The Queen of Spiders (TSR GDQ1-7, stock number 9179) was one of the most highly sought after "Supermodules" produced by TSR. It was only printed once, during the twilight of the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons First Edition rules. It was made into the supermodule format and then edited slightly so that it could be played as part of a sequence, starting with Temple of Elemental Evil, followed by Scourge of the Slave Lords, and then finally Queen of Spiders.

The cover had enough of an impression on me at 14 that I can remember it vividly still: It was three very scantily clad drow women (one of which was Lolth herself), a mind flayer to their right, and behind them are two large fire giants.

Queen of Spiders was a compilation of compilations, in fact. The beginning of the series was compiled into Against the Giants (G1-3), which was comprised of Steading of the Hill Giant Chief (G1), Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl (G2), and then Hall of the Fire Giant King (G3). This was the first series produced by TSR, and in fact, G1 was the first module produced by TSR. Second came the compilation Descent into the Depths of the Earth (D1-2), which was comprised of both the module (with the same name) Descent into the Depths the Earth (D1) and Shrine of the Kuo-Toa (D2). Then came Vault of the Drow (D3). Finally, Queen of the Demonweb Pits (Q1), which was capable of being played without being part of the series.

I will avoid talking about the story, as there's a chance that some DM would be irritated with me for spoiling the fun for their players. I will relate the fact that when I ran my players through the beginning of the Giants series, my players thought I was kidding them when I described the scene. You will need to have a sneaky party, free of the "I will slay all the EVIL!" type of paladins in the party in order to survive. Work as a team, know your strengths and weaknesses, and do not be afraid of fleeing.

I will say that I was rather happy about how the modules progressed. It positively fills me with a first edition sense of nostalgia. There are attempts to convert the series to the Dungeons and Dragons Third Edition available on the web, which have the permission of Wizards of the Coast, and I hope that those who are doing it finish. Right now, they have the giants series converted. It doesn't play exactly right, however, as the speed of levelling has definitely changed from first edition. By the time the players get halfway through G1, they're already going to be a bit bored with G2, and by the time they get through that, they'll be without fear. Ah well, it is a different system.

A list of useful websites:

  • http://www.acaeum.com/ - Acaeum, the resource for old D&D research
  • http://enworld.cyberstreet.com/ - EN World, select their "Conversion Library" for the conversion
  • http://www.wizards.com - Wizards of the Coast website, where you can buy a PDF of this classic adventure

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