La ville de Menzoberranzan

Menzoberranzan, the City of Spiders, is located in the Upper Northdark, about two miles below the Surbrin Vale, between the Moonwood and the Frost Hills. It is famed as the birthplace of Drizzt Do'Urden.
The city has 20,000 drow inhabitants and hundreds of thousands of humanoid slaves that range from a variety of creatures such as goblins, kobolds, bugbears, dueger, svernebli, orcs, ogres, minotaurs, giants and rothé. The city trades poisons, tasty mushrooms, riding lizards, spell scrolls, wine, and water. The worship of Lolth is prevalent, and the city has the clerical academy Arach-Tinilith, a spider-shaped building where priestesses are trained. One of the branches of the city's triune academies of Tier Brieche, Arach-Tinilith is neighbored by the warrior school Melee Magthere, and Sorcere tower where arcane spellcasters are sent to study. These academies are the quarters of some of the most powerful clerics, fighters and wizards, respectively, and the title of master of an academy is coveted, since being the master of Sorcere or Melee Magthere is as high as the power ladder goes for some houseless drow or even noble males.


Menzoberranzan was founded by a priestess of Lolth named Menzoberra the Kinless. It is ruled by a council of matrons from the eight greatest noble houses; the most powerful House in the city is House Baenre, until recently led by Matron Yvonnel Baenre—a drow cleric who was the single most powerful political figure in Menzoberranzan for about two thousand years. She has been succeeded by her daughter Triel. A separate council of mages deals with affairs of the arcane—but as its members are all male, it is wholly within the grip of the matrons.


Menzoberra the Kinless, a powerful priestess of Lolth, founded the city that bears her name in −3917 DR. By the wishes of Lady Lolth, she led seven drow families into the Northdark from the southerly drow holdings of Great Bhaerynden. The drow families, having no immediate external enemy, fell to attacking and undermining one another, as was drow nature, to the greater glory of their evil goddess, who so loved chaos. Only fifty years after the city's founding, in −3864 DR, a great and terrible battle between the two most powerful Houses, House Nasadra and House S'sril, occurred. This battle led to the exile of House Nasadra (which later founded the city of Ched Nasad, and was the First House until the city's recent destruction) and to the rise of House Baenre as the First House of Menzoberranzan.
The city's internal machinations have continued unabated for millennia. The Houses that grow weak are destroyed, and newer Houses rise up to find Lolth's favor. The full history of each House would constitute a nearly endless logbook of treachery, spite, and unceasing ambition. Within the last century, this pattern seems to have accelerated. House Do'Urden ascended from the Tenth House to the Ninth House by destroying the Fourth House, House DeVir. It then ascended to the Eighth House with the much-needed help of Jarlaxle's mercenary band Bregan D'aerthe by destroying the Fifth House, House Hun'ett. House Do'Urden lost the favor of Lolth, however, when Matron Malice Do'Urden turned Zaknafein into a spirit-wraith by using Lolth's dread Zin-Carla ritual and failed to kill Drizzt Do'Urden with him. This resulted in House Baenre utterly destroying House Do'Urden.
In 1359 DR, during the Time of Troubles, House Oblodra, the Third House, aspired to be the First House of Menzoberranzan. Menzoberranzan was caught in a magic-dead zone, so magic currently did not work there. House Oblodra, however, was gifted in the rare art of psionics and seized upon this opportunity to strike at the other Houses. The matron of House Oblodra nearly reached her goal, but an avatar of Lolth answered Matron Baenre's pleas for help and came to Menzoberranzan after the Time of Troubles had ended. (The drow thought that she herself had restored all magic, but that is not true.) Although she loved chaos, she did not wish to see a House that did not whisper prayer to her to rule the city. Foreseeing her temporary loss of power due to the Time of Troubles, Lolth had asked the demon Errtu to protect her worshippers, should she herself fail to do it. In return, Lolth gave Wulfgar over to Errtu as a prisoner, means by which the mighty demon could gain his revenge on Drizzt. She then opened a portal for Errtu and his host of demons to lay siege to House Oblodra. By the time the Time of Troubles had passed, Lolth was restored to full power and single-handedly crushed House Oblodra, the remains of their stronghold being pushed into a deep chasm known as the Clawrift, and Matron Oblodra's spirit went to Errtu for eternal torment. Thus the ranks of the ruling Houses changed once again. All this she said was done for her greatest high priestess (although it was really done for herself), the two thousand-year-old Matron Baenre. All Houses in the city witnessed this great miracle and knew that House Baenre was the most favored House of the goddess.

Areas of Interest

 The Braeryn ("Stenchstreets")

Sick and outlaw drow live here, along with the many non-drow inhabitants of the city. This is definately the slum of Menzoberranzan. Drunken drow sometimes hunt this area, killing any and all who can't hide themselves.

The Clawrift

A rocky outcropping shaped like a claw on the end of a long arm situated between the Bazaar and Eastmyr. The ancient tunnels and walkways dug into the rock were used by House Oblodra to house their hundreds of kobold slaves.


Donigarten is the source of almost all of Menzoberranzan's food. Rich fungi farms, beds of moss and giant mushrooms are tended to by slaves. A small amount of fishing is done in Lake Donigarten and, on an islet in the middle of said lake, the city's supply of Deep Rothe are kept, looked after by orcs and goblins.

 Duthcloim ("Manyfolk")

Home of the commoners of the city. Tradesfolk and their shops/businesses are mostly found here. Most Menzoberranyr come from this area and is the most varied and tolerant district in the entire city.

 The Bazaar

A permanent trade fair located in Duthcloim. The Bazaar of Menzoberranzan attracts merchants and buyers from across the multiverse. Most races are welcome (with the exception of beholders, neogi and githyanki), and as long as the peace is kept and proper respect is shown to Matron Mothers, someone (or thing) can buy whatever they may desire here, though nondrow are often spied upon. No permanent structures are allowed within the accepted limits of the Bazaar by order of the council. Places of business must move each day, so as to prevent monopolies on space and promote browsing, this does however make finding a particular stall very difficult. Trainee wizards, clerics and warriors are paid to patrol the Bazaar, providing firm, yet unobtrusive law-enfocement. Several permanent enchantments and buffers which suppress sounds, vibrations and noises are also apart of the Bazaar. The limits of which extend to everything from boot steps to merchant shouts.


Most struggling merchants live in this neighbourhood. While better than the Braeryn, Eastmyr is still where you will find a lot of poor and outlaw drow and non-drow of no discernable means. Despite the lack of wealthy residents, House Hunzrin and House Kenafin are based here.

The Mantle

A few passages and side caverns accessable from the main cavern can be found in the Mantle, actually part of the Dark Dominion but close enough to the city proper for residents to build homes.


Narbondel is the only unshaped piece of stone within the boundaries of the cavern. The people of the city use it as a clock. Each morning, around midnight, the Archmage of city casts a fire spell at the base of the rock pillar. The heat from the spell forms a band around it and moves up, taking twelve hours to reach the peak, before travelling down it again, going out once it reaches the base.

Narbondellyn ("Broad Streets")

This is the home of the wealthy up-and-coming drow houses, no less than seven existing powerful noble houses and several of the most luxurious and profitable of businesses are located in this neighbourhood. The best gems and perfumes can be found here, as well as the city's moneylenders.

Qu'ellarz'orl ("the House loft")

This plateau is screened from the view of the rest of the cavern by its forest of giant mushrooms. Contrary to the rest of the city, Qu'ellarz'orl is spacious and bare, no crowds are found here, nor any businesses. The space that is taken up is dominated by the four most powerful noble houses. The chamber of the ruling council can also be found here.

Tier Breche

The location of the three academies of Menzoberranzan: Arach-Tinilith, Sorcere and Melee-Magthere

West Wall

The West Wall is covered in the fortresses of more minor noble houses and the proudest of the non-noble drow families. Only one business is worth mentioning and that is Elstearn's Escorts, providing attractive drow of either sex to escort those who desire them or to act as tour guides to visitors.


The Dark Dominion

All of the tunnels within a 5 mile radius of the city are known as the Dark Dominion. Drow patrols are a constant presence of the region. They search for banned creatures, monsters and surface elves and challenge them once spotted. A few guard outposts can also be found in these tunnels. At least ten of the tunnels that start here lead to the surface. One that leads staight past Blingdenstone and into Mithral Hall and one that leads to the High Forest are the two most commonly used.

Dead Dragon Gorge

About six days travel on foot from Menzoberranzan is a large faerzress-free cavern. Most people who want to teleport to the city aim for this cave and a few keyed two-way portals can be found here along with a waterfall that provides free fresh water. Several noble houses have permanent scrying sensors here though they make pains to seem like they don't care about the place.
Arach-Tinilith is a cathedral in the drow city of Menzoberranzan shapred in the form of a spider and designed specifically for the training of Priestesses of Lolth. It makes up the largest and most powerful branch of the Academy, followed by Sorcere and lastly by Melee Magthere.
Arach-Tinilith is the second largest cathedral in the city, only bested by House Baenre's own chapel.