Queen of the Spiders
|Rules required||1st Ed AD&D|
|Campaign setting||Greyhawk / Generic AD&D|
|T1-4 A1-4 GDQ1-7|
Queen of the Spiders is an adventure module for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. It was published by TSR, Inc. in 1986 and is a compilation of seven previous related modules, often referred to as a "supermodule." Together, the seven adventures form an integrated campaign that begins in the World of Greyhawk, continues underground into the Underdark, and concludes in the Demonweb Pits, the abyssal lair of the demonic goddess Lolth. The campaign was originally intended for use with the first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules.
The 152-page supermodule bears the code "GDQ1-7" for "Giants, Drow and Queen," and can be further combined with two other campaigns to form an even larger campaign. The larger campaign begins with T1-4 - The Temple of Elemental Evil, continues on to A1-4 - Scourge of the Slave Lords, and then concludes with GDQ1-7.
A new beginning was added to the adventure. Giants have been raiding civilized lands in increasing numbers, and the player characters have been asked to deal with them and also investigate the reasons or forces behind them.
The first module (Steading of the Hill GIant Chief) takes place in a gigantic wooden fort populated by hill giants and ogres. Here the players also uncover evidence of an alliance with other types of giants, as well as some mysterious letters from those behind the scenes.
The action moves to north to colder lands in the second module (Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl), the setting a system of caves clustered around a deep and narrow chasm in glacial ice. Here, the protagonists encounter frost giants, yeti and winter wolves among other monsters.
The third chapter (Hall of the Fire Giant King) takes place in a volcanic region where King Snurre has assembled a horde of fire giants, trolls and hell hounds. A secret passage from this module leads deep into the earth, where the adventurers discover the true nature of the forces behind the raids - the drow in the service of Lolth the demoness.
The next module, Descent into the Depths of the Earth, was on a larger scale than the others, and comprised a map covering many kilometres of a deep underground region, later known as the Underdark, with many unique monsters hitherto unknown to surface adventurers, including the drow, which had been considered legendary. Troglodytes, and new monsters jermlaine and svirfneblin (deep gnomes) made their first appearance in D&D literature.
This is followed by Shrine of the Kuo-Toa, a subterranean complex populated by the Kuo-toa, a race of fish-frog monsters in the service of the lobster goddess Blibdoolpoolp.
Finally, players make their way to the Vault of the Drow, a deep subterranean eldritch land in a huge cyst deep under the earth.
The adventure is completed with Queen of the Demonweb Pits.
Publication history 
There are seven total adventures compiled in the GDQ1-7 supermodule. These include:
- The three modules in the Against the Giants series: G1 - Steading of the Hill Giant Chief, G2 - Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl, and G3 - Hall of the Fire Giant King
- The three modules in the "Drow" series: D1-2 - Descent into the Depths of the Earth (which incorporates the earlier D1 - Descent into the Depths of the Earth and D2 - Shrine of the Kuo-Toa), and D3 - Vault of the Drow
- Module Q1 - Queen of the Demonweb Pits
All of the component modules were originally written by Gary Gygax, except for Queen of the Demonweb Pits, which was written by David C. Sutherland III and Gygax. The omnibus collection was produced with assistance from Jeff Grubb and David Cook. The book was published by TSR in 1986 as a 128-page book with a 24-page map booklet. There had been a lengthy delay in the publishing of the final chapter after the first six modules had appeared. Gygax had had trouble developing ideas for it until he received Sutherland's development, and was highly impressed by it. The seven prior modules were repackaged as a sequel to A1-4. GDQ1-7 is credited to Gygax. Artist Keith Parkinson provided the cover art for the supermodule, which also features art by George Barr.
Peter Green reviewed Queen of the Spiders for White Dwarf #85. Green lamented that "roleplaying has now come full circle. Death and gore are again the order of the day, and talking to NPCs is a thing of the past." Green felt that players looking for "the mindless mayhem of high level slaughter" would not be disappointed, although players looking for "a chance to interact meaningfully with creatures will be". Green found the new beginning intriguing, getting the adventure off to a good start, but felt let down by the outdated adventures which follow. He felt that, while in their day these adventures were excellent and deserved acclaim, dungeons had become old hat compared to more sophisticated adventures available for AD&D. He cited the example of the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide, which added greatly to the realms below the earth, none of which was incorporated into Queen of the Spiders. He further expressed his disappointment, "What Queen of the Spiders gives you is slaughter on a grand scale. There are supposed to be various power struggles in progress in the depths, but the players never really get to see any of this." Green summed up his feelings in his conclusion to the review, "TSR have proven over the years that they are capable of better products than this. Instead of wasting time with old material, they should concentrate on presenting new roleplaying ideas."
- Schick, Lawrence (1991). Heroic Worlds: A History and Guide to Role-Playing Games. Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books. p. 100. ISBN 0-87975-653-5.
- Green, Peter (January 1987). "Open Box". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) (85): 2–3.
- Mona, Erik; James Jacobs (2004). "The 30 Greatest D&D Adventures of All Time". Dungeon 116.