified because of how stubborn and naive she's been - never mind that Quain broke Mel's arms with a hammer.
Zala is also subject to this, in part because she does have some redeeming characteristics, mainly her treatment of her children, which puts her in stark contrast to Quain. That doesn't excuse her participation in the Nidraa'chal coup, but some fans overlook this part or try to present it as Zala being press-ganged into it, even though during the event she was pretty gung-ho about it, and in fact was downright giddy at the thought of stripping Diva naked and hanging her body from the gate and laughs at Snadhya's plan to let their mother die a slow painful death trapped in her throne room. Some of the Zala apologists can get pretty extreme.
Snadhya'rune also has a minor case of this, though most of the people who like her also admit that she's done many, many bad things. The fact that she's unapologetic about what she's done and upfront about it (at least to Sarv'swati) does make her interesting.
Part of it may be due to the Screw the Rules, I'm Beautiful! trope. When Chapter 25 was released, this was one of the first times readers got to see Snadhya'rune from her personal perspective and she was featured in no fewer than six different outfits throughout the chapter. Her stylized depiction gained her fans when previously most just saw her as a snake in the grass. If she wasn't as pretty as she appeared in that chapter, opinion of her might well be different.
And in-universe Mel seems to think of Snadhya'rune this way.
Amusingly, the only thing funnier than watching individual DILP fans of a particular character is watching them collide with DILP fans of another character and start arguing with each other. The Quain'tana versus Snadhya'rune arguments are especially amusing in light of the fact that Quain and Snadhya are really Not So Different when you think about it, so when a character someone likes does something terrible it's justified, but if the other one does the same thing they're a Complete Monster. Watching their fans twist themselves into knots to try to explain this is pretty entertaining.
The entire Beldrobbaen clan, through combining equal parts Goth, The Woobie and Dark Is Not Evil, to the point that on the forums the Beldrobbaen clan has more "members" than even the Sarghress, to the point that even the creator of the strip lists himself as a member! Lampshaded near the end of one anniversary animation where the Beldrobbaen members can be heard muttering that they're too emo to get anything done.
The Balvhakara are quickly turning into this, especially since they possess suits of armor that essentially let them become Iron Drow.
Baliir, Kiel's chief lieutenant, is rapidly becoming one to the point that some fans even jokingly insist that he's the main protagonist despite only being a secondary character at best.
Fame, Kiel's cousin, is easily one of the most well-received cameo characters. What do you get when you add one Vloz girl + airguitaring a demon goat? Instant Fanbase.
Tur'geis, a Relic Hunters PC and barbaric Sarghress warrior who had a memorable appearance in chapter 40. He appears quite often for a cameo in fanarts and commissions, most done/ordered by people other than the character's owner.
Ky'ovarde seems to be reaching this status post-timeskip, since she was popular enough that someone paid really money to bring her back, and her absolutely epic killing of Kyuusei instantly made her popularity shoot up.
Some readers like the idea of Kar'liir being Kiel's dad.
Growing the Beard - Though opinion varies on when exactly this happened, the release of the Prologue in 2007 marked a major shift in the comic's story and set up much of the overarching plot and worldsetting, as well as demonstrating the high quality of the art delivered consistently since it was first published.
Harsher in Hindsight - The entire series thus far is falling to this, due to recent revelations that every tainted character except for a select few are doomed in 25-50 years.
I Knew It - The theory that Drowussu are descended from light-elves though this had been foreshadowed fairly heavily.
And at least one person guessed that Mel'arnach was Kalki's father before the actual reveal.
Waes. Herwoobieness isn't as obvious as her daughter's, but if you stop to think about it, a combination of losing all the girls of a single generation save one in a single day and knowing that said surviving daughter is going to die any day now, on top of the pressure of keeping her clan together must take a toll on the woman. Word of God says that if she died the clan would implode, but even with that there are factions within the clan who would get rid of her if they thought they could get away with it. Poor Waes.
Kiel has plenty to be woobiefied over, but takes it all in stride until Naal dies.
Ariel herself is also a good example when you consider her background and that as a young adult she's as functional as she is, which is a testament to the strength of the relationships she's formed with people like Vaelia and Faen.
And Yami'ni of all people managed to gain a measure of this in the chapter where she was killed off. It probably helps that the one doing the offing was none other than Kalki.
And you can't help but feel a bit sorry for this Vloz'ress scourge right before Ariel kills him given how quickly things went to hell for him in a painful Humiliation Conga. And that's before we find out he was in fact a Fallen Hero and a former disgraced Sarghress.
Mary Sue - Pre-remake Ariel suffered heavily from this due to being the central character in a Dungeons & Dragons game. This was mostly fixed as the world setting changed, downplaying her specialness.
Arguably, compared to the other races of the world, Drow themselves.
Magnificent Bitch - Snadhya'rune, who so far takes the cake in manipulation. Though with recent revelations Sha'sana may take the crown from her.
Baliir and Sandaur are also heading down this route.
Memetic Molester - Farasank. Not surprising since his canon behavior is that of a sex offender.
It's also not uncommon to see this joke done with Faen in regards to Ariel, especially since the Slavemaster version of Faen is shown to be quite kinky and the canon Faen is implied to be a Covert Pervert.
Tsuris'lok's alter ego and eventual final form once his seed awakens the Stagwolf also gets this, due to his habit of making unsettling facial expressions. And then he shows up in Relic Hunters to molest squads that don't get their actions in on time, complete with Overly-Long Tongue, which puts this into canon territory.
Memetic Mutation - There is a minor one in the forums of Drowtales where Kern is portrayed as somebody who enjoys feeding on angst, despair and anger because of how often the fans' favourites suffer and reacting with the above mentioned emotions. Comparisons to George R. R. Martin are inevitable.
Abs are something of a Running Gag too, either belonging to Quain, Shiir (a character from Path to Power known for being a Walking Shirtless Scene) or both in tandem, which would cause the universe to self destruct from sheer manliness.
Also a minor one with the second panel this page, where due to the placement of the speech bubble it looks like the dragon is talking. Jokes about the talking dragon persisted for several days after on the forum.
Jokes about Ky'ovarde actually been a Tsundere, including the author himself getting in on the fun.
Chocolate, especially in regards to Shimi'lande's addiction to it. Also canon as her chocolate obsession is mentioned in-comic during her eulogy.
Co-author Kite also once got it on the fun during a livestream when someone asked a question about a page she was working on featuring Mel but misspelled the name as Mal, which happens to be the name of another (male) character. Kite proceeded to recolor Mel to have Mal's coloring before changing it back.
"____ is a Nidraa'chal agent!" has undergone a minor bit of mutation after the revelation that there are sleeper agents in every clan, sometimes resulting in multi-page debates on the forum about whether a character is or is not. As a result people will sometimes name characters in this who are clearly supposed to be a joke, "Mel's unborn baby" for instance.
Misaimed Fandom - Syphile wasn't originally intended to be sympathetic, but a lot of people take her side. Since the world exists in Grey and Grey Morality she does have some valid points, but not the point that the creator intended.
For Quain, we have this, which has caused several readers to declare that not even death is a good enough punishment for her now. Even before that, the revelation that she stole Ariel from Mel, and the heavy implication that she had Mel raped to try and concieve put her here.
Fans are also now saying that, related to the above, Snadhya'rune may have landed herself here if she knew the above was going to happen but sent Mel back to the Sarghress anyway. Assuming you didn't already think she crossed it because of her responsibility for the Nidraa'chal War.
In chapter 44, if you didn't already think Snadhya'rune was over it her smug expression as Mel'arnach runs into her arms and instantly forgives her did this for a lot of people. As one forum goer commented, the correct reaction to hearing that your girlfriend has been imprisoned for 15 years, had her arms broken and her children taken from her is not that. Even worse is that Snadhya's expression suggests it all went according to plan, including the terrible things.
And now we have yet another moment for Snadhya'rune after what happened to Shinae's baby since Word of God confirms that it's the result of Snadhya's faulty seeds. She may not have done the deed directly, but a child was still horribly mutated and died before it could even be born and worse, it's very heavily implied that it's not the first or last time it's happened. And worse, the main victims are Snadhya's own family, and her plans boil down to wiping them all out.
Sate'ja seems to have definitely crossed it with the fans after stabs Naal. And then a page later she twists the knife in. Slightly mitigated by the fact that it's heavily implied that she's not in complete control of herself anymore, what with being a summon.
For Balsii, after being told that the Balvhakara and Jie'yen will not accept her as the Queen, stabbing Nega'fanae in the throat and ordering her guards to kill Sandaur. Also a case in-universe.
In chapter 42, Kyuusei crosses this in one conversation.
Kyuusei: This will give us the excuse we need to deal with those of Dutan'vir blood. You know they cannot be trusted.
Oba'ja: Your pet [Cas'nihlus] is of Dutan'vir blood.
Cemented a page later when we find out that he arranged to have Petri'cho tainted to completely discredit her in the event that she saw something that could implicate him and his co-conspirators essentially A Fate Worse Than Death. While the former was an Asshole VictimPetri'cho was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Narm Charm - The chibi parody pages frequently include this.
Nausea Fuel - The Body Horror often involves this, especially the various ways that demons mutate their victims.
No Yay: Kharla x Anyone automatically draws this reaction from most fans, if only because her idea of a "date" would probably involve a trip to her dollhouse, and fans who are otherwise comfortable with Toy Shipping are squicked by the fact that she's mentally a child.
Chirinide seems to have undergone this after what happened to her on the surface and in Vanaheimr, since it made her realize just how hypocritical and destructive her bigoted behavior was.
Some fans expressed surprise that when Nau'kheol appeared to have died in Chapter 32 they were honestly worried about him and then relieved that he was okay, given where his character started and how it evolved.
Chiri is considered to be this by some fans of the comic, mostly because of her abrasive personality and the hypocrisy of a lot of the Fantastic Racism she spouts, considering that she's half light-elf herself but she appears to have been Rescued from the Scrappy Heap in recent chapters, especially after coming to grips with her own heritage and her beatdown of the human king who was killing elves.
Syphile is for one section of the fandom, especially since bringing her up in any context tends to start a flame war, prompting an Oh, No... Not Again! reaction from those who've been there during previous flame wars.
Quain'tana as well, because some feel she's a Karma Houdini and an all around terrible person.
Sil'lice's daughter Kadara got some of this after her rough treatment of Nau'kheol and Chrys'tel, especially since even Sil'lice, who's not exactly the nicest person herself, seemed to think she went too far. There's a reason some fans refer to Kadara simply as "Bitch" now.
Nir'naya is widely hated due to her role in Diva'ratrika's death and her complicitness in the Sharen Sister's schemes, as well as the fact that she apparently threw fan-favorite Mikilu under the bus to get her current position.
Even Ariel gets this at times, though it depends on how forgiving you are considering that she's still mentally a child for much of the story. And now that she's all grown up, she's getting on people's nerves for still being naive and ignorant when she's definitely old enough to know better by now. She even says Quain 'does what she must' to Mel, of all people, who Ariel practically rescued from being left in a oubliette with broken arms that Quain smashed herselfnote there's also an Alternate Character Interpretation where her lashing out at Mel for this is actually some form of Survivors Guilt. Some fans are just relishing the day when Ariel's adoration of Quain is finally shattered.
That said, some of the Fan Dumb towards Ariel can be... well, dumb. For instance, blaming her for not knowing things that the audience only knows about due to being on the other side of the fourth wall and acting like not immediately accepting such a life-altering, shocking revelation as finding out that your mother isn't really your mother without a hint of hesitation or doubt is proof that she's mentally retarded, and acting like they wouldn't be just a little doubtful if such a revelation was dropped on their lap (from their perspective) out of the blue and they were forced to make a life-altering choice right then and there. Yeah, right. Especially when the last person who tried to make the same claim attempted to murder you. Twice.
Yafein has never been particularly popular, but his post-timeskip appearance and smug attitude cemented it for many people, especially his squick-tastic relationship with his slave, who's heavily implied to be a Replacement Goldfish for his slave Maya, which adds an uncomfortable Oedipal aspect since she was his Parental Substitute. Quite a few people laughed when, after his smug statement that the invaders wouldn't bother with him since he was a Sullisin'rune rather than an Illhar'dro, he was shown tied up with the rest of them.
Squick - Drow in this series are cannibalistic (though they eat other races too) and lean heavily toward incest and pedophilia. And they were even worse pre-retcon, as demonstrated by the bottom of the page here.
Superpower Lottery - The fae, especially the drowolath/drowussu/vanir (light elves). Drowtales is not a setting that is aimed to be balanced in terms of power between factions and species. Period. The humanoid fae are not only dominant in terms of power compared to other species who can't use mana, they are also unbalanced (in terms of gaming) within their own species. It is mentioned in the immortality podcast that very old dokkalfar or drow can reach a point where they are so powerful that they could wipe out a small army (drow size army, granted) of 'normal'/young (60-200 y.o.) fae. Waes'oloth, the Beldrobbaen Ill'haress is the example used. By that time their aura has grown so huge/dense that they need a whole clan or even city to sustain their bodies in a prime condition. This is why Diva's 'ordinary' mana blast blew a mutlistory building down. Within the city of Chel she had sufficient mana to fuel her attacks to nearly godlike power levels. This disparity in power, both in relation to other species and within their own species, is what makes the fae dominant. Only their comparative absence from the surface for a millenia has allowed the goblin races (halmes, kotorcs, ferals, naga) to become dominant there. A dominance that can be wiped away if the fae (drow or vanir in this case) makes a concentrated effort to do so. (Luckily for the goblins, so far they seem to prefer trade and limited raids.) It is not balanced, it is not fair and it might rub people the wrong way but it is the fait accompli in the Drowtales setting.
This is why you're not allowed to play a too old character in the forum RPG.
Or in other words, the fae are a bit like the Greek or Norse gods compared to the various goblin species, with all the Jerkass Gods tendencies that implies. It's suggested that the dark elves were so powerful that they're the ones responsible for cracking a moon open.
Why this might rub people the wrong way? Well, see the Goblin Kingdom? It was taken down by 4 children and a group of six Highland Raiders. It was explained that his occurred because they cut that plot rather short but still; a King and his castle taken down with ease by a somewhat competent child. A Kingdom that had ransacked and sacrificed light elves for who knows how many months.
Some Fridge Brilliance may come here when you realise that the Light Elves had restricted their use of mana over the centuries and this could be why they were able to be raided by halmes frequently in the first place. The Light Elves were also mentioned early in the Prologue to be masters of swordfighting so why several members were able to be kidnapped by the halmes might suggest that such skills were lost over time.
The sheer power-level in of the drow eliminates any tension or sense of conflict in any chapter where drow are doing anything other than infighting. Exploring, caravan escort, invasion of a human kingdom - it becomes waiting to see how the drow can walk all over the problem of the week, rather than being an engaging and nail-biting conflict.
Shipping - Ariel & Faen and Naal & Kiel are both very popular fan couples, though three characters are chronologically in their 20s but have the bodies of pre pubescents and Ariel is 15 but physically 7, until after the time-skip where they're all young adults.
Toy Ship - There's also Ariel/Sillice's twins Kau and Shala, which despite the fact that they're technically related through adoption with their father Kor'maril hasn't stopped anybody. I wonder why.
Uncanny Valley - This naga lady, who looks normal from the front, but when she turns is revealed to have a flat face, like a snake.
And Kyo'nne's biogolem, seen here. The proportions are off just enough to be unsettling, plus the eyes and lack of ears. The fact that they're a biogolem helps explain some of it, especially since Word of God is that biogolems have No Biological Sex, even though this one looks externally male (and given that it belongs to Kyo'nne, it may be designed that way on purpose).
Values Dissonance - It's a casual fact that slavery is common in the drow world, and along with owning slaves several characters are slaves themselves. This has occasionally lead to fighting in the roleplays when some people want to free the slaves and take a modern perspective.
A played for laughs example is found in drow fashion, where Mel'arnach's dental floss doesn't garner much reaction, but Nibai's is considered risque. The reason? Ni'bai shows her neck. Which actually makes quite a bit of sense when you consider how warlike drow are and how the neck is a very vulnerable part of the body, and exposing it is asking for a knife to the jugular.
Viewer Gender Confusion - Given that many members of the cast are either muscular female warriors or feminine men in largely similar armor and that drow gender roles invert human ones this was perhaps inevitable, but here are some examples:
Abyte Mae'yukir. Most of the comments on the concept art revolve around trying to figure out whether they're a man or a woman. In the main story it's eventually revealed that she's female.
Quain'tana can cause this as well, since she lacks the usual attributes associated with adult drow females, since they generally live in a World of Buxom.
Sil'lice's daughter Kadara (the one with the blue facial tattoos) also caused this, and many refused to believe she was, in fact, female until Sil'lice called her "daughter". The fact that she's very butch and has a foul mouth didn't help.
Nori'ga Vel'Sharen caused a bit of this too with his concept art, perhaps because of this his name was changed from the more feminine sounding Niro'ga and his facial features appeared more masculine in the actual chapter.
Koil'dorath and Suu'be invoke this as well. In Suu'be's case the author even poked fun at it in a podcast.
Also, Svala, one of Snadhya'rune's Feldian bodyguards. While she has a more feminine figure than her partner Sin'cani, her gender hasn't been revealed on page, though the on-site wiki refers to her as female.
And An'jin, one of the Jie'yen who rescues Jal'na, is very hard to tell the gender of since most Jie'yen shave their heads and wear clothing that hides their bodies. A later character seems to be under the impression he's male, likely from the voice.
Even people in universe seem confused by this Vloz'ress, since one passerby calls them "it" (which might be another trope) since the scourge's body is completely covered. Context later tells us the Scourge was male since Ariel's cover is blown when she dons the Scourge's cloak and keeps a clearly feminine voice, which tips off Maki.
The concept for Synathra, a Relic Hunter Canon Immigrant also generated some of this. Eventually another player clarified he's male.
Syphile, according the artist, who says that the fact that since Syphile herself was abused by Sil'lice, it makes her mistreatment of Ariel less about maliciousness and more of a cycle of violence. There are disagreements on this however.
Naal'suul, considering that everyone is surprised that she's even still alive.
Khal'harror, after watching his sister get stabbed and taken over by her seed, looking absolutely terrified)
Mikilu. It's difficult not to feel sorry for her after seeing what she was put through.