“Great Goddess, Mother of the Dark, grant me the blood of my enemies for drink and their living hearts for meat. Grant me the screams of their young for song, grant me the helplessness of their males for my satisfaction, grant me the wealth of their houses for my bed. By this unworthy sacrifice I honor you, Queen of Spiders, and beseech of you the strength to destroy my foes.”
– Pellanistra Helviiryn, Drow Matron
Deity: Lolth, Fallen First Wife of the Seldarine
Home Plane: The Abyss
Domains: Trickery, War
Divine Rank: Greater Deity
Titles: Queen of the Drow, The Spider Goddess, Queen of the Demonweb Pits, First of the Fallen Seldarine, The Outcast, The Adulterer, Mother of Lusts, The Lady of Chaos
Symbol: Spiders, all forms of spiders
Known Aspects/Aliases/Avatars: Araushnee
Head Priest: None in Kokand
Temple Location: None in Kokand
Followers Size: Most of the drow race, at least in acknowledgment.
Related Organizations: Handmaidens of the Spider Queen, Militant Myrlochar (Order of Soul Spiders)
Enemies: Surface Elves (specifically followers of Corellon)
Date Provided/Updated: 9.24.5751
As Queen of the Dark Seldarine
Lolth is the leader of the Dark Seldarine but was opposed to varying degrees by all other members of it. She was the mother of both Eilistraee and Vhaeraun, along with Vandria, though the latter never supported the acts of her mother or joined the Dark Seldarine.
Lolth encouraged her son’s rivalry with her, for it appealed to her love of chaos. However, his success at leading a rebellion against her rule made her reassess him as a threat. He massed the second largest following among drow overall and the largest on the surface. This threat has increased her assessment of him and he is now considered a very real enemy and rival.
It is originally believed that the two had no common ground: Lolth promoted protecting and raising females, while Vhaeraun promoted status quo similar to that with the surface elves; the Spider Queen wanted surface elves to be sacrificed by her worshipers, while the Masked Lord urged his followers to cooperate with surface elves; Lolth ordered her followers to keep drow society stagnant in every regard, while Vhaeraun attracted those who wanted change in their societal progress, economic growth, and territorial expansion; and Lolth wanted to extinguish the drow race’s desire to return to the surface, while Vhaeraun encouraged settling the surface.
Quick note from the researchers. We have encountered a few examples that indicate the exact opposite may be in fact the situation. There are rumors that Matrons have been paying lip service to Lolth but in fact worshiping Vhaeraun and enforcing his principles. We have not been able to determine the validity or veracity, but it is something to be considered.
Vhaeraun’s masked traitors, clerical spies Lolth had mistakenly believed members of her own clergy, were enough of a problem that she considered their discovery, and warning her clergy of their existence, worthy of her personal attention. Indeed, Lolth, who normally gave worshipers of other drow gods a second chance on being found out, made an exception for Vhaeraun’s followers, who were were killed right away.
The other members of the Dark Seldarine were generally of minor importance and Lolth’s behavior towards them could be described as derisive.
The epithet used by Eilistraee’s followers’ to describe Lolth was “the Tyrant Poisoner”.
Allies – Dark Seldarine
Kiaransalee and Selvetarm were her allies (and the only ones in the drow pantheon), who acted as her servants. The former was forced into subservience due to the power gap between her and Lolth, the latter was Lolth’s grandchild and her (self-appointed) champion. Selvetarm was practically enslaved to her, but was quite comfortable under her rule, enough to botch his chance at gaining freedom when his father, Vhaeraun, was about to kill Lolth.
Lolth was an enemy of the Seldarine, especially of Corellon Larethian, her former husband, Sehanine Moonbow, for the part she played in foiling her scheme to overthrow Corellon, and Fenmarel Mestarine, who was her partner in adultery but ultimately allowed her to be cast out. While her hatred was deep, she did not actually put any significant effort into acting on it, she had an opportunity to kill Corellon but she allowed him to get away on more than one occaision
Researcher Note: Several legends indicate that Gruumsh was the other adulterous party. We have no data on Fenmarel after the break up, and some signs indicate we should consider the myth that Gruumsh was at one time an elven lord who was cast out by Corellon (possibly Fenmarel).
Lolth was formerly Araushnee, the lesser elven goddess of destiny and artisans. She was Corellon Larethian’s consort, and the main goddess of the elves. They had twins together, the elder Vhaeraun, the younger Eilistraee. She took position as Queen of the elves when they were formerly married.
At some point, Araushnee grew ambitious and started to plot against Corellon. During her first attempt, she aided Gruumsh in trying to kill her husband. That along with other repeated failures to kill Corellon resulted in her being banished to the Abyss after she was turned into a Tanar’ri (a demon of the abyss).
Queen of the Demonweb Pits.
After her exile, Araushnee took the name “Lolth“. She conquered the 66th layer of the Abyss, the Demonweb Pits, for herself. Lolth was initially opposed by Kiaransalee, an elven goddess whom she swiftly subjugated, and Ghaunadaur, with whom she had a longer conflict. That Which Lurks tried to subsume her, but failed, and in his rage robbed his followers of their intellect. It also downsized his follower base and his power with it, thus allowing Lolth to emerge victorious.
Researcher Note: The more I research this goddess the more I feel there is something not being said or talked about. Rumors of abuse, misogyny and depredations dance along the outside of these set of legends. Her transformation into an abyssal demon against her will seems to run counter to Seldarine teachings.
I urge further research here. Also, more detail of the rebellion and her fall along with the breaking of the Seldarine will be presented in future research on those myths.