Q1: Queen of the Demonweb Pits (1980)

Q1: Queen of the Demonweb Pits marks another first – it is (to my knowledge) the first time a module brought characters to another plane of existence, in this case the 66th level of the Abyss, the titular Demonweb Pits. It looks…strange. The mix of monsters, at a glance, is unusual, the landscape surreal and Lolth apparently flies around in a spider shaped ship of some kind (that perhaps anticipates Spelljammer, nine years later).

Another interesting anticipation – there are portal to other worlds that are of interest to Lolth and one of them sure sounds a lot like Ravenloft.

The strangest thing about the module is that it is rated for a party of level 10 to 14. And you know from the cover that you’re going to fight Lolth, a full on goddess. This begs a couple of questions about first edition D&D. Is level 14 a level you should start going around hunting gods and, if so, what do you do at level 15 and beyond?

More likely: level 14 is when you feel like you can take on a god but then, when you do, you get squished like a…well…spider.

Maybe I shouldn’t be so keen to get my DM to run this for us…

Side note: The front copy boasts it is the first of a series of other-planar scenarios, but to my knowledge, no such series manifested.

Art note: there’s quite a lot of nice art here by, Davis S. LaForce, Jeff Dee and Jim Roslof, but of special note is Erol Otus’ two interpretations of Lolth: the one in the spiderweb bikini and the one with a lady head attached to a spider head. Surprisingly, neither caught on – later takes preferred a more drider-like spider centaur design, which combined the horrific and seductive aspects of the goddess more clearly. But man, that spider with a lady head is super creepy.

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