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City of the Spider Queen (Dungeons & Dragons d20 3.0 Fantasy Roleplaying, Forgotten Realms Setting) Paperback – September 1, 2002
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Just remember it was made with the 3.0 rules, and some things are different, namely the haste and darkness spells, which drow antagonist casters were designed with the old, more powerful versions in mind. I just used the old version of them and let players use new or old as they liked.
If you want to start at level one I recommend The Shattered Gates of Slaughtergarde, which leads fairly well into this product.
In this 3.0 compliant adventure...
- Almost everybody has spell resistance
- Most casters use haste to get extra partial actions which are usually used to cast Lightning Bolt
- Drow can use darkness when they don't want to be seen
But in d20 3.5e,
- Spell resistance is easily bypassed by most conjuration magic (except for healing).
- Haste doesn't give casters much of any advantage except footspeed.
- Darkness has been nerfed from "darkness" to "shadowy illumination".
This has two major overall impacts:
- Drow shouldn't be studying any magic other than conjuration. Everybody's got spell resistance, so anything short of Cloudkill (which SR does not apply to in 3.5) is a waste of time.
- The straight Drow encounters are still going to be really pretty weenie.
If you've still got the 3.0 books about, this is a great adventure, loaded with atmosphere and plot unparallelled by the other adventures I've seen (which generally result in the heroes saving the day just in the nick of time despite having taken 5 years of downtime to craft magical items). Otherwise, you may want to alter the Drow -- or at least reinstate the old SR rules -- to ensure that this adventure plays as well as it did a couple of years ago. Because in d20 3.5e, the overrated dark elves are the least of anybody's problems.
One aspect of the adventure that is both good and bad is its length. The adventure is LONG and allows for very little downtime. This means characters have no time to make magic items and worse, wizards in the party don't even have time to learn new spells forcing them to rely on their "free spells" they gain for level advancement.
Absolutely can't be done without a cleric, I wouldn't even try. The monsters are tough and a huge portion are undead with level and ability score draining ability which means you need a cleric who can use restoration not to mention healing.
Descriptions are good and the adventure does a good job describing how enemies react to PCs such as countermeasures they employ, alert postitions, and battle strategies. Also the "Powered up" stats given for enemies that cast spells on themselves before combat means you don't have to add in the various spell effects yourself.