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Selvetarm (pronounced: /ˌsɛlvɛˈtɑːrmSELL-veh-TARM[3][10]), known also as The Spider that Waits,[3] (self-appointed)[11] Champion of Lolth or, despite being Vhaeraun's son and thus her grandson,[3] Son of Lolth[12] was the drow god of warriors and battle prowess. His church basically consisted of a military sub-division of Lolth's church,[3] and was practically forgotten outside of his cult in Eryndlyn.[13] In fact, the name associated with those followers of the Spider that Waits--Selvetargtlin--could be applied without problems to his entire clergy.[14]


When sending his avatar, Selvetarm appeared as a large spider, sometimes with the head of a male drow. He was known to wield a heavy mace--Venomace--[9] his favored weapon[3]in his right hand, and a longsword--Thalack'velve--in his left hand. He could cast spells from any sphere.[9]

Selvetarm's manifestations were rare because he either ignored pleas or simply sent an avatar. Rare manifestations consisted of tiny sphere of utter darkness, that gradually grew to explode into a blade barrier. Selvetarm expressed his pleasure through the finding of rogue stones, dried silverbark or webstones. His servants included myrlochars, retrievers and other spiders.[9]


Selvetarm was a ruthless and violent deity, whose only interests consisted of war and spreading destruction. He couldn't find beauty in anything but lethal and efficient combat styles.[9][3]

He hated everything, including Lolth, to whom he was practically enslaved. Despite this hatred, he was quite dutiful,[9][3] to the point of passing up on chances to gain additional worshipers to preserve her power,[15] as well as his freedom to protect her life.[16]

Despite his aggressive traits, he had the capability to be patient to conduct functional ambushes, but frontal wild clashes were his clear preference over anything that required planning and restraint.[9][3]

He had once a rather uncertain personality, and embraced neither evil nor good. When he met his aunt, Eilistraee, he learned to appreciate her teachings, thus embracing goodness and beauty, but in the end Lolth's trickery turned him into his war-crazed self.[9](see History)



Selvetarm hated Lolth like everything else. He was bound to her will,[9][3] and while some of his followers put efforts into freeing him from her,[17] Selvetarm himself felt quite comfortable in his subservient role.[18]

Drow scholars speculated Selvetarm was a tanar'ri lord who was elevated to the position of champion of Lolth during the Time of Troubles, in an attempt to draw male followers from the flocks of Ghaunadaur and Vhaeraun. Other scholars thought Selvetarm might merely be an aspect of Lolth.[19]


He was Vhaeraun's and Zandilar the Dancer's son but he spurned both his parents, for his mind at that time was too uncertain to commit himself to one direction.[9]

After he became Lolth's servant, father and son became enemies.[2] For example, when Vhaeraun tried to bring the draegloths under his faith, Selvetarm's reaction was to compete with the Masked Lord in that regard, with the goal to subsequently give his draegloths followers to Lolth, because he wanted to hinder his father's goal to unseat his grandmother.[15] During the Silence of Lolth, he also saved Lolth from Vhaeraun, thus botching his chance for freedom.[16] Vhaeraun deemed his son an idiot[20] and his submissiveness was a source of rage for the Masked Lord.[21]

According to rumors Vhaeraun was the one who granted spells to the priests who worshiped Selvetarm in his own right instead of Selvetarm or Lolth with the goal of instilling in them a sense of independence.[19]


He was known to protect Garagos,[3] who was thought to be opting to steal his powers.[13]

He was also an ally of Kiaransalee, who was also in a subservient position to Lolth, in her case out of fear from the Spider Queen's power.[22]

He was also an enemy of Sharess,[2] the goddess who absorbed Zandilar the Dancer, and thus was in a sense, his mother.[9]

After he was found by Eilistraee, they grew close to each other, until he turned into a bloodthirsty monster under Lolth's command[9] and her enemy.[2]


His followers consisted of drow and aranea.

Among the drow, as mentioned before, Selvetarm was practically forgotten,[13] and his faith was essentially part of Lolth's church armed wing.[3] His followers in his main center of worship--Eryndlyn--weren't even allowed to worship him as a god on his own (rather than Lolth's servant), as the church of Lolth persecuted anyone who did as a heretic.[14] As a general rule, Selvetargtlins trained in martial combat. Practicing Selvetarm's beliefs was somewhat of a career-killer in drow society, for these beliefs didn't put any meaningful emphasis on the intellectual part of combat (like strategy), and thus followers of Selvetarm were rarely put into commanding positions.[3] The drow branch had a gender ratio of about 10:1 in favor of male drow.[14]

His aranea followers were a different deal. When they talked about Selvetarm, they however referred to his aspect Zanassu. They put emphasis on craftiness, patience and subtlety.[14]



Selvetarm was the child between Vhaeraun and Zandilar the Dancer. The latter was a demigoddess of the elves in Yuirwood. When Lolth's forces attacked the Yuirwood, Zandilar tried to seduce Vhaeraun into helping her, but was instead imprisoned to be drained of her strength. Bast saved Zandilar, who willingly merged with her savior (originating a new goddess: Sharess), giving birth to Selvetarm during the process.[9]

Becoming Lolth's servant[]

Selvetarm rejected both parents for he was too uncertain to commit himself to one or the other philosophical direction. He wandered for a number of centuries, until he met Eilistraee and learnt to appreciate her goodness and to admire the Dark Dancer herself. Eilistraee's teachings made him start to embrace the ways of good, and the she hoped that his redemption could improve the relationships between the drow and the Seldarine and their followers.[9]

During that time, Lolth had two problems. She saw a rival in the demon lord Zanassu, for he challeged her dominion over spiders, and she was not pleased with Eilistraee getting a friend within the Dark Seldarine. In order to solve her issues, she approached Selvetarm and tricked him into believing that killing Zanassu would have won him the gratitude of Eilistraee.[9]

That promise was enough to lead Selvetarm to kill Zanassu, but he also absorbed the defeated demon lord's essence in the process. That influence proved too strong for his personality, corrupting him and weakening him enough for Lolth to bind him to her will. The Spider Queen was therefore successful in her plan,[9] and in creating a new enemy for her daughter.[2]

Time of Troubles[]

During the Time of Troubles, Selvetarm's avatar appeared in Eryndlyn.[14] The city was divided among followers of Vhaeraun, Ghaunadaur and Lolth in a ratio of 1:1:2 in favor of the last group.[23] The avatar raged through the city and was driven back by a coalition of drow who didn't follow Lolth there, while the church of the Spider Queen hailed him as the swordarm of their goddess. This action gave him a small following in the city, but mostly as a military order belonging.[14]

War of the Spider Queen[]

Selvetarm and his father, Vhaeraun, duel

In the Year of Wild Magic, 1372 DR, Lolth went into a state of hibernation, a period called the Silence of Lolth, for about a year. The goal was to transform herself into a greater deity and turn the Demonweb Pits into a realm independent from the Abyss.[24]

Selvetarm took the duty of protecting her while she was vulnerable: while Vhaeraun nearly managed to kill his mother,[25] the Champion of Lolth managed to save her life.[26] The battle between the two gods caused some planar turmoils, as the edges of the various planes started to fray and bleed together.[25]

During the Silence, Vhaeraun also brought a number of draegloths under to his church. Selvetarm tried to get the draegloths himself to give them to Lolth.[15]

After Lolth's awakening, Selvetarm took part to the ongoing conflict between Lolth and Eilistraee as the Spider Queen's champion, ordering his Judicators to initiate a series of attacks against shrines and communities faithful to Eilistraee.[27]

On Nightal 20, 1375 DR,[28] Selvetarm tried to strike at the heart of his aunt's forces, as his followers attacked the Promenade of the Dark Maiden. However, his attempts ultimately failed: on Nightal 20 of the Year of Risen Elfkin, 1375 DR, the defenders of the Promenade bested the assailants,[27] while Selvetarm himself was killed by Cavatina Xarann, a priestess of Eilistraee with the assistance of the disgraced Halisstra Melarn .[29] This event later caused his church to be completely absorbed into Lolth's.[30] The Spider Queen claimed that Selvetarm's loss was part of her plan, and Eilistraee too was led to believe it.[31]

Second Sundering and rebirth[]

During the 1480s DR, the Overgod Ao separated the twin worlds Abeir and Toril once again and rewrote the Tablets of Fate (an artifact which contained the name of every deity of the pantheon and their portfolio), in an event known as the Second Sundering. Because of that, many deities of Toril who were considered dead or lost managed to return to life,[32] Selvetarm among them.[33]


The Sword of Selvetarm was a holy sword, which Selvetarm created for his followers.[12]


Further Reading[]


  1. Christopher Perkins (November 2018). Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage. Edited by Jeremy Crawford. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 140. ISBN 978-0-7869-6626-4.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Eric L. Boyd (November 1998). Demihuman Deities. Edited by Julia Martin. (TSR, Inc.), p. 33. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. Edited by Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 113. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  4. Eric L. Boyd (November 1998). Demihuman Deities. Edited by Julia Martin. (TSR, Inc.), p. 36. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  5. Steven E. Schend, Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. Edited by Julia Martin. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 90–91. ISBN 0-7869-1237-5.
  6. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (May 29, 2018). Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 53–55. ISBN 978-0786966240.
  7. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 63. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
  8. Hal Maclean (September 2004). “Seven Deadly Domains”. In Matthew Sernett ed. Dragon #323 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 65.
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 9.14 9.15 Eric L. Boyd (November 1998). Demihuman Deities. Edited by Julia Martin. (TSR, Inc.), p. 34. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  10. Eric L. Boyd (November 1998). Demihuman Deities. Edited by Julia Martin. (TSR, Inc.), p. 36. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  11. Bruce R. Cordell, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jeff Quick (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 33. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Spider, Spider, Burning Bright…. Wizard of the Coast. (2003-02-03). Retrieved on 2017-01-26.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Jason Carl, Sean K. Reynolds (October 2001). Lords of Darkness. Edited by Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 29. ISBN 07-8691-989-2.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 Eric L. Boyd (November 1998). Demihuman Deities. Edited by Julia Martin. (TSR, Inc.), p. 35. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Jeff Crook, Wil Upchurch, Eric L. Boyd (May 2005). Champions of Ruin. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 11. ISBN 0-7869-3692-4.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Warning: edition not specified for Condemnation
  17. Eric L. Boyd (November 1998). Demihuman Deities. Edited by Julia Martin. (TSR, Inc.), p. 12. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  18. Reynolds, Forbeck, Jacobs, Boyd (March 2003). Races of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 37. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Eric L. Boyd (October 1995). “Forgotten Deities: Selvetarm”. In Duane Maxwell ed. Polyhedron #112 (TSR, Inc.), p. 4.
  20. Paul S. Kemp (2005). Resurrection Kindle Edition. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 978-0-7869-5686-9.
  21. Paul S. Kemp (2005). Resurrection Kindle Edition. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 978-0-7869-5686-9.
  22. Eric L. Boyd (November 1998). Demihuman Deities. Edited by Julia Martin. (TSR, Inc.), p. 23. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  23. Bruce R. Cordell, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jeff Quick (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 148. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.
  24. Brian R. James, Ed Greenwood (September 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. Edited by Kim Mohan, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 153. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 171. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
  26. Warning: edition not specified for Condemnation
  27. 27.0 27.1 Lisa Smedman (January 2007). Sacrifice of the Widow. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-4250-9.
  28. Brian R. James, Ed Greenwood (September 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. Edited by Kim Mohan, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 158. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  29. Lisa Smedman (January 2007). Sacrifice of the Widow. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 284–285. ISBN 0-7869-4250-9.
  30. Lisa Smedman (September 2007). Storm of the Dead. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 33. ISBN 978-0-7869-4701-0.
  31. Lisa Smedman (June 2008). Ascendancy of the Last. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 5. ISBN 978-0-7869-4864-2.
  32. Steve Kenson, et al. (November 2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 978-0-7869-6580-9.
  33. Steve Kenson, et al. (November 2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 23, 108. ISBN 978-0-7869-6580-9.


The Drow Pantheon

Deities of unknown worship status in the Realms


Deities of the Post–Second Sundering Era
Ao the Overgod
Faerûnian Pantheon
Akadi | Amaunator | Asmodeus | Auril | Azuth | Bane | Beshaba | Bhaal | Chauntea | Cyric | Deneir | Eldath | Gond | Grumbar | Gwaeron | Helm | Hoar | Ilmater | Istishia | Jergal | Kelemvor | Kossuth | Lathander | Leira | Lliira | Loviatar | Malar | Mask | Mielikki | Milil | Myrkul | Mystra | Oghma | Red Knight | Savras | Selûne | Shar | Silvanus | Sune | Talona | Talos | Tempus | Torm | Tymora | Tyr | Umberlee | Valkur | Waukeen
The Morndinsamman
Abbathor | Berronar Truesilver | Clangeddin Silverbeard | Deep Duerra | Dugmaren Brightmantle | Dumathoin | Gorm Gulthyn | Haela Brightaxe | Laduguer | Marthammor Duin | Moradin | Sharindlar | Vergadain
The Seldarine
Aerdrie Faenya | Angharradh | Corellon | Deep Sashelas | Erevan | Fenmarel Mestarine | Hanali Celanil | Labelas Enoreth | Rillifane Rallathil | Sehanine Moonbow | Shevarash | Solonor Thelandira
The Dark Seldarine
Eilistraee | Kiaransalee | Lolth | Selvetarm | Vhaeraun
Yondalla's Children
Arvoreen | Brandobaris | Cyrrollalee | Sheela Peryroyl | Urogalan | Yondalla
Lords of the Golden Hills
Baervan Wildwanderer | Baravar Cloakshadow | Callarduran Smoothhands | Flandal Steelskin | Gaerdal Ironhand | Garl Glittergold | Nebelun | Segojan Earthcaller | Urdlen
Orc Pantheon
Bahgtru | Gruumsh | Ilneval | Luthic | Shargaas | Yurtrus
Mulhorandi pantheon
Anhur | Bast | Geb | Hathor | Horus | Isis | Nephthys | Osiris | Re | Sebek | Set | Thoth
Other gods of Faerûn
Bahamut | Enlil | Finder Wyvernspur | Ghaunadaur | Gilgeam | Lurue | Moander | Nobanion | Raven Queen | Tiamat