The Silence of Lolth (also know as the Wrath of Lolth) was a period between 28 Eleasias 1372 DR and 28 Ches 1373 DR when Lolth stopped granting divine spells, would not respond to communions of any type, and stopped all physical planar travel to the Demonweb Pits in the Abyss.
In 1372 DR, the priestesses of Menzoberranzan discovered that the Spider Queen was no longer answering their calls. Some weeks after the Silence of Lolth began, Matron Mother Triel Baenre of Menzoberranzan tasked a group led by Quenthel Baenre to actively go out and discover why the goddess was not answering their calls and whether others in different cities were suffering the same fate or whether it was just Menzoberranzan that was affected.
The expedition found that all followers of Lolth were affected and that Lolth was alive but locked away in her domain. The souls of Lolth's worshipers were unable to meet her and waited for months aimlessly in the Astral Plane.
The expedition eventually discovered the full truth: Lolth had removed the Demonweb Pits to its own planar space and was seeking a Yor'thae (Chosen of Lolth) to complete her transformation. She called three priestesses to her -- Quenthel Baenre, Danifae Yauntyrr, and Halisstra Melarn -- and had them compete against one another to reach her. She eventually selected Danifae Yauntyrr to be the Yor'thae and new face and voice (literally -- Danifae was consumed by the eighth spider avatar of Lolth and her torso became its torso) of Lolth.
(Note: The literal Silence of Lolth actually ended prior to Danifae being selected as the Yor'thae, since priestesses felt their goddess returning and were able to cast spells at least a day or more before Danifae reached Lolth.)
A number of groups hostile to drow cities took advantage of the weakness caused by the Silence of Lolth. The Jaezred Chaulssin instigated uprisings in cities such as Menzoberranzan, Maerimydra, Dusklyngh, and Eryndlyn. Their influence also led to the destruction of Ched Nasad due to the stonefire of Clan Xornbane, and prompted the Siege of Menzoberranzan by the duergar forces of Gracklstugh and the Scoured Legion of Kaanyr Vhok.
Pharaun Mizzrym mused that the long-lasting societal effects of the Silence of Lolth might be that males would be less intimidated by priestesses, possibly leading to a fundamental societal change.
The Silence of Lolth serves as a chief aspect of the plot of the War of the Spider Queen series:
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