Descent

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In the dim mists of Faerûn's past, long before the rise of even the most ancient human or dwarven kingdoms, the elves founded mighty empires across the length and breadth of Faerun. The greatest of these empires--Aryvandaar, Keltormir, Miyeritar, Illefarn, Ilythiir, and Shantel Othreier--coexisted peacefully for thousands of years before greed, envy, and pride brought them low. The series of vicious, bloody wars that destroyed the ancient realms of the elves has come to be known as the Crown Wars.

The Crown Wars consisted of five major campaigns--some of which happened concurrently--that eventually involved all the major elven civilizations. For three thousand years the elves fought one another, tearing down most of what they had spent millennia building and practicing fratricide on a scale unseen before or since. In fact, one elf subrace became so twisted by evil that its members were forever divorced from the light of day. These elves, now known as drow, live underground to this day, and their hatred for other elves remains as strong as it was in those ancient times.

The First Crown War began as a seemingly minor debate over territory and governance. Aryvandaaran historians had discovered a link between the family of their ruler, Coronal Ivosaar Vyshaan, and the Olrythii, the ruling house of Miyeritar. Always ambitious, the members of House Vyshaan saw this connection as the perfect excuse to claim rulership over Miyeritar. The dark elves and wood elves of Miyeritar, a staunchly independent lot, were not at all interested in being ruled by the haughty sun elves. After several centuries of negotiating, bickering, and feuding with the Olrythii, the Vyshaan ran out of patience, marshaled their armies, and marched on Miyeritar, intending to annex it by force since diplomacy had failed. Thus began the First Crown War.
After two centuries of fighting, Miyeritar was occupied by the sun elves of Aryvandaar, though several dark and sylvan elf clans continued to resist. The Vyshaanti did not bring Miyeritar fully under their control until approximately five centuries after the occupation. Meanwhile, supposedly in retaliation for Aryvandaar's aggression against the Miyeritari, the dark elves of Ilythiir rose up and attacked their nearest enemies in the smaller kingdom of Orishaar. The stated premise for the conflict was weak, considering that the moon elves of Orishaar had no connection with Aryvandaar beyond a trade alliance, and the Ilythiiri had little to do with the beleaguered elves of Miyeritar. Though it was initially seen as a thinly veiled excuse for the Ilythiiri to seize some land from the moon elves, this offensive continued to gain momentum and eventually escalated to become the Second Crown War.

From "The Saga of Woe", an ancient elven folk tale, author unknown:
And when the folk of Ilythiir heard about the brutal attacks by the sun elves of Aryvandaar against their northern kinfolk, a shadow fell upon their hearts. The cunning dark elves claimed this shadow was the result of grief and woe, and so skilled was their artifice that all were tricked y it. When the Ilythiiri attacked Orishaar, the elves of all the empires believed that the grief-stricken dark elves were simply lashing out in vengeance on behalf of their cousins to the north.
But the shadow upon the hearts of the Ssri'Tel'Quessir stemmed not from grief, but from greed and envy. The shadow wove its insidious tendrils about them and whispered to them of wicked acts and fell deeds. To their own damnation, the Ilythiiri heeded the council of the shadow and were drawn by it into darkness.


©2009 commissoned art by E.A.Watson
DO NOT TAKE, permission NOT granted!

Purportedly, the Second Campaign was an attempt by the Ilythiiri to avenge their wronged cousins in Miyeritar, which boasted the only other major enclave of dark elves on Faerun. Ilythiir's savage attack wiped out Thearnytaar, Eiellur, Syorpiir, and Orishaar, and the dark elves continued to conduct brutal raids against the elves of Keltormir for the next twelve hundred years.
It was during this campaign that the epithet dhaerow was first used to describe the dark elves of Ilythiir. Depending upon the intonation, inflection, and context, dhaerow could be translated as "face of shadows", "heart of night", "traitor", or a host of other, even less complimentary terms. One by one, the great Ilythiiri houses sought to gain the power to conquer their enemies from demonic patrons. Seeing an opportunity to subvert an entire subrace to evil, Lolth sent the balor Wendonai to Ilythiir. Wendonai successfully led House Sethomiir, the ruling house of the Ilythiiri, into darkness by favoring Geirildin, it's coronal, with gifts of dark power. Other high Ilythiiri nobles sought similar patronage, some because they envied the coronal's newfound power, others because they were determined to carve out their own kingdoms from the wreckage of the neighboring elven states.
Guided by their demonic patrons, the Ilythiiri came to relish warfare and torture and despise elven ideals. Their previous justification for the war--avenging their northern brothers--began to ring hollow after centuries of bloodshed and butchery. Even the peaceful moon elves of Keltormir were increasingly horrified by their erstwhile brethren’s actions and began to arm themselves for a retaliatory strike at Ilythiir.

In about -10,900 DR, the fallen solar Malkizid became the secret patron of the Vyshaanti high mages and taught them many terrible secrets of high magic. While the Second Crown War continued to rage in the south, Aryvandaar (now known as the Vyshaantar Empire) attempted to annex the sun elf and moon elf kingdom of Shantel Othreier, thus beginning the Third Crown War.
The elves of Shantel Othreier resisted Aryvandaar's attacks for three centuries, but with the sudden, mysterious death of Ynloeth, their coronal, they finally surrendered and diplomatically joined the Vyshaantar Empire, thus ending the Third Crown War.
About a century thereafter, a horrid magical storm known as the Dark Disaster laid waste to Miyeritar. History (as written by the victors of the Third Crown War) says that Miyeritar's attempts to stop Aryvandaar's armies caused the Dark Disaster. In truth, the fell magic that produced it was called forth by Vyshaantar high mages and proceeded unopposed because a Vyshaantar assassination campaign had destroyed many of Miyeritar's high mages in the months before. The Dark Disaster hung over Miyeritar like a funeral shroud for months, and when it's cloying mists and bloody rains finally dissipated, the once-proud forest had been reduced to a blasted, poisonous wasteland. Although many of Miyeritar's original inhabitants had fled long before the killing storm hit, innumerable innocents died horribly. Even today, the High Moor still stands desolate, its interior dotted with the ruins of the once-proud kingdom of Miyeritar. Only a few elves versed in history--mostly high mages and high priests--know that most of Miyeritar's surviving mages gave their lives in a now-lost ritual designed to preserve Miyeritar's legacy, in the hope that her light would someday rise again from the kingdom's ashes.

The destruction of Miyeritar enraged the Ilythiiri, who rightfully blamed Aryvandaar for the Dark Disaster. In the wake of the killing storm, the Ilythiiri turned their high magic fully to the pursuits of war, and the result was devastation on an unparalleled scale [otherwise known as the Fourth Crown War]. Within four decades after the Dark Disaster, the Ilythiiri utterly destroyed the realms of Shantel Othreier--the closest outpost of Vyshaantar power. In the words of the Song of the Sundered Crown, Ilythiiri high mages "called stones from the sky", and "caused the earth to boil and the trees to scream". Refugees from the doomed kingdom of Shantel Othreier told tales of Ilythiiri atrocities that made the actions of the Aryvandaar for the past several centuries seem tame by comparison.
In the face of this savage assault, the remaining elven kingdoms gathered in a great conclave and made a decision that would haunt elvenkind forever--the Ilythiiri, or "dhaerow", would be cast out of Corellon's favor and divorced for all time from their brethren. The most powerful high mages and clerics of the Seldarine joined together to perform a ritual that altered the Ilythiiri's bodies to match the corruption of their souls.
Although the conclave had intended to punish only the Ilythiiri, the ritual altered all the dark elves of Faerûn except those who had already altered their own forms. The corrupted dark elves were then driven underground by the combined might of the united elven nations. This event, known as the Descent, mirrored the fall of Lolth and her offspring from the Seldarine and thus helped to seal the new elf subrace's loyalty to the Spider Queen. The word dhaerow--which once meant traitor--was likewise corrupted to "drow", which became the name of the corrupted dark elves.
Why all dark elves, and not just the Ilythiiri, were transformed into drow remains one of the enduring mysteries of the Descent. Some of the more humble elf theologians believe it was an unintended consequence of the sort that always seems to occur when the Fair Folk overreach themselves in the application of high magic. In their eyes, the disastrous sundering of Evermeet from Faerun, the Dark Disaster, and the destruction of Jhaamdath fall into that same category.

The Fourth Crown War and the Descent that ended it were spiritually debilitating events that forced the surface elves into a tenuous peace. At the apparent insistence of Corellon Larethian himself, more than one hundred representatives were selected from each of the elf subraces except the drow. These elves, chosen from all stations and walks of life, were transported to a forest in the east that was far removed from conflicts, political and otherwise, so that they could debate the cause of their divisiveness and strife. The place, established in Corellon's name as a place of decision and judgment, became known as the Elven Court.
During this time of judgment, many elves displaced by the Crown Wars set off to search for the near-mythical realm of Evermeet, a land far away from the other elven kingdoms that remained untouched by the ravages of the Crown Wars. Answering a call from deep within their souls, they followed a trail into the west they could sense but not see. Upon reaching the coast, they built ships and sailed them into the uncharted western seas, where they at last found Evermeet.
Much to their surprise, Evermeet had already been an elven homeland for quite some time. Not even the wild elves native to the island could say how long they had been here. Ultimately, the elves decided that the highest houses of Aryvandaar would settle the isle and do their best to "civilize" it until a coronal could arrive to claim governance over it.
Meanwhile, after nearly a millennium of debate, the elves of the Elven Court judged the sun elf clan of Vyshaan, the ruling house of Aryvandaar and the Vyshaantar Empire, to be the root cause of the strife and the suffering of the Crown Wars. The punishment proposed for the Vyshaan was severe--they were to be stripped of their rulership and their nobility, and their lives would be declared forfeit for their crimes against elvenkind. But the spies that the Vyshaanti had planted among the representatives at the Elven Court had forewarned them of the decision, allowing the clan to marshal its forces for active resistance.

The Fifth Crown War began as recklessly as the four before it had. At the behest of Malkizid, the mad king Giilvas Vyshaan ordered the murder of all the wizards and high mages who stood against him, counting on his high mage sons and brothers to protect the clan. The troops and supporters of the Vyshaan were quite loyal, but even they could not hope to stand against the combined power of all the other elves--especially with the power of Corellon Larethian's mandate behind them. Even Malkizid saw that victory for the Vyshaanti was impossible, so he returned to the Nine Hells, abandoning the sun elves to their fate. The Fifth Crown War lasted only two hundred years before the obvious madness of the Vyshaan lords compelled even their most ardent followers to abandon their cause. Without the support of their elf allies and their infernal patron, the elves of the Vyshaan clan were slowly but inexorably crushed by the allied forces of the remaining elven kingdoms. Rumors and dark tales tell of four "Sons of Vyshaan" who escaped the destruction of their clan and fled west to await a time when they could return to Faerun in triumph, at the head of a new Vyshaantar Empire. Serious scholars and sages, however, usually dismiss such tales as pure fiction.

The Crown Wars finally drew to a close some three thousand years after the march of the Vyshaan clan first ignited the strife among the elven kingdoms. The elves of current-day Faerun rarely speak of this time of madness even among themselves, let alone in the presence of non-elves. However, a few remnants of that period survive in the Elven language. To this day, vyshaan is a vile curse and an insult nearly as potent as calling an elf dhaerow.

After their exile below ground, the drow lived as nomads, scavengers, and feral beasts. Eventually, through the guidance of Lolth, they drew themselves together as a race and began to make the best of their situation, colonizing large portions of the Underdark. The first underground drow civilizations were established in southern Faerûn around –9600 DR. In –9000 DR, the drow seized the great cavern of Bhaerynden from the gold dwarves and established the first great drow kingdom, Telantiwar. Unfortunately, the drow of Telantiwar quickly fell into terrible civil wars, the eventual result of which were several massive magical explosions that collapsed the caverns of their nation and formed the Great Rift in southern Faerûn.

The few drow survivors of this cataclysm scattered throughout the Underdark, slowly settling regions farther and farther away from their original homelands in the South. In time, the drow built dozens of magnificent, terrifying cities deep underground, quite an achievement for a people so predisposed toward treachery, infighting, and civil war. Sshamath, the City of Dark Weavings, was founded beneath the Far Hills in –4973 DR. Menzoberra the Kinless, a high priestess of Lolth, established the city of Menzoberranzan in –3917 DR. House Nasadra, exiled from Menzoberranzan, founded Ched Nasad in –3843 DR. Many other cities lie beneath other parts of Faerûn, sometimes exerting their baleful influence on the lands above, such as the conquest of the human realm of Dambrath by the drow of T’lindhet in 804 DR, or the centuries-long rule of Maerimydra over Shadowdale hundreds of years ago.

Recently, the drow have begun to extend their influence to the surface in greater numbers than ever before, moving into abandoned elven cities and homes. They have begun training and conditioning to allow them to function in the brilliant surface world. Much to their surprise and delight, they have found that due to the Elven Retreat the presence of surface elves is much smaller and more poorly organized than they anticipated. Small bands of drow opposed to this return to the surface have made efforts to alert the surface world of this new threat, but so far no organized resistance to the drow invasion of the surface world has appeared.

[ WEBMASTER'S NOTE: Even more recently, ala the War of the Spider Queen series of books, Lolth underwent a metamorphosis that seemingly left her greater in power. During the series, drow society went through certain trials and tribulations as well, though where exactly things stand now that all is said and done remains to be seen. Hints were made at various changes for the drow as a whole, but we'll allow you to draw your own conclusions by reading the novels.
In addition, there was a small reference in the second novel of the Last Mythal trilogy, Farthest Reach, stating that the drow of the Cormanthyr region have all but been driven out by a demonic presence, whom many--ourselves included--theorize to be the post-WotSQ Halisstra.
Further notes and references dealing with the War of the Spider Queen are located on this page, below the Timeline. If you want the whole story, read the series (as disappointing as parts of it were).
We'll update this information if and when WotC decides to let everyone in on the actual changes and specifics. ]

Timelined Events
The following chronologically ordered events help shed some further light on the brief history presented above. Though not all of the entries tie directly to the dark elves of Ilythiir (who later became the drow), the entirety helps serve to detail their overall relationship with the other elven peoples of the time and some of the more significant events that led to their downfall.

We'll also add (and continue to add when additional information is found) any timelined references to the drow in the various Forgotten Realms sourcebooks, along with any other entries that tie in to such events to add some context.

  • -30,000 DR
    The War of the Seldarine begins. Araushnee is cast down into the Demonweb Pits, where she becomes the demon-goddess Lolth. The solar Malkizid is branded and thrown down into the Nine Hells.

  • -18,000 DR
    Some Ilythiiri discover Ghaunadaur and begin venerating him in secret. In the centuries that follow, rival Ilythiiri houses turn to other dark deities, such as Lolth.

  • -17,600 DR
    The Sundering occurs, and Evermeet is created with elven high magic. The spell reaches both back and forward in the mists of time.

  • -17,100 DR
    The War of Three Leaves begins. Ilythiiri spies and assassins incite Syorpiir, Thearnytaar, and Eiellur into a three-sided conflict to prevent them from unifying into a single state.

  • -15,300 DR
    The Vyshaan clan, under Coronal Ivosaar Vyshaan, takes power in Aryvandaar.

  • -14,700 DR
    Citing familial connections between the ruling houses of Aryvandaar and Miyeritar, the Vyshaanti being attempting to annex Miyeritar by peaceful means. Miyeritar resists.

  • -13,900 DR
    Miyeritar reaches the height of its magical and cultural renaissance.

  • -13,200 DR
    Aryvandaarans begin raiding along Miyeritar's borders and interfereing with its trade routes.

  • -12,000 DR
    The First Crown War begins. Ayrvandaar invades Miyeritar and pressures Shantel Othreier to accept Aryvandaaran occupations or suffer the same fate.

  • -11,800 DR
    Aryvandaaran forces occupy Miyeritar, though a number of dark and sylvan elf clans continue to resist. Many elves of Illefarn provide secret safe havens for Miyeritari.

  • -11,700 DR
    The Second Crown War begins. Ilythiir launches surprise attacks against Orishaar, an ally of Aryvandaar.

  • -11,600 DR
    The Ilythiiri burn Syorpiir to the ground.

  • -11,500 DR
    Thearnytaar and Eiellur declare war on Ilythiir and attempt to prevent the Ilythiiri from advancing north. Lolth sends the balor lord Wendonai to seduce a high Ilythiiri clan into her service. The church of Lolth rises to prominence.

  • -11,450 DR
    Thearnytaar and Eiellur invade Ilythiir. More than half of their forces are slain by the corrupt, demon-granted magic of the dark elves.

  • -11,400 DR
    Eiellur is razed by Ilythiiri dark elves and traitorous wild elves.

  • -11,300 DR
    Miyeritar is conquered by Aryvandaar, thus ending the First Crown War.

  • -11,200 DR
    Thearnytaar falls to Ilythiiri forces utilizing dominated monsters and undead creatures. Ilythiir begins to skirmish with Keltormir.

  • -10,900 DR
    Malkizid, the fallen solar, becomes the secret patron of the Vyshaan lords. The Third Crown war begins. Ayrvandaar, now known as the Vyshaantar Empire, invades Shantel Othreier.

  • -10,700 DR
    An orc horde falls upon the embattled armies of Ayrvaandar and Shantel Othreier at the Battle of the God's Theater. Almost seventy thousand elves perish before Ayrvandaar wins the day and occupies northern Shantel Othreier.

  • -10,600 DR
    Shantel Othreier is conquered by the Vyshaantar Empire, ending the Third Crown War. Resistance movements spring up in Miyeritar and Shantel Othreier.

  • -10,500 DR
    The Dark Disaster reduces Miyeritar to a dead wasteland. The Crown Wars halt for a time while the elves reassess what they have done.

  • -10,450 DR
    The Fourth Crown War begins. The Ilythiiri openly begin worshiping evil gods such as Ghaunadaur and Lolth.

  • -10,300 DR
    Keltormir withdraws its forces from eastern Keltormir, holding its line at Highlands' Edge.

  • -10,270 DR
    With Keltormir's withdrawal, the Vyshaanti and Ilythiiri ocome into direct conflict for the first time.

  • -10,110 DR
    Elf clerics and high mages in Illefarn begin a decades-long prayer for salvation.

  • -10,100 DR
    Ilythiir destroys Shantel Othreier.

  • -10,000 DR
    The Seldarine respond to the arcane and divine high magic of the elves by smiting the Ilythiiri. All dark elves are transformed into drow and driven underground, thus ending the Fourth Crown War. The Seldarine summon elves of all other clans and nations to the Elven Court to settle their differences and restore peace.

  • -9900 DR
    The Vyshaantar Empire annexes Illefarn. Persecution of high mages and powerful clerics in Vyshaantar lands begins as the sun elves seek to eliminate any threats to their power.

  • -9800 DR
    The Vyshaantar Empire occupies all the remaining elven realms on Faerun and begins colonization of Evermeet.

  • -9600 DR
    The first drow civilizations make their presence known by harassing their ancient enemies in the Vyshaantar Empire.

  • -9200 DR
    The Fifth Crown War begins when the Vyshaantar Empire rebels against the proclamation of the Elven Court, which direct the elves of Ayrvandaar to repudiate their Vyshaan rulers. Malkizid abandons House Vyshaan and retreats to the infernal planes.

  • -9000 DR
    The Fifth Crown War ends with the utter defeat of The Vyshaantar Empire. The lands of Aryvandaar are largely abandoned for an age.

  • –4973 DR
    The drow settlement of Sshamath, the City of Dark Weavings, is founded.

  • -4400 DR
    Drow and duergar destroy the Elven Court and the dwarven nation of Sarphil.

  • –3917 DR
    Menzoberra the Kinless and her followers establish Menzoberranzan, the City of Spiders.

  • –3843 DR
    The exiles of House Nasadra establish the City of Shimmering Webs, Ched Nasad.

  • -1288 DR
    King Melair I and his shield dwarf kin, along with other Stout Folk roused to his cause, drive off drow scouts, duergar miners, and Underdark predators beneath Mount Waterdeep and establish the Underhalls of Melairbode.

  • -790 DR
    The Night Wars begin: Drow attack outlying reaches of the Calimshan Empire.

  • -677 DR
    Drow from the city of Karsoluthiyl began their first incursions against the Stout Folk of Melairbode.

  • -530 DR
    The Night Wars between the drow and Calmishan end.

  • -331 DR
    The drow of the Twisted Tower fall to the armies of Cormanthyr and the Rystal Wood was then left in the hands of their good-aligned dark elf allies. Within a century, the newly named Tower of the Dark Moon was Eilistraee's greatest temple in the Realms.

  • 34 DR
    After centuries of inconclusive skirmishing against the Stout Folk of Melairbode, the drow mustered a huge army and swarmed up from the depths, overwhelming the shield dwarves and slaying King Melair IV, the last clan chief of the Melairkyn.
    The drow named their new holdings Kyorlamshin and claimed most of the fallen Melairbode as their demesne. They established a chain of Portals linking Kyorlamshin's central temple with Karsoluthiyl and begain regular slaving runs between the Northdark and the more southerly Realms Below.

  • 171 DR
    Halaster Blackcloak begins the brutal extermination of large pockets of drow and duergar, driving them out of the Underhalls, as they had previously done to the dwarves. This "cleansing" continues until about 308 DR.

  • 190 DR
    The Tower of the Dark Moon falls to the evil drow of Cormanthyr. The tower still survives today, once again known as the Twisted Tower.

  • 309 DR
    Halaster is undisputed master of the Underhalls, with the remaining drow having been forced into the lowest levels of Underhall.

  • 493 DR
    The last remaining drow of Underhall abandon the former dwarfhome entirely.

  • 710 DR
    Drow attacks in Cormyr claim the lives of three noble families of the realm; while believed dead, most of the nobles survive as slaves in the Underdark.

  • 767 DR
    Quilue Veladorn, Chosen of Mystra and Eilistraee, led a handful of her dark elven playmates from their tiny, now-vanished settlement of Buiyrandyn in an assault on the Pit of Ghaunadar. After destroying an avatar of the Elder Eye resident therein and causing it's minions to flee or be destroyed, the Pit was sealed and the area patrolled by the collective Chosen of Eilistraee for the next several centuries.

  • 1278 DR
    The drow city of V'elddrinnsshar fell to the ravages of the Ascomoid Plague and was plundered by duergar a decade later.

  • 1297 DR
    [ Material Reference: The events of the first novel in the Dark Elf trilogy, Homeland, take place. (The book covers from 1297 to 1328 DR.) The Dark Elf trilogy covers the life of Drizzt Do'Urden. ]

  • 1322 DR
    Liriel [Vandree] Baenre is born.

  • 1337 DR
    Priestesses of Kiaransalee begin construction of a temple within the ruins of V'elddrinnsshar at their goddess' behest. The Acropolis of Thanatos, as it became known, was completed a decade later.

  • 1338 DR
    [ Material Reference: The Dark Elf trilogy's second novel, Exile, depicts events that take place from 1338 to 1340 DR. ]

  • 1340 DR
    [ Material Reference: Sojourn, the final novel in the Dark Elf trilogy, takes place. (It covers from 1340 to 1347 DR.) ]

  • 1348 DR
    [ Material Reference: The events in "Rite of Blood", a short story in Realms of the Underdark, take place. "Rite of Blood" features Liriel Baenre. ]

  • 1355 DR
    The clergy of Eilistraee begin construction of the Promenade over the Pit of Ghaunadaur in the vicinity of Skullport, beneath Mount Waterdeep. Although construction continues to this day, it was largely completed and habitable by 1357.

  • 1358 DR
    The Time of Troubles begins. Deities walk Toril. Lolth's avatar makes an appearance in Menzoberranzan. The drow of Menzoberranzan, under the leadership Matron Mother Yvonnel Baenre, raid Mithral Hall. The drow forces lose approximately 2,000 drow (500 were soldiers of House Baenre) and 4,000 slaves. The losses weaken Menzoberranzan considerably.
    [ Material Reference: The events in the novel Siege of Darkness unfold. ]

  • 1359 DR
    The Darkstalker Wars leave the Calimshite cells of the Dark Dagger (a group composed of Vhaeraun worshipers) nearly obliterated.

  • 1361 DR
    The Dark Maidens of the Promenade participated in a daring raid upon a slave ship berthed in Skullport that resulted in the death of the deep dragon Pharx and the destruction of the Dragon's Horde consortium, a merchant band led by a priest of Vhaeraun.
    [ Material Reference: The events in Daughter of the Drow and Tangled Webs unfold. Also, a Liriel story called "The Direct Approach" (from Realms of Magic) takes place. Triel Baenre is now Matron Mother Baenre after the death of Yvonnel Baenre. ]

  • 1368 DR
    The Promenade came under attack by Ghaunadaur's cultists who led a full-scale assault on the temple that lasted for several months before the Elder Eye's followers were driven off.

  • 1372 DR
    The War of the Spider Queen begins.
    • 28 Eleasias
      Lolth falls silent.

    • 13 Marpenoth
      Gromph Baenre orders Pharaun Mizzrym and Ryld Argith to investigate missing drow males. The first of several demonic assassins is sent after Quenthel Baenre.

    • 20 Marpenoth
      Drow soldiers put down a slave rebellion in Menzoberranzan.

    • 26 Marpenoth
      Quenthel Baenre and her company set out for Ched Nasad.

    • 3 Uktar
      House Zauvirr takes Quenthel Baenre captive. Ched Nasad is destroyed during an attempted coup.

    • 4 Uktar
      Quenthel Baenre and her band begin searching for Vhaeraunite priests.

    • 15 Uktar
      The siege of Menzoberranzan begins.

    • 16 Uktar
      Quenthel Baenre and her company reach the Demonweb Pits and witness Vhaeraun's attacks on Lolth. Selvetarm attacks Vhaeraun in the Demonweb pits, and both gods plummet into the darkness.

The War of the Spider Queen Errata
[ As per the City of the Spider Queen web enhancement on the WotC site ]
The starting point for both City of the Spider Queen and the War of the Spider Queen novel series is the same: Lolth has fallen silent and is no longer granting spells to her clerics. In drow society, where Lolth’s will is the single most important guiding principle and her clerics hold the reins of power, this silence has catastrophic effects. Dissolution, the first novel in the series, explores the effects of this catastrophe in Menzoberranzan, while the second novel, Insurrection, will expand the story to the nearby drow city of Ched Nasad. City of the Spider Queen shows the results of Lolth’s silence in Maerimydra. If you are running an extended campaign based on City of the Spider Queen, you may want to explore other drow cities beyond these three and examine the repercussions of Lolth’s apparent abandonment of her people there. In addition, Kiaransalee’s cult is not working in Maerimydra only, so this section includes notes on the activity of her cult beyond that fallen city.

  • Cormanthor
    The “spider-kisser” drow of Cormanthor are a relatively weak faction among the surface-dwelling dark elves who loot the ruins of the ancient elven realm. Lolth’s silence, naturally, has made them even weaker. Many of the “spider-kissers” are natives of Maerimydra; some are considering a return to that city to oust the upstart invaders. There are no followers of Kiaransalee among the drow of Cormanthor.

  • Eryndlyn
    The status quo of this drow city beneath the High Moor depends on an uneasy truce among three religious factions: the followers of Ghaunadaur, Vhaeraun, and Lolth. When one side showed its weakness, the other two were quick to take advantage of that weakness, and the Lolth faction is all but exterminated. Her priestesses lie slain, their followers either killed or enslaved. The western plateau of the city, once controlled by the Lolth faction, lies in ruins still contested by the other two factions. Much like Maerimydra, it is a war zone, and battle erupts whenever gangs or better-organized strike teams from the remaining factions should happen to meet. The strife extends into the outer edges of the two other domains as well. With both Ghaunadaur and Vhaeraun taking an active interest in events in Eryndlyn, Kiaransalee’s cult has been unable to find a foothold in this city. Her cult has never numbered more than a tiny handful of outlaw drow in Eryndlyn, despite what is actually an unusual amount of religious freedom in the city: With three powerful factions vying for control, few drow are willing to back a fourth party like Kiaransalee’s weak cult.

  • Guallidurth
    The drow of this city beneath the Calim desert have always tried to follow the Will of Lolth—so much so, that the city has been in a constant state of civil war, carved up among sects that vehemently dispute exactly what the Spider Queen’s will is. The neverending struggle among noble houses common to every drow city is paralleled by an identical struggle among cultic factions, each led by the Matron Mother of a noble house. Ironically, the situation has changed very little since Lolth fell silent. A common crisis, which some would take as an incentive to working together, is simply another point of contention in the heated doctrinal debates in the city. Every faction agrees that Lolth is angry with the drow of Guallidurth, and almost every faction considers the Spider Queen’s anger a result of their having failed to exterminate the heterodox groups that oppose them. The eternal infighting continues unabated, even amplified. Guallidurth has always been a fertile ground for non-Lolthite cults, with the cult of Vhaeraun most prominent among these. About the only thing the Matron Mothers of the city can agree on is that worshiping another deity is even worse than worshiping Lolth the wrong way, so they sometimes manage to join forces to hunt down the heretical cults that spring up like weeds in the city. These hunts are rarely very effective, rapidly dissolving into infighting, which only strengthens the growing disaffection with the rule of Lolth in the city. In this environment, the cult of Kiaransalee is growing measurably stronger, though it still holds little hope of claiming any real power locally.

  • Sschindylryn
    Miles below the King’s Forest of Cormyr, this drow city is a significant trading power in the Underdark, but a minor military one, at best. A sound defeat at the hands of Menzoberranzan’s armies reduced Sschindylryn’s military power to practically zero, and the city has focused on trade while rebuilding its strength, mastering divination and travel magic to enhance its mercantile activities. Even the drow tradition of constant internecine conflict has faded in recent years as the city focuses its attention peacefully outward. With Lolth’s silence, the Matron Mothers of Sschindylryn’s noble houses fear they have angered their goddess by becoming too soft and too comfortable. They have begun a steady campaign of intrigue and assassination, but have failed to muster the full strength of their houses behind them. The resulting rash of murders and one-on-one combats has thinned the numbers of Lolth’s weakened clerics while leaving room for males—particularly merchants and wizards, but also the fighters who hold secondary positions in the houses—to claim the true leadership of the city. Kiaransalee’s cult thrives in this new environment, though it remains small and largely invisible. Each noble house, a festering sore of anger and vengefulness in the wake of the battles among the Matron Mothers, now harbors at least one secretive worshiper of Kiaransalee. Increasingly, fallen priestesses of Lolth are rising as revenants and escalating the conflict. The males who run the city in all but name still frown on the worship of the Revenancer, but do not take anything near the steps that would have been taken before Lolth’s silence to hunt them down and exterminate them.

  • Sshamath
    Located under the Far Hills, Sshamath is a teeming drow metropolis ruled not by the clerics of Lolth, but by male wizards who spearhead the city’s extensive trade in magic items. Traditionally, the clerics of Lolth have held secondary positions of power locally, but with their abrupt loss of magical power they found themselves cast down from their positions and replaced by other wizards and by clerics who retain their spellcasting ability—including several clerics of Kiaransalee. The Revenancer’s interest in magic (particularly necromantic magic) has earned her clerics the respect of Sshamath’s ruling wizards, and they now stand alongside clerics of Vhaeraun and Ghaunadaur as minor city officials. Even with a small temple now standing openly in the mist of the city, however, the Revenancer could not hope to accomplish as much in Sshamath as she has in the ruins of Maerimydra. The Weave disruption created by Irae T’sarran’s work in Maerimydra would never go unnoticed in a city of wizards, and even evil wizards have an interest in seeing that the Weave remains uncorrupted. As a result, her plans in Sshamath exist on a smaller scale. Her high priestess, Chaulga Feth, is quietly amassing a small undead army in preparation for Irae T’sarran’s eventual march from the Dalelands westward, when the Great Revenance is complete.

Page Last Updated June 19th, 2009

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