Queen of the Spiders (1986)

Queen of the Spiders (1986) collects the G-series modules, the D-series modules and Q1: Queen of the Demonweb Pits under one soft cover. This supermodule concludes the adventure path begun with Temple of Elemental Evil and continued with Scourge of the Slave Lords (and includes a nice mini scenario in which a slave lord tries to take some revenge). I generally like the original versions of these modules and I think the new material, arrangement and polish brought by Zeb Cook and Jeff Grubb really makes them shine. Maybe that is why the book goes for stupid money on eBay, because it does. Don’t pay that kind of money for it, please.

A selection of the original illustrations by Trampier, Otus and Willingham are reprinted inside. They’re supplemented by a bunch of new drawings by George Barr. I used to be a bit meh on Barr, particularly his D&D work during this period, but now I love it. So many stipples!

That Parkinson cover though. So much to unpack. His drow I think are pretty clearly patterned on Tina Turner circa Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and the sexualization is turned up to ten — the only D&D cover that rivals it is Jeff Easley’s for I9: Day of Al’Akbar, which came out the same year. This is an accomplishment of sorts, considering Clyde Caldwell was also on staff at the time. The throne is interesting, a shiny mall version of a H. R. Giger design, like a xenomorph crossed with Lo-Pan’s neon temple. The fire giants look like muppets. The only thing I genuinely like here is the mind flayer, and he looks as if his patience is being put to the test.

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