The Demonweb Pits have a deep-rooted history within the game, and now you can join others at the gaming table to revisit several classic adventures in Expedition to the Demonweb Pits. This adventure puts a different spin on the classics, though, so even if you did play through the classics mentioned in the Introduction (below), you'll still have a few surprises in store.
As we did with past adventures, we're providing the some of the excerpts for Expedition to the Demonweb Pits in downloadable, zipped PDF files so that you can better see what you're getting in this adventure. Take a look at the Introduction, some other introductory excerpts, and a few encounters and a monster, which you can download. (You will need Acrobat Reader to view the PDF documents.)
The Demonweb Introduction
Some Abyssal layers are the realms of demon lords, and others are the realms of gods. The Spider Queen Lolth is a demon that became a god, and her realm on the 66th layer is the nexus of some of the most nefarious plots in the Abyss. Lolth seeks to expand her realm by drawing worlds of the Material Plane into her Abyssal Demonweb, gaining additional power with each conquest. The Demon Queen of Spiders covets the status of the most powerful deities and seeks to achieve their station through treachery, deceit, and murder.
Unless otherwise noted, all doors are unlocked, simple wooden doors (break DC 13; hardness 5; hp 5) and ceilings are 15 feet high.
There is no ambient light in Lolth's Demonweb; her drow are perfectly comfortable in the dark. Unless a light source is described, the characters have to provide their own.
The Demonweb is made of thick, magical webbing, sometimes forming passageways and other times forming vast webs or cocoonlike chambers. The webbing is immune to fire, cold, and electricity and has hardness 10 and 20 hit points per 5-foot section.
Throughout the web, various structures hang amid the strands, as though caught in the web's snare. This is truer than one might think, because the nature of Lolth's Web creates random portals throughout the planes, drawing in buildings, structures, and ships. The inhabitants of the Demonweb then incorporate the structures into the web.
Curved walls of sticky webbing form the pathways, creating an immense network of overlapping 20-foot-wide tubelike corridors. Examination of the pathways reveals a subtle movement in the apparently natural patterns formed by the webs, which constantly shift to form the twisted bodies and faces of condemned souls. The webbing is only slightly adhesive -- enough to feel strange but not enough to hinder movement. Climbing the side of a web passage requires a DC 10 Climb check.
In a few areas, webbing forming the passages and tunnels has worn thin. Characters struck in combat in these areas might fall off a pathway into the outer web (see below); a Balance check (DC 10 + damage dealt) is required to stay on the pathway. PCs who fall off the web plunge 10d% feet before hitting a web strand and becoming caught. Luckily, the web takes much of the impact, and the PC takes just 1d6 points of damage per 100 feet fallen.
If a character cuts through the webbing, he or she can crawl or climb out of a pathway into the outer web. The outer surface of the tunnels is stickier than the inside, which makes movement difficult. A DC 15 Strength check is required to move across its surface (one check per move action); failure means that the character does not move in that round.
Adventurers in the Demonweb must avoid the drow patrols that sweep the pathways, as well as the demons and arachnid horrors that do Lolth's bidding. In extremely rare cases, a persuasive PC might convince one of Lolth's servants to betray another, but none ever betray the will of their beloved Spider Queen.
Here and there, solid metal doors lead off from a pathway, apparently into fog. These portals lead to a variety of demiplanes and Material Plane worlds that figure into Lolth's political and military schemes. Many of these worlds have been utterly defeated by Lolth's minions and swarm with dark elves, demons, and other servants of the Queen of the Demonweb Pits. See page 64 for more about the planar doors.
The Outer Web
The area around the detailed locations on the map is a black void filled with strands of webbing in all directions -- including up and down. Due to the density of the webs, visibility is reduced to about 100 feet. PCs who leave the pathway can fly or move however they wish.
Far beneath Lolth's Web, in wells of utter darkness, lie the dreaded Demonweb Pits (see page 52 for details). A billowing mass of putrid gray clouds suffuses the Demonweb Pits beyond the web tunnels. Characters who venture into the clouds must succeed on a DC 22 Fortitude save to resist being forever drawn into the chaos of the Abyss. Some tunnels in the lowest parts of the upper Demonweb lead down into this darkness; the fog slowly devours the passageways that touch it, and yet Lolth hides her greatest plots, secrets, and treasures deep within the soul-destroying vapor.
In addition, subterranean sporebats (page 68) hunt in between the tunnels, endlessly searching for prey.
If the PCs leave the map, they find nothing but an infinite web and the soul-sucking fogs below, unless you want to create other encounter areas. The Demonweb is a very big place, and Lolth maintains a lair at its very center.
The maps and text for this adventure detail only a portion of the Demonweb and the Demonweb Pits.
The Abyss has the following special planar traits:
- Infinite Size: The Abyss goes on forever in the form of an infinite number of layers, although its well-known realms are bounded.
- Mildly Chaos-Aligned and Mildly Evil-Aligned: Lawful creatures in the Abyss take a -2 penalty on all Charisma-based checks. Good creatures take a -2 penalty on all Charisma-based checks. Lawful good creatures take a combined -4 penalty on all Charisma-based checks.
In addition, the layer of the Demonweb has the following special traits:
- Enhanced Magic: The Demonweb alters magic and bends other aspects of reality. In the Demonweb, evil or chaotic spells function as if cast by a caster of twice the normal level. Web spells spread out to fill twice the area that they normally would. The save DC of the poison spell increases by 3. Spider climb lasts twice as long, as do spells that summon any type of vermin.
- Evil creatures in the Demonweb heal at twice the normal rate.
- Impeded Magic: Teleportation (including dimension door, plane shift, teleport, greater teleport, and any other spells with the teleportation subschool) within the Demonweb is entirely blocked except as noted under Teleportation Keys, below.