Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Using Gary Gygax's D3 Vault of the Drow & Queen Of The Demonweb Pits With Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Mini Campaign Part II

The PC's are hopelessly lost in the twisting churning tunnels that lead into the underworld of Gary Gygax's Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits.  Now this would seem to be the end of the saga but instead I propose that its just the beginnings of the problems for the PC's. They've incurred the wraith of a whole people & they've destroyed the avatar of one of the most powerful demons of the Abyss. Notice I said avatar not demoness herself. Or at least that's how I've played it in the past. There are several reasons for this & they all have to do with the publication of the module series; " 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 Abyss to defeat the evil demigod Lolth of the drow."Don't worry this has plenty to do with using Q1 in Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea for a Sword & Sorcery campaign.

Now if we look at the publication  qualifier of these modules; "The module, the D-series' sequel, was later republished as part of the Queen of the Spiders supermodule (coded GDQ1-7) with the entire saga." The review from  Elisabeth Barrington  really gives us a vital clue as to how these modules can be woven together; "Queen of the Demonweb Pits in 1981 as part of a review in the 35th issue of The Space Gamer.[5] According to Barrington, players and the Dungeon Master need to be fairly experienced 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."[5] Barrington did complain that some of the spell alterations felt unnecessary, as some of the spells which were very useful under ordinary circumstances became almost useless due to 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. "  Yeah I don't agree with the worthy "try bit"  at all.
 But the idea that the Abyss is a bit of a planar  catch all presents some interesting ideas unto itself. The lower world of the planes of the Abyss are home to this demonic spider goddess but where in the world did she come from originally?! According to her wiki entry; "
Lolth was first mentioned in the modules Descent into the Depths of the Earth (1978) and more fully described in Vault of the Drow(1978),[2] and was the main antagonist of the module Queen of the Demonweb Pits (1980).[1] These modules were later reprinted as part of the Queen of the Spiders collection in 1986.[3] Lolth's role as a deity was first explored in Deities & Demigods (1980).[4] Her game statistics were reprinted in the Fiend Folio (1981)"
In fourth edition she was transformed into a goddess with the demon webpits being her home plane. But think she's been a goddess this whole time. Flash back to the time of when the 
Lydian peoples ruled their land in Lydia, a region in western Anatolia, &  who spoke the distinctive Lydian language, an Indo-European language of the Anatolian group.  "Arachne (/əˈrækn/; from Greekἀράχνη "spider", cognate with Latinaraneus)[1] was a talented mortal weaver who challenged Athena, goddess of wisdom and crafts, to a weaving contest; this hubris resulted in her being transformed into a spider"  I think that Lolth is Arachne & has been this whole time.  Arachne's legend bares it out according to the Roman poet Ovid or latest that's how it is in my future history of Astonishing Swordmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. 

"One version appears in the Metamorphoses of the Roman poet Ovid.
In this version, Arachne was a shepherd's daughter who began weaving at an early age. She became a great weaver, boasted that her skill was greater than that of Athena, and refused to acknowledge that her skill came, in part at least, from the goddess. Athena took offense and set up a contest between them. Presenting herself as an old lady, she approached the boasting girl and warned: "You can never compare to any of the gods. Plead for forgiveness and Athena might spare your soul."
"Ha! I only speak the truth and if Athena thinks otherwise then let her come down and challenge me herself," Arachne replied. Athena removed her disguise and appeared in shimmering glory, clad in a sparkling white chiton. The two began weaving straight away. Athena's weaving represented four separate contests between mortals and the gods in which the gods punished mortals for setting themselves as equals of the gods. Arachne's weaving depicted ways that the gods had misled and abused mortals, particularly Zeus, tricking and seducing many women. When Athena saw that Arachne had not only insulted the gods but done so with a work far more beautiful than Athena's own, she was enraged. She ripped Arachne's work to shreds and hit her on the head three times. Terrified and ashamed, Arachne hanged herself. Then Athena said, "Live on then, and yet hang, condemned one, but, lest you are careless in future, this same condition is declared, in punishment, against your descendants, to the last generation!" After saying this she sprinkled her with the juice of Hecate's herb, and immediately at the touch of this dark poison, Arachne's hair fell out. With it went her nose and ears, her head shrank to the smallest size, and her whole body became tiny. Her slender fingers stuck to her sides as legs, the rest is belly, from which she still spins a thread, and, as a spider, weaves her ancient web."[4] This showed how goddesses punished mortals who dared to insult them."

So this whole time this Grecoroman goddess has been spinning her webs across the planes using the Drow as a sort of proto demonic Elven army to raze the Earth! She brought the Drow too her bossum & then let them loose during the time of Ragnarok.


This doesn't mean that there's thousands of Drow waiting in the bowels of underborea in my game campaigns & infact far from it. The Drow are going to be pure poison to the Hyperborean who see them as interlopers & a problem that needs to be quickly dispatched!

Native cults that know about Lolth now on Hyperborea look at her as an aberration & demoness of  damnation or murder. She's loathed by the followers of Atlach-Nacha who look at her as a relic of the distant past of 'old Earth'. We get this exact sort of from the newest Kickstarter from Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. The kickstarter going on for AS&SH's HYPERBOREA: OTHERWORLDLY TALES The Lost Treasure of Atlantis  &  The Sea-Wolf's Daughter.  Brings the campaign idea of the world of the old being eclipsed by the modern adventurer's Hyperborea. The results are not pretty at all with modern Hyperborea bringing a short & brutal end to many of the lives of adventurers.

If the planar  gates of 
Gary Gygax's Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits opened upon underborea would we see an influx of Drow trying to expand not only their territory but the cult of their faith as well especially among the cold Hells of Hyperborea.. Its certainly food for thought isn't it. But the real question is will this campaign course of action be something that I'm going to do? For now keep em rolling. 

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