Cover to module Q1 "Queen of the Demonweb Pits" (1980) by David C. Sutherland III with Gary Gygax. Illustration by Jim Roslof.
Question: When will Q1, QUEEN OF THE DEMONWEB PITS, be released? I am really looking forward to playing in it.Answer: Q1 is being written by Dave Sutherland, TSR’s Art Director. Dave has a lot of demands on his time and is working on it as often as he can. We are very short-handed in the Art Dept. and I cannot say when Q1 will be ready for release.
...I also worked up a number of dungeon modules, including the series which will culminate in an adventure on one of the planes of the Abyss (Q1, QUEEN OF THE DEMONWEB PITS).
It so happened that Dave Sutherland had a splendid inspiration regarding this setting, so my rather sketchy notes were set aside for use in another module, and Dave was given the go-ahead to do the scenario. (As of this writing, it is nearly complete, and I hope that it will soon find its way into print!) The information in the module should be sufficient to serve as a guide for development of the entire 666 “layers” of the Abyss.
As this is the last of a series of seven modules, six of which were authored by me, you might well wonder why this one was done by Dave Sutherland. The explanation is simple. About two years ago I laid out the outline of the action for this whole series, and over the next six months wrote as many modules. The last was the crowning piece, of course, and it was left aside until a considerable period of time could be spent addressing it so as to assure that DEMONWEB was, in fact, something special. In the meantime, I had to get busy finishing the DUNGEON MASTERS GUIDE, already behind schedule because I'd spent time on module design. As I was reviewing my ideas for DEMONWEB, it suddenly struck me that what I had sketched out was far too similar to another module "rough" I was committed to: the TEMPLE OF ELEMENTAL EVIL, the final part of the VILLAGE OF HOMMLET (AD&D module T1). Now I was faced with a true dilemma.Finishing a module from an outline is not a difficult task. Creating a whole new setting is, and that was exactly what was required for one or the other of the modules I was committed to. Then one day, as I was talking with Dave, the quandary was resolved. He showed me an idea he had for a "dungeon" level, and what a level! What an idea! This, I told him, was the perfect setting for the DEMONWEB, and straightaway placed the entire project into his capable hands. Since then, he has been hard at work developing and perfecting the scenario you now have before you. My only contributions have been some brief notes, a monster, a bit of editing, and this introductory piece. I am certain that you will find DEMONWEB to be a superior design, and Dave deserves all the credit. It is a fitting climax of and culmination for the other adventures in the series. DEMONWEB is remarkably innovative and imaginative. Take a look now, and see if you don't agree that it is special indeed - guaranteed to give your players unsurpassed challenge. This module is truly for the expert player, and ability - not character level - will be the telling factor. Enjoy!
As for Q1, Ask Dave Sutherland and Brian Blume about that. It was taken out of my hands by the latter when Sutherland discovered the "Demonweb" pattern in a hand towel and talked Brian into using it as the main theme for the concluding module. I had no creative control over it.I had hoped to get to the Elder Elemental god in a sequal to the ToEE, but...
My concept was that Eclavdra was aiming at dominance of the Drow through using the EEG to replace Lolth. she, as the chief priestess of the elemental deity would then be the mistress of all. The final scenario was to have been one in which the adventurers got involved in the battle between the evil entities and made it so that both lost and were tossed back to their own planes, relatively powerless in the Mundane world for some time to come.
High-resolution map of the Demonweb, available for download, here
The Kingdom of Caer Sidi
"An artificial twilight seems to hang over the land and the sun is apparently always behind a bank of clouds."*
*based on the realm of Faerie in Poul Anderson's "Three Hearts and Three Lions"
The Frozen Lands
The gateway leads into a cave within a frozen mountain range.
(I suggest using the animated film "Fire and Ice" (1983) for inspiration, here.
The Great Ocean
"The doorway is set on a white, sandy beach... The sky is saffron yellow and the sun is a pale bright blue; a pink ocean...washes gently over the sand."
An alien world, home to underwater races and a human society reminiscent of Ursula K. Le Guin's "Earthsea" trilogy (ie. the Raft People in "The Farthest Shore").
The Black Fen
A vast, desolate swamp, "ringed by a wall of mountains."
The Labyrinth of Arachne
A subterranean maze, used as breeding ground for spiders.
"the last kingdom of the mountain dwarves in this world"
The PCs arrive as a major battle is about to commence (it is suggested to determine the outcome using miniatures).
The Nightworld of Vlad Tolenkov
A land of perpetual night, ruled by a vampire lord, in a world with no sun.
A miniature, disc-shaped world, situated at the edge of the galaxy.
Sequels and Derivative Works:
The module was included in the supermodule GDQ1-7 "Queen of the Spiders" (1987).
The adventure was novelized by Paul Kidd in 2001
The Demonweb Pits were revisited in "Expedition to the Demonweb Pits" (2007) by Wolfgang Baur and Gwendolyn Kestrel, for 3.5e.
Update (February 9, 2022): see also Q2: Web of Souls, by Joseph Block, which aligns more with Gygax's original intent for the conclusion to the GDQ campaign arc, and may be substituted as a complete replacement for Q1