Demonweb Pits

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Demonweb Pits, in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, is the 66th layer of the chaotic evil-aligned plane of existence known as the Infinite Layers of the Abyss. It was featured as the setting of the grand conclusion of a series of adventure modules in the early years of the game.

Publishing history[edit]

The Demonweb was first introduced in David C. Sutherland III's 1980 adventure Queen of the Demonweb Pits,[1] which was reprinted as part of the Queen of the Spiders supermodule. The setting was visited again in the 1988 adventure The Throne of Bloodstone and in the 1997 adventure Dead Gods, where the player characters travel through it on the way to the Vault of the Drow (reversing the route taken in the original adventure).[2] It was remapped and expanded in the 2001 Dungeon Magazine adventure "The Harrowing,"[3] and the various sources compiled and expanded in Fiendish Codex I (2006),[4] and expanded still further in Expedition of the Demonweb Pits (2007).[5]

Lolth and Selvetarm were described in great detail in the 1998 Forgotten Realms product Demihuman Deities, though there is no significant information on the Demonweb itself there.[6]

Description[edit]

The layer is the home of evil drow deity Lolth, the Demon Queen of Spiders and many other deities of the Drow pantheon of gods, including her consort Keptolo and her champion Selvetarm. The plane resembles a giant spiderweb across space, formed from strands of interwoven planar matter. Lolth's palace is a giant iron stronghold stylized in the shape of a spider, that crawls across the web strands of the plane.

The 1980 1st-Edition AD&D module Queen of the Demonweb Pits describes the Demonweb Pits as an environment quite unlike the Prime Material Plane, stating that many magical spells and effects do not function as expected here. The web strands themselves are reported to be composed from the lost souls of the Abyss, surrounded by a grey foul-smelling fog above and to the sides of each strand, forming a tunnel-like structure.[1]

Ken Denmead of Wired described a number of aspects of the Abyss as psychedelic, calling the web's doors similar to the "loony corridor scene from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band."[7]

Structure[edit]

The Demonweb Pits contain portals to a variety of other worlds and planes, including the Kingdom of Caer Sidi, a frozen range of mountains, a great ocean, a black fen, a labyrinth, Guldor, the Nightworld of Vlad Tolenkov, a prison world, a cloud world, a tundra, a jungle, a savanna, an airless world, a world of red trees, the city of Istivin, and the Vault of the Drow. The Demonweb is accessible from the first layer of the Abyss, Pazunia, through a dark pit.

In Forgotten Realms[edit]

In the 3rd-Edition Forgotten Realms campaign setting the Demonweb Pits exists as a plane separate from the Abyss, due to the events of the War of the Spider Queen series. The Demonweb Pits is still a layer of the Abyss outside the Forgotten Realms cosmology.

This carries over into 4th edition, where the Demonweb Pits are located in the Astral Sea, along with the dominions of the other greater gods.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Sutherland III, David C; Gygax, Gary (1980). Queen of the Demonweb Pits. TSR Inc. ISBN 0-935696-20-2. 
  2. ^ Cook, Monte. Dead Gods. Renton, WA: TSR, 1997
  3. ^ Cook, Monte. "The Harrowing." Dungeon #84. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2001
  4. ^ Jacobs, James, Erik Mona, and Ed Stark. Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss (Wizards of the Coast, 2006)
  5. ^ Baur, Wolfgang, and Gwendolyn Kestral. Expedition to the Demonweb Pits. Wizards of the Coast, 2007
  6. ^ Boyd, Eric L. Demihuman Deities. Renton, WA: TSR, 1998
  7. ^ 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. 

References[edit]