We were digging through the storage shed recently, when I should chance across the dusty stack of old Dungeons & Dragons modules I’ve had with me for… well, for a very long time. For all the GeekDads who have gamed, as I scan and read through these, I’ll post them for your enjoyment and comment, if you remember them.
Okay, folks, now we get hard core. Remember Against the Giants that we discussed a couple posts ago? That was a tough series, challenging a hardy band of adventurers. After that, in proper order (though sadly I don’t have them to talk about) are Decent into the Depths of the Earth, and Shrine of the Kuo-Toa, and finally (if your characters have survived the long) Vault of the Drow. They were the D series, and introduced the world to the concept of the dark elves. Well, after all the gameplay, your characters must be pretty hardy – and they’re going to have to be, for one of the most challenging modules of them all: Q1 – Queen of the Demonweb Pits.
How different things seem now from when you undertook the crushing of a few rebellious hill giants! What seemed a simple adventure had turned into a major expedition. Much time has passed since you discovered the conspiracy that led you to the home of the frost giants and the stronghold of the fire giants. From them, information pointed to the involvement of the long-forgotten Drow. This evil underground race seemed to be plotting the destruction of the human lands. Determined to remove this threat, you followed close behind the fleeing Drow. Traveling through tunnels, guided by a map hastily left behind, you encountered minor outposts of the evil elves and the outposts of mind flayers and wererats. Other races inhabited these tunnels, but they were of little help. – being mostly trolls, troglodytes, and unknown fish-men guarding their shrine. At last it seemed as if the final goal had been reached. Hidden in a great chamber under the earth, the Drow nobles were disorganized and feuding. As a band, you were able to use this to your advantage, slipping through the city to the great temple beyond. It seemed that the final battle would be here, where the evil priestesses did service to their mentor, the demon queen Lolth. But then all was finished, the las and most dreadful information was leaned: even the Drow were directed and controlled! Now it is time to crush the greatest enemy – Lolth, the Queen of the Demonweb Pits!
All bets are off this time. The module suggests a party ranging from 10th-14th level. Remember, that was 1980 kids, before level-inflation had taken its toll on a weary nation. In year 2013 levels, that’s like 1000! Anyway, to tackle this place, even the module suggests having +3 weapons, minimum. Plus, clerics can’t regain spells over 2nd level (it’s thaaaaat evil!), and – as in the best dungeons – there’s NO WAY OUT!
Things to remember in the Queen of the Demonweb Pits:
- The platinum egg is important. It’s cursed, yes, but it’s also the key(s) to getting through the Demonweb (aka one of the 666 levels of the abyss, in case you were wondering).
- Many Clerical, Druidic, and Magic User spells don’t even work in the Pits, and those that do, may do rather unexpected things: Detect Illusion – In the Web, madness will strike the illusionist after one round unless the attempt is abandoned. So, magic missile and cure light wounds it is!
- Beware the Peace Speakers. I mean, you’re on a level of the Abyss; can you really expect anyone offering an assortment of fruits and meats to be trustworthy?
- There are a lot of doors in the Web, not unlike the loony corridor scene from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band. But what’s behind them is even more like a drug-induced dream. Let’s talk Dwarf Fortress under assault by an army. Or vampire magic-user in his castle. Or, yes, Lolth’s own spider-ship. Yes, spider-ship. It’d be really cool, except for all those trapped souls that make it go.
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. Let’s take a quick look at some stats: S21, I21, W16, D21, C21, Ch3 (23 as Drow), AC -10, HD 16, Damage per Attack is 4d4 + poison and webs, 70% magic resistance, godlike intelligence, and psionic ability at 266. She casts cleric spells at 16th level, and magic user spells at 14th. And she can summon spiders and gate in other demons, and she told two friends, and so on, and so on. You are, in effect, trying to take out a goddess. Good luck with that.
We’re heading into the home stretch now folks, only a few left. Thanks for sticking around, and I’ll see you next time!