Queen of the Demonweb Pits
||This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling. (August 2013)|
|Rules required||1st Ed AD&D|
|Campaign setting||Generic AD&D / Greyhawk|
|Authors||David Sutherland with Gary Gygax|
|First published||October 1980|
|G1 G2 G3 D1 D2 D3 Q1
Expedition to the Demonweb Pits
Queen of the Demonweb Pits (Q1) is an adventure module for the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game written by David Sutherland. The "Q" in the module code represents the first letter in the word "queen." This module is a sequel to the D series of modules. Queen of the Demonweb Pits was novelized in 2001 under the same title.
Queen of the Demonweb Pits is the seventh in an epic series of adventures set in the World of Greyhawk, starting with persistent raiding by local hill giants and other events described in the G1-3 Against the Giants modules. The series continues from there on an odyssey into the Underdark as described in the "Drow" series of modules: D1 – Descent into the Depths of the Earth, D2 – Shrine of the Kuo-Toa, and D3 – Vault of the Drow. (D1 and D2 were later compiled into a single adventure, D1-2 – Descent into the Depths of the Earth). This module sends the player characters to the demonic abyss to defeat the evil demigod Lolth, the demonic goddess of the drow.
At the conclusion of Vault of the Drow, the characters find an astral gate leading to the Abyssal realm of Lolth, Demon Queen of Spiders, goddess of the drow elves and architect of the sinister plot described in the series involving hill giants, frost giants, fire giants, kuo-toa, drow, and other creatures. Her realm, the 66th layer of the Abyss, is referred to as the Demonweb Pits.
The player characters are transported to another plane and cast into the labyrinth known as the Demonweb. In order to return home, the characters must find their way out of the web and then defeat the evil demigoddess Lolth in her lair.
The Q1 module was the first to offer a glimpse into the Abyss itself, home to the D&D race of Demons. It features a map of the maze-like Demonweb Pits, a series of interweaving passageways constructed in a maelstrom of lost souls in the abyssal plane. Characters who venture off the path are most likely lost. Many spells work differently or not at all. In the maze, there are a number of portals to other worlds, some where Lolth is sending minions to try and invade, such as a winter world and a world of permanent night. This makes Queen of the Demonweb Pits an unusually open-ended adventure, as each "portal" could potentially lead to a massive area, from which the dungeon master could, if he or she chose, launch an entirely new campaign.
As the adventure progresses, the player characters make their way through Lolth's webs, where they are confronted by her minions, slaves, guards, and captives. At the very end of the module, the players face a final confrontation with Lolth, an exceptionally difficult challenge. Here lies a gargantuan mechanical spider, which Lolth can manipulate. The dungeon also introduced Lolth's handmaidens, the demonic Yochlol.
After the publication of the first six modules in the series, there was a delay in this module's development and release. Gary Gygax reported he had found it difficult to conceptualize how to write it. David C. Sutherland proposed an outline which impressed Gygax so much he decided to use it.
Queen of the Demonweb Pits was the tournament dungeon for the Origins '79 game convention. David C. Sutherland III and Gary Gygax designed the module, which was then published in 1980 as a 32-page booklet with a folder of maps. The module featured two outer folders with a cover by Jim Roslof and interior illustrations by Erol Otus and Jeff Dee. Queen of the Demonweb Pits was intended to be the final adventure in a series of seven by Gygax.
The module was the sequel for the D-series and was later republished as part of the Queen of the Spiders supermodule (coded GDQ1-7), containing the entire saga. Queen of the Demonweb Pits was made into a novel of the same name by Paul Kidd for the Greyhawk Classics series. The novel was published by Wizards of the Coast in 2001. In 2007, the module's setting was revisited in the Wizards of the Coast adventure module, Expedition to the Demonweb Pits.
At the time the module was released, each Dungeons & Dragons module was marked with an alphanumeric code indicating the series to which it belonged. The "Q" in the module code represents the first letter in the word "queen".
Elisabeth Barrington reviewed Queen of the Demonweb Pits as part of a review in The Space Gamer #35 in 1981. She noted that players and the Dungeon Master need to be fairly experienced, particularly because some spell effects have been altered: "It takes skill, courage, and ingenuity to make your way into (and possibly, if you're lucky, out of) the pits. A good challenge for experienced players." Barrington did complain that some of the spell alterations felt unnecessary, as some of the spells which were really useful under ordinary circumstances became almost useless given the alterations. She did note that the book contained "many excellent ideas", and that the artwork was "up to TSR's usual neatness and simplicity", but that overall the module was "Not one of TSR's best efforts, but a worthy try."
Dungeon Master for Dummies lists Queen of the Demonweb Pits as one of the ten best classic adventures.
Ken Denmead of Wired listed the module as one of the "Top 10 D&D Modules I Found in Storage This Weekend". The module is intended for levels 10–14, but he commented that the module was published "before level-inflation had taken its toll on a weary nation. In year 2007 levels, that’s like 100!" He felt a number of aspects of the Abyss were psychedelic, describing the web's doors as similar to the "loony corridor scene from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band." According to Denmead, "This is one big, bad module, and if you make it to the end, well, there’s just one last monster to take care of. [...] You are, in effect, trying to take out a goddess. Good luck with that."
When combined as a single adventure with the rest of GDQ series, this module was voted the single greatest adventure of all time by Dungeon magazine in 2004, on the 30th anniversary of the Dungeons & Dragons game.
- "Dungeons & Dragons FAQ". wizards.com. Retrieved 2007-03-29.
- Slavicsek, Bill; Baker, Rich; Grubb, Jeff (2006). Dungeon Master For Dummies. For Dummies. p. 320. ISBN 978-0-471-78330-5. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
- Schick, Lawrence (1991). Heroic Worlds: A History and Guide to Role-Playing Games. Prometheus Books. p. 110. ISBN 0-87975-653-5.
- Barrington, Elisabeth (January 1981). "Capsule Reviews". The Space Gamer (Steve Jackson Games) (35): 26.
- Sutherland III, David C, and Gygax, Gary. Queen of the Demonweb Pits (TSR, 1980) ISBN 0-394-51541-2.
- Gygax, Gary (October 1979). "From the Sorcerer's Scroll". The Dragon (Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: TSR, Inc.) (#30): 22.
- Kidd, Paul. Queen of the Demonweb Pits (Wizards of the Coast, 2001), ISBN 0-7869-1903-5
- Denmead, Ken (January 4, 2008). "Top 10 D&D Modules I Found in Storage This Weekend". Wired. Archived from the original on August 20, 2009. Retrieved August 20, 2009.
- Mona, Erik; James Jacobs (2004). "The 30 Greatest D&D Adventures of All Time". Dungeon 116.
- Queen of the Demonweb Pits at the Acaeum.com
- Queen of the Demonweb Pits at the TSR Archive
- Queen of the Demonweb Pits at the Pen & Paper RPG Database