Deities of the Drow
Menzoberranzan is the favored city of the Spider Queen: so much so that it was her refuge during the events of the recent series of events known as The Time of Troubles.
Lolth teaches her children that fear is strength, while love and respect are weakness. She demands that those drow who will not worship her must be converted or slain. She seeks to kill the weak and reward the strong. Disobedient males and non-drow must be sacrificed to Lolth. Spiders are a holy animal in Lolth’s faith, and those who to kill a spider is a cardinal sin. Lolth is so chaotic, however, that her commands are ever-changing and often contradictory, so that those who seek to follow them blindly may meet with destruction.
Lolth’s clerics are usually female. There are rare male clerics, but no male is allowed to achieve the rank of high priest. In Menzoberranzan there are no male clerics of Lolth. Her clerics wear red and black, and drow tunics and helms. The Spider Queen’s sacred animals are (naturally) arachnids. During rituals, clerics of Lolth are nude or clad in black robes with purple and deep red trim. Lesser clerics wear dark red or purple robes, trimmed with black. Ornate spider-shaped helms may also be worn.
Lolth is worshipped in underground marble temples or fanes. They are large and imposing, dominating and overshadowing the communities in which they are built. They are defended by priestesses, soldiers, and often spiders of various kinds. Dark lore and potent magics are stored within.
Surface elves are sacrificed to Lolth monthly. By custom, only females are permitted to attend these rituals, which take place in a sacred room. Some rituals, however, involve extraordinary power or require public display, and these may be performed in the open, in mixed company. When Lolth’s aid is required, the blood of enemies of the faith and/or the faithful is spilled with a spider-shaped knife. Gems or other treasures may be sacrificed by casting them into burning braziers while the appropriate prayers are incanted. Lolth’s taste in sacrifice is perverse. She prefers the blood of elves to other humanoids, that of drow to other elves, and craves the deaths of her own priestesses more than any other beings. This last sort of sacrifice is extremely rare, but it pleases the Queen of Spiders above all else. Periodically, drow may be forced to prove themselves worthy of Lolth’s favor in a variety of harsh tests. Those who pass are rewarded, while those who fail are transformed into driders and other horrific beasts. In 4th edition, however, becoming a drider is actually the reward for successfully passing the test and driders are respected and admired in drow culture.
In one encounter, Kazindar, Rizzen and Ryltar were captured by priestess of Lolth. This was a grand scheme by Wyreerig, who helped the minor noble house with the capturing of the Vhaeraun heretics. To save himself Kazindar was forced to sacrifice Ryltar, though he refused to use the sacrificial knife. Kazindar used this opportunity to kill his captures and escape.
Kiaransali forbids her worshipers from forgiving debts or slights of any kind. Payment, of some kind, is integral to any interaction. Kiaransalee teaches that life itself is the greatest of all crimes, with enslavement in undeath the most fitting of punishments. Enslavement of the living is also a holy act. Worshipers of Kiaransalee seek to take their wealth and slaves with them into the grave.
Worshippers of Kiaransalee are slavers, morticians, torturers, and executioners. They are misers, meticulous in their record-keeping. They treat their servants as slaves, and treat their slaves without mercy.
Priests of Kiaransalee are known as yathrinshee. They not only work their slaves to death, but they reanimate their corpses so that they continue their labor. To venerate the Lady of the Dead, yathrinshee lie within their personal sarcophagi with their arms clasped together on their breasts. They favor loose black robes with hooded cowls stitched with ivory and bone. They wear gray skullcaps on their heads and thin silver rings on every finger except their thumbs. They spread the ashes of burnt corpses on their uncovered skin. Despite their miserly creeds, they are the first to offer bounties on escaped slaves and prisoners, and always pay in full.
Known worshippers of Kiaransalee: Zarmenon and Rizzen.
The clergy of Shar is a secretive organization that pursues subversive tactics rather than direct confrontation with its rivals. In addition to her clerics, Shar maintains an elite order of sorcerer monks who can tap Shar’s Shadow Weave. Among her worshipers are the Shadovar (the citizens of Thultanthar, a floating city which is home to the survivors of ancient Netheril who fled into the shadow plane before Karsus’s Folly). Shar holds power over all who use the Shadow Weave.
Reveal secrets only to fellow members of the faithful. Never follow hope or turn to promises of success. Quench the light of the moon (agents and items of Selûne) whenever you find it, and hide from it when you cannot prevail. The dark is a time to act, not wait. It is forbidden to strive to better your lot in life or to plan ahead save when directly overseen by the faithful of the Dark Deity. Consorting with the faithful of good deities is a sin except in business dealings or to corrupt them from their beliefs. Obey and never speak out against ranking clergy unless it would result in your own death.
“Love is a lie. Only hate endures.”
Shar is not a deity among the drow pantheon, however she was attempting to draw more worship from the underdark races.
Known worshippers of Shar: Jaren Everhate
The church of Vhaeraun is loosely organized, mainly due to persecution from the priestesses of Lolth who rule over the majority of the drow race. Vhaeraun’s clergy is almost entirely male, and they practice a passive opposition to Lolth. Aside from that, Vhaeraun strives to reclaim the surface world from which he was forced to flee. This leads to frequent conflicts with the clerics of Eilistraee, benevolent dark elves who strive to live in peace with the surface folk and gain redemption for the evil ways of their kind.*
Some priests of Vhaeraun advocate unity of the elven races in order to more easily dominate the surface world. Most, however, view this as heresy.
Organizations of Vhaeraun in the Forgotten Realms’ include House Jaelre, the Jaezred Chaulssin, and the Dragon’s Hoard. There was a hidden Vhaeraun organization in a chamber not too far outside Menzoberranzan. This is where training of young males took place (for example Kazindar and Alton’s martial art/assassin training).
There was a religious purge by Lolth’s followers as they hunted all worshippers of Vhaeraun. Kazindar and Rizzen used this opportunity to escape from Menzoberranzan and travel to Ched Nasad.
Former worshippers of Vhaeraun: Kazindar and Rizzen