Friday, January 2, 2009

The Curious (R)Evolution of the Drider

While working on this week's What the Heck*, the "sprites' answer to the drider", I was doing a little research into the drider and I noticed something odd.

3e MM: Driders are bloodthirsty creatures that lurk in the depths of the earth, seeking warm-blooded prey of any kind.
4e MM: Bloodthirsty creatures that lurk in the depths of the world, driders are servants of Lolth gifted with a semblance of their god’s grotesque form.

OK, pretty much the same, but...

3e MM: When a dark elf of above-average ability reaches 6th level, the goddess may put him or her through a special test. Failures become driders. Because they have failed their goddess's test, driders are outcasts from their own communities. Drow and driders hate one another passionately.
4e MM: In drow society, the strongest and bravest can take the Test of Lolth. Those who succeed become driders, members of a privileged caste. Those who fail usually die.

Wow, that's quite a turnaround for the outcast driders of old. In fact, it reverses fluff that dates back to the very first appearance of the creature, which according to Wikipedia is Q1, Queen of the Demonweb Pits (1980), a module I happen to own...

Q1: When Drow of promising ability reach 6th level or slightly higher, Lolth will summon them and put them through a specially-devised test. The Drow that fail become driders. ... Driders are outcasts from Drow communities, and thus bear them no great love.

I must admit, the part about those who fail the test becoming driders never made the slightest bit of sense to me. "Ah, my spider-worshiping child," Lolth says. "You have failed me, and so I must transform half your body into that which you revere, leave all your existing magical powers intact, and give you a few new goodies like a poison bite. Don't you feel like a loser?" Personally, I think the change the 4e designers made was long overdue.

* A little secret - I often do most of the WWTH writeup on Friday evening and schedule it for the usual 7PM Saturday. Since I've never had input to a WWTH later than Friday evening this hasn't been a problem. Even if I get late input I have all day Saturday to tweak it to include any new ideas. I'm not sure why I felt the need to include such a meta-note as this, but there it is. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

1 comment:

Maestro said...

heh. I totally hadn't noticed that. I guess it does make a bit more sense, but what a weird about-face in fluff ... ah, well. What're you gonna do. To be honest, if people don't like it, they can just ignore it, and play it like they always have.