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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Los Angeles

    Default Lolth, Lady Luck

    Part of my ongoing (or perhaps I should say resuming?) series on the mythology of my world, where my goal was to take "classic" D&D gods and remake them into more complete religious ideologies people might actually want to worship. (See Wee Jas, Erythnul, Corellon Larethian, Nerull, Olidammara, Hextor, The Deep Ones)

    Also, intended to be readable in any order, and for it to be easy to transplant individual parts into other settings.

    Lolth, The Hunted

    "O, cruel Fate, now I see your scheme. How soft we would be if not for your cruelty! How unready for the momentous task that awaited us!"
    - from the epic poem "Estherian Odyssey"

    Domains: Abyss, Cavern, Chaos, Darkness, Destiny, Destruction, Dream, Drow, Evil, Family, Fate, Knowledge, Luck, Lust, Mind, Oracle, Pride, Spider, Trickery
    Portfolio: Assassins, ambition, chaos, cunning, darkness, destiny, drow, fate, luck, mothers, post-traumatic growth, potential, spiders, self-actualization, strength
    Theme: http://listenonrepeat.com/watch/?v=i...ng_Underground, http://listenonrepeat.com/watch/?v=F...h_subtitles%29

    Knowledge (Religion) DC 10:
    Once, Lolth was Lady Luck, the Weaver of Fate and Fortunes, and a patron of motherhood. Today, tales of her treachery are infamous. Now known as the Queen of Spiders, The Poisoner of Fate, and the Weaver of Chaos, she is reviled for her betrayal of Corellon Larethian, perverse cruelty against her own subjects, and disturbing fixation with spiders.

    Formerly the wife of Corellon Larethian, Lolth was corrupted by greed and lust. Not satisfied with her divine rank, she conspired to aid Corellon Larethian's enemy Gruumsh, and steal her husband's power. This led to a great war between the elves, at the end of which Lolth's wicked followers—henceforth known as the Drow—were driven underground.

    Lolth is The Hunted, for she has taken off with the domain of Fate which is so crucial to the pantheon's plans, and it cannot pass to another until she dies. A lot of effort for the pantheon goes into trying to keep the intended course of destiny on the rails (such as Sehanine's inceptions or Hextor's forced order) despite her influence, and she is blamed for many of the troubles of the modern world as a result.

    In art, Lolth is typically depicted as a beautiful drow woman, sometimes with the body of a great spider.

    Dreamcatchers take the form of a spiderweb, for Lolth seeks to interfere with Sehanine Moonbow's dreams.

    Knowledge (Religion) DC 15:
    The drow tell the story of Lolth rather... differently from the rest of the elves. Formerly the goddess of fate and the humble lover of Corellon Larethian, Lolth is said to have realized her own beauty, acquired a sense of self worth, and determined that she and her people were destined for greater things. She came to realize that the ways of the gods of higher divine ranks (all men, of course) were short-sighted, corrupt, and stifling, causing history's problems to endlessly repeat themselves in a cruel drama. Refusing to play second fiddle to Corellon Larethian, whose ways would forever hold the elves back, she left him and instead fell in love with Gruumsh, whose sense of honor she respected. With her guile and wisdom, she managed to secure a greater portfolio for herself.

    For this transgression, Corellon Larethian cursed her chosen followers, forcing them to flee underground as the other elves turned against them. Ever since, Lolth has sworn vengeance against Corellon Larethian, and promised to restore the drow to their rightful place in the world.

    According to her followers, Lolth's philosophy is one of the virtues of ambition, strength, individuality, self-actualization, and realizing your full potential. Lolth is the Hunted, for she is the goddess of fortune, and all seek to find a great destiny.

    Though exiled, Lolth is the weaver of fate still, subtly nudging the world along towards her intended conclusion: The Promised Day, which will result in either a utopia beyond our imagination or catastrophic global destruction, depending on whether the world is prepared to seize its destiny. Great coincidences are thought to be direct messages from Lolth. Depending on one's viewpoint, this can be cause for superstitious fear, or superstitious confidence. Either way, such events are powerful omens, and can even motivate pilgrimages or life changes.

    Some give thanks to Lolth when they accomplish great deeds, paying homage to her as the weaver of their grand fate. Many high level adventurers have claimed to have received omens from Lolth, telling them of how they may seize their destinies. Ambitious individuals might even make great sacrifices to Lolth in order to garner her attention, demonstrating that their strength and conviction is worthy of a grand role in the future.

    The veneration of spiders is based in Lolth's parables. Like her ex-husband, she would often point to nature for demonstrations of moral principles, particularly regarding femininity and motherhood. The spider was simply Lolth's preferred role model. Perhaps the most famous example is the parable of the brood, wherein the new-born spider broods tear each other apart to survive, such that the next generation will be stronger than the last. Another is the parable of the mother, which points to the nature of female spiders to illustrate the strengths of women when we cast off our presumptions.

    Corellon Larethian and Lolth were the parents of the first Obad-Hai, who was slain long ago by Nerull. Some believe that this contributed to the rift that grew between Corellon and Lolth.

    Knowledge (Religion) DC 20:
    Lolth presents a rather novel set of moral principles. She rejects patriarchy, monarchy, chivalry, and other such principles in favor of other notions of honor and virtue.

    To a follower of Lolth, there is no concept of "fighting fair." Such notions are invented by the weak-minded to corrupt the cunning. Chivalry states that men may not gang up because nobles are individually better armed, trained, and educated, while peasants are numerous. Chivalry states that poison and assassination is vile, because it deals with the individual who transgresses rather than making war on their minions while they hide within their castles. Chivalry states that fire and swords are honorable, because castles do not burn like cottages, and steel does not get sliced like linen.

    A follower of Lolth would also say that the idea of the strong protecting the weak is a flawed idea, akin to the proverb of the fisherman. To give a man a fish is to feed a man for a day, but to teach a man to fish is to give him the strength to feed a family for a lifetime. To spare the rod is to spoil the child, denying them the strength of discipline. Competence is borne of struggle, and the most saintly character is as worthless as a lifeless stone if it lacks the power to impose itself on the world and thereby better it. Lolth's philosophy speaks volumes about self-realization and self-actualization, and of creating a stronger individual through ambition and trial.

    The notion that the weak should not be protected has some limits or exceptions... the duties of an adult are different from the duties of a child, and the sacred duties of a mother are to make their children strong. Also, some trials are so mismatched that they will grant no strength, only destruction.

    To a follower of Lolth, strength means more than simply muscle. It means strength of will, strength of character, and strength of mind, as well as the pursuit of grand dreams and ambitions. Cleverness and guile are respected even more than strength of arm. They often claim that in these respects, women are truly the stronger gender amongst the elves.

    One major effect of Lolth's unique philosophy is that drow society seems to be the largest community able to survive with no true central government or monarchy of any kind, though some scholars would note that their societies are dwarfed by those of the "more civilized" races, considering the drow little more than a loose confederation of tribes (or "houses" as the drow call them).

    Lolth is sometimes known as Arachne, Araushnee, or Megwandir in ancient sources. Her connection with spiders goes back to her original role as Corellon's wife and the Weaver of Fate, in which she spun destiny like a spiderweb. Indeed, it is said that the reason Lolth is so concerned with cultivating strength is because of the way fate works. She desires to craft the greatest of destinies for her children, but one must be strong enough to seize a grand destiny intended for them. Being in the right place at the right time is meaningless if one lacks the power to rise to the occasion. (To use a gamist metaphor, it doesn't matter if Lolth can manipulate the d20 if the task is beyond the RNG... or if you don't have the feat or other ability to make the roll in the first place.)

    By contrast, a popular view among Larethian theologians is that Fate is capricious and cruel, so it must be hunted and captured, lest your good fortune slip away. Always be suspicious of that gained by luck, for the Weaver of Fate is a trickster who waits to betray you for her own enigmatic ends. Fortune baits the gambler with some small winnings, only for the gambler to end up destitute. Some (especially roguish sorts) even see lady luck as someone to be tricked in turn, fortune a thing to be courted and deftly outplayed. Others may simply be scornful of gamblers or those who seem to rise in station too easily.

    Either way, drow are far from the only worshipers of Lolth. Faith in Lolth takes many forms, such as the wily gambler who tries to court luck, the pious man who goes on a pilgrimage because he is dogged by evil coincidence, the revolutionary cultist denouncing feudal chivalry, or the doomsayer on a street corner wailing about our misdeeds provoking the Promised Day.

    Knowledge (Religion) DC 25:
    It was Lolth who urged the gods to appoint Wee Jas as psychopomp in the Age of Winter, despite Corellon's skepticism that she could fill such a crucial role. It is also said that it was she who urged—or even tricked—the gods to turn to undeath during the Age of Winter to save their followers, but this is disputed; some sources contend that Lolth took the blame to redirect Pelor's wrath, when in truth all of the gods had eagerly sought to harness undeath's power.

    There are numerous variations of the story of Corellon and Lolth. For instance, a popular view amongst House Velanthe claims that Lolth was a goddess of minor stature in early times, one of many lesser deities with small portfolios working under the greater deities such as Corellon Larethian. According to it, dissatisfaction with her role began even earlier than her relationship with Corellon, and indeed it was her dissatisfaction that drove her to seduce him in the first place. Dissatisfied with the petty fates she was able to craft and desperate to secure the destiny she longed for for her children, she hoped to steal some of Corellon Larethian's vast divine power. She used her inside position to aid Gruumsh, supporting his ill-fated revolution in which he lost his eye... and indeed making such a fight possible in the first place against the two highest ranked deities. In some ways, Gruumsh holds his failure against Lolth, and their relationship is at best inconsistent and dysfunctional.

    There is much speculation of Lolth's role in divine events, as it is uncertain how much influence she currently wields in the pantheon, and her influence as the weaver of fate (now shrouded by her portfolio of darkness and assassins) is nothing if not subtle. Many believe that she is plotting something big... while skeptics say that she is merely hiding from the forces that hunt her.

    Knowledge (Religion) DC 30:
    The Annals of Ios, long thought to have been forever lost, record that it was a great fire from beyond the sky that forced the ancestors of the elves to vacate their ancestral homes. Heeding the warnings of the Iosan star readers, the ancestors of the high elves fled to the realms of the fey, while the ancestors of the drow—either unwilling or unable to abandon the material plane—hid from the catastrophe far beneath the surface. Countless lives were left behind to perish. When the danger had passed generations later, the separated peoples reunited... only to find that their cultures had diverged, and that they could find little in common with each other anymore. Each accused the other of betraying their roots, and wars broke out to determine who would control the ancestral lands. Never again would the elves accept each other as kin. The high elves were an overwhelming planar invasion wielding bewildering magics. The dark elves were an ancient terror long hidden beneath the land. The resilient peoples that had survived on the ruined surface in their absence were caught in the middle.

    Recovered writings of the scholar Esegrius claim that Lolth was actually responsible in part for Joramy and Vecna's ascension to godhood. Why she would do this is unclear.

    Organization: Cobwebs

    "Stop trying to call us an 'organization'. We just agree on the symbols we use to mark stuff, that's all. No, we don't have a guildhall. That's for guilds. Why are you not getting this? Anyway. Learn the bloody signs, and take this to Copper Pete. He gets testy if he don't get his medicine. Come back later and we might have a job for you."
    - Grek

    There are cobwebs in the corners. Wherever people don't look. In the places where those wrapped up in the little world of civilization dare not lend their attention. Right under their noses. Hobo signs etched into walls, known as "Cobmarks." Ragged men on obscure errands. Packages dropped in alleys. Street urchins telling each other to keep the peacock spider symbol tucked out of the way. That's illegal iconography if you ask Larethian priests.

    Lolth's information network on the surface is comprised of people too unimportant to notice. Chambermaids and beggars. Janitors and busboys. They may not even know that they do her will, for her art is subtle, her omens obscure, and her webs an ethereal gossamer. Guards have problems with this network because they're so decentralized. Nobody is in charge, people just all do what they do. Need something mailed? It'll get there. Need to buy something? Tell somebody. Need a few gold pieces? I know a guy with some work. Just deliver this package to this address. Just sit in this park and remember what people do there. Just listen to the chambermaid's gossip. A tip here and there is all it takes to forge an empire of shadows. Little spiders in the cobwebs, always listening.

    The network isn't so much an organization as it is the language of society's underbelly, subtly co-opted by women in the shadows. It works much like a spider's web. Each strand and meeting point is just as important as the rest, and when it catches a bug? Ball it up, move it to the side, fix the broken part. The web is spread as wide as possible, and every forgotten soul is an informant whispering in the ear of the Peacock Spider... whoever or whatever that is! And should the web catch something actionable, why, Lolth's got ninja assassins in her portfolio.

    Organization: The Auspicium

    "It is a mother's duty to make each generation stronger than the last."
    - Sulavrada, matron of the Auspicium

    Drow have diverged significantly from their surface cousins in magical and physical traits. They now boast spell-like abilities, visual acuity in the dark that is incredible even by dwarven standards, a general resistance to magic, a keener intelligence, and a greater aptitude for sorcery.

    These are the results of a long-term breeding project, the caretakers of which are the Auspicium. Consisting of drow matrons and scholars, the Auspicium translate Lolth's philosophy on evolving under pressure into a pragmatic approach to making the drow better suited to their hostile environment... and for seizing their coming destiny. For this, they utilize a mastery of divination, transmutation, social engineering, and subterfuge. They identify (or engineer) individuals with mutations, and mate them to produce lineages with special abilities, who are then spread across the population at large once their heritage can be reliably replicated. It is the auspicians who are charged with reading the auspices of Fate over every birth, and they who are charged with guiding the long-term destiny of the race itself.

    Sorcerers are of especial interest to the Auspicium, though their methods for procuring them range from kidnapping to offering generous marriage dowries (whether they're drow or not). After all, why fight a powerful sorcerer when they'll settle for a beautiful spouse who's enthusiastic about having many kids, a big house, a nice back yard, and lots of money? Either way, this often leads them to compete with Jasite sects for talented sorcerers.

    The Auspicium studies the Underdark's influence on the drow (their proximity to the psionic presence of the Deep Ones is a special point of research), the population genetics of spell-like ability inheritance, and the effectiveness of different drow houses' breeding programs. However, their activities extend beyond just humanoids. The Auspicium boasts the foremost experts on creating magebred creatures and does a brisk trade in animal husbandry, resulting in widespread use of magebred creatures by the drow as well as opening trade routes with the surface. They also engage in population management for Underdark monsters, making sure to catalogue, capture, and cull subjects in order to maintain an ecosystem in which the Drow can thrive.

    Just like the worship of Lolth, the Auspicium and its methods have long since spread beyond the drow. Seeing the success of the drow program, auspician organizations have emerged among the other species, although they generally assert themselves as merchant guilds entirely independent from the drow houses. While one might trade with the drow for a domesticated version of a fearsome underdark monster for a security system, breeding magebred horses is largely the work of the human Auspicium.

    Auspicium agents (both drow and otherwise) sometimes take efforts to create a more hostile and dangerous ecosystem, so long as it will serve their interests. They might, for instance, hunt and slay a metallic dragon that was preying on the trolls of the region so that more trolls could cull the human population. Auspicium agents could then infiltrate the leadership of the besieged human communities, and use their influence to arrange marriages between the families that survived. Or perhaps a merchant might breed better varieties of horse and oxen that people will want, then discretely introduce the most ferocious strain of manticore to a trade route so that you need those animals to not starve.

    Code of Conduct: Paladins of Lolth

    "There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
    - Ernest Hemingway

    This code of conduct applies to those who would call themselves paladins of the faith, not just any follower of Lolth.

    - Live for the future, rather than dwelling in memories. Do not hold on to trinkets or places, but instead embrace new possibilities. Show ambition, and do not waste opportunities to advance it. Aspire to a grander destiny. Be mindful of omens, and seek to know and realize your destiny as part of Lolth's masterfully woven web. Do not squander fortune's favor. Trust your luck. Take the chance!

    - Do not willingly surrender an advantage over your opponent, such as by meaningless scruples or misguided senses of honor. Intentionally giving up your advantages for the sake of a nebulous chivalrous ideal is aiding and abetting the enemy. A paladin's duty is to defeat evil, not to offer it a fighting chance.

    - Do not show weakness. Be an example of strength to inspire others. Even in the depth of defeat, do not despair, for every trial serves to prepare Lolth's followers for more important challenges yet to come.

    - Do not be slothful. Maintain mastery over your physical and mental self. Do not neglect responsible measures such as diet, exercise, etc, squandering your body's potential. The drow are known for wearing revealing clothing not because of promiscuity, but because they are proudly displaying their fitness, which is thought to represent proof of their discipline, mettle, and strength.

    - Do not coddle the weak, for to do so will only make them weaker, leading them (or their society) to greater harm in the long run. The true savior offers one the strength to save themselves, just as an ideal mother offers a child the strength to survive without her protection.

    - Respect women as at least the equals of men. Mothers especially.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Los Angeles

    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    So, to those who have been wondering where I've been and have been sending me messages asking when/if I'll be posting more gods: Long story short, life threw some quite unforeseen and rather lifechanging curveballs my way, and that delayed me for quite a while. Rest assured, I am going to complete the full set. Just a bit later than I had expected. But hey, here's something to reward the long wait! Hope you like it.

    Bonus section!

    The Hidden Cities: Notes on the Ecology and Cultures of the Drow


    Ecology
    - When the drow were driven underground, faith in Lolth became far more militant than it once was. To say that the deep underdark is a harsh environment would be a grave understatement. As if living in a cave wasn't hard enough, pretty much everything that lives down there is highly intelligent, fearsomely powerful, and mercilessly hostile. Mind flayers are just plain awful neighbors, really. To survive, the drow needed more than their Lady's good luck, and so the clergy of Lolth became something more. The clergy supporting the core of early underdark communities kept the people afloat with magical food production, procured ever more political control, and were forced to take increasingly drastic measures to ensure the long-term success of their people at a time when the other elves were sure that they had been given a death sentence. Most drow are descended from these particular early communities, because the others who fled to the underdark perished.

    This is why so many drow societies are centered around the Lolth religion so closely; it was the functional rock their traditions were built upon (contrary to the high elf propaganda that their society somehow works despite their religious tendencies, rather than because of it). Not only did the priests cast magical spells that served fundamental societal functions, but they also espoused a discipline which bred a people capable of surviving in such a harsh environment. This was the birth of the system of Houses, theocratic communities ruled by clerical hierarchies. Today, the drow wear their race's survival in the underdark as a badge of pride, and offer thanks to Lolth for their survival.

    Of course, this was merely a stopgap, and the drow quickly had to learn to master their new environment, as other creatures had done before them. But where does the energy come from to support so much life? Well, as it turns out, modern fantasy authors have access to a lot better explanations than "magical radiation," since our scientific understanding of sunless ecosystems has made great strides since the time of Gygax (seriously, when Original D&D was published, we still hadn't sent down the first deep sea submersible!). This is apparently even more true when it comes to things like the odd way mushrooms seem to get along with radiation at sites like Chernobyl, or bacteria making a living in the oceanic crust below thick layers of sediment, apart from hydrothermal vents.

    Massive cave systems can support their own weather systems, complete with subterranean clouds. Many are thriving with life fed largely by energy sources other than the sun. Some even have verdant underground forests (though these can only go so deep, as far as I know). Perhaps most importantly, giant cave systems tend to be largely flooded, and no cave on planet earth compares to the scope of the underdark's cyclopean caverns. Vast underground oceans (think something like Sunless Sea) fed by hydrothermal vents and other chemical energy sources drive a rich yet alien aquatic ecosystem which serves as a basis for less wet underdark life. This is also why the underdark is full of aberrations, since in this world aberrations are related to deep sea life (see "The Deep Ones").

    In the depths, chemosynthesis is common, but apparently you don't even need sunlight for photosynthesis, either. Molten rivers and geothermal vents provide heat and gasses, which in turn feed chemotrophic bacteria and small organisms, which in turn feed fungi and oozes and the like. This alone is sufficient to support a huge amount of biomass wherever those sources of energy are abundant. Think like, say, the Villa Luz caves in Mexico with their ecology based around hot hydrogen sulfide springs.

    The drow generally don't build terribly large societies, due to the challenges of agriculture (which is... weird and relatively inadequate, when it's possible at all. It mostly relies on dredging stuff from around thermal vents or the odd Etrian-Odyssey-like underground forest, or impressive feats of engineering). The Houses are essentially glorified tribes unified by a need to stand against the horrors of the deep or raids from the surface. They rely on herding, hunting, gathering, raiding, magical food production, and access to the subterranean seas for fishing and aquaculture. They have some really cool floating gardens. They also often have to protect themselves from the very noxious gasses that allow the underground ecosystems to function.

    But all of this still doesn't account for all of the food that more urban drow societies consume. What allowed such growth? Where does the rest come from? The answer is simple: Trade. The underdark might be full of horrors, but it's also full of treasures the likes of which cannot be found anywhere else... which is of course why adventurers are always spelunking around down there. The drow Houses that live in the Underdark export marvels of the deep, and import food (as well as other things that are tricky to get ahold of underground). Like many surface cities, they aren't self-sufficient at their population density simply because they don't have to be.

    Culture
    - The reason drow are known for revealing clothing isn't because of promiscuity, but because they are proudly displaying their fitness. A healthy physique is thought to represent evidence of discipline, mettle, strength, and superiority as a society... not to mention evidence of one's station. Note that there's a massive difference between that kind of dress and dressing like a stripper, though (where the goal is to be objectified, instead of aggrandized), and I thus feel many drow portrayals would still be inappropriate in my setting. (This difference is why, for instance, Conan wouldn't generally be considered objectified).


    Dressed to impress, this revealing drow clothing is meant to be more imposing than risque.

    - Drow (canonically) breed faster than other elves. Some say that this is because Lolth was the mother goddess of the elves, and her curse has hindered the childbirth of all but the drow. Others say that the knowledge of the auspicians has allowed for healthier children. There are many theories as to why this does not result in a population explosion for the drow. Some point to a lack of resources and a hostile environment. Others claim that drow society is self-destructive, and it is only because of their birthrate that their society can survive at all. Still others suggest that an advanced society with access to contraception and strong rights for women means that a society will constrain its own population growth. A few, however, speak of a hidden metropolises, concealed deep beneath the earth, where the drow thrive in numbers, awaiting the destined opportunity to rise up and retake the surface.

    - Over the centuries, drow culture has learned to find beauty in nature such as it surrounds them, just as we have come to find beauty in the nature that surrounds us. For them, that means dark seas, giant vermin, and venomous fungus. While these things make them seem terrifying and alien to us, it is really just another manifestation of the elven connection to nature. The difference is that nothing is green or furry where they come from. This goes both ways; our furry creatures and greenery are strange to the drow just as their spiders and mushrooms are creepy to us.


    Drow see pest-eating spiders kinda like we see cats. And vice versa.

    - Many drow cultures practice slavery, something that detractors are often quick to point out as proof of irredeemable racial evil (even if their own races have had or still have cultures that practice slavery, of course). A high elf might claim that his culture's language once had no word for slave, and that the word comes from Drow. A drow, however, might counter that she suspects fish once had no word for water, comparing the conditions of the lower classes of feudalism unfavorably to the lives of slaves in her own culture.

    The truth is that the Drow houses rely relatively little on local agriculture, and there are no massive plantations that could require the sort of excessive, unintermitted labor of chattel slavery. Drow slaves, then, may resemble the slavery of less agricultural societies rather than the likes of Western Europe.

    Drow society is not monolithic, and there are many different cultures and traditions when it comes to the handling of slaves. However, a few unique traditions are found in many slave-keeping societies of the dark elves.

    Slaves in subterranean drow society aid in hunting, gathering, sailing, mining, aquaculture, industry, and domestic activities. The bearing of loads, in particular, is often considered an unfit task for a free person. While a slave must obey their master, they are typically afforded certain legal rights, and in some drow cultures might even be allowed to request a new master if their treatment breaks with a House's traditions; after all, all resources must be properly managed in the harsh environs of the Underdark, and humanoid resources are no exception.

    In the complex hierarchies of the dark elves, even slaves hold a variety of social ranks. A slave may hold a title, own property (in some rare cases even becoming more wealthy than the master), own slaves themselves, swear an oath, serve as a legal witness, inherit property or title from a master, or intermarry with their children (though this last is often supervised by the breeding recommendations of the Auspicium). A slave might even hold command over free persons. For example, a military lieutenant may be a slave to her general, and command a force of free soldiers. In such societies, a slave must be loyal to their master, but not necessarily anyone else.

    While drow slaves are often afforded certain rights, there is of course a nastier side as well. Many drow societies practice humanoid experimentation, and some practice blood sacrifice. Mining for certain materials can also be particularly dangerous and taxing work (albeit eased by the use of certain spells), and is often reserved for the lowest class of slaves.

    Sorcerous slaves are of particular note. The Auspicium seeks to acquire slaves for experimentation or for breeding. The Auspicium's influence means that drow often interbreed with sorcerous slaves, including those of other races. This can vary from keeping slaves exclusively for the purpose of bearing children for sacrifice on an operating table, to having Sorcerers of other races intermarry with prodigious drow houses and become adopted members of the family.

    Holy Day: The Festival of Silks

    Think like this, but with wild dancing, arcane flares, painted drow, and hanging silks in an underground cavern

    Not only are spiders a good equivalent to mousers and guard dogs... they also weave a valuable export. Giant spider silk is prized around the world, despite (or perhaps in part because of) the occasional association with sin or scandal by peoples of the surface.

    In some of the subterranean lands where this industry thrives, there is a custom. Each year, drow gather to celebrate the harvesting of the silk. It is on this day that the underdark is awash in color. Colorful silk banners are draped from every surface, and elaborate patterns are carried through the streets. Painted dancers clothed in veils revel in the light of arcane flares, while acrobats swing from webbed ceilings. Children and slaves alike run happily through the streets dressed in fine silk clothes, trailing streamers. Even the spiders are painted, and allowed to crawl freely over the banners and patterns stretching from house to house.

    During the celebration, priestesses unseal a cavern to unveil the grand weave, made by venerable spiders over the course of the whole year. Before the gathered people, auspicians interpret its beautiful patterns to predict the coming year. The announcements are concluded with such revelry and drink that even foreigners forget to care about the spiders crawling over everything; it all just blends into sensation and color.

    By the end of the celebration, the fine silk distributed to the populace—clothing and streamers, veils and weaves—is gathered back up and, for the most part, prepared for export. After all, while silk and dyes are abundant, other things are not, and so they must trade. But they get to enjoy this abundance for a day.

    (More details on this in series of posts beginning here: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/shows...3&postcount=50)

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Halfling in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2010

    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    I like this a lot. My campaign setting has more than one culture of dark elves, but one of them is more traditional dark elves (But not exactly). Do you care if I lift this for their religion? (Even if I change Loth's name, because I dislike how it sounds?)

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Daemon

    Join Date
    May 2015

    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    Definitely liking your take on the drow. They're not worse than most medieval societies, they just have different failings.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Los Angeles

    Thumbs up Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    Quote Originally Posted by DreamingGod05 View Post
    I like this a lot. My campaign setting has more than one culture of dark elves, but one of them is more traditional dark elves (But not exactly). Do you care if I lift this for their religion? (Even if I change Loth's name, because I dislike how it sounds?)
    Go for it, it's made to be used. Just be sure to credit it if it's reposted anywhere or something.

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    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    Sorcerers are of especial interest to the Auspicium, though their methods for procuring them range from kidnapping to offering generous marriage dowries (whether they're drow or not). After all, why fight a powerful sorcerer when they'll settle for a beautiful spouse who's enthusiastic about having many kids, a big house, a nice back yard, and lots of money? Either way, this often leads them to compete with Jasite sects for talented sorcerers.
    New god write-ups are back, YAY!

    *EDIT* I'm now picturing powerful sorcerers having drow mail-order brides.
    Last edited by Jendekit; 2016-03-01 at 12:37 PM.
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    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    They want your blood. Your sorcerous blood.

    Hooray! Glad to see the stuff we talked about finally out and doing its delicious business - been using this take on drow for damn near four months, I'm so happy it's all compiled together now. It all looks so great.
    "Scary magical hoodoo and technology are the same thing, their difference is merely cultural context" - Clarke, paraphrased

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    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    For me, the key story here is the Death of Obad-Hai I. I weave the story as being Corellon made a sacrifice that Lolth didn't think was his choice to make.

    The High Elves might see it as LOLTH sending Obad-Hai out to face his fate (since she saw it as his fate and pushed for her son to achieve greatness), not Corellon.

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    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    Quote Originally Posted by Blake Hannon View Post
    Definitely liking your take on the drow. They're not worse than most medieval societies, they just have different failings.
    My take on drow slavery is inspired partly by the historical Ashanti of West Africa, and examples such as an enslaved, high status military leader having command over free soldiers comes straight from real life. Their version of slavery confused the hell out of visiting Europeans, who had a very different idea indeed of a slave's place in society.

    Here's one of the online references I used if anyone would like to learn more:
    https://books.google.com/books?id=jt...page&q&f=false

    There's definitely some great inspiration to be had there that I didn't put into the entry out of concern for space.

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    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    Quote Originally Posted by Jendekit View Post
    New god write-ups are back, YAY!

    *EDIT* I'm now picturing powerful sorcerers having drow mail-order brides.
    In Drow society, bride mail-orders you!

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    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    What do you mean by 'steel does not slice like linen'?

    PS: I love this! 10/10 would play a drow.

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    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Watcher View Post
    In Drow society, bride mail-orders you!
    Pretty much

    Quote Originally Posted by Miejoe View Post
    What do you mean by 'steel does not slice like linen'?
    A noble can afford full plate (not to mention superior martial training, better general health, and armed posses), so they will relatively rarely die from a sword. Rather than being killed in the conflicts they started, they would be captured and ransomed. By contrast, peasant conscripts and civilians would die in droves for a noble's war.

    Basically, Lolth's priesthood is saying that chivalry is constructed for the benefit of a corrupt noble class, and that the defining difference between "honorable" and "dishonorable" tactics is generally how likely that tactic is to damage a powerful man's interests, rather than actually having anything to do with the well-being of the general populace.

    Swords are "honorable" because they will cut down a peasant, but will not cut a noble's armor. Even if the noble is injured, it will rarely be fatal; the noble has access to health care, and will likely survive their wound.

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    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    Candidates for next (e.g. the ones that are closest to done):

    Joramy, the new goddess of fire and probity. Because killing it with fire isn't just a good idea, it's holy law.

    Sehanine Moonbow, Lady of Dreams and messenger of the gods. The price of this bard's performance is just a few of your memories.

    Bahamut, a god of trade and travel who devoured the soul of his creator.

    Obad-Hai, the wild gods/goddesses of balance. Because the circle of life is a cosmic showdown, and nature is armed to the teeth.

    Any preferences on who goes up next?

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    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    We've heard so much about him/her/it that I gotta vote for Obad-Hai
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    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    Drow see pest-eating spiders kinda like we see cats. And vice versa.
    Copy-pasting my reaction to this bit from skype:
    Dagda: oh my god

    Dagda: oh my god llolth is basically a cat lover

    Dagda: if they had youtube drow would spend alot of their time on it watching cute spider videos

    Dagda: this is blowing my mind

    Raygun Goth: Drowtube

    Raygun Goth: https://45.media.tumblr.com/dfe8d5d238326d76b9b9f418ce26f534/tumblr_nz756xNOeQ1s02vreo1_500.gif

    Dagda: drow male: "OH GOD HELP"
    drow female: "what, what is it?!"
    drow male: "THERE'S A REALLY BIG CAT IN HERE I NEED YOU TO COME GET RID OF IT."

    Dagda: drow male is like, backed away in a corner.

    Dagda: seriously ludic what have you done
    Last edited by Dagda Mor; 2016-03-03 at 05:22 PM.

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    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    I love this. Far more in depth than my musings.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zombulian View Post
    Cool idea. Cool name. I like this guy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    Obviously this is how a Beholder's anti-magic eye works. It's not just negating magic, it's gathering valuable Vitamin A(rcane).
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    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    The description of the Auspicium doing everything they can to get sorcerers into the Drow lineage reminds me of the Narn in season 1 of Babylon 5, doing any amount of wheeling, dealing, and horse trading to get their hands on telepath DNA.

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    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    Candidates for next (e.g. the ones that are closest to done):

    Joramy, the new goddess of fire and probity. Because killing it with fire isn't just a good idea, it's holy law.

    Sehanine Moonbow, Lady of Dreams and messenger of the gods. The price of this bard's performance is just a few of your memories.

    Bahamut, a god of trade and travel who devoured the soul of his creator.

    Obad-Hai, the wild gods/goddesses of balance. Because the circle of life is a cosmic showdown, and nature is armed to the teeth.

    Any preferences on who goes up next?
    Either Joramy, because I want to hear her side of the Erythnul story, or Obad-Hai for the same reason as JendeKit. I'm going to say Obad-Hai.
    Last edited by LordotTrinkets; 2016-03-03 at 09:09 PM.
    P.S. If you did not receive this post, let me know and I'll re-send it.

    Quote Originally Posted by BilltheCynic View Post
    *And now I have an image of an animated suit of adamantine armor, complete with armor spikes and a wicked scythe, wearing a top hat. And it is awesome.
    *"Nowhere that I am, everywhere that I am not."

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    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    The Auspicium arose out of a need for a controlled breeding program in early drow society. Think something like Rossiu's deprived underground culture from Gurren Lagann.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dagda Mor View Post
    Copy-pasting my reaction to this bit from skype:

    Dagda: oh my god

    Dagda: oh my god llolth is basically a cat lover

    Dagda: if they had youtube drow would spend alot of their time on it watching cute spider videos

    Dagda: this is blowing my mind

    Raygun Goth: Drowtube

    Raygun Goth: https://45.media.tumblr.com/dfe8d5d2...2vreo1_500.gif

    Dagda: drow male: "OH GOD HELP"
    drow female: "what, what is it?!"
    drow male: "THERE'S A REALLY BIG CAT IN HERE I NEED YOU TO COME GET RID OF IT."

    Dagda: drow male is like, backed away in a corner.

    Dagda: seriously ludic what have you done
    Cats and spiders serve similar functions. They both stick around in your home, keep to themselves, and kill pests. Big enough spiders even make good mousers.

    From drowtube:

    Spoiler
    Show



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    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    My vote goes to Obad-Hai, he/her are the most built up to at this point.

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    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    I vote Joramy! Let's just keep dancing around Obad-Hai for a while yet.

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    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    I absolutely love these, and put my vote to Bahamut. I... may or may not have made a dragon Illuminati in my ongoing campaign, much to the despair of the dragonborn paladin of Bahamut, so anything I could use to make big B seem morally questionable would be great.

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    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    Yeah, besides the story being told from a bunch of angles, some nature god(s) like Obad-hai is necessary if you're going to run druids and maybe rangers. I'd like to see him/them.

    I like the Cobwebs organisation BTW. Though I have a horrible feeling that it could result in pogroms against vagrants and the like.

    You mentioned that this started with a character of yours who followed Lolth in a game a while back. Did you change the details of the religion much from what you wrote up then? Not the organisations, the religion itself.
    Last edited by avr; 2016-03-05 at 02:27 AM.

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    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    Quote Originally Posted by avr View Post
    You mentioned that this started with a character of yours who followed Lolth in a game a while back. Did you change the details of the religion much from what you wrote up then? Not the organisations, the religion itself.
    No, I did not change the core details of the religion very much from what I came up with for my old drow PC.

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    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    Out of a desire to avoid Thread-Necromancy I'm asking this here, but how many of the Deep Ones do you have named in your setting? Is it just the two provided in the DO thread and the rest are spoken of as just a collective group?
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    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    Quote Originally Posted by Jendekit View Post
    Out of a desire to avoid Thread-Necromancy I'm asking this here, but how many of the Deep Ones do you have named in your setting? Is it just the two provided in the DO thread and the rest are spoken of as just a collective group?
    Isn't thread necromancy allowed in homebrew threads? I seem to recall hearing that somewhere.

    Anyways, I think I mentioned Panzuriel in Corellon Larethian's section. That said, I didn't want to actually list all the Deep Ones just so that I could leave room for people to make up specific ones as needed in a campaign.

    Edit: Apparently the rule is that you can bump a thread after 45 days in the Homebrew forums if and only if you're the creator of that thread. So just PM me if you want to post something in one of the old threads and I'll bump it.

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    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    I vote Joramy
    Let's save the best for last with Obad-Hai, hehe.

    Also the only god I really don't recognise is that Moonbow person. Is she a personal creation, or from some source of D&D knowledge that I am not aware of?

    These gods are amazing, way to go on making something spectacular out of something pretty bland!
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    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    Quote Originally Posted by DMwithoutPC's View Post
    I vote Joramy
    Let's save the best for last with Obad-Hai, hehe.

    Also the only god I really don't recognise is that Moonbow person. Is she a personal creation, or from some source of D&D knowledge that I am not aware of?

    These gods are amazing, way to go on making something spectacular out of something pretty bland!
    Sehanine Moonbow is a Greyhawk deity: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sehanine_Moonbow

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    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    It's fascinating how your write ups just completely change my opinions about some of these gods. Lolth is quite interesting. You made Nerull sympathetic. Nerull! Also I must say Wee Jas was well written, but I definitely detested her by the time I was done reading. Hoping for a Moradin write up.
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Lolth, Lady Luck

    In what ways did you dislike Wee Jas?

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