Sharner Kobold Sharner Kobold


Drow Priestess of Lolth

Vendui jal!

 This is going to be a possible conversion of the Arachne specialty priest class found in Demihuman Deities. Other than in AD&D, this will be a Prestige Class (PrC), not a class of its own. For copyright reasons I will call the PrC "priestess" and not "Arachne", as there will certainly be an official version sooner or later. Once a cleric of Lolth acquires this PrC she is considered a High Priestess, i.e. Yathtallar or Streea'Valsharess, as they are called in Drow.The clerics of Lolth in general rank among the most battle-hardened within the Realms and the skills, skill points and weapon use reflect this. Thus, fighting these clerics and this PrC in particular should always be a tough challenge for any PC or PC group.


These priestesses are the elite amongst the clergy of Lolth, they are those rare females who finish the academies with flying colors. They show the utmost dedication to the faith and a special love for the spiders Lolth favors. Thus, they are blessed with special gifts and powers from the Spider Queen and claim high ranks in the hierarchy of Lolth's clergy. Quite a few of them, if not tied to a House or being a Matron Mother (Ilharess) themselves, may be found in the crusader orders of the Spider Queen.

It can be assumed that any "mother" of a draegloth is in fact a priestess.


Hit Die: d8



To qualify to become a Priestess of Lolth, a character must fulfil all the following criteria.


Only female Drow clerics of Lolth can become priestesses.


Alignment: Chaotic Evil

Skills: Diplomacy 5 ranks, Craft (weaving) 5 ranks, Intimidate 3 ranks, Handle Animal (spiders) 3 ranks, Knowledge (Religion) 4 ranks.

Feat: Spell Penetration.

Domain: Must have access to the Spider domain.

Spellcasting ability: Ability to cast 4th level divine spells.



The priestesses class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Alchemy (Int), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (spiders) (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Scry (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int)


Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier



All the following are class features of the Priestess of Lolth prestige class.


Weapon and Armor Proficiency:

Lolth priestesses are proficient with all simple weapons, hand and light crossbows, short swords and rapiers.* During their time in the academy, all clerics of Lolth receive an extensive training in warfare and tactics. Thus they know how to use many other weapons (five apart from those mentioned above, usually light and medium sized martial and exotic weapons). Most commonly taught are axes (hand and thrown), bastard swords (exotic), longswords, picks (any), scimitars, scourges, short bows (any), two bladed swords, whips and whip-daggers.

Thus, these priestesses will be well equipped for any surrounding they may venture into, but will usually have either Drow-made or Duergar-made masterwork and magical weaponry available.

All priestesses are considered High Priestesses of Lolth and may well be encountered having Whip of Fangs ready. Whether they use these in melee combat is another matter though.

They are proficient with any sort of armor and shield.

(See role-playing notes for more details)

*(Note: The crossbows, the short sword and the rapier mentioned above are race related weapon proficiencies, according to the FRCS errata.)


Spells per day:

The training of these priestesses focuses mainly on spellcasting and every time the character gains a new level as a priestess, she gains new spells per level as if she gained a level as cleric. She also gains all the features a cleric would get, such as improved chances of commanding or rebuking undead.



Gift of Lolth

Due to their extensive training as well as affinity to spiders, Lolth grants these priestesses the ability to speak with all spiders as well as being immune to any sort of spider poison. Spiders, on the other hand, don't harm these priestesses in any way, except if desired by Lolth.



As those priestesses are the elite among the academy students, they are usually rewarded with a powerful version of the dreaded Whip of Fangs as a sign of graduation and symbol of rank. Usually , those whips have 4 or more heads.


Weapon Focus

Priestesses who acquire this class are trained in the use of their favorite weapons. Thus, they gain the weapon focus feat for either the whip (of Fangs), the dagger (Lolth's weapon of choice) or the priestesses most favored weapon (e.g., short sword or mace).

(See Role-playing Notes.)

Class Level BAB Fort. Ref. Will. Special Spellcaster level
1st +0 +2 +0 +2 Gift of Lolth, Whip, Weapon Focus + 1 as cleric
2nd +1 +3 +0 +3 Spidercloak Armor, Smite Infidel + 1 as cleric
3rd +2 +3 +1 +3 Backlash, Summon Yochlol + 1 as cleric
4th +3 +4 +1 +4 Dispel Magic + 1 as cleric
5th +3 +4 +1 +4 Greater Spell Penetration + 1 as cleric
6th +4 +5 +2 +5 Spidercloak Armor (+4) + 1 as cleric
7th +5 +5 +2 +5 Spider Summoning + 1 as cleric
8th +6/+1 +6 +2 +6 Spider Form + 1 as cleric
9th +6/+1 +6 +3 +6 True Seeing + 1 as cleric
10th +7/+2 +7 +3 +7 Spidercloak Armor (+5), Domination + 1 as cleric

 Smite Infidel (Su)

Exacting the will of Lolth is one of the prime tasks of the members of this class and they may use this ability to do so against anyone who oppose them or show disrespect to Lolth. Once per day, the priestess may add her Charisma bonus to her attack roll and deals 1 point of extra damage per priestess level.


Spidercloak Armor (Su)

Once per day a priestess may invoke this special ability which changes her skin to a hardened chitine armor of an spider, increasing her natural armor bonus by +3. The longer the priestess stays in the service, the more the armor improves. The bonus becomes +4 at level 6 of the prestige class, +5 at level 10.

This bonus works much as the Barkskin spell and stays for 10 minutes per level.


Backlash (Sp)

Developed by Drow mages long ago, the priestesses have learned of a similar spell and gained the ability to use it once per day, mainly against unruly mages.

(spell detailed in Magic of Faerun, DC adjusted for wisdom)


Summon Yochlol (Sp)

In a special ceremony, a priestess may summon a Yochlol to ask for advice or help, in rare cases for assistance in a task. This spell is only cast within the compounds of a sanctuary of Lolth and may be used only once per month. Casting this spell is a strenuous affair, lasting at least an hour as well as taking it's tall on the spellcasting powers of the priestess. Summoning the Yochlol uses up all fourth level spells the priestess can prepare for the day in addition to the Summon Yochlol spell. If the priestess decides to put in more effort, i.e. sacrifices fifth or higher level spells as well, the information given by the Yochlol may be more accurate, the outsider as such more powerful (add one HD for any fifth or higher level spell used in the casting, up to 12 HD) and be more willing to stay.

Apart from what was said above, the spell works like Summon Monsters, but either Lolth or the Yochlol herself decides how long it remains on the prime material plane. In any case, it is always the Spider Queen who allows the Yochlol to answer the summoning, thus the priestess' attempts may be in vain, if she lacks Lolth's favor at the time. While the spell use has certainly some considerable back-draws, the information or even fighting power gained may outweigh this several times, not least because the tanar'ri has hundreds of years of experience to dwell upon.


Dispel Magic (Sp)

The priestess may cast Dispel Magic as the equivalent divine spell once per day.


Greater Spell Penetration

Having thrown spells against drow or other creatures protected by spell resistance all their life, the priestesses have learned and are trained to break it more easily than other spellcasters.


Spider Summoning (Sp)

This spell calls 1d4 large size fiendish monstrous spiders (detailed in the MONSTER MANUAL tome) + 1 for every level the priestess has gained beyond the 7th in the prestige class to serve her (1d4+3 at level 10). Only true arachnids are summoned by this spell, not similar insect creatures or beings using magic to take arachnid form (such as Lolth or a wizard using spider shape). They appear within 100 feet of the caster on the round of the spell's casting and obey the caster's command on the round thereafter. They have their natural maximum hit points and poison reserves and fight to the death for the caster with utter loyalty, following the caster's silent mental urgings as to targets, direction to move, and tasks to do. The caster can cast other spells without ending this spell's control. When the spell expires, any surviving spiders disappear, returning whence they came.

(Note: The spiders may be substituted with Sword Spiders detailed in Monsters of Faerun.)


Spiderform (Sp)

Once per day a priestess can cast the Spiderform spell (detailed in FRCS)


True Seeing (Sp)

Once per day a priestess can use the True Seeing spell.


Domination (Sp)

Once per day, the priestess can cast a Dominate Person spell. Male Drow save against this spell with a - 4 penalty, while Elves and Half-Elves gain no save bonus against it.



Role-playing notes:

Female drow clerics of Lolth are evil down to the core. Yet, they are clever, resourceful and intelligent beings, always capable of a devious surprise or two. Playing a Drow cleric or this PrC is a challenge one should really think about before taking it up.

Now, as has been said, NPC priestesses are usually those, who finish the academy or any other clerical training with exceptional results. The most part of this education will happen within those places and clerics won't enjoy that much freedom. While this may appeal to some PC, others will want to spend their first 7 or 8 character levels somewhere else as well. I would recommend DMs to have those players send on various missions on behalf of the academy or temple to gain the XP needed. Final examinations and tests should always be carried out at the academy though, possibly by a Yochlol or the like.

Weapons of Drow encountered in the Underdark tend to be of masterwork quality or better and of special design. The Underdark usually prevents anyone from using large weapons effectively, but within cities, large caverns or on the surface this might be different. Two-bladed Swords or Bastard swords of Drow design may look quite differently than on the surface, as well as being adjusted for the size of dark elves. (e.g., a bastard sword looks more like a katana, with a long single edged blade)


Whip of Fangs have not yet been converted to 3E, but they may only be carried as symbols of rank and status anyway. Referring to their AD&D statistics, those whips were not that useful in melee combat and thus may be substituted by daggers or other weapons of choice by the priestesses with regards to determine the weapon focus feat at first level. Some priestesses may even use magical items such as a Spider Rod instead of weapons here.

Alternatively, a priestess may yet decide to take the focus in a whip and chose the Lasher PrC (Sword & Fist) alongside this priestess prestige class.