Excerpts 04/11/2007

Expedition to the Demonweb Pits
By Wolfgang Baur and Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel

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 meeting had been arranged through intermediaries, with suspicion and treachery on both sides. Now, at last, the two demon lords had arrived at their secret meeting place. They would have been more comfortable in his Argent Palace, but the Queen of the Succubi would agree to that no more than the Dark Prince would have agreed to meet in her realm of Shendilavri.

If his plans came to fruition, the inconvenience -- and this pretense of civility -- would be worth it.

"The idea," Graz'zt said, "is for mortals to invade the Demonweb."

"Mortals have their uses," Malcanthet agreed, smiling pleasantly. She poured dark red liquid into her goblet from a silver flagon, not bothering to offer him a cup as well. He wouldn't have accepted if she did. "You intend to incite them against the Spider Queen? I had no idea your . . . tastes . . . included a desire for self-destruction."

She was baiting him as she always did, but this time he had no intention of being seduced by her tricks. Although her cooperation wasn't required for his plans, Graz'zt needed her to agree, or at the very least, not to interfere. "I seek the destruction of our mutual enemies -- yes, our," he said to her raised eyebrow. "We waste strength warring on each other. What we need is unity. The mortals will provide a pretext, with all their blundering."

"Unity in the Abyss. Blasphemous words, some might say. And dangerous."

Graz'zt waved dismissively. "For Lolth it might be dangerous. My own parlor will not be muddied by their boot prints. Well, perhaps a little, in my city."

"How many steps ahead are you planning this, o Prince of Tyrants?" Malcanthet's voice was more growl than purr.

"As many as you like. Let's say, six steps ahead. Six is my lucky number." He drummed his fingers on the ebony tabletop.

Malcanthet's wings flapped a little as she contemplated the proposal. "Mortals are unpredictable. They'll kill the Spider Queen's aspect, and then what? No one to read the Pact, no one to raise the armies of the Abyss, and no way for you and I to lead the charge against the heavens."

Curiosity and ambition ensured her agreement, as he had known it would. "You worry far too much. Lolth is a creature of eightfold duplicity and glorious paranoia."

"Yes. How does that help us if no divine aspect survives to read the Pact?"

"What makes you think she has only one aspect?"

"Ah," the Queen of the Succubi said softly, and smiled.

Graz'zt smiled in return, showing his fangs. Even if the Spider Queen were to be defeated in her own Web -- well, that would be no defeat for him, would it?

What Is Expedition to the Demonweb Pits?

The Expedition to the Demonweb Pits campaign adventure is designed to begin with four to six 9th-level Dungeons & Dragons characters, with advancement to 12th level by the adventure's finale.

The Demonweb Pits have a deep-rooted history within the game. In 1978, the landmark Against the Giants series climaxed by introducing the drow. The next module series, Descent Into the Depths of the Earth, led characters into grand conflicts in the Underdark through the Shrine of the Kuo-Toa to the Vault of the Drow. The final element of the story arc culminated with the module Queen of the Demonweb Pits, featuring the first intense look at the Abyss and an unforgettable fight against Lolth herself.

Expedition to the Demonweb Pits presents a different spin on these classic adventures. The game material in encounters reflects the most recent edition of the rules and includes entirely new features, threats, and rewards.

Beyond the adventure material, the appendix contains two new prestige classes that PCs can take, two new unique magic items, and fourteen new monster descriptions.

The Encounter Format

Expedition to the Demonweb Pits uses a new format designed for flexibility and speedier encounter resolution. This format places all the combat-oriented sections into one or two-page presentations separate from the main flow of the adventure plot, flavor, and area descriptions. These tactical encounter layouts contain all the information necessary to play out that encounter at the table -- the setup for the situation, statistics for monsters and traps, information on hazards and terrain features, and a map of the area in which the encounter takes place so that the event can be set up and run on a battle map using D&D miniatures. Overviews of these encounter areas appear throughout the chapters, while the actual encounters are collected at the end of each chapter.

Some sections of the adventure, such as the Demonweb itself, consist almost entirely of combat encounters. Others have more of a balance of roleplaying, investigation, stealth, and combat elements.

What You Need to Play

This adventure is intended for use in any Dungeons & Dragons game. The setting can be dropped into any campaign. You'll need the Player's Handbook (PH), Dungeon Master's Guide (DMG), and Monster Manual (MM) to make use of the material. This adventure draws from a number of other D&D books as well, such as Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss (FC1), Book of Vile Darkness,Complete Arcane, Frostburn, Spell Compendium (SC), Fiend Folio (FF), and the various Monster Manual supplements (MM2, MM3, MM4). However, all the information a DM needs to run the adventure is provided in these pages.

Certain spells, such as analyze portal, are assumed to be available to the party at some point before the party reaches 11th level in this plane-hopping campaign. The analyze portal spell description can be found on page 176 as part of the Book of Flesh and Mirrors. It is an extremely common spell (particularly in Sigil), and scrolls can be easily purchased there for the usual price (375 gp).

Finally, the conditions on the various Outer Planes that the player characters visit are similar to the Material Plane unless otherwise noted.

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