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Posted by Andrew E. on October 14, 2020
Unfriendly Neighborhood - 5e
The Queen of Spiders, Queen of the , the Dark Mother, the Mother of Lusts, the Lady of Chaos, the Weaver, the Weaver of destiny, and lest we forget what is quite possibly 's most apt title, bitch. The goes by many names, there's a ton of about and has been around for many editions, but her campaign to conquer the underdark has remained constant. is one of D&D's most prevalent big bads and you'll be sure to run into her followers sooner or later while adventuring in Toril. Is it possible to navigate the underdark and defeat the nefarious Queen of Spiders and her followers? Will a really big rolled up newspaper work? Grab a can of bug spray and an ever-burning torch as we plumb the depths and go through everything you need to know.
A Brief History of
is more or less the reason that the are the way they are. The features prominently in dark elven culture and her insatiable need for sacrifices fuels the conquest and enslavement of others. demands full and unwavering control over the , and will raze entire cities to quell any rebellion against her.
She wasn't always like this though. Originally was Araushnee , of the dark elves, artistry, destiny, and consort of Corellon Larethian , the patron creator of all elves. At some point, she craved more power and plotted against Corellon. There are entire books devoted to the resulting battles and betrayals, but the short story is that Araushnee lost, was demonized, and exiled into the darkness.
The phrase "petty and spiteful" sums up a lot of the history that followed. Araushnee took the new name and spent thousands of years trying to get back at her former lover by manipulating the dark elves and waging war on every other sort of elf and anything else that got in her way. She's had varying degrees of success in this, caused some massive upheavals, a few interplanar wars, but has typically been defeated at the last second by some heroic do-goodery.
She has her own realm called "the Demonweb Pits" that she separated from the abyss. A few kids that she encourages to try and fail to overthrow her, and a LOT of long-standing grudges.
The majority of worship to some degree, though other deities from "The Dark Seldarine" are constantly jostling for more power and followers, usually just to be overcome by again. keeps her worshippers tightly in line by constantly weeding out "the weak" through ritual sacrifice and combat, though it's really just a way to get rid of the disloyal.
Almost all of are female, and the fiercely matriarchal culture of the goes together with 's preferential treatment of female followers. As of it's common for them to make blood sacrifices to appease their queen and beg for the power to destroy their rivals. Every aspect of worship is dictated by extreme subservience to their queen and any above them in the strict ordered hierarchy. Woe to any of that that earn
worship requires a steady supply of wealth and slaves to sacrifice, which makes cults extremely dangerous. cities deep within the underdark are often the final destination for captives stolen from worlds away. Or smaller hidden cults to the are often the reason for sudden disappearances. If these sacrifices also happen to be , or worshippers of other gods in the admittedly small , then all the better.
It's common for a to have temples dedicated to her worship, and a , , silver , or other similar adornment is a sign that you're dealing with one of lotlh's servants.
To start with, a all the same. in the demonweb Pits. Unless your campaign is taking you down some very crazy routes, you'll never be in a situation where you'll have to fight directly, instead you'll be battling against her followers. We have several lower level assassins and cultists, but the only thing that could even come close to representing the would be the . The matron is an extremely powerful enemy and would perfectly represent either the BBEG cult leader at the end of a campaign, or potentially as a weakened form of herself. is a , sometimes listed as a lesser or intermediate , but
Medium humanoid (elf), neutral
Armor Class 17 (half plate)
Hit Points 262 (35d8 + 105)
Speed 30 ft.
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
12 (+1) 18 (+4) 16 (+3) 17 (+3)21 (+5)22 (+6)
Saving Throws Con +9, Wis +11, Cha +12
Skills Insight +11, Perception +11, Religion +9, Stealth +10
Condition Immunities Charmed, Frightened, Poisoned
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 21
Languages Elvish, Undercommon
Challenge 20 (25,000 XP)
Fey Ancestry . The has advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can't put the to sleep.
Innate Spellcasting. The 's innate spellcasting ability is Charisma ( save DC 20). She can innately cast the following spells, requiring no components:
At will: dancing lights, detect magic
1/day each: clairvoyance, darkness, detect thoughts, dispel magic, faerie fire, levitate (self only), suggestion
's Fickle Favor . As a bonus action, the matron can bestow the 's blessing on one ally she can see within 30 feet of her. The ally takes 7 (2d6) psychic damage but has advantage on the next attack roll it makes until the end of its next turn.
Magic Resistance . The has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Spellcasting . The spells prepared: is a 20th-level spellcaster. Her spellcasting ability is Wisdom ( save DC 19, +11 to hit with attacks). The has the following
Cantrips (at will): guidance, mending, resistance, sacred flame, thaumaturgy
1st level (4 slots): bane, command, cure wounds, guiding bolt
2nd level (3 slots): hold person, silence, spiritual weapon
3rd level (3 slots): bestow curse, clairvoyance, dispel magic, spirit guardians
4th level (3 slots): banishment, death ward, freedom of movement, guardian of faith
5th level (3 slots): contagion, flame strike, geas, mass cure wounds
6th level (2 slots): blade barrier, harm
7th level (2 slots): divine word, plane shift
8th level (1 slot): holy aura
9th level (1 slot): gate
Sunlight Sensitivity . While in sunlight, the has disadvantage on attack rolls, as well as on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.
Multiattack. The makes two staff attacks or three tentacle rod attacks.
Staff. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage, or 8 (1d8 + 4) bludgeoning damage if used with two hands, plus 14 (4d6) psychic damage. In addition, the target must succeed on a DC 19 Wisdom or become frightened of the for 1 minute. The frightened target can repeat the at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
Tentacle Rod. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 3 (1d6) bludgeoning damage. If the target is hit three times by the rod on one turn, the target must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution or suffer the following effects for 1 minute: the target's speed is halved, it has disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws, and it can't use reactions. Moreover, on each of its turns, it can take either an action or a bonus action, but not both. At the end of each of its turns, it can repeat the , ending the effect on itself on a success.
Summon Servant (1/Day). The magically summons a retriever or a yochlol. The summoned appears in an unoccupied space within 60 feet of its summoner, acts as an ally of its summoner, and can't summon other demons. It remains for 10 minutes, until it or its summoner dies, or until its summoner dismisses it as an action.
The can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another 's turn. The regains spent legendary actions at the start of her turn.
Staff. The makes one attack with her staff.
Compel (Costs 2 Actions). An allied within 30 feet of the uses its reaction to make one attack against a target of the 's choice that she can see.
Cast a (Costs 1-3 Actions). The expends a slot to cast a 1st-, 2nd-, or 3rd-level that she has prepared. Doing so costs 1 legendary action per level of the .
Using as a DM
As previously stated, a and shouldn't really be on the old combat roster, her minions however are practically on par with goblins and orcs when it comes to stereotypical baddies. is
There's not a lot of opportunity for moral ambiguity here, worshippers are and using them as the villains in any encounter is a strong signal that the players should go all out and fight. That said, the 's propensity for lies, subterfuge, and manipulation gives you a ton of excellent opportunities to play around with "hidden big bads".
Boy, that lady who sent the players on their quest out into the woods sure seemed nice, it'd be a shame if she was actually a cultist sending them into an ambush... When setting up or her underlings as the antagonists in your story, try to do so subtly. Try to think of as a puppet master, leading the players to their doom. Go for "aha!" and "we never should have trusted you" moments.
As for actual combat, statistics (and spiders for that matter) exist across all tiers of play, but I find fighting cultists fits best towards the end of tier 1 and into tier 2. However, defeating a before she performs some horrible act to further 's plans can be an epic ending for a tier 4 adventure.
Want to really do something a little different? Use this as a ; you can go straight out of the players handbook and use the fiend (we understand it's not 100% overlap), but it can be nice to see some non rogue/ . in your under dark or .
As a . Followers of can take many forms but expect at least some trickery. Poisons and sleep spells are common calling cards, as are "trusted NPCs" turning out to be backstabbers. are likely to be , and a , you shouldn't be fighting directly but will likely have to deal with her followers, most likely
Once you're aware that cultists are coming after you, be especially wary of NPCs and your long rests. cultists can be very patient and ambushing the party while they sleep is right in their wheelhouse. Rest in shifts, even while in taverns and other "safe" resting places. You never know which friendly innkeeper or other "innocent" NPC is a cultist in disguise.
While not universally used, most (and therefore cultists) like using poisons.
If you're unable to reliably end a poisoned condition magically, consider buying a supply of antitoxins. They're typically pretty cheap, available in most general stores and apothecaries, and can help you resist the titular " poison" that so commonly coats their weaponry.
Finally, all and a good chunk of L are things you're likely to fight alongside them have the sunlight sensitivity rule, which makes them significantly less effective in the daylight. If you so happen to be a higher level spellcaster I recommend trying out the dawn , sunbeam , or sunburst spells which will absolutely tear through most cultists. Strangely enough the daylight doesn't work in this way though without DM approval, as it bizarrely doesn't count as daylight as the is written.
Last updated: January 27, 2019
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