Lolth

From Greyhawk Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Greyhawk Deity
Lolth
Lolth17.jpg
Lolth, Demon Queen of Spiders, as depicted in the Monster Manual 3 (2010).
Title(s) Queen of the Drow, the Spider Goddess, the Spider Queen, the Black Queen, Queen of Spiders, Demon Queen of Spiders, Demon Queen of the Abyss, Queen of the Demonweb Pits, Weaver of Chaos, the Mother of Lusts, Dark Mother of All Drow, Lady of Spiders, Lady of Trickery and Destruction, Weaver and Poisoner of Fate and Folly, Ruler of the Material Worlds of Spiderkind, Her Eightfold Majesty
Home Plane Demonweb Pits
Power Level Intermediate
Gender Female
Class(es) Cleric 20/Fighter 10/Wizard 10
Alignment Chaotic evil
Portfolio Drow, Spiders, Evil, Darkness, Chaos
Domains Chaos, Destruction, Domination, Evil, Oracle, Pestilence, Trickery
Alias(es) Arachne, Araushnee, Megwandir
Superior None

Lolth, the Demon Queen of Spiders, is a demon lord and the chief goddess of the drow (some myths propose that she was originally a goddess who was transformed into a demon). She displays formidable power and great cruelty with an affection for arachnids. Goddess of Darkness, Drow, Evil, and Spiders, Lolth has, through deceit and domination, garnered the ears of the dark elves and eventually established herself as their foremost deity, keeping them under her thumb by creating a society in which only the strong survive and her priestesses are strongest. Her symbol is a black spider with the head of a female drow.

Description

Lolth's appearance has remained the same with small changes and modifications throughout the game's three editions. Lolth usually appears in two forms: drow and arachnid. In drow form, the Spider Queen appears as an "exquisitely beautiful" female dark elf, sometimes covered in clinging spiders. In her arachnid form, Lolth takes the appearance of a giant black widow spider with the head of a female drow or human peering from between the eight spider-eyes. Sometimes, the two foremost pair of her spider-legs are actually humanoid arms.

Relationships

Lolth has sworn vengeance against Corellon Larethian and his people. She has her own rivalries with the various demon lords of the Abyss, noticeably with Zuggtmoy, the Demoness Lady of Fungi. Lolth's re-ascension to true godhood has basically elevated her above competition from the Lady of Fungi, but the two still harbor hatred for one another.

Lolth opposes at every opportunity the deities of the surface elves, and loathes Corellon with an unparalleled passion. She is hated by Fenmarel Mestarine and Tarsellis Meunniduin, who she seduced (according to varying myths) to gain entrance to the elven pantheon. She also considers among her major foes Vhaeraun, Gruumsh, and Ilsensine. She is served by Keptolo, who is too lazy to oppose her, and by Kiaransali. She is resisted by Zinzerena and her cult.

The Spider Queen slew Abrogard, Guldor's god of evil, and is currently assuming his aspect on that world.

Servants and minions

Lolth is personally served by a race of shapeshifting demons called the yochlol. In their natural form, yochlol resemble molten blobs of wax with large, glaring red eyes.

Ranking just below yochlols are the myrlochar or soul spiders, arachnid-shaped demons who glow with a greenish hue.

Greatest among Lolth's servants are the Proxies of Lolth, spidery monstrosities with the heads of beautiful drow maidens. They are granted the powers of demigods.

One of Lolth's most powerful mortal priestesses is Eclavdra. She treats Vlad Tolenkov as a diplomat, lover, and strategic consultant. She has a treaty with Duke Alfric of Caer Sidi, who nonetheless seeks to undermine her at every opportunity.

Realm

Lolth dwells in the Demonweb Pits, a demonic realm formed entirely of a single great fractal web, where she is served by legions of powerful mystical slaves. Lolth's residence in this realm is a mobile iron spider-shaped stronghold. The Demonweb Pits are located on the 66th layer of the Abyss (although in the Queen of the Spiders supermodule, author David C. Sutherland locates her realm on layer 65, and the 1st edition Manual of the Planes said she ruled both the 65th and 66th layers).

Dogma

Lolth teaches her children that fear is strength, while love and respect are weakness. She demands that those drow who will not worship her must be converted or slain. She seeks to kill the weak and reward the strong. Disobedient males and non-drow must be sacrificed to Lolth. Spiders are a holy animal in Lolth's faith, and those who to kill a spider is a cardinal sin. Lolth is so chaotic, however, that her commands are ever-changing and often contradictory, so that those who seek to follow them blindly may meet with destruction.

Worshipers

A drow priestess makes a sacrifice on the altar of Lolth

Drow who fail Lolth are usually either slain or transformed into driders: centaur-like creatures that have spider-like bodies below their waists instead of a centaur's equine features. Other aberrations that Lolth transforms her victims into include the aracholoth, spiderleg horror, and brood mother.

Lolth is also worshipped by spidery creatures called chitines and araneas, and by some human cultists such as Lareth the Beautiful.

Clergy

Lolth's clerics are usually female. There are rare male clerics, but no male is allowed to achieve the rank of high priest. Her clerics wear red and black, and drow tunics and helms. The Spider Queen's sacred animals are (naturally) arachnids.

During rituals, clerics of Lolth are nude or clad in black robes with purple and deep red trim. Lesser clerics wear dark red or purple robes, trimmed with black. Ornate spider-shaped helms may also be worn.

Temples

Lolth is worshipped in underground marble temples or fanes. They are large and imposing, dominating and overshadowing the communities in which they are built. They are defended by priestesses, soldiers, and often spiders of various kinds. Dark lore and potent magics are stored within.

Holy days

Ceremonies to the Spider Queen are held on the nights of the full moon as a deliberate affront to Sehanine Moonbow.

Rituals

A drow priestess makes a sacrifice on the altar of Lolth.

Surface elves are sacrificed to Lolth monthly. By custom, only females are permitted to attend these rituals, which take place in a sacred room. Some rituals, however, involve extraordinary power or require public display, and these may be performed in the open, in mixed company. When Lolth's aid is required, the blood of enemies of the faith and/or the faithful is spilled with a spider-shaped knife. Gems or other treasures may be sacrificed by casting them into burning braziers while the appropriate prayers are incanted.

Lolth's taste in sacrifice is perverse. She prefers the blood of elves to other humanoids, that of drow to other elves, and craves the deaths of her own priestesses more than any other beings. This last sort of sacrifice is extremely rare, but it pleases the Queen of Spiders above all else.

Periodically, drow may be forced to prove themselves worthy of Lolth's favor in a variety of harsh tests. Those who pass are rewarded, while those who fail are transformed into driders and other horrific beasts.

History

Lolth was, along with Iuz and the demoness Zuggtmoy, one of the entities involved in the plots centered around the Temple of Elemental Evil. Later, she attempted to invade Oerth via the city of Istivin in Sterich, but her plans were foiled by a band of heroes. These events are assumed to have occurred in the first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons supermodule GDQ1-7 Queen of the Spiders.

Myths and legends

The banishment of Lolth

Lolth, as depicted on the cover of the Monster Manual 3 (2010).

According to the myths of the surface elves, Lolth was once an elven goddess of weavers and destiny known as Megwandir or Araushnee, dwelling with the other gods of the Seldarine in the plane of Arborea, where her worshippers produced the best silk in the multiverse. After trying to usurp the throne of Corellon Larethian, she was transformed into a demon and cast into the Abyss. There, she slowly regained her lost divinity by corrupting the dark elves.

The drow consider this myth blasphemous; their goddess was always supreme, and never bowed before another deity. She was always Lolth, and names like "Megwandir" or "Araushnee" are fictions invented by the light elves.

Expulsion from the surface world

In this drow myth, Lolth, "strongest and wisest" of the elven gods, approached Corellon Larethian and suggested that he help her convince the other elven deities to "spread wisdom and skill" among the elves in order that they could dominate the "lesser races." Corellon agreed, but betrayed her in the end, arguing instead that the elves should remain exactly as they were rather than being reduced to the level of "these new beasts."

Furious, Lolth visited the strongest and most skilled of the mortal elves in secret, cloaked in darkness and night, teaching them the arts of weapons, deception, magic, and survival. These chosen elves named themselves duaral, a word meaning "Hunters of the Crescent Moon." This word eventually became the modern word drow.

When traitors among the duaral revealed their secret training to the other elven gods, they were terrified that Lolth's chosen might come to dominate elven culture. To prevent this from happening, Corellon led the other elves into war, and the Seldarine marked the skin of the duaral with darkness so that they would be easy for the other elves to distinguish from their own. Though the duaral were more skilled, the unelect were more numerous, and ultimately the duaral retreated beneath the world, where their enemies were too cowardly to follow. There, they thrived.

The drow exodus

This is a variant of the "expulsion from the surface world" myth, and is more popular among the drow. In this variant, there was no war between Lolth's followers and the mewling servants of the other elven gods. Instead, Lolth led her chosen away in the dead of night, marking them herself so that they could better blend with the darkness. She chose kingdoms for them under the Oerth where they could rule without distractions from their weakling cousins.

First among elves

In this rare variation, the elven race originated in the Underdark. When Lolth chose the best and wisest of them to be her chosen followers, she banished the weaker and stupider elves to the surface world to burn beneath the sun, cursing them with pale skin so that their weakness would be obvious for all to see. This myth seems to have been suppressed for thousands of years, either by the surface elves or the drow who wished to maintain the hatred and resentment felt by their kind, but it has been gaining rapidly in popularity among the youngest generation.

Lolth in other media

Lolth, as depicted on the cover of the Queen of the Demonweb Pits novel (2001).

Television

Lolth makes an appearance in the episode "Hall of Bones" of the 1983 Dungeons & Dragons animated series. Lolth initially appears as a beautiful elven woman who offers to lead the series's heroes through an underground passage to escape a horde of monsters. Having lured the heroes into her subterranean trap, Lolth transforms into her demonic spider form and drops her victims onto a giant web. She is then joined by the series's main villain Venger, with whom she is apparently allied, who introduces her as "Lolth, Demon Queen of Spiders." The animated version of Lolth appears far weaker then her depictions in the Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk settings, as she is quickly and easily defeated when her web is cut, causing her to fall helplessly down a bottomless pit.

Velma Green from The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy seems to be based on Lolth; she appears as a female drider and is able to control spiders by singing. At her wedding she had dark elves do the catering, further connecting the two.

Fiction

In Rose Estes' novel The Eyes Have It, Lolth is slain by Kathryn Fern-Clyffe, Queen for Life of the Yeomanry, with the aid of a magic gem called the Eye of Tiros, stolen from the drow.

In Paul Kidd's novel Descent into the Depths of the Earth, Lolth's plans to conquer the Flanaess are foiled by the Justicar and Escalla (thanks to a magical bottle of fairy wine, vintage sixty-three); a few months later, in the Queen of the Demonweb Pits novel (also by Kidd), Lolth and her allies try to have their revenge on the adventurers. However, at the end of the novel, Lolth is destroyed on her native plane, supposedly for good.

Collectible card games

When TSR introduced the Spellfire collectible card game in 1996, Lolth received a card in the first edition.

In 1998, a promotional card for Magic: The Gathering depicting Lolth was included as an insert with Inquest magazine #41.

Creative origins

Lolth was created by Gary Gygax.

Gallery

Lolth00.jpg Lolth01.jpg Lolth02.jpg Lolth03.jpg Lolth04.jpg Lolth06.jpg Lolth07.jpg Lolth08.jpg Lolth09.jpg Lolth10.jpg Lolth11.jpg Lolth12.jpg Lolth13.jpg Lolth15.jpg

Bibliography

  • Baur, Wolfgang, and Lester W. Smith. Planes of Chaos. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1994.
  • Boyd, Eric L. Demihuman Deities. Renton, WA: TSR, 1998.
  • Boyd, Eric L., and Erik Mona. Faiths and Pantheons. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2002.
  • Cagle, Eric. "The Punishments of Lolth." Dragon #298. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2002.
  • Conforti, Steven, ed. Living Greyhawk Official Listing of Deities for Use in the Campaign, version 2.0. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2005. Available online:[1]
  • Estes, Rose. The Eyes Have It. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1989.
  • Greenwood, Ed. The Drow of the Underdark. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1991.
  • Grubb, Jeff. Manual of the Planes. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1987.
  • mearls, Mike, Greg Bilsland, and Robert J. Schwalb. Monster Manual 3. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2010.
  • Noonan, David. Complete Divine. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2004.
  • Oppen, Eric. "Children of the Spider Goddess." Dragon #129. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1988.
  • Redman, Rich, and James Wyatt. Defenders of the Faith. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2000.
  • Reimer, David S. "In the Frost and the Snow." Dragon #155. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1990.
  • Stewart, Todd, and the Paizo Staff. "1d20 Villains." Dragon #359. Bellevue, WA: 2007.
  • Turnbull, Don, ed. Fiend Folio. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1981.
  • Wyatt, James, and Rob Heinsoo. Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerun. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2001.

External link