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Lolth, the Spider Queen is the evil goddess of deceit, shadows, and spiders. She is known for weaving a complicated web of schemes and treachery through her worshipers, deceiving allies and enemies alike to gain power. Her worship is entwined with the drow society across much of Exandria, and her more diverse followers in Xhorhas seek to punish the drow who turned their back on her in favor of the Luxon.

Description

Appearance

Lolth's true form, by CoupleOfKooks and Cris Peter from The Tales of Exandria: The Bright Queen #2.[art 3]

In the icons and idols of dark elf society she is depicted as a darkly alluring woman of dark purple skin and silver hair, with a lower body of a terrifying monstrous spider. A common symbol for her is that of a jeweled spider.

In her realm in the Abyss, the Dreadnest, she presents herself as a drider-like entity, with four arms, multiple legs and spine appendages, long white hair, spider-like face and several red eyes in her body.[2]

Worship

In Tal'Dorei, worship of Lolth is most prominent among the dark elves of Ruhn-Shak, including druids called Pit Witches. However, that society has been frayed badly by the maddening influence of Tharizdun and its aberrations.[3]

In Wildemount, a Lolthite network of spies, assassins, and raiders called the Children of Malice plots to undermine the Kryn Dynasty; the place of most concentrated worship of Lolth on the continent is the hobgoblin fortress of Dumaran in the Penumbra Range.[4]

Notable followers of Lolth

It is said that Lolth can see through the eyes of all spiders.[8]

Commandments of the Spider Queen

Commandments of the Spider Queen


  • It is better to be loved than feared, but you may certainly try to be both.

  • Misdirection, slander, and shadowed steps have more function than direct conflict.

  • Death to the elves who live under the sun, and death to all their allies!

Biography

Before the Divergence

The Spider Queen is among the Betrayer Gods who betrayed the ideals of the Founding, were banished to their own prison-like planes (Lolth's realm is the Demonweb, also called the Dreadnest,[2] tethered to the Abyss), and were released by Vespin Chloras.

In the Age of Arcanum, incorporating the life force of a yochlol named Sinnafex, Lolth forged a sentient rapier from spider silk. This sword, called Silken Spite, is one of the Arms of the Betrayers, ranking among the lesser idols that would be lost in the Calamity and left behind in Exandria after the creation of the Divine Gate. It is unclear whether Silken Spite is among the Arms that have been recovered and drawn a following of mortal worshipers, but it would whisper to its wielder to trust no one.[10]

Another powerful artifact created during the Age of Arcanum—one of the Vestiges of Divergence—is associated with Lolth: the Circlet of Barbed Vision twists the appearance of its wearer to amuse the Spider Queen.[11]

Fan art of Jourrael, by @hierothraxs.[art 4]

Some sources claim that Lolth created the drow late in the Founding or early in the Age of Arcanum.[12] At any rate, leading up to the Calamity, Lolth had seduced the leaders of the increasingly decadent, cruel drow society;[13] for centuries before the Divergence, the drow primarily worshiped her.[14] Created by a union,[15] or exalted through an arrangement, with Asmodeus during a brief era of unified interests, the apparent drow Jourrael became Lolth's chosen assassin.[16] When the war between the gods began, the drow allied with her against Corellon and their elf followers.[13] However, before the drow soldiers even saw battle, Kord impaled Lolth against a cliffside with one heave of his thunderspear,[17] and Lolth was again banished to the Abyss.[14] The suddenly leaderless drow were driven from the surface world,[17] and Lolth's silvery blood pooled in the dark caverns beneath the surface of the world.

Depiction of a drider, from D&D: Monster Manual, page 120.[art 5]

In the years that followed, her most devoted drow servants discovered the blood and drank of it deeply, granting them power and gradually twisting themselves into half-spider hybrids called driders. The driders grew in number, but eventually the blood began to run out, tormenting the driders and causing them to wander the Underdark seeking hidden pools of the blood.[18]

Jourrael continued to participate in the Calamity; she could not be completely destroyed unless the contract between Lolth and Asmodeus was destroyed. In the bloodshed at the end of the Calamity, this contract could not be sussed out, so the body of Jourrael was simply sundered and sealed apart in secret.[19]

Post-Divergence

Following the Divergence, Lolth's children could feel the lessening of their banished god's influence.[14] The drow of Xhorhas mostly abandoned their centuries-long worship of Lolth, turning instead to the Luxon, who is inscrutable to the Spider Queen.[20] Feeling the abrupt shift in her influence, the Spider Queen sought vengeance against those who turned their backs on her, and in addition to finding drow who felt alienated by the Dens of the Kryn Dynasty, she began seducing and empowering even non-drow minds in the Xhorhasian wastes, including beastfolk and goblinoids; she gave the scattered hobgoblins of Dumaran dominion over the spiders of the web-infested Vermaloc Wildwood. By 836 PD a network of Lolthite spies, assassins, and raiders had formed hidden cabals on the fringes of Xhorhasian society (including the villages of Igrathad) and infiltrated the highest echelons of the Dynasty. The extent of the infiltration was alarming to the Dynasty faithful, who began to uncover the infiltration[21] and in turn plotted to undermine the Children of Malice.[4] Around the same time, Jourrael was reassembled by Obann and, after a brief period of domination by him, set free when the Mighty Nein killed Obann.[22]

The dark elves of Tal'Dorei faced a different fate after the Divergence, as carving out a new life underground exposed them to new dangers: as Lolth's influence waned, Tharizdun began whispering to the drow nobility, and their servitors found themselves surrounded by shapechanging and mind-manipulating aberrations, causing mass paranoia. By 812 PD, the underground drow of Tal'Dorei were on the verge of collapse, and some drow nobility had given themselves over utterly to Lolth, willingly seeking out the Blood of the Spider Queen to transform themselves into driders.[23]

Exandria Unlimited

A few decades later in 842 PD, the Circlet of Barbed Vision turned up in Emon and was intercepted by a rookie adventuring party, who in the circlet's presence began to hear the skittering of spiders and have visions of spiders, including one particularly massive spider leg.[24] Lolth began telepathically speaking to members of the party, trying to tempt them to evil.[25][26] The party named themselves the Crown Keepers[27] because of their desire to keep the circlet away from others who would use it for evil.

Relationship to other gods

  • Lolth holds a searing grudge against Kord, the Stormlord, after he impaled her against a cliffside early in the Calamity.[1]
  • The Spider Queen and Gruumsh have similar hatred for Corellon, who she blames for driving her followers underground; she often manipulates the Ruiner's followers into attacking her enemies so her drow can remain safe.[28] Followers of the Archeart loathe the Spider Queen for leading the drow elves astray.[29]
  • Following the Calamity, servants of Lolth hunted Zehir's few surviving followers for sport.[30]
  • Though Lolth cannot sense the will or power of the Luxon, she is entirely bent on destroying the Luxon's followers and their memory.[28]
  • The only being the Spider Queen truly fears is the Chained Oblivion, and she is furious over what Tharizdun and its aberrations are doing to her children.[31]

Appearances and mentions

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 27.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 See The Tales of Exandria: The Bright Queen #2.
  3. See Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 75.
  4. 4.0 4.1 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 138.
  5. 5.0 5.1 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 47.
  6. 6.0 6.1 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 48.
  7. See "Between the Lines" (2x78) from 3:01:47 through 3:02:38.
  8. See Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 20.
  9. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 36.
  10. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 30. See also p. 278.
  11. See Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 112.
  12. See "Between the Lines" (2x78) at 2:49:14.
  13. 13.0 13.1 See Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 23.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 46.
  15. See "Punishment and Politics" (2x87) at 40:33.
  16. See "Between the Lines" (2x78) from 3:01:47 through 3:02:38.
  17. 17.0 17.1 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, pp. 27–28.
  18. See Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 122.
  19. See "Between the Lines" (2x78) from 3:01:47 through 3:02:38.
  20. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 19. See also p. 28.
  21. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 46. Also see pp. 141–142.
  22. See "Punishment and Politics" (2x87) at 1:21:09.
  23. See Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, pp. 122–123.
  24. See "The Oh No Plateau" (E1x02) at 1:05:22.  See also 1:23:42.
  25. See "A Test of Worth" (E1x05) at 35:47.
  26. See "Beyond the Heart City" (E1x07) at 2:40:11.
  27. See "What Comes Next" (E1x08) at 3:26:09.
  28. 28.0 28.1 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 28.
  29. See Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 14.
  30. See Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 19.
  31. See Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 21.
  32. See "The Oh No Plateau" (E1x02) at 1:05:55.

Art:

  1. Symbol of Lolth from Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting.
  2. Symbol of Lolth from Explorer's Guide to Wildemount by Claudio Pozas. (source)
  3. Lolth's true form, by CoupleOfKooks and Cris Peter from The Tales of Exandria: The Bright Queen #2. This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.
  4. Fan art of Jourrael, by @hierothraxs (source). Used with permission.
  5. DDB.png Drider on D&D Beyond. This file is unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Wizards of the Coast Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.


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