Menzoberranzan, the City of Spiders, is a fictional city-state in the world of the Forgotten Realms, a Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting. It 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 protagonist of several series of best-selling novels by noted fantasy author R. A. Salvatore.
The first two books cover the history of the fictional setting, while the final book serves as an adventure module.
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, duergar, svirfnebli, 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.
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