Saturday, 20 October 2012

Neverwinter - Brainstorming: The Demon Weave

This is largely a placeholder post at the moment until I unpack my copy of Menzoberranzan so I can use some of the information in there. Anyway, a few bullet points should help me think.
  • The Queen of Spiders plans to assume the portfolio of magic previously held by Mystra.
  • This becomes the biggest threat of my Neverwinter campaign assuming it continues into the Paragon Tier. (After all, I am quite happy for the campaign to include at the end of the Heroic Tier or perhaps around early to mid-Paragon Tier.)
  • The drow of House Xorlarrin are tapping into the spellplague energies of the Chasm.
  • What does this mean for their relationship with the aboleth? Presumably there must be clashes?
  • My version of Sharandar/New Sharandar has that eladrin city completely disappearing. At one point I thought of perhaps having taken by Oublivae but now I think I want it to have been trapped in the Demonweb Pits instead. Perhaps Lolth is also now using the eladrin souls in that place to weave her Demon Web?
  • The drow have a vested interest in more and more folk becoming spellscarred because they can trap them in a web of blue fire that they have created and from these blue fire web cocoons they can extract much power and feed it to Lolth. (Suddenly the aboleth are looking like they serve no purpose in the Chasm!)
  • Yes, why even both with aboleth in the Chasm? While they might be my favourite monster they are a better fit for my planned That Which Lurks campaign set in East Rift.
  • I can still use the plaguechanged deepspawn as the "boss monster" of the Chasm.
  • This sets up a nice battle in Gauntlgrym between the illithids on one side and the House Xorlarrin plus House (Barrison ...) on the other. There is no need to throw aboleth into the mix so I can save Golismorga for an adventure where it would better fit.
  • The illithids are thus in Neverwinter to try and gather orcs to help them fight the drow. However, the drow slew their leader so a relatively weak illithid is now "advising" Vansi and her orcs, at least until another mind flayer of greater power comes along.
  • Clearly my thoughts about the illithids need a lot more fleshing out.
  • What about Graz'zt?
  • The Dark Prince should be thinking about how to corrupt the Demon Weave for his own purposes. What about that idea of using a fragment of the Shard of Evil to unravel the Demonweb Pits? What if this actually starts in the Demon Weave and then then is "conducted" to the Demonweb Pits?
This is what it says (paraphrased) about the Demon Weave in Menzoberranzan: City of Intrigue noting that this begins in 1480DR which is, of course, the year after my current campaign year:

Following her ascension to greater godhood, Lolth has been biding her time, spinning her webs of treachery and ambition, and looking for ways to increase her sway still further. Her goal in this age is to seize control of arcane magic in the wake of Mystra's death.

To facilitate this grasp for power, Lolth has sent an aspect in the guise of Danifae Yauntyrr to all the cities of the drow. During the War of the Spider Queen Danifae was a fallen priestess, a scoundrel and a seductress, but her journey to the Demonweb Pits marked her as Lolth's Yor'thae, her chosen. Lolth devoured and assiminated Danifae to complete her transformation.

Danifae has now returned to Menzoberranzan, apparently as an aspect of Lolth herself. Danifae whispers to the leaders of all the great drow houses, bringing a revelation of Lolth's divine will. Lolth will be served by priests and wizards alike, she says, as the Spider Queen spins the Demon Weave to replace Mystra's unravelled Weave. Danifae spurs the drow leaders to gather ancient knowledge to aid Lolth's continued ascent.

During this period,, the drow are scouring the world for great relics, gathering artefacts once sacred to Mystra (and also Azuth, Savras and Velsharoon), and fighting for control of magical locations on the world's surface.

As the drow gather arcane energy and channel it to Lolth, the Spider Queen's power grows. Her web extends to cover most of the world, forming a Demon Weave to replace the sundered Weave that Mystra had maintained - a new fabric of arcane magic. Now the priests and wizards who serve Lolth have access to greater power than ever before, and their task is to use it.

Across the surface world, Lolth's servitors draw on the Demon Weave to create shrouds of darkness that cover league upon league of surface lands. Under this pall of darkness, the drow can move and fight freely during what would normally be daylight hours. With  this aid, they can complete Lolth's transformation and bring the world to ruin.

Drow society is strained to the breaking point by Danifae's revelation. The female-dominated priesthood doesn't care to hear her message, which would dilute their own importance and raise up male wizards as equals, or worse. They invent reasons to doubt Danifae's provenance as an aspect of Lolth. Many reject her and her message and try to brand her a fraud and a heretic.

But wizards among the drow, and the priestesses of wizard-friendly houses (including, inter alia, Barrison Del'Armgo and Xorlarrin) set about carrying out Lolth's plan. They intend to lay the foundation for a new Weave ... and bring about the everlasting darkness that will cover the world above.

The Council of Spiders

Arcane spellcasters across Menzoberranzan view the creation of the Demon Weave as an opportunity to elevate their social standing. A group of wizards drawn from several noble houses has dubbed itself the Council of Spiders, acknowledging the supremacy of Lolth even as it obliquely challenges the authority of the city's Ruling Council of priestesses. Their goal is to see wizards represented on the Ruling Council, overturning thousands of years of tradition - but remaining true to Lolth's will as she has expressed it through her aspect.

Various lesser wizards of House Xorlarrin and House Barrison Del'Armgo form the backbone of the Council of Spiders. These two houses are both known for the prominent role of their wizards, and Xorlarrin in particularly scandalously grants its prominent males near-equality with the females. A number of wizards from other houses are involved in the council as well, but as yet no house wizards or masters of Sorcere have given their full support to the council's agenda.
At this stage, I think I will run with the idea that Danifae's actions as described here will take place next year and what is happening in the Year of the Ageless One is that Danifae has appeared to a handful of male wizards and those wizards have embarked on the first steps of seeing if the Demon Weave is even possible.

Neverwinter and its surrounding region become important because there is the Chasm with its great field of spellplague energy as well as the primordial energies of Maegera trapped beneath Gauntlgrym plus the ley lines of Nuur Throth.

Even as these wizards are undertaking their experiments in the Chasm et al, inquisitors from the fanatical House Melarn have been despatched to root out any heresies and Bregan D'aerthe has been engaged by House Baenre to determine if House Baenre and Menzoberranzan are threatened by the strange reports of drow wizards experimenting with the spellplague energies in Neverwinter.

That gives me three factions to work with.

As one of the PCs is bearing a silver blade once belonging to a followers of Eilistraee, one way this campaign could go - if it does go past the Heroic Tier - is for the party to ally with the inquisitors of House Melarn to stop the heretical wizards and for one of the inquisitors to turn from following Lolth upon her discovery of the blade of Eilistraee. Then, if the campaign proceeds to the Epic Tier, one of the goals could become returning Eilistraee to her divine portfolio and either weakening or destroying Lolth at the same time.

Shar would like that.

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