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D&D General Monster ENCyclopedia: Drider

This is a series of articles about specific monsters from D&D's history. Each entry takes a look at the origin of one D&D creature, and tracks its appearances and evolution across different editions. This entry looks at a "D" creature with a long and detailed D&D history — the drider.​


Origins
Human mythology includes many legends based on spiders, from the benevolent Grandmother Spider of Hopi mythology, to the trickster god Anansi of Akan folktales. Anansi was sometimes pictured as human with spider parts, or as a spider with a human face, much like the D&D goddess Lolth.

The first appearance of the drider was in the Lolth-centric Q1: Queen of the Demonweb Pits. Gary Gygax and David C. Sutherland III shared author credits for the adventure, but Gygax confirmed that Sutherland was the person responsible for creating the drider. Given their connection to Lolth and similar appearance it seems clear that the spider-goddess influenced Sutherland’s thinking. Gygax himself claimed that Lolth was “strictly a creation of [his] own imagination” rather than inspired by Tolkien’s Shelob.​


1st Edition
The drider entry in Q1: Queen of the Demonweb Pits is half a page, with a third of that taken up by the illustration. Driders do not occur naturally, but are created by Lolth from promising drow who fail a test designed to measure their worthiness. The text states that the giant spider half of the drider, complete with eight legs, sprouts from the drow upper half. It also describes the upper half as “pale” and “bloated”, perhaps implying that the usually dark-skinned elves become lighter during the transformation process. As we'll see, however, driders remained neither pale, nor particularly bloated.​

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Q1: Queen of the Demonweb Pits (1980)​

The illustration seems to be of a male drider, but the bloating apparently makes it “impossible” to determine a drider’s gender. Statistically however, 60% of encountered driders are female. No reason is given for this percentage, but presumably it is provided because of the differing abilities of male and female drow. Since driders retain any magical abilities they had as drow, female driders will be 6-7th level clerics and males 6-8th level magic-users. Driders also keep the spell-casting abilities of all drow: dancing lights, darkness, detect magic, faerie fire, know alignment, and levitate. Female driders also have the bonus spells of female drow: clairvoyance, detect lie, dispel magic, and suggestion. All of these are once per day abilities.​

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Q1: Queen of the Demonweb Pits (1980)​

Driders are able to fight with swords or axes, and many carry bows strapped to their backs. They have 6+6 Hit Dice (but fight as 7 HD creatures), a movement of 12” and a low armor class (3). In case magic and weapons are not enough, driders also have a bite that does 1-4 points of damage and paralyses for 1-2 turns on a failed save vs. poison. They also have 15% magic resistance. All told, driders are fearsome opponents.

They are encountered in groups of 1-4, but are, fortunately, very rare in frequency. Large in size, they are always chaotic evil. Individually, they typically carry 2-12 platinum pieces. They also have a 50% chance of having 1-4 gems in their lair, but are listed as having a 0% chance of being encountered there.

As failed drow, driders are outcasts driven out of drow society (if not killed outright). They rarely reside with other driders, preferring the company of huge spiders. When encountered, 10% of the time they will be accompanied by 2-12 huge spiders. They share those spiders' appetite for warm blood.​

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Monster Manual II (1983)​

The drider description from Queen of the Demonweb Pits was reprinted in the Monster Manual II, but the description and abilities remained unchanged from its first appearance. Polyhedron #30 details a male drider named Day-Ron. He has silver hair and black eyes, with brown fur and darker rings around the joints on his spider half. Day-Ron travels the world with a drow named Tray-Dor, detailed in the same article.​

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Day-Ron, Polyhedron #30 (1986)​

The next substantial coverage of the drider is an article titled Entering the Drider's Web in Dragon #129, which provides an expanded origin story, and a more complex presentation of drider abilities. We learn that the first drider was named Duagloth. Many centuries ago he betrayed Lolth by attempting to steal her platinum egg (the same egg that features in Queen of the Demonweb Pits). As a consequence, she turned him into a drider, and evidently liked the idea of this transformation enough to introduce a test for all her most promising drow. Those who fail this test become driders. Nothing short of a wish or divine intervention are capable of reversing the transformation. The article hints that Duagloth may still be alive, and that if he is, he will be much more powerful than a typical drider.

Much of the Dragon article details the subtle mechanical changes resulting from the transformation of a drow to a drider, including changed alignment (all driders are self-centred and hence chaotic evil), reduced magic resistance, a bonus to saves vs. fear, improved strength and dexterity, much lower charisma, loss of any psionic abilities, and the gaining of a range of thief/assassin abilities such as tightrope walking, high jumping and hiding in shadows. Drow transformed into driders are sterile.

Driders' teeth become needle-sharp to help deliver their venomous bites, and about half of them have the ability to spin a web, which functions as a net of entanglement. Their spider-like appetite for blood comes with a drawback. If a drider does not consume blood at least once every four days, it begins to take damage which only heals once its bloodlust is satisfied. This bloodlust is mirrored in its desire for combat, once wounded in battle, a drider never needs to make a morale check, becoming consumed with rage and a desire to kill.

The 2-12 huge spiders referred to in the original monster entry are said to be a parting gift from Lolth once a drider claims a certain area as its territory. Drider like to employ traps in this territory, and will often ambush a target, and then paralyse it and drain its blood at leisure.​


2nd Edition
In AD&D 2nd Edition, driders were treated as a subset of drow, receiving only a few paragraphs of description tacked onto the end of the “Elf, Drow” entry in the Monstrous Compendium Volume Two and no picture. The statistic block is largely the same as 1st Edition, with driders’ organization listed as “bands” and their activity cycle as “night aboveground”. The same entry was later reprinted in the Monstrous Manual.

There are a few sentences about driders in Lolth's entry in DMGR4: Monster Mythology, where we learn that her avatars sometimes appear at drider-creation ceremonies, and that Lolth's priestesses practice a form of archnidomancy which involves cutting apart the entrails of driders to look for omens. Disturbingly, the wording seems to imply that the driders need to still be alive during this process, so that their behaviour can be observed!​

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Dungeon #48 (1994)​

Dungeon #48 has an adventure revolving around a fallen paladin who suffers from arachnophobia. The adventurers must accompany him to the spider infested lair of a drider named Karinza and her bountiful eight-legged allies to help him regain his honor. Although this isn’t a complicated adventure, Karinza’s tactics are carefully detailed, and she makes good use of the array of spells, spell-like abilities and magic items she has available. The adventure is set in the Forgotten Realms, but Karinza, her lair, or the entire adventure could easily be transplanted elsewhere.

Shards of the Day in Dungeon #60 features a trio of drider antagonists who like to make tactical use of gas spores. There is a brief mention of some underdark "families" dealing in fixed "drider races" in Dragon #228, but that's an April issue, so it probably shouldn't be taken too seriously. The Rod of Seven Parts boxed set details a group of driders led by a "particularly charismatic and forceful" drider mage. This group and their accompanying watch spiders attack in a carefully coordinated manner, and could pose a serious threat to even a well armed group of adventurers.

Unusually, given how thoroughly TSR ransacked its back-catalog of creatures and art to create the AD&D Trading Card sets produced from 1991 to 1993, none of those pictures a drider. This is made up by the inclusion of one in the 4th Edition base set of the Spellfire card game. Card #319 depicts a drider who is evidently very happy to have found a smith willing to craft chainmail to fit his unique shape.​

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Spellfire (1996)​

Dragon #267 — one of the last issues before the 3rd Edition — contains an article on drow names. From this article, we learn that the name suffix -ymma (female) or -inyon (male) means “Drider, feet, foot, or runner”, implying that in the drow language “feet” and “drider” have similar meanings.​


3rd Edition
Driders are much more prominent in 3rd Edition, getting their own entry in the Monster Manual. The accompanying picture shows an emaciated yellow-skinned drider binding a humanoid in a web, despite no mention of any sort of web generating abilities in the description. (Maybe it's one of the 50% of web-spinning 1st Edition driders!) Their creation story remains unchanged, but the antipathy between driders and drow is emphasised.​

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Monster Manual (2000)​

Driders are large aberrations, encountered underground either solitary, in pairs or in a troupe which includes 7-12 medium monstrous spiders. As in previous editions they are always chaotic evil. They can speak drow, common, and undercommon. Driders gain a spell resistance of 14, and can be 6th-level clerics, wizards or sorcerers. They retain essentially the same statistics as in 1st and 2nd Edition, with 6 hit dice (45 hp), and an array of spell-like abilities: dancing lights, darkness, detect chaos, detect good, detect law, detect magic, faerie fire and levitate daily. Drider clerics (rather than only driders made from female drow) can also cast clairaudience/clairvoyance, discern lies, dispel magic and suggestion daily. The combat casting feat assists driders in using spells during combat. They wield either a short sword or a short bow, or perhaps even two short swords, since they now have the ambidexterity and two-weapon fighting feats. Driders still have a poisonous bite to fall back on, but this now does strength damage, instead of paralysing a target. In combat, their tendency to engage in ambushes is emphasised.

The Monster Manual v.3.5 contains only minor updates to the drider text; the short sword is replaced with a dagger as the typical melee weapon, and there is now a shorted, consolidated list of spell-like abilities applicable to a drider whether or not it was originally a female drow: dancing lights, clairaudience/clairvoyance, darkness, detect good, detect law, detect magic, dispel magic, faerie fire, levitate, and suggestion. Helpfully, a list of typical spells for a drider sorcerer is provided. The Monster Manual v3.5 uses the same mustard-coloured drider picture as the Monster Manual.​

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Dragon #279 (2001)​

Monte Cook penned an article titled Revenge of the Spider Queen in Dragon #279 which details a powerful group of Lolth's followers known as the Hand of Vengeance. The Hand is Lolth's strike team in the Demonweb. As well as their leader, Jaggedra, a vampiric half-black dragon drow, the Hand of Vengeance includes a succubus, a male drow wizard, a half-fiend dragonne, a fiendish stone giant and Vinter, a 15th-level drider cleric. He's the newest member of the group and has had to fight hard against the perception that driders are "cursed" by Lolth to gain the begrudging respect of the others.​

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Dungeon #84 (2001)​

In Dungeon #84, published the same month as the Dragon #279, there is a lengthy high-level adventure titled The Harrowing: Web of the Spider Princess (also by Monte Cook). As might be expected from the title, it contains plenty of drow, driders and other arachnids.

In an article titled Monster Mayhem: Drider Template published on the Wizards of the Coast website in late 2001, we get what seems to be the first hint that the transformation into a drider is not always considered a curse. Apparently some driders consider themselves specially blessed by their goddess. They are also said to form cartels in which they work together, a level of cooperation previously not noted, even if it is "under an air of intense distrust". The text confirms that in 3rd Edition, only a wish or a miracle can reverse the transformation from a drow.

A more fundamental addition to drider lore is the revelation that driders have, through experimentation, learned how to create variant driders from other humanoid creatures. They take delight in the hideously torturous process, which takes three days of work, but requires no special equipment beyond a driders innate abilities. The article provides a drider template which can be applied to any humanoid creature, and examples of hill dwarf and goblin driders.

The Book of Challenges has the first multi-classes drider. Garem is a 2nd level rogue/2nd level assassin. He is partnered with an 11th level drow cleric and together they would be a challenge for a reasonably high level group of heroes. Sadie, the Critical Threat in Dungeon #93, is a drider sorcerer who is trying to win back Lolth’s favour by raising six white dragons to serve the Spider Queen.​

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Sadie, Dungeon #93 (2002)​

The Punishments of Lolth by Eric Cagle in Dragon #298 lifts the veil of secrecy on the many tests to which Lolth subjects the drow. This includes the Chwidridera or the Test of the Drider which, if failed, triggers the transformation. The Chwidridera begins when the drow being tested develops an irrational dread of being eaten alive by spiders from the inside. Given how embedded spiders and spider-imagery are in drow society, overcoming this paranoid fear taxes even the most hardy drow. Those who are able to remain in their community for the duration of the test advance to the next stage. Those who cannot resist their fear flee, and meet a very different fate. A single tiny red spider appears the next time the drow rests. It crawls into the drow's mouth and triggers the grotesque and traumatic transformation into a drider.​

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Dragon #298 (2002)​

Flesh for Lolth by Robin D. Laws, also in Dragon #298, notes that sexual contact between driders and drow is the mightiest taboo in drow culture, and punishable by instant death. It also notes that drow culture values sculptures depicting scenes of torture. These are carved from blocks of drider silk, elaborately hand-painted and mechanised so that they move. This is odd, since at this point in 3rd Edition, there is still no indication that driders produce silk.

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, a free adventure published on the Wizards of the Coast website, tells the story of a rod known as Dark Fate. This magic item was created by a drider calling himself “The Forsaken”. Hundreds of years ago, he sealed himself into the rod, imbuing it with his intelligence and his hatred of drow. He then arranged for it to be presented as a gift to the leader of a powerful drow house. The rod’s power overwhelmed the drow cleric and eventually triggered a civil war among the drow. The Dark Fate then passed into history. A prophecy has now foretold the rod’s reappearance and the heroes must race a faction of drow to find it.

Test of the Demonweb (another free website adventure) is a shorter dungeon-crawl suitable for lower level characters. The drider here (Eklivarta) is working with a drow cleric and the “dungeon” is an experiment designed to test the fighting styles and tactics of surface dwellers.

The drider is one of the more unusual creatures for which Savage Species provides player character rules. The book notes the difficulty in balancing the class, and cautions DMs to consider the impact of a drider's spells and spell-like abilities before allowing one as a PC. The class gains most of the drider's spell-like abilities at 3rd level, as well as having the ability to cast spells as either a cleric, sorcerer, or wizard from 1st level. The effective character level (ECL) of a drider is 10 (adjusted down from the 11 given in the preview article in Dragon #293). A drider character might work well in an all-monster adventuring group, but it seems as if it would be overpowered next to normal adventurers, as well as facing some serious role-playing challenges when interacting with most NPCs.

The Ecology of the Drider by Paul Leach was published in Dragon #312, and is accompanied by a full page picture of a rare, pale-skinned drider preparing to surprise two adventurers. The drider creation story is consistent with previous lore of Lolth testing her "Chosen" through a diabolical test. As we already know, driders are formed from drow who fail Lolth's tests, although it is hinted that perhaps Lolth creates some driders capriciously. The change from drow to drider can take anywhere from hours to days, and a newly formed drider awakens hungry for warm-blooded prey.​

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Dragon #312 (2003)​

Driders are said to prefer secluded areas on the fringes of underground regions inhabited by humanoids, including drow. Locations near fungal forests or underground lakes that might attract intelligent creatures make ideal lairs, and drider may remain there for decades. They seek out these intelligent neighbours in order to consume them. Driders usually roam within a few miles of their lairs, which they select carefully, often warding them with dangerous creatures, traps or spells. Caverns with more than one entrance are preferred, with one often being a winding vertical shaft that is hard for an intruder to climb. Pools of liquid or moss-covered surfaces serve as a means to detect invisible trespassers. A drider likes to amass treasure from its victims, and especially prizes items that might help it avoid detection. Curiously, driders do not seek out magic (such as a ring of wishes) that might reverse their transformation, as they believe that Lolth would simply transform them back again. Although Lolth continues to grant drider worshippers access to spells from her domains, some of them turn to other gods, such as Ghaunadaur and Vhaeraun.

The article has extensive notes on drider tactics, both in and out of combat, and strategic suggestions for PCs opposing a drider. Driders enjoy the element of surprise, but only if it favours them. They will use spells that reveal stealthy opponents if they have them, as well as use any magic that boosts their defenses. At least one spell that will enhance a retreat is usually kept in reserve. Ranged attacks and attacks that incapacitate are prioritised, and it is usually the drider’s pets or allies that first engage in melee. For PCs determined to take on driders, preparation is key. If possible, establish what magical capabilities the drider has used against previous enemies and invest in magic that can counter those.

The topic of driders as PCs is touched on, and the article agrees with Savage Species that they aren't the easiest creature to develop into a playable character. It is suggested that a PC drider might be dedicated to Eilistraee and aspire to throw off its curse of transformation, perhaps by completing a great quest. While driders tend to advance in spellcasting classes, drider rogues and fighters are also formidable opponents. The vermin lord prestige class from the Book of Vile Darkness is noted as being well suited to driders.

Heroes of Horror provides an potential alternative creation story for driders, in an example of a horror campaign based on the touch of taint. When a creature dies of taint, it rises again as something new. Elves or drow consumed by tainted arachnids might become driders in such a world.

Expedition to the Demonweb Pits returns to the location where we first learned of the existence of driders, back in Q1: Queen of the Demonweb Pits. One of the planar doors in the Demonweb leads to a place known as Truegard, where driders have overrun the entire plane and enslaved a nation of dwarves. These driders try to prove themselves to Lolth by torturing and abusing their dwarven slaves.

Published towards the end of 3rd Edition, Drow of the Underdark notes that drow cultural attitudes towards driders have begun to shift in recent years, with younger drow considering the possibility that Lolth might be creating the powerful driders as a favour to their communities (in addition to punishing them as individuals). In some cases, driders have been invited back into drow society where they are tolerated as servants by the drow. As we’ll soon see, this cultural shift foreshadowed the drider’s role in 4th Edition.​


4th Edition
The 4th Edition Monster Manual reverses the idea of the transformation into a drider being a curse. Driders are considered greatly blessed by Lolth, and gifted with a semblance of her form. They are created when the strongest and bravest of the drow successfully pass the Test of Lolth. Those who fail the test usually die. (According to P2: Demon Queen’s Enclave those that don’t die become creatures known as shunned, covered below.) Driders mingle freely with drow, but despite their gifted status, follow the instructions of Lolth’s priestesses.​

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Monster Manual (2008)​

The Monster Manual has stats for two types of drider, a drider fanglord and a drider shadowspinner. The fanglord is a level 14 brute, with 172 hit points, and high armor class and defenses. A fanglord wears leather armor and attacks with either a greatsword (for 1d12+7 damage) or its bite (1d4 and ongoing 10 poison damage). It also has two ranged attacks: a darkfire ability which removes any benefits from invisibility or concealment and a web capable of restraining most opponents.

The drider shadowspinner is a slightly more strategic opponent with fewer hit points (134) but slightly higher armor class and a shifting shadows ability which conceals it after movement. Like the fanglord, the shadowspinner can throw webs but it does not have a poisonous bite and favours a short sword which does 1d8+3 damage and an additional 2d6 necrotic damage. The drider has a powerful ranged slashing darkness attack which does 3d8+3 necrotic damage. It has melee agility and does extra damage when it has combat advantage over an opponent. It can create a short range cloud of darkness that blinds all except itself.

Both types of drider are fast (speed 8) and excellent climbers, with the benefits of the spider climb ability. They have good senses, including darkvision. Driders speak elven and are of evil alignment.

Revenge of the Giants adds a drider battlelord, but this is just a fanglord with a marginal increase to hit points, armor and damage. The adventure Hall of the Fire Giant King in Dungeon #200 contains a drider assassin. This is another variation of the fanglord, but one with a phase spider step that grants it temporary invisibility and a short distance teleportation. Web of the Spider Queen provides stats for Shadowdale driders. These are low level soldiers with only 55 hit points, a scimitar attack (2d8+4 points) the fanglord’s darkfire ability, and servant’s rebuke, which does a burst of necrotic and poison damage against a foe taking its attention off the drider.

In Denizens of the Demonweb in Dungeon #204 a much more powerful and dangerous variation of drider is described. It is known as a drider ghostwalker, and is formed from a male drow who betrays Lolth. His body is combined with the essence of a demonic phase spider, and he lives between the physical world and the realm of ghosts. Ghostwalkers function as Lolth's senses in the Demonweb, watching over numerous portals and sending visions of the entire Demonweb back to their mistress. A ghostwalker drider has ethereal sight allowing it to see anything invisible or concealed within 100 feet. It can also become invisible and can phase when it moves. As a 27th level lurker, it has a lot of hit points (178) and extremely high defenses. It is limited to a dagger attack, but this does a base of 3d4+12 damage, plus ongoing 15 poison damage, both of which are boosted if the drider has combat advantage. If this isn’t enough, the ghostwalker’s assassinate power does 4d4+33 points of damage; if this is enough to reduce the target to half hit points, it instead drops to 0 hot points.

In Monster Vault, the fanglord and shadowspinner are reprinted, and a vanilla “drider” is introduced. This is a higher-level version of the Shadowdale drider from Web of the Spider Queen, with a scimitar attack, darkfire and servant’s rebuke. It is scaled up to match the fanglord and shadowspinner, and has 138 hit points. Monster Vault expands a little on the role of driders in drow society. In 4th Edition, driders are highly honoured and respected (and feared) in drow society, and have a near-mythical status. For drow warriors, the presence of a drider is a good omen, and becoming one the pinnacle of one’s life. They have a savage and bloodthirsty nature. They have their own social caste outside of drow society, but remain (sometimes reluctantly) subservient to priestesses of Lolth.

Driders are able to communicate telepathically with spiders, and some even have magic capable of summoning intelligent spiders from other planes. Monster Vault mentions that the drider transformation ritual is carefully guarded by Lolth's priestesses. However, in the War of Everlasting Darkness season of D&D Encounters, PCs may have a rare opportunity to witness the transformation of Danifae, Lolth's avatar, from drow into drider form.​


5th Edition
The drider did not appear in any of the D&D Next playtest packets or preview material, but James Wyatt's Wandering Monsters column, titled Scum of the (Under) Earth, provided insights into the design team’s plans for the drider. Driders are once again drow who have failed Lolth's tests, but while some drow communities shun driders, others accept them. Driders keep all of their innate drow abilities, and fight with bows, swords or axes. Although they have a poisonous bite, they use the paralysing toxin to coat their weapons (especially arrows) more frequently than they use it to bite foes. They don’t spin webs.

The version which appears in the 5th Edition Monster Manual isn't quite the same as envisaged in Wyatt's column, and instead reverts even more closely to the original drider lore. Their creation story follows the standard drow-who-fail-Lolth's-test line, but there is no mention of driders ever being accepted by drow communities. Instead they are held "in lower esteem than slaves", and at best drow tolerate the presence of a drider as a living representative of Lolth's will and a reminder of the fate of those who fail her. Most driders are driven mad by their transformation and disappear into the Underdark to become hermits and hunters, associating only with giant spiders.​

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Monster Manual (2014)​

5th Edition driders do not keep their innate drow abilities, although there is a sidebar for variants who retain their drow spellcasting abilities. A standard drow can cast only three innate spells: dancing lights, darkness, and faerie fire. Both their bite and longbow attacks do poison damage, but their longsword attacks do not. They gain fey ancestry, which gives them an advantage against charm attacks and immunity to magical sleep. They also share the sunlight sensitivity of drow. Amusingly, 5th Edition remains as confused as ever about the drider's ability to produce silk. They have both the spider climb and web walker abilities, but there is no indication that they are able to spin webs.

Although 5th Edition driders lack the array of magical capabilities of their ancestors, they are physically more impressive, with 13d10+52 hit points and a high natural armor class. They have multiattack allowing them to attack three times with a longsword (7 slashing damage) or longbow (7 piercing damage + 4 poison), optionally replacing one attack with a bite (2 piercing damage + 9 poison). They have decent senses including 120 ft. darkvision. Driders are chaotic evil and speak Elvish and Undercommon.

Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes contains a sidebar on driders in the section on drow. This text clarifies that driders do not serve the drow as soldiers or troops, but are always driven out to live on the fringes of drow society. Drow do not seek to kill driders, because that would cut short Lolth’s sentence of a wretched long life and drow do not want to draw the Spider Queen’s vengeance in case they too become driders. In 5th Edition, the Test of Lolth requires the drow to visit Lolth’s outer planar realm. When a failed drow returns from the test, other drow will stone the still-dazed drider and drive it into seclusion.

Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage references driders in the Sargauth Level and the Twisted Caverns. The Sargauth Level contains an Abyssal circle which is used to send drow to the Abyss for the Test of Lolth. The driders in the Twisted Caverns are said to while away the days carving zurkhwood figurines and writing poems on the caps of trillimac mushrooms.​


Driders and other monsters
Driders have always had a strong association with other arachnids, but may also partner with a variety of other creatures. Dragon #312 states that driders use shriekers as natural warning systems, and that a drider cleric may have a gang of undead under his or her command, or possibly a selection of oozes (for clerics of Ghaunadaur). Intelligent humanoids such as bugbears, troglodytes, and trolls occasionally serve driders, but usually only if they are magically controlled. Driders have been known to co-operate with duergar and derro and more unusual allies such as ropers and shadows are not unheard of.

The Book of Challenges suggests that hill giants may occasionally ally with driders. Tactical Terrors in Dragon #308 suggests that a group of minotaurs collaborating with a drider would make a good tactical combination. Lords of Madness has a beholder who makes good use of three charmed driders as guards, while Dungeon #124 has a barghest working as the servant of a drider.

Chitine have an antagonistic relationship with driders; MC11: Monstrous Compendium Forgotten Realms Appendix indicates that chitine are hunted by driders, and in The Ecology of the Chitine in Dragon #223, it is revealed that the goal of chitine society is to destroy all drow and driders in order to become Lolth's favourite children. The priests of the chitine are creatures known as choldrith. Monsters of Faerûn suggests that their resemblance to driders is not coincidental, and may be Lolth’s reward for chitine who pass some test of devotion.

The 3rd Edition Monster Manual IV describes tomb spiders, which driders encourage to nest near their territories, as well as Lolth-touched bebiliths, which the goddess creates to hunt down and destroy driders. Noone knows if this represents Lolth’s malice or a further test. Shaedlings are malignant fey from the Monster Manual V who have turned their back on nature to worship Lolth. They will sometimes seek out driders to live with, if the driders so permit. Drow of the Underdark indicates that some drow believe that araneas were once drow, and, like driders, were transformed after failing Lolth. In Races of Destiny, the Swordfeather cabal of chaotic illumians is said to harbour driders, which places them in regular conflict with drow.

Since 4th Edition reversed the drider’s outcast status instead making them Lolth’s favourites, they are far more frequently teamed up with drow and other creatures in their 4th Edition appearances. Drider allies include destrachans, demonweb terrors (Monster Manual), chasme demons (Manual of the Planes), yochlol, web golems, abyssal ghouls, battle wights (P2: Demon Queen’s Enclave), mind flayers (Dungeon Delve), bulettes, inferno bats (Dungeon #166), bebiliths, bristle spiders (Monster Manual 2), grimlocks (Underdark) and even humans (Dungeon #168). Long gone are the drider’s 1st Edition days as largely solitary opponents!

The shunned are a group of 4th Edition creatures from P2: Demon Queen's Enclave, created by Lolth out of drow who fail her, or fail her test. They include the chwidencha and fithrichen and are grotesque arachnid-drow fusions which mock the perfect form of the drider. (The chwidencha first appeared as the spiderleg horror in the The Punishments of Lolth in Dragon #298.) Driders kill any shunned they encounter on sight.

Like drow, some driders know the profane creation rituals used to create the demonic draegloth abomination described in the Monster Manual 3. This isn’t surprising as the ritual to create them requires drider blood.

The Dungeon Master’s Guide 2 details a transformation into a creature similar to a drider, a spiderblessed spinner. The recipient of this favour grows extra eyes, six extra spider legs and spinnerets on their hands or another body part. These spinnerets produce a special poisonous web.

Haures, described in the Demonomicon, are eight-legged undead demons serving Orcus and other demon lords. Lolth views their spider-like form as an affront, so demon lords who oppose her delight in sending haures against her drow and drider forces.​


Driders and magic
There are a few spells which transform someone into a drider form. The 3rd Edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting contains the spider curse spell, which turns a humanoid into a drider-like creature under the caster's control, and spiderform which polymorphs the caster into a drider or a monstrous spider. The 3rd Edition Drow of the Underdark contains a dridershape spell, which does much the same thing as spiderform, giving the caster the form of a drider for a few rounds. Confusingly an earlier, identically named spiderform spell from the FOR2: Drow of the Underdark lets a priest turn a small animal or arachnid into a giant spider, but if cast on a drow, the target is temporarily transformed into a drider instead.

Drow of the Underdark contains a vile feat called vow of the spider queen, which offers substantial benefits but has, as a penalty for breaking the vow, an immediate transformation into a drider. The spiderbind spell from Champions of Valor was created by clerics of Eilistraee to assist those fighting spiderkind. It slows such creatures and negates their poison damage.​

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Magic of Incarnum (2005)​

Parts of driders can be used as components for spells. Maddgoth's servitor is a spell from Undermountain: Maddgoth's Castle used to create a homunculus servant, and it requires the tears of a drider. The poison gland of a drider can be used as the component for the vapor of agony spell from Return to the Tomb of Horrors. The 3rd Edition Unearthed Arcana lists drider fur (worth 450 gp) as a component for extending a spider climb spell and ritually prepared drider silk (worth 1,100 gp) is used to heighten a web spell.

Several magic items also require drider parts to make. Venom from a drider can be used to enchant a silver dragon's tooth (described in Dragon #98). It can also be used, together with drider silk to make spider fang daggers (from Dragon #169 and The Ruins of Myth Drannor). The 3rd Edition supplements Underdark and Shadowdale: The Scouring of the Land put drider silk to another use, as it can be treated to make spidersilk armor. To find a drider to get this venom and silk from, the dark wand of the Sulhaut Mountains (from Greyhawk Adventures) can be used. The wand pivots in the direction of the nearest drow or drider, and even creates a vague illusionary image of what that drow or drider is currently doing. According to the Magic Item Compendium, the relics known as rods of the recluse (from Complete Divine) were originally crafted by Lolth from the legs of driders who attempted to regain her favour.​

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Rod of the recluse, Complete Divine (2004)​

More ominously, drider souls are a part of Matron Baenre’s throne, described in the Menzoberranzan boxed set as carved of pure black sapphire. Inside the inky black dimension writhe the tormented souls of all the city’s converted driders. The desecrated temple of the Elven Court (described in Cormanthyr: Empire of Elves) contains the Spiders’ Gate. The mere presence of sufficiently powerful spellcasters causes the gate to produce arachnids, including driders.​


Dragonlance
Except for when Dragonlance writers forget, Krynn does not have drow. (Dark elves are instead elves banished from elven society.) However, the Dragonlance world does have driders. There is an encounter with one in the solo adventure book Gnomes-100, Dragons-0. If the dice are favourable, the hero of the story is able to use his steam-powered(!) armor to smash this drider to pieces.​

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Gnomes-100, Dragons-0 (1987)​

An explanation for the presence of driders on Krynn is offered in DLS4: Wild Elves, where the story of Jiathuli, an imprisoned Princess of the Abyss is told. It is Jiathuli who created the driders found on Krynn; they are not native, but visitors from another world sent as part of an invasion. Another servant of Jiathuli, an undead drider, features in DLT1: New Tales: The Land Reborn.​


Eberron
Eberron has a half-drow, half-scorpion race similar to driders known as scorrow (described in Secrets of Xen'drik); these play the role of a more powerful drow variant. However, the setting does also have driders. Like the scorrow, these driders are specially chosen servants of the Mockery. In Eberron, driders and scorrow are distinct races capable of breeding, rather than individually created beings. Races of Eberron implies that scorrow are “a different race of driders”.

Five Nations mentions a drider missing a leg (and hence known as "The Seven") living in the Copse Impenetrable in the Whisper Woods of Aundair. She is allied with the araneas living in the forest. A drider also appears on the encounter tables for Pra’xerik, Lost City of the Giants in Xen’drik (Explorer’s Handbook).​


Forgotten Realms
Drider are not uncommon inhabitants of the Underdark in the Forgotten Realms. The first Realms product covering them in any detail is FOR2: The Drow of the Underdark. Much of the content here is adapted from the earlier Dragon #129 article. In Faerûn, The Test (with capitals!) is something that is done to 6th-level drow wizards by the priestesses of Lolth. The wizards are abducted and subjected to a thorough “magical mind-reaming”. Those that don’t pass the test (or die) are transformed into driders. The metamorphosis involves a magical ceremony performed by the priestesses and yochlol (monstrous handmaidens of Lolth). Drow who fail Lolth in some way may also be transformed into driders. The Menzoberranzan boxed set later seems to confirm that all drow of sufficient level are tested, and not just wizards.

The mechanical specifics of the alteration are noted (8 points of charisma loss, +2 strength to a maximum of 18). Driders retain their drow personalities and memories but become sexless as Lolth does not want the drow to have an enemy race capable of reproduction. In the letters page of Dungeon #50, a reader takes issue with the fact that Karinza (from the Dungeon #48 adventure, set in the Far Hills) is specifically female, given that FOR2: The Drow of the Underdark specifically makes drider sexless. The editor notes that although driders do lose their reproductive organs during the process of transformation, they retain their memories, and thus might well still identify as male or female. This reply ignores the fact that Karinza is illustrated with breasts, so perhaps the implication here is that the transformation doesn’t change the upper body.

FOR2: The Drow of the Underdark notes that driders can use two weapons in battle as long as one is no larger than a longsword. They can also wear armor and helmets on their upper bodies and heads and use shields. As with 1st Edition driders, there is a 50% chance for a Faerûnian drider to have functioning spinnerets. If so, they can spin up to ten webs per day, each covering a 10 foot square area. This web acts as a rope of entanglement for any creature other than its spinner.

Driders of the Realms are more creative with their use of poison than typical 2nd Edition driders, learning to bite down on their internal poison sacs and to spit the venom onto their weapons. This remains effective for three strikes of the weapon and has the same effect as a bite (a save vs. poison or 1-2 turns of paralysis). They are also immune to poisons, but have significantly lower magic resistance compared to drow.

Driders are driven out of drow communities. Despite this, they are sometimes recruited by drow to perform tasks for some reward. Rarely does this end well for the drider, as the tasks are either impossible, or the drider is betrayed once the task is completed, usually taking some of the treacherous drow with it. Driders may also be captured to serve as guards for a particular area.

Like their 1st Edition cousins, driders are driven by a spider-like thirst for blood, and must consume blood every four days, or begin losing 1d6 hit points per day. This continues until the blood of a living creature is ingested, which causes the drider to recover 1d6 point per hit die or level of the consumer creature. Many drider are also driven by a desire to die, preferably in battle with drow. This gives them a berserker-like fury in battle, making them immune to morale checks and providing a +4 bonus on fear saves.

Driders are able to move quietly enough to surprise opponents half of the time, have improved hearing, smell and sight, and can flawlessly climb walls. They are, however, too heavy to climb ceilings. Although they retain knowledge of all languages they knew as drow, they are less proficient at signalling the drow “silent tongue” because of their disfigurement. They sometimes develop their own drider equivalent, which has the benefit of not being understood by drow opponents.

The text confirms that only powerful magic equivalent to a wish can reverse the transformation into a drider, but also explains that lesser magics cannot even temporarily turn a drider into another form. Nor can a creature be turned into a drider for more than 2d4 rounds, even if such magic would usually permit that. FOR2: The Drow of the Underdark says that driders roam planes (and space) searching for magic powerful enough to reverse Lolth’s “gift”, but this would eventually be contradicted by the 3rd Edition Ecology article, which states the exact opposite.​

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A Reader's Guide to R. A. Salvatore's Legend of Drizzt (2008)​

Several Forgotten Realms sources include references to drider inhabitants. In the Drizzt novel The Legacy, Drizzt's sister Vierna transforms his brother Dinin Do'Urden into a drider; Dinin is eventually killed by Bruenor Battlehammer. According to FR3: Empires of the Sands, there are driders found in the Forest of Mir in Calimshan. In the 1993 revised Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting set, there is a drider living in the dungeons below the Tower of Ashaba in Shadowdale.

A large group of more than two dozen driders dwells in Muiral’s Gauntlet in the deep level of Undermountain (detailed in The Ruins of Undermountain II: The Deep Levels). Driders are known to inhabit the Underdark below the Serpent Hills (Elminster’s Ecologies Appendix II), the Gnollwatch Mountains (Shining South) and the Spiderhaunt Peaks in the Hordelands (Dragon #349).​

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City of the Spider Queen (2002)​

The City of the Spider Queen adventure contains a number of encounters with driders, including Jhorganni, a drider vampire. A statistics block for a typical drider vampire is provided. These have a mixture of drider and vampire abilities. Instead of a poisonous bite, a drider vampire latches onto a target with its jaws and begins to drain blood (and constitution). A vampire does not use weapons, but uses its clawed hand to drain levels from whomever it strikes. It can assume the shape of a monstrous spider (from tiny to large in size) and can command spiderkind to obey its mental commands. A vampiric drider gains fast healing (5 points per round) and like most vampires, can also assume gaseous form indefinitely.​

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Jhorganni and Gray Render, City of the Spider Queen (2002)​

In addition to the potent abilities of all vampire driders, Jhorganni is also a 7th level cleric of Kiaransalee, with an array of offensive and defensive spells prepared, including destruction, repulsion, greater dispelling, create undered, control undead, slay living and flame strike. Alone Jhorganni has a challenge rating of 16, but she is seldom alone, as her hobby is creating arachnoid creatures. One of these, a hideous arachnoid gray render, serves as her personal bodyguard.​

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City of the Spider Queen (2002)​

The Underdark Dungeons web enhancement for Underdark describes The Forgotten Ones, a community of driders dwelling near the drow city of T'lindhet. These driders have forged an alliance with a group of chitines — unusual given the strong hatred between these races — and are poised to launch a combined attack on the drow city.

Driders are also found in the western realm of Maztica. According to the novel Viperhand, these driders were not created in quite the same manner as their western counterparts. Instead of being transformed by Lolth because they failed her tests, these driders were originally a group of drow who abandoned Lolth in favour of the Maztican deity Zaltec. The Spider Queen triggered their transformation en masse as punishment for their desertion.

The 4th Edition book Menzoberranzan: City of Intrigue entrenches driders in Menzoberranzan in line with their change from outcasts to favoured servants. In particular, House Melarn has adopted this more modern view of driders wholeheartedly and they serve the House in great numbers. One of them (Nal’dorltyrr) even serves as the house weapon master, a cause of great scandal at the time of his appointment.​


Ghostwalk
To the south of the city of Manifest, deep within the Spirit Wood, lies the Howling Vale. This place of anger and torment is populated with monsters drawn to hatred and spite, including driders.​


Greyhawk
Driders are listed on the underdark encounter table in MC5: Monstrous Compendium Greyhawk Adventures, and there is a drider guard trapped by Lyzandred in the Crypt of Lyzandred the Mad. This drider has lost his magic resistance because he has not been to UnderOerth in many months, indicating that Greyhawk’s driders gradually lose their magic resistance when aboveground. Feeniar Eilservs, a drow priest of the Elder Elemental God, commands a troop of quaggoths and sword spiders in Kingdom of the Ghouls (Dungeon #70), set in the Crystalmist and Hellfurnace Mountains.

The most notable appearance of anything drider-related in the Greyhawk setting is — perhaps regrettably — in the parody adventure WG7: Castle Greyhawk. There, the adventurers encounter "the Amazing Driderman", who is a huge drider wearing a red hood. According to the encounter description, he drones on and on about his sick aunt and finicky girlfriend, causing PCs who fail a saving throw to recklessly attack him screaming "shut up, shut up!". The less said about this particular drider, the better. Let's move on...​


Planescape
Several planar sources link Kiaransalee, the drow god of the undead and vengeance, to driders. Both Planes of Chaos and On Hallowed Ground detail one of Kiaransalee's proxies, a female drider named Anista of Eight Eyes. Planes of Chaos also states that driders number among the legions that serve the goddess in the Abyssal city of Naratyr. But by the time Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss was published, Kiaransalee had lost control of the entire layer of Thanatos to a reborn Orcus, and the animated corpses of drow and driders once loyal to her were now the majority of the residents of Naratyr.​


Ravenloft
The RR1: Darklords accessory notes that there are driders below the surface of Arak, a domain inhabited by drow, which ceased to exist following the setting’s Grand Conjunction in 740 BC. Ravenloft Gazetteer: Volume V mentions that there are driders in the Shadow Rift, the land which replaced Arak in the Demiplane of Dread.

The Ravenloft Monstrous Compendium Appendix III: Creatures of Darkness details a drider version of a drow lich, and mentions that driders will worship vampire drow. For reasons unknown, Lolth continues to grant spells to priestly driders who become liches. The powers of Ravenloft grant each such lich control over insectoid skeletons as well as the ability to hurl webs from its thorax.

Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft suggests that the drider is an appropriate creature for the dark fantasy genre of horror.​


Miniatures
Despite their relatively complex shape, drider have been well represented as miniatures, starting with the licenced Grenadier line in the early 1980s.​

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Grenadier 106: Driders (1981), image from DnD Lead

This was followed by drider blister packs from Ral Partha in the 1990s. These miniatures, like most D&D illustrations, happily ignored the idea that driders are sexless. Not only does the female drider have a completely different body to the males, but these were even marketed in two completely different packs. One contained two male driders, and the other a single female.​

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Ral Partha 11-418: Male Driders (1997) and 11-419: Female Drider (1997), images from Lost Minis Wiki

There was a drider trooper planned for release as part of Wizards of the Coast’s Chainmail line, but unfortunately this was cancelled before the drider was produced. Thanks to an article in Dragon #298, we at least have a picture.​

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Dragon #298 (2002)​

There were also several different driders produced as part of Wizard of the Coast's pre-painted plastic minis line. A drider sorcerer was figure 44/72 in the Giants of Legend set in 2004.​

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D&D Miniatures: Giants of Legend (2004), image from MinisGallery

This was followed by another drider figure (45/60) in the Desert of Desolation set (2007). This version was re-released in 2012 with slightly different colours in the Dungeon Command: Sting of Lolth game.​

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D&D Miniatures: Desert of Desolation (2007), image from MinisGallery

Released for use with 4th Edition, a drider fanglord was figure 12/40 in the Savage Encounters set (2009). This figure was recycled as Dinin Do'Urden for the The Legend of Drizzt Board Game in 2011.​

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D&D Miniatures: Savage Encounters (2009), image from MinisGallery

The most recent drider mini was produced by WizKids as figure 26/54 of the Rage of Demons set in the 5th Edition era.​

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Icons of the Realms: Rage of Demons (2015), image from MinisGallery


Computer games
The drider has featured frequently in computer games over the years. Its first appearance was in Pool of Radiance.​

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Pool of Radiance (1988), images from dfortae - Game Reviews

Secrets of the Silver Blades reused the same artwork as Pool of Radiance, but there was new (not necessarily better) art for the Eye of the Beholder two years later.​

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Eye of the Beholder (1991), images from McGammar

The driders in Pools of Darkness (released the same year as Eye of the Beholder) are similar in style to Pool of Radiance, but more traditional in colour.​

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Pools of Darkness (1991), images from aulddragon

As might be expected from a game set in the drow city, Menzoberranzan has plenty of driders.​

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Menzoberranzan (1994), image from MobyGames

Icewind Dale II has not only driders, but a drider producing machine called a Viciscamera. Created by a monstrous organisation known as the Legion of the Chimera, this living machine has not only the ability to forcibly turn drow into driders, but it can also produce experimental variations, including a celeridrider which has a fast quickling-like metabolism, a spithdrider that can cast webs from each leg, and a cradoldrider that carries spiders in its abdomen.​

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Icewind Dale II (2002), image from Hth

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Drider concept art, Icewind Dale II (2002)​

The Hordes of the Underdark expansion pack for Neverwinter Nights includes driders.​

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Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark (2003), image from GameFAQs

There are also driders in Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II.​

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Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II (2004), image from GamesKnit

In an interview in Jon Schindehette's Dragon's-Eye View column, the creative team at Cryptic (developers of 2013’s Neverwinter) discuss the process of making a drider by combining a humanoid template with a giant spider, including an amusing note about adding a carapace to the drider to stop the spider's face from appearing on the drider's crotch.​

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Neverwinter (2013), image from Wizards of the Coast

Although it is a relatively recent release, Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear is an expansion for the very first Baldur’s Gate game, designed to fill in some of the story gaps between that and its sequels. It is based on the remastered version of Baldur’s Gate, but the graphics are still somewhat retro compared to, say, Neverwinter.​

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Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear (2016)​


Drider names
Anista of Eight Eyes, Caxzur, Chil'triss Kilsek, Darvitok, Davwarka, Day-Ron, Dinin Do'Urden, Duagloth, Durvagaz, Eklivarta, Feeniar Eilservs, Fireclaw, The Forgotten, The Forsaken, Garem, G'eldighaun, Hittok, Jhorganni, Karinza, Maevia, Malnok, Maznafein, Nal’dorltyrr, Pellanistra, Photenk, Pliztik, Sabrar, Sadie, Tarchkuk, The Seven, Vinter, Wahelkt, Xunarra, Yerrininae.​


Comparative statistics


References
Q1: Queen of the Demonweb Pits, p28 (June 1980)
Grenadier 106: Driders (1981)
Monster Manual II, p60 (August 1983)
Dragon #98, p13, The Magic of Dragon Teeth (May 1985)
Polyhedron #30, p8, Nienna & Friends (September 1986)
Gnomes-100, Dragons-0, p126 (November 1987)
WG7: Castle Greyhawk, p55 (January 1988)
Dragon #129, p30, Entering the Drider's Web (January 1988)
FR3: Empires of the Sands, p49 (February 1988)
Greyhawk Adventures, p75 (August 1988)
Pool of Radiance (1988)
Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (August 1989)
MC5: Monstrous Compendium Greyhawk Adventures (April 1990)
Viperhand, p306 (October 1990)
Dragon #169, p92, Bazaar of the Bizarre (May 1991)
FOR2: The Drow of the Underdark, p9-12, 38 (June 1991)
RR1: Darklords, p12 (July 1991)
DLS4: Wild Elves, p16-17, 56 (November 1991)
MC11: Monstrous Compendium Forgotten Realms Appendix (December 1991)
Eye of the Beholder (1991)
Pools of Darkness (1991)
DMGR4: Monster Mythology, p62 (April 1992)
The Legacy (August 1992)
Menzoberranzan, Book One: The City, p9 and Book Two: The Houses, p9 (September 1992)
The Ruins of Myth Drannor, Campaign Guide to Myth Drannor, p127 (February 1993)
Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, Shadowdale, p75-78 (June 1993)
Monstrous Manual, p112 (June 1993)
DLT1: New Tales: The Land Reborn, p34 (July 1993)
The Ruins of Undermountain II: The Deep Levels, Campaign Guide, p94 (February 1994)
Dungeon #48, p67, 70, Honor Lost, Honor Regained (July 1994)
Planes of Chaos, The Book of Chaos, p29 (July 1994)
Ravenloft Monstrous Compendium Appendix III: Creatures of Darkness, p71, 108 (October 1994)
Dungeon #50, p7, Letters (November 1994)
Menzoberranzan (1994)
Elminster’s Ecologies Appendix II, The Serpent Hills, p31 (September 1995)
Dragon #223, p58, The Ecology of the Chitine (November 1995)
Dragon #228, p52, Rogue's Gallery: Gangsters of the Underdark (March 1996)
Dungeon #60, p8-10, Shards of the Day (July 1996)
The Rod of Seven Parts, Book One: Initiation to Power, p48-50 (August 1996)
Undermountain: Maddgoth's Castle, p31 (August 1996)
On Hallowed Ground, p100 (September 1996)
Ral Partha 11-418: Male Driders (1997)
Ral Partha 11-419: Female Drider (1997)
Cormanthyr: Empire of Elves, p108 (March 1998)
Return to the Tomb of Horrors, p151, (July 1998)
Dungeon #70, p53-54, Kingdom of the Ghouls (September 1998)
Crypt of Lyzandred the Mad, p33-34 (October 1998)
Dragon #267, p30, By Any Other Name: The Drow (January 2000)
Monster Manual, p78 (October 2000)
Dragon #279, p45, Revenge of the Spider Queen (January 2001)
Dungeon #84, p23-64, The Harrowing (January 2001)
Monsters of Faerûn, p27 (February 2001)
Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, p74 (June 2001)
Wizards of the Coast website, Monster Mayhem: Drider Template (November 2001)
Dragon #293, p55, Monsters With Class (March 2002)
Book of Challenges, p47, 98-99 (June 2002)
Dungeon #93, p66-67, Critical Threats (July 2002)
Dragon #298, p30-31, 35-39, 88, Flesh for Lolth, Punishments of Lolth and Chainmail (August 2002)
Icewind Dale II (August 2002)
City of the Spider Queen, p19-20, 39, 44, 81, 90-91, 118-119, 152 (September 2002)
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?, p1-10 (September 2002)
Book of Vile Darkness, p73 (October 2002)
Test of the Demonweb, p6-7 (October 2002)
Savage Species, p146, 163, 206 (February 2003)
Dragon #308, p50, Tactical Terrors (March 2003)
Ghostwalk, p115 (June 2003)
Monster Manual v.3.5, p89 (July 2003)
Dragon #312, p77, The Ecology of the Drider (October 2003)
Underdark, p66 (October 2003)
Underdark Dungeons, p2 (October 2003)
Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark (December 2003)
Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II (January 2004)
Unearthed Arcana, p148-149 (February 2004)
Complete Divine, p100 (May 2004)
Ravenloft Gazetteer: Volume V, p105 (May 2004)
D&D Miniatures: Giants of Legend, figure #44/72 (June 2004)
Shining South, p84 (October 2004)
Races of Destiny, p67 (December 2004)
Lords of Madness, p51-54 (April 2005)
Races of Eberron, p77 (April 2005)
Five Nations, p33 (June 2005)
Dungeon #124, p72, Temple of the Scorpion God (July 2005)
Explorer’s Handbook, p132 (August 2005)
Magic of Incarnum, p87 (September 2005)
Heroes of Horror, p51 (October 2005
Champions of Valor, p58 (November 2005)
Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss, p131 (June 2006)
Monster Manual IV, p92, 167 (July 2006)
Secrets of Xen'drik, p72 (July 2006)
Dragon #349, p56, The Horde (November 2006)
Magic Item Compendium, p57 (March 2007)
Expedition to the Demonweb Pits, p66 (April 2007)
Drow of the Underdark, p18, 40-41, 55-56, 61 (May 2007)
Monster Manual V, p149 (July 2007)
Shadowdale: The Scouring of the Land, p149 (July 2007)
D&D Miniatures: Desert of Desolation, figure #45/60 (October 2007)
Monster Manual, p93 (June 2008)
A Reader's Guide to R. A. Salvatore's Legend of Drizzt, p23 (September 2008)
Manual of the Planes, p121 (December 2008)
P2: Demon Queen's Enclave, Adventure Book One, p17-19 and Adventure Book Two, p3-4 (December 2008)
Dungeon Delve, p94 (March 2009)
Dungeon #166, p34-35, Throne of the Stone-Skinned King (May 2009)
Monster Manual 2, p53, 189 (May 2009)
Dungeon #168, Web of Chains (July 2009)
Dungeon Master’s Guide 2, p130 (September 2009)
Revenge of the Giants, p82 (September 2009)
D&D Miniatures: Savage Encounters, figure #12/40 (November 2009)
Underdark, p62 (January 2010)
Monster Manual 3, p59, 77, 247 (June 2010)
Demonomicon, p116 (July 2010)
The Legend of Drizzt Board Game (October 2011)
Monster Vault, p87-89 (November 2011)
Dungeon #200, Hall of the Fire Giant King, (March 2012)
Web of the Spider Queen, p58-59 (May 2012)
Dungeon #204, Denizens of the Demonweb, (July 2012)
Dungeon Command: Sting of Lolth (July 2012)
Menzoberranzan: City of Intrigue, p49-53, 96-99 (August 2012)
War of Everlasting Darkness, p64, (November 2012)
Wizards of the Coast website, Dragon's-Eye View: Neverwinter: Behind the Curtain, Part 4 (March 2013)
Wizards of the Coast website, Wandering Monsters: Scum of the (Under) Earth (March 2013)
Neverwinter (June 2013)
Monster Manual, p120 (September 2014)
Icons of the Realms: Rage of Demons, figure #26/54 (September 2015)
Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear (March 2016)
Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, p51 (May 2018)
Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage, p47, 63 (November 2018)
Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft, p50 (May 2021)​


Other ENCyclopedia entries
Visit the Monster ENCyclopedia index for links to other entries in this series.​
 
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KirayaTiDrekan

Explorer
As I recall, there was an albino drow (who was thus able to pass herself off as a regular elf) villain in the Maztica trilogy who became a drider in the last book via the BBEG native god of Maztica.
 

Voadam

Legend
I believe Gygax said in one of his ask him anything threads that driders were originally created by David Sutherland as part of what he wrote for Q1.
 

thewok

First Post
As an addendum, the very D&D-influenced EverQuest universe has a drider analogue called the drachnid. The story is that a powerful Teir'Dal sorceress named Tserrina Syl'Tor had bred giant black widow spiders. To curry favor with Mayong MIstmoore, a powerful vampire, she sent him a gift: one of her creations, accompanied by an emissary under her employ.

His response was to send back the spider's body with the head and torso of the emissary grafted onto it, along with a note: "Thank you for supplying Mistmoore with suitable raw ingredients for a true servant." Mistmoore then started releasing more and more drachnids into the wild, and they became a new species, able to breed true and sustain (and even grow) their own populations.

I always enjoyed that creation story for those creatures. I hated fighting them, though. They were tough bastards.
 

Echohawk

Shirokinukatsukami fan
I believe Gygax said in one of his ask him anything threads that driders were originally created by David Sutherland as part of what he wrote for Q1.
Do you have a source for that, by any chance? I did a fairly quick look for a confirmed monster creator when researching the drider, but I couldn't find anything definitive.
 


Ramaster

Explorer
Awesome article, as usual!

Driders also appear on Icewind Dale II, where one is forced to help a powerful drow wizard with the elimination of a creature/device called the "Viviscamera" (or something like that) that is mass producing them.
 


steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
My money's goin' on "Ettin" or "Ettercap" for the "E".

But also wanted to post a great big "YOU'RE AWESOME" for [MENTION=9849]Echohawk[/MENTION] and all of the hard work and research these kinds of articles/threads/posts must take and how very thankful I [and obviously many others] are that you are pursuing this. The hobby really needs more "chronicler/historians" like you.

Really excellent work.
 

Big Mac

Explorer
Mmmmmmmmmmmmm, spidertaur.

Spidertaur! Spidertaur! Does whatever a spidertaur does! :p

As I recall, there was an albino drow (who was thus able to pass herself off as a regular elf) villain in the Maztica trilogy who became a drider in the last book via the BBEG native god of Maztica.

Good spot, but it was not quite like that.

Lolth was angry at the drow (who were Faerûnian drow who got stranded under Maztica and then abandoned her to worship Zaltec). After realising that drow were living under Maztica she was trying to gain access to the realm. She finally managed to gain power in the second Maztica novel (pages 303-305 of Viperhand) and put a curse on the drow and the Maztican humans that were serving them. The curse turned all of the drow to change into driders (but had different effects on the various humans in the cult of the Viperhand that the drow were in charge of).

Echohawk might be interested in the description of the drow-to-drider transformation process, so here is a quote:
Viperhand page 306 said:
Crying out in agony and horror, the drow thrashed and writed, their bodies wracked by the all-consumuing vengence of their dark goddess. The sleek elven shapes grew grotesque and bloated, trailing great, immobile abdomens as their lower limbs withered and fell away. From these abdomens sprouted legs - eight legs each - that were covered with corse fur. Dark elven heads and torsos - and minds - remained, so that they could know their disgrace. But the grotesque and hateful bodies would belong to them as long as they lived.

Note that nobody performed any sort of ritual to change these drow into driders. But the drow, and the cult of the Viperhand had been making human sacrifices, so I think that Lolth might have been able to hijack all of the energy that the sacrificial rituals had created. So this could have been a one-off special effect that would not be repeated if other drow travelled to Maztica.
 

Big Mac

Explorer
Driders also appear on Icewind Dale II, where one is forced to help a powerful drow wizard with the elimination of a creature/device called the "Viviscamera" (or something like that) that is mass producing them.

Is this a machine that turns drow into driders? Or is it some sort of servant of Lolth that does a ritual on them?
 

But also wanted to post a great big "YOU'RE AWESOME" for [MENTION=9849]Echohawk[/MENTION] and all of the hard work and research these kinds of articles/threads/posts must take and how very thankful I [and obviously many others] are that you are pursuing this. The hobby really needs more "chronicler/historians" like you.

Megadittoes. This is fantastically researched and well written. Thanks for writing these!

Observation: the number of times 4E inverts or subverts long-held D&D tropes, like with the drider, was one of the things that turned me off to it. Good to see the drider returning to its cursed origins.
 



Ramaster

Explorer
When I made my post about the driders on Icewind Dale II I was just about to play through that part, so I wanted to make sure I had it fresh on my memory (it's an old game) before giving away this information.

It turns out that there is this organization called The Legion of the Chimera, which is a league of monsters and half-breeds. A drider faction is looking to join the legion and they are given the help of a Transmuter from the Red Wizards of Thay (Imphraili Asserbai) who creates the Viviscamera for them, a Creature/Machine that turns regular drown into driders. Being adventurers, of course, you foil this unholy operation and destroy the Viviscamera. Of note is the fact that, when you confront this transmuter, she is working on a couple of Drider Variants; One that carries additional spiders on it's belly, one that has hollow legs that produce silk and an extra strong one.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
[h=2]Monster ENCyclopedia: Drider[/h]

*SNIP*

[h=3]4th Edition[/h]
Those who fail the test usually die, but are sometimes changed into abominations known as the shunned.

[h=3]Driders and other monsters[/h]

*SNIP*

The shunned are a group of 4th Edition creatures from P2: Demon Queen's Enclave, created by Lolth out of drow who fail her. They include the chwidencha and fithrichen and are grotesque arachnid-drow fusions which mock the perfect form of the drider.

I'll have to check which issue it was, but there was a Dragon magazine issue with a collection of 3rd edition spider monsters who were drow that had failed one of Lolth's tests, and I'm pretty sure the Chwidencha was amongst them. The Fithrichen might be in it as well, but I can't remember offhand.

The concept of non-drider Arachnid-Drow monstrosities brought about by "failing Lolth" is certainly older than 4th edition.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
I'll have to check which issue it was, but there was a Dragon magazine issue with a collection of 3rd edition spider monsters who were drow that had failed one of Lolth's tests, and I'm pretty sure the Chwidencha was amongst them. The Fithrichen might be in it as well, but I can't remember offhand.

I've found that 3E Dragon Magazine source for the Chwidencha.

They first appeared in issue #298 (August 2002) in "Bestiary: Punishments of Lolth" as the Spiderleg Horror - a creature a drow turns into if they fail the "Chwidencha-The Test of Sacrifice". The article also includes stats for two more Arachno-Drow monstrosities who had failed Lolth's tests, the Aracholoth and Brood Mother.

The Chwidencha also appears (with that name) in the 3E Fiend Folio and Drow of the Underdark.

I couldn't find either the Fithrichen or the Mithrenda in Dragon #298, so I suspect they're original to the 4E Demon Queen's Enclave you referred to.
 


Echohawk

Shirokinukatsukami fan
Lolth was angry at the drow (who were Faerûnian drow who got stranded under Maztica and then abandoned her to worship Zaltec).

When I made my post about the driders on Icewind Dale II I was just about to play through that part, so I wanted to make sure I had it fresh on my memory (it's an old game) before giving away this information.

I've found that 3E Dragon Magazine source for the Chwidencha.

Thanks for all of these great additions! I've incorporated them all into various parts of the original post.
 

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