20 October 2011

Lolth: Spider Bitch of the Abyss

Today, looking at my statistics, I realized that the most searched-for term that lands visitors here is none other than Lolth. Lolth? Why her?

Lolth the babe
Well, as anybody who's been following this for a while knows about my love-hate relationship with Q1: Queen of the Demonweb Pits. It's a brilliant piece of module-writing that is in a really weird place. On one side, it captures extremely well the early conglomeration of what we know today as fantasy and sci-fi, and it features several portals to other realities without telling you once what you should be doing in them or what their significance is. It's both kind of a short module and an extremely massive one, with leads that could find your party travelling to a multitude of places, and dealing with the strange and varied inhabitants. But on the other hand, it hides the gold inside the dross of somewhat gimmicky puzzles that need to be solved without leading themselves to an actual solution, weird encounters with a  variety of extremely mundane creatures, and a couple of encounters that don't seem to have a purpose.

And behind all of this madness is a very killable Lolth, with a number of hit points that makes anybody familiar with new-school roleplaying games positively shudder. It really is extremely old-school, and that's both its primary attraction and its primary downfall.

But more to the point: It's Lolth. I'm quite aware that there's a fairly long fantasy series about Dark Elves and their problems revolving around their capricious goddess, or just about Dark Elves in general, and it's honestly pretty fertile ground. Ignoring the adolescent bondage fantasies and the intentional inversion of only the most shallow societal elements (women rule instead of men, everybody lives in upside down houses, idolizes betrayal instead of loyalty, etc), it's actually pretty cool stuff. You have a demon goddess who's alternately a babe and actually pretty hideous, who overlooks these scheming subterranean elves with a religion that doesn't seem to care much if she's around except at the very top.

Lolth the monster
So here's to Lolth, one of the most interesting goddesses around. Everybody knows that the villians are infinitely more interesting than the heroes, and Lolth is hardly an exception. I'd go so far as to say that she's one of the most interesting villains out there.

3 comments:

  1. I have to agree. I think she is so interesting in fact that I have her in my games twice. Once as Lolth and as her original version, Arashnee.

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  2. Lolth is cool. One of the best original things in the D&D canon, I think.

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