Random thoughts on the drow and Lolth and stuff

I’ve taken the plunge and started to work on a couple of things I mentioned idly in the past; D4 City of Spiders and Q2 Web of Souls. The first is an expansion of the classic D3 Vault of the Drow, a city adventure geared towards allowing the PCs to become involved in some of the intrigues playing around the Vault, as well as giving them the information needed to actually figure out what’s going on with Lolth’s platinum egg and the Elder Elemental God. The second is a complete replacement for the, frankly, questionable Q1 Queen of the Spiders, featuring both Lolth and the Elder Elemental God. As I started writing, I realized that the two needed to be a pair; without D4, Q2 would be impossible for anyone to figure out, and without Q2, D4 would be wasted, since there was nowhere to go to thwart the EEG!

That said, for obvious reasons these will be free, done as a labor of love just as my G1-A expansion was a few months ago. (If anyone wants to contribute some art gratis, wouldn’t it be great to turn this into a big community thing?)

D4 would build heavily on the wonderful Vault of the Drow article by Frederick Wiening in Dragon Magazine 298. The PCs have to first make contact with the enemies of House Eilservs to learn their weaknesses (and how to completely imprison the Elder Elemental God), and then turn around and figure out how to get the platinum egg from Lolth. Since that involves either killing her or driving her off, it’s going to be a delicate operation. On top of that, there will be forces looking for strangers in Erelhei-Cinlu, and if they are known to either the Eilservs or their enemies, that could be even harder to avoid. Ask too many of the wrong questions, and the wrong people might learn about it. And there will also be others who are willing to sell out the PCs to either side for their own benefit, making each encounter a tense situation.

Q2 would completely break from the Q1 model. The PCs must make their way through Lolth’s stronghold, the Web of Souls (which will actually look like a frigging spider web), not only using the keys in the platinum egg to finally imprison the Elder Elemental God once and for all, but to finally end the threat of Lolth as well, by either getting the two to kill one another, or imprisoning them both. If they fail, the Elder Elemental God itself could be fully loosed upon the multiverse, Lolth could see her own power increased greatly, or both. Obviously such an outcome would bode ill for mortals.

No promises on when these will be available, but I wanted to get these stray thoughts out there while they were fresh in my mind.

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Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

7 thoughts on “Random thoughts on the drow and Lolth and stuff

  1. Don’t forget Russell Bird’s version of Erelhei Cinlu in OJ#14, too: “Erelhei-Cinlu: The Drow “City of Pleasure” (and IIRC there were some updates to teh Vault (but perhaps not the city?) in Dead Gods).


  2. Excellent! I look forward to seeing D3 and Q1 expanded with D4 and Q2, Joe.

  3. Wonderful news! The whole epic saga, with its dramatic showdowns against giant chiefs, jarls and kings, its spider web (pun intended!) of machinations between different factions, the Lovecraftian eerieness of the Elder Elemental God and the kuo-toa, the disturbing, otherworldly ambience of the drow and their homeland, the fates of not just the Sheldomar Valley but Oerth itself hanging in the balance, and a certain group of adventurers as the ultimate wild cards deserves a fitting conclusion worthy of the creative genius who produced it.

    And if your previous GDQ work, to say nothing of your work on Greyhawk and D&D for all these years, is any indication, then Gary Gygax would be very proud of the honor you will do his legacy.

  4. I’ve been reading the earlier posts that got you to this point and think you’ve made some great calls here. Nothing less than a full replacement will do for Q1. Also to expose the machinations of the drow houses and role of the EEG to the players does mean expanding the Erelhei-Cinlu section. I believe that were the Eilservs to become aware that those who’d thwarted their plans on the surface had made it to the city they’d certainly try to direct them at the fane and Lolth. Perhaps the Eilservs can’t be seen to be attacking Lolth directly but suspect her defeat on the PMP will reveal the location of the keys to release the EEG. This could see the PCs becoming scapegoats for what the Eilservs wanted to happen anyway. Then they could either further try to trick the PCs to give them the keys, or perhaps more likely is they are ready to move to take the keys from them. It might be at that point that some who don’t buy the Eilservs duplicity provide info to the PCs about what is really going on.

    Something I’ve wondered is why would there be a way to more completely banish the EEG and Lolth not use it? The tidiest answer is she’s using the keys to draw on the EEG’s power, which incidentally is what’s allowed the EEG to partially manifest itself in locations sacred to it. The keys can be destroyed but Lolth hasn’t because she’s been using them to enhance her power. Also where can the keys be destroyed and where can they be used to free the EEG? The Eilservs must have a EEG temple somewhere not too far from Erelhei-Cinlu, which has been far more active in it’s worship of the EEG than say… the Temple of Elemental Evil.

  5. @Allen: Unfortunately once Wiening’s article came out in Dragon, the fan-produced stuff in OJ was superseded. Since the two conflict, I’m going with the most canonical version (even though it’s “only” Living Greyhawk, it’s still more canonical than the Oerth Journal material).

    @Michael: Thanks!

    @Michel: It’ll be for 1E/Adventures Dark and Deep.

    @Jared: You’re too kind. Thanks so much!

    @Glen: Two of your points are actually already in the original text. In the Queen of the Spiders compilation, they added a line about the map of the underworld being left behind with the hopes that the PCs would follow it to the Vault and take on Eclavdra’s enemies. The original module also says that there’s a temple to the EEG on the Eilservs estates that’s identical to that in the Hall of the Fire Giant King.
    As for why Lolth wouldn’t just use the keys (which she has) to seal off the EEG once and for all, there are a couple of possibilities. I might examine them in a post. Stay tuned.

    1. Sure, I’d read your post about the differences between the original text and the compilation. What I mean is the Eilservs would be pleasantly surprised the party made it to the city and at that point more directly encourage them to find and destroy Lolth. That works whichever text the DM decided to use about why the map was there earlier.

      For the Eilservs temple to the EEG, the point is that attempting to free the EEG might be able to occur there and perhaps only destruction of the keys requires entering the Demonweb Pits. I was envisioning a grander temple than the one in the Eilservs’ estates, in some out of the way place. One that would make a suitable location for a showdown if the Eilservs were able to get the keys from the PCs and the ritual needed to be stopped. But perhaps the estates are the only place such a temple could remain hidden.

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