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#801484 21/11/21 10:32 PM
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Menzoberranzan, the "City of Spiders", is a fictional city-state in the world of the Forgotten Realms, a Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting. The city is located in the Upper Northdark, about two miles below the Surbrin Vale, between the Moonwood and the Frost Hills (north of the Evermoors and under the River Surbin[1]).



So, been thinking, why does it seem Menzo is so close to Baldur's Gate in this game? Is there some sort of portal gateway to it, or is it that Larian doesn't realize it's really, really far away?

GM4Him #801490 21/11/21 11:03 PM
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Well there are magical way portals everywhere so I guess we can assume that's the reason? Or maybe it's "because tadpole" grin

GM4Him #801494 21/11/21 11:34 PM
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Because of R.A. Salvatore.

Drow from Menzoberranzan are always messing around on the surface of the Sword Coast.

GM4Him #801495 21/11/21 11:37 PM
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But isn't it a big thing that you can't just portal in the underdark because the Faerzress radiation interfers with the destination? Drow cities are often in areas of high radiation to take advantage of this, enemies can't just portal in.

I have been wondering about the distances too. Either a lot of Drow walked a long way, or the Mindflayers were putting on a commutor service with the Nautiloid.

Etruscan #801498 22/11/21 12:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Etruscan
Or maybe it's "because tadpole" grin

Haha

GM4Him #801501 22/11/21 12:38 AM
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In the words of Jack Sparrow "sea turtles mate". Just take what information you think you know and forget about it. Larian hates memberberries, lore, immersion, cogent stories or any references to the previous BG games. Don't mention D&D either shhhh "they are listening" the strawmen will get you.


But seriously Menzoberranzan is about a third of faerun northeast of Baldur's gate. According to the map about 2500-3000 miles. Definitely netherese magic teleportal distance and I hear the Menzoberranzan's just signed a contract with huawei to get 5G installed. You can walk there in a day considering the sun doesn't move.

GM4Him #801506 22/11/21 01:26 AM
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Poor Larian's ingame worldbuilding.

GM4Him #801526 22/11/21 03:41 AM
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I mean, am I wrong? Doesn't it seem like they think Menzo is like right next door?

Books mention Menzo, Minthara's from Menzo, if you play a Drow, certain dialogues state you are from there...

So is it me?

Anyway, the feedback is that other Drow places exist. Unless it's super imperative to the story, can we have some other Drow cities mentioned and such in the game? Seriously, unless Menzo is critical to the story, why not make up some new Drow city-state that is doing something for a change?

Or even more than 1 new Drow city-state! And be creative. Give us some new Drow lore and such.

And, ya know, not every Drow society has to be the same. Develop something unique and fun. Give us a change, but explain how and why it is different.

You know, maybe males have more rights or they are a totally warring city-state with various factions. Whatever. Run with it.

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GM4Him #801540 22/11/21 05:40 AM
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No it does not make sense for Menzoberranzan to be so prominent, but it's the most popular, so it gets the mention over the much closer (and more relevant to the BG saga) Ust Natha. Ongoing theme with the drow the past few editions, sadly. Menzoberranzan gets so much focus over other potentially interesting cities that it bends space and time, getting retconned into being more central and more powerful, with comparable cities being destroyed, ignored, or retconned. It's not actually even clear right now if there *are* any other (evil) drow cities in Toril besides Menzoberranzan after that whole 'udadrow/lorendrow/aevendrow bombshell WotC dropped semirecently.

To Larian's credit though, there is a single mention of another drow city in the game right now. Sshamath is mentioned by one of the dead drow cultists if you use Speak with Dead on him. Granted, from what he says, it seems that Sshamath is/was (it's unclear if his phrasing 'before the absolute' refers to him or the city as a whole) more of your standard Lolth-worshipping female-dominated society...when it used to be well known as a non-religious, male-dominated Magocracy. So either a retcon or an error. Better than nothing, I guess.

GM4Him #801564 22/11/21 09:24 AM
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Serious question:
Isnt Menzo just something like greatest, or most famous Drow city? And i mean lorewise not in our world.
Like Drow equivalent to Baldur's Gate?

U mean i dont quite recall the situations when it was mentioned except Minthara.
And she never said she is from there just that she would bring us there as her consort ... i mean Mintara obviously dislike Lolth ... and if the Absolute plan to conquer teh world, what better way there would be to spit in her (Lolths) face than to take her "greatest city" ?

Last edited by RagnarokCzD; 22/11/21 09:24 AM.

Short coment on my English. smile

Anyway ... i cast Eldritch Blast!
GM4Him #801587 22/11/21 02:42 PM
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Baenre is THE most prominent house in Menzo, so Minthara is from there. The fact that she even says that she would bring us there as her consort further solidifies this.

As far as it being the greatest Drow City, the only reason it is considered this is because it is so popular in our world. Once upon a Time, R A Salvatore wrote some books because he was creative and had developed a culture and society for drow. It became so popular that now everything has to be about that one city when Drow are involved.

Now, I will say that it does seem that it will likely be imperative to the overall story that it is Menzo and not some other City. After all, you are correct. If Minthara hates Lolth and serves the Absolute, then if she is going to take Tav as her consort back to Menzo, then it is likely that Menzo has fallen to the cult and is likely a major player in the overall story. My hope, then, is that they at least explain how a city hundreds of miles away is so involved with the Western Heartlands.

GM4Him #801595 22/11/21 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by GM4Him
As far as it being the greatest Drow City, the only reason it is considered this is because it is so popular in our world. Once upon a Time, R A Salvatore wrote some books because he was creative and had developed a culture and society for drow. It became so popular that now everything has to be about that one city when Drow are involved.

Bingo. It certainly regionally important originally, but it wasn't necessarily uopposed even in the North. Notably, it's sister city, Ched Nassad was larger and more prosperous and conceived as a rival/ally of sorts. Menzoberranzan wasn't the oldest city, being a third-generation founding, nor was it the highest in Lolth's favor.

Other notable cities besides Ust Natha, Shamath, and Ched Nassad that were mentioned previously include Guallidurth underneath Calimshan, one of the oldest drow cities and likely the most populated, an entire species of sentient creature, the Aranea was likely created solely to fight the threat this city poised to the surface. There's also T'lLindhet, another old city, not as heavily populated, but the only one to rule over holdings on the surface, in this case the nation of half drow, Dambrath.

But because of it's popularity, a lot of retcons and story developments have happened that have drastically changed what Menzoberranzan is in relation to the drow. Ched Nassad was destroyed, Dambrath destroyed in civil war, Guallidurth purged in religious infighting. Menzoberranzan was written as more and more powerful both in the present and past tense and other drow cities were written about less and less. Now recently WoTC rewrote drow and elven history, making Menzoberranzan the founding city of Lolth's religion, and throwing up the canonicity of other drow cities into question.

Rather unfortunate evolution, IMO. Now of course, Sshamath gets a mention in BGIII, which is great because It's always been a city I'd like to see more of, but the glut of mention Menzoberranzan gets in the game by comparison makes more sense in that context.

GM4Him #801618 22/11/21 08:04 PM
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Hey OP you are absolutely correct. And kudos to all the others who've corroborated this point. Yes in RAS's books there are a number of drow hanging out on the Sword Coast, but they all took a very long time of traveling to get there, in many cases years of travel. And yes, portals are a possibility, but portals are not that common and tend to suffer a lot of oversight by the powerful NPCs of the Realms.

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Originally Posted by Leucrotta
Originally Posted by GM4Him
As far as it being the greatest Drow City, the only reason it is considered this is because it is so popular in our world. Once upon a Time, R A Salvatore wrote some books because he was creative and had developed a culture and society for drow. It became so popular that now everything has to be about that one city when Drow are involved.

Bingo. It certainly regionally important originally, but it wasn't necessarily uopposed even in the North. Notably, it's sister city, Ched Nassad was larger and more prosperous and conceived as a rival/ally of sorts. Menzoberranzan wasn't the oldest city, being a third-generation founding, nor was it the highest in Lolth's favor.

Other notable cities besides Ust Natha, Shamath, and Ched Nassad that were mentioned previously include Guallidurth underneath Calimshan, one of the oldest drow cities and likely the most populated, an entire species of sentient creature, the Aranea was likely created solely to fight the threat this city poised to the surface. There's also T'lLindhet, another old city, not as heavily populated, but the only one to rule over holdings on the surface, in this case the nation of half drow, Dambrath.

But because of it's popularity, a lot of retcons and story developments have happened that have drastically changed what Menzoberranzan is in relation to the drow. Ched Nassad was destroyed, Dambrath destroyed in civil war, Guallidurth purged in religious infighting. Menzoberranzan was written as more and more powerful both in the present and past tense and other drow cities were written about less and less. Now recently WoTC rewrote drow and elven history, making Menzoberranzan the founding city of Lolth's religion, and throwing up the canonicity of other drow cities into question.

Rather unfortunate evolution, IMO. Now of course, Sshamath gets a mention in BGIII, which is great because It's always been a city I'd like to see more of, but the glut of mention Menzoberranzan gets in the game by comparison makes more sense in that context.
Always love reading the posts of a fellow FR lore fan. smile

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Originally Posted by kanisatha
Hey OP you are absolutely correct. And kudos to all the others who've corroborated this point. Yes in RAS's books there are a number of drow hanging out on the Sword Coast, but they all took a very long time of traveling to get there, in many cases years of travel. And yes, portals are a possibility, but portals are not that common and tend to suffer a lot of oversight by the powerful NPCs of the Realms.

Bregan D'aerthe teleports all over the place.

I'm pretty sure they're still in control of Luskan to the north, which does steady trade with Baldur's Gate.

GM4Him #801714 23/11/21 02:13 PM
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And Minthara is a Baenre obviously smirk

GM4Him #801787 23/11/21 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by GM4Him
I mean, am I wrong? Doesn't it seem like they think Menzo is like right next door?

Books mention Menzo, Minthara's from Menzo, if you play a Drow, certain dialogues state you are from there...

So is it me?

Anyway, the feedback is that other Drow places exist. Unless it's super imperative to the story, can we have some other Drow cities mentioned and such in the game? Seriously, unless Menzo is critical to the story, why not make up some new Drow city-state that is doing something for a change?

Or even more than 1 new Drow city-state! And be creative. Give us some new Drow lore and such.

And, ya know, not every Drow society has to be the same. Develop something unique and fun. Give us a change, but explain how and why it is different.

You know, maybe males have more rights or they are a totally warring city-state with various factions. Whatever. Run with it.

No you are not wrong. Realisitcally the amount of underdark a drow would need to traverse from the city of spiders to Baldur's gate would be monumental. The underdark is interconnected but the risk would be insane. It would be safer for a drow to walk during the day in his underpants banging a big drum singing "I am a drow drow drow". If it is 3000 miles as a crow flies the tunnels and caves of the underdark would be 10 times longer. Could you imagine the legions upon legions of illithids, beholder nests etc. you would need to navigate? Plenty of Lolth drow spotted about the underdark however obviously.

The TAGS should therefore be "underdark" non specific or "lolth sworn". Unless of course the illithid ship warped into the underdark or during a night raid and nicked a few drows to mix up the bash? Meh. I mean with enough mental gymnastics you could make it work I suppose.

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Originally Posted by Soul-Scar
Originally Posted by GM4Him
I mean, am I wrong? Doesn't it seem like they think Menzo is like right next door?

Books mention Menzo, Minthara's from Menzo, if you play a Drow, certain dialogues state you are from there...

So is it me?

Anyway, the feedback is that other Drow places exist. Unless it's super imperative to the story, can we have some other Drow cities mentioned and such in the game? Seriously, unless Menzo is critical to the story, why not make up some new Drow city-state that is doing something for a change?

Or even more than 1 new Drow city-state! And be creative. Give us some new Drow lore and such.

And, ya know, not every Drow society has to be the same. Develop something unique and fun. Give us a change, but explain how and why it is different.

You know, maybe males have more rights or they are a totally warring city-state with various factions. Whatever. Run with it.

No you are not wrong. Realisitcally the amount of underdark a drow would need to traverse from the city of spiders to Baldur's gate would be monumental. The underdark is interconnected but the risk would be insane. It would be safer for a drow to walk during the day in his underpants banging a big drum singing "I am a drow drow drow". If it is 3000 miles as a crow flies the tunnels and caves of the underdark would be 10 times longer. Could you imagine the legions upon legions of illithids, beholder nests etc. you would need to navigate? Plenty of Lolth drow spotted about the underdark however obviously.

The TAGS should therefore be "underdark" non specific or "lolth sworn". Unless of course the illithid ship warped into the underdark or during a night raid and nicked a few drows to mix up the bash? Meh. I mean with enough mental gymnastics you could make it work I suppose.
If I remember correctly from The Dark Elf trilogy, it took Drizzt about a year to get from Menzo to Icewind Dale. And Icewind Dale is a considerable distance from Baldur's Gate.

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Originally Posted by Leucrotta
[quote=GM4Him]
Rather unfortunate evolution, IMO. Now of course, Sshamath gets a mention in BGIII, which is great because It's always been a city I'd like to see more of, but the glut of mention Menzoberranzan gets in the game by comparison makes more sense in that context.

If I were Larian I'd stay away from Sshamath, since the city gets described in some detail regardling Q'Arlynd Melarn's escape from Ched Nasad and his journey to finding the Myeritari ruins in the Lady Penitent trilogy (unless they read the series). Then again they decided to use a Baenre, which would be... um, tricky, to say the least. Matron Mother Quenthel Baenre is channeling Yvonnel's personality through Methil El-Viddenvelp (an illithid) and is the Chosen of Lolth, so I can see the illithid plan leaking from Minthara to Quenthel to Methil.

The most likely scenario geography-wise of drow popping up in Sword Coast would be Q'Xorlarrin, in the former location of Gauntlgrym, since that location was under Baenre control until Bruenor retook it in 1486DR.


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