Yochlols (pronounced: /ˈjɑːxlɑːlYAKH-lal[9] about this audio file listen) were a type of lesser tanar'ri demon[7] also known as Handmaidens of Lolth, although the term handmaiden was used rather loosely. The Queen of Spiders had these eight limbed abominations infiltrate drow societies, normally undetected.[3][7]

Description[edit | edit source]

Yochlols had four forms available to them: oozehumanoid, spider, and gaseous.[1]

In their natural form yochlols were, 6‒7 ft (1.8‒2.1 m) tall and weighed 250 lb (1,100 hg).[3] Their yellow, oozy, bodies seemed to be constantly melting and piling back up like a sickening living candle.[4] This waxy exterior constantly effused a foul stench. They were visually akin to ropers, with eight writhing, powerful tentacles and a pillar-like main body with a single, sinister, scarlet eye in the middle.[10]

Their most seen form however, was that of an attractive, slender human or elven female, normally a drow. This form could not be crafted in such a way as to replicate other individuals and often was 6 ft (1.8 m) taller than the normal members of that race. They could not morph clothes and so had to keep a pair nearby when entering this form.[4]

Thirdly, yochlols could become giant arachnids with a leg span of 8 ft (2.4 m) and weighing 160 lb (73 kg). This man-sized form appeared to be a massive black widow with a pair of dangerous fangs.[4]

Yochlol were visually similar to alkilith in many ways, particularly in their ability to take on a gaseous appearance.[10] This form was a green cloud of murky smoke vaguely similar to that of its true form. It had the same pillar like body 10 ft (3 m) high and 5 ft (1.5 m) wide in diameter, and could manifest several pseudopods at will.[3][4] Their oily vapor was still just as malodorous as the reeking of their sludge form.[8]

Personality[edit | edit source]

Yochlols were a behavioral anomaly in the ranks of demonic beings. Although they delighted both in cruelty and combat, and relished domination of other creatures, they were also known to make genuine friendships. They could build friendships with charismatic mortals, but due to their status as Lolth's chosen other demons hated and feared their arrival while not being able to attack them. Their friendship and even love of other individuals, however, often came with the persecution of that person from others who disliked the yochlol.[4]

The exact nature of the kinship was not properly understood due to the strange backwards nature of their relations. Yochlols had a tendency to abandon partners whose acquaintances weren't bothered by their presence, and yet the persecution of these companions caused yochlols to furiously vent their anger on the perpetrators. At the same time they did not mourn the death of their partners. Some theorized that yochlol enjoyed the downfall of these individuals under their relationship but yochlol never betrayed their lovers and raged when they died.[4]

Unlike other demons, they did not have rivalries amongst their kind, because they did not view one another as competition. They readily and eagerly cooperated with other handmaidens, uniting together under a common goal; to serve Lolth. Unless enemies of Lolth were present, yochlols did not engage in killing sprees or frenzies of mindless violence. Ironically despite their ability to get along with their own kind and even other mortals they were contemptuous of other demons and did not normally associate with them. They were also rare among demons in that they could not care less about the state of the Blood War, only caring about their master Lolth.[10][7]

Abilities[edit | edit source]

The abilities of a yochlol were dependent on their current state, but some were consistent throughout their various forms. Within seconds they could transform from their current form to any of their others. At all times yochlol were protected from having their minds read by an effect similar to mind blank, both hiding their thoughts and true alignment. A slew of magical and psionic abilities made yochlol even more dangerous than they already were. Charming and domination magic, as well as the ability to read minds made it incredibly difficult to socially outgun them. In all their corporeal forms, they were somewhat spider-like, able to create webs, navigate them, and climb on walls. If in particular danger, there was half a chance they could call a second yochlol for aid to escape the threat. With the favor of Lolth, yochlol had a minor divine protection from harm, making them even more difficult to injure.[4][1] They reverted to their waxy selves upon death, thus revealing the nature of their being.[4][1]

In either humanoid or true form yochlol's touch was as venomous as that of a spider's fangs.[4][1] Within their arachnid forms their true fangs were laid bare and it was far easier for them to use their more spider-like powers. This was often the form they used when traversing webs and attempting to poison their opponents. While in the form of a toxic mist however yochlol were capable of flight, and slipping through any airtight space. They could fly nearby living beings and force them to breathe their noxious forms in, and causing them illness. They could not be harmed in this state by non-magical weapons, that simply passed right through them.[4][1] This was also the only form in which they could contact their home plane in order for further advice.[3]

Combat[edit | edit source]

The yochol's prowess in shapechanging gave them a great variety of versatility in matters of combat.[4] Yochlol in their natural forms slammed away at their foes with their numerous tentacles, the noxious gas forcing opponents to either stay away or find some other means to attack it. Yochlol were more likely, however, to be found in their humanoid form since it was capable of using weapons, thus granting them greater tactical flexibility, and they'd typically only abandon that form when they knew someone was nearby to pick up their armor and weapons. Drow form allowed them to more easily convince other beings to cooperate using their psionic abilities, as they would more readily trust this form as opposed to that of a melting monstrosity.[4][1]

Most yochlol trained to enhance their abilities, sometimes as priests and sorcerers[4][1] (though not as wizards since Lolth discouraged the practice)[11] but most often as bards. Bards were often welcome in the halls of nobility, furthering the yochlol's infiltration ability.[4][1]

Fighting alone was rarely their plan, as their mental manipulation abilities gave them access to servants to protect them. They prioritized their mission objective above their own lives, and would make whatever sacrifice necessary to complete it. Their second greatest priority laid somewhere between themselves, other yochlol, and any other beings they had befriended.[4] Despite these prerogatives, they still relished battle and often hissed, whispered, screamed, or even told their names in combat to make any potential escapee ​​​​​fear its return.​​[6]

Two of the yochlol's forms.

Society[edit | edit source]

Yochlols were most numerous in their abyssal layer of origin, the Demonweb Pits. Within it they commonly served as Lolth's enforcers, scouts, and appropriately as handmaidens. When on other layers of the Abyss they were normally in disguise performing espionage on other demonic powers. Because most demons, including demon lords like Demogorgon and Graz'zt, knew that yochlol exclusively worked for Lolth they normally gave them a wide berth. The Spider Queen's minions were only interfered with rarely, as yochlol were one of the few demons with near universal close relations to their master, allowed to roam the layers of the Abyss uninhibited. Lolth's reputation of giving great rewards to her most effective servants certainly applied to yochlols, and greater versions of their race did exist.[4][10]

Only high priestesses of the Queen of Spiders were told how to summon a yochlol to the Prime Material Plane. They were only supposed to be called upon in dire need or to witness sacrifices in the name of their dark goddess.​[12] This was when they were not infiltrating drow civilizations, whether in the open or in secret.[1] Lolth used yochlols to spy on the drow and ensure they were worshiping her properly.​[12] They also worked under drow matrons either as assassins, advisors, or even lovers in some cases. Yochlols were also used as a channel of communication to and from the Abyss.[3] Some of Lolth's most faithful believed they would be reincarnated into yochlol if they devoted themselves completely to her.[13] When summoned by anyone that wasn't a high priestess or above they faithfully served their caller for one task, as decreed by Lolth, before attempting to escape to the Material Plane whether or not it was agreed upon. It was at these points when they infiltrated non-drow societies and plotting cunning schemes to turn their residents evil.[7]

Ecology[edit | edit source]

Unlike most demons yochlol seemed to need food to survive, at least every twenty days. This could take the form of gasses and liquids, preferably blood, in their gaseous form or flesh in a more solid state. Eating was done normally in humanoid form, by envelopment in natural form, and by absorption in gas form. In any state the bones and other hard matter consumed was left behind, either harmlessly and quickly pushed out in physical forms or simply falling to the ground when gaseous. There was a clear preference of living prey among yochlol.[7]

For a long time it was unknown how Lolth created her handmaidens, with only rumors circulating among planar travelers. It turned out that through a series of unknown tortures and dark ceremonies, Lolth created the yochlol from succubi that she captured from layers of the Abyss, somewhat explaining their mental domination abilities and seductive skill. These newly created yochlol remembered nothing of their former life and were completely loyal to their new mistress, although it was unknown if this loyalty was programmed in or due to extreme fear. This process did not need to be conducted by Lolth herself, but she and her closest consorts were the only one with knowledge of how to conduct it. If the secret were to leak and spread throughout the Abyss there would be nothing stopping the yochlol from diversifying into several different tanar'ri themselves.[10][4]

Uses[edit | edit source]

Yochlol essence (made from heating part of its gaseous form or boiling down part of its physical form) was used in spell inks and castings related to abilities of yochlols, such as shapechange and stinking cloud.[6]

History[edit | edit source]

Within the Demonweb were several Crystal Towers of Yochlol, giant pillar-like rocks held within the silk that housed numerous portals to other worlds. They were staffed by nine yochlol each who not only protected the portals but interrogated particularly important subjects brought by drow.[13]

A yochlol was the one to tell the drow to settle Menzoberranzan.[14]

In 1357 DR, during the attack of the drow on Mithral Hall, a yochlol was summoned to aid in the battle. In order to defeat the creature, Wulfgar collapsed the cavern ceiling upon the yochlol and himself. Wulfgar was believed dead by his friends, but in reality he had been taken back to the Abyss by the yochlol and became a slave to the balor Errtu.[15][7]

Quenthel Baenre existed as a yochlol between her death in 1358 DR and resurrection in 1361 DR.[16]

A yochlol guarded the infant Yvonnel Baenre II in 1486 DR, at one point saving her life from her mother, Minolin Fey Baenre.[17]

Notable yochlols[edit | edit source]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Dungeon #84, "The Harrowing"
HomelandExileThe LegacyStarless NightTymora's LuckThe Silent BladeServant of the ShardSea of Swords DissolutionWindwalkerExtinctionSpider and StoneThe Last ThresholdNight of the HunterArchmage
Referenced only
Siege of DarknessTangled WebsThe Lone DrowThe Ghost KingThe Collected Stories: The Legend of Drizzt Anthology: "The Dowery" • Sword of the Gods: Spinner of Lies
Board Games
The Legend of Drizzt Board Game

Further reading[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins (2014-09-30). Monster Manual 5th edition. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 54, 65. ISBN 978-0786965614.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Rob Heinsoo, Stephen Schubert (May 19, 2009). Monster Manual 2 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 61. ISBN 0786995101.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 James Wyatt and Rob Heinsoo (February 2001). Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 34–35. ISBN 0-7869-1832-2.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (June 13, 2006). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 54–55. ISBN 0-7869-3919-2.
  5. Wolfgang Baur, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel (April 2007). Expedition to the Demonweb Pits. Edited by Michele Carter, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 142–143. ISBN 978-0-7869-4038-7.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Ari Marmell, Anthony Pryor, Robert J. Schwalb, Greg A. Vaughan (May 2007). Drow of the Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 126. ISBN 978-0-7869-4151-3.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 Dale Donovan (July 1998). Villains' Lorebook. (TSR, Inc), pp. 105–107. ISBN 0-7869-1236-7.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Gary Gygax (August 1983). Monster Manual II 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 130. ISBN 0-88038-031-4.
  9. Frank Mentzer (January 1985). “Ay pronunseeAYshun gyd”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #93 (TSR, Inc.), p. 30.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Richard Baker (October 1995). Monstrous Compendium Planescape Appendix II. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 112–113. ISBN 0-7869-0173-X.
  11. Colin McComb and Monte Cook (July 1996). “The Dark of the War”. Hellbound: The Blood War (TSR, Inc), p. 49. ISBN 0-7869-0407-0.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Brian R. James, Eric Menge (August 2012). Menzoberranzan: City of Intrigue. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 120. ISBN 978-0786960361.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (June 13, 2006). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 124–125. ISBN 0-7869-3919-2.
  14. Brian R. James, Eric Menge (August 2012). Menzoberranzan: City of Intrigue. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 10. ISBN 978-0786960361.
  15. R.A. Salvatore (November 2005). The Legacy (reissued). (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3984-2.
  16. Elaine Cunningham (April 2003). Windwalker (Hardcover). (Wizards of the Coast), p. 136. ISBN 0-7869-2968-5.
  17. R.A. Salvatore (September 2015). Archmage (Hardcover). (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 74–75. ISBN 0-7869-6575-4.

Connections[edit | edit source]

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