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Friday, February 14, 2020

Dungeons & Dragons - A Guide to the Queen of Chaos

by Glen Michael Angus
The big villain in the Rod of Seven Parts boxed set is a demon lord named the Queen of Chaos. She is portrayed as one of the most powerful villains in the multiverse. She created Demogorgon, the current ruler of the Abyss!

And yet, there really isn't that much information out there about her. In this guide, I'm going to try and dig up all the information about her so you can get a look at what should be one of the ultimate bad guys in all of Dungeons & Dragons.

She's been given tiny mentions in many different old supplements, and a lot of them repeat the same info over and over.

James Jacobs and the Queen

There's something I want to talk about before we get going, here. The Queen of Chaos is basically Ursula, the villain from the Little Mermaid. It threw me when I first read the boxed set, and I've never really figured out what, if anything, I should do about it. Should she burst into song? Should my campaign have a talking crab?

Check it out:


When putting this guide together, I see that I'm not the only one with this concern. James Jacobs, author of the tremendous Demonomicon of Iggwilv series of articles from Dragon Magazine, mentioned on a message board that:

"I'm not particularly keen on the mythos for her and Miska from the Rod of Seven Parts adventure, nor am I that keen on her resemblance to Whats-Her-Name from "The Little Mermaid," nor am I too keen on the fact that her name is the "Queen of Chaos." And I don't really like the spyder demons much either, especially how you can't really just update one, you have to update all seven or however many there are. All of these things can certainly be addressed in a ret-con type article, but I'm also aware/suspect that a lot of people out there really like her as she is, so I'm hesitant to dive in there and do a lot of changing just to satisfy my own hangups about her."

Erik Mona, a D&D designer and massive Greyhawk enthusiast, chimed in:

"As the guy who "brought back" the Queen of Chaos and tied her into the Age of Worms and Fiendish Codex 1, I thought I might suggest that the "Queen of Chaos" works as a name because she is from a very, very early time in the history of the multiverse, as much a concept as a living, breathing thing. She is the most powerful of the obyrith. Perhaps the most powerful demon ever to have lived. She doesn't need a name more specific than the one she's had for almost 20 years, now.

She's shuttered away for the same reason as the demons imprisoned in the Wells of Darkness. She serves the same purpose as Tharizdun. As Fafnir and the Midgard Serpent.

Basically, she's an Apocalypse Trigger.

Bringing her back is Bad in the way Vecna entering Sigil is bad. For the Queen of Chaos to stir, major, multiverse-shaking plots are afoot.

And major, multiverse-shaking plots are really the domain of the individual DM, in my opinion.

Now that said, were I publishing a compilation of world-ending bad guys, the Queen of Chaos would be a perfect fit.

But, alas...."

Designer and Shemeshka enthusiast Todd Stewart said:

"Pre-FC I that's how I envisioned her, as a renegade Slaad Lord who was exiled from Limbo by Ssendam and Ygorl after having been corrupted from CN to CE (similar to how Bazim-Gorag is existing only by the sufferance of that pair due to his own slip into CE).

But since I've never really used the Queen, I might muddy the waters if I ever do and offer that as one myth, and incorporate some of Erik's notions from FC:I as well."

Being a fan of Limbo and the slaads, I do like this idea. Maybe the Slaad Lords are even older than the obyriths?

The Rod of Seven Parts Boxed Set

by Glen Michael Angus
 Long ago, there was a war between Law and Chaos. I wrote a whole article about it here.

Basic Premise: The Queen of Chaos was in charge of the hordes of Chaos. Her general, Miska the Wolf Spider, was defeated and imprisoned by the Wind Dukes of Aaqa. The wind Dukes used the Rod of Seven Parts to imprison Miska in the Plane of Pandemonium.

Since that time, the Queen has scoured the multiverse, looking for the rod.

Limbo: The book declares that she is "a native of Limbo," though she is later described as an obyrith (the "demons" that existed before the tanar'ri - modern day D&D demons - existed).

Appearance: Here is what she looks like.
  • Her lower body is a mass of 10 mauve tentacles, like a giant squid. shiny with slime, red and purple veins showing through her skin.
  • Her skin is blue - lighter at the belly and darker in back. Her eyes and hair are green, locks hanging in drooping curls. Her tentacles reach up to 90 feet
  • She has a huge trident tied to her wrist. 
  • Wears a coronet of bones decorated with black pearl and a sahuagin skull. I wonder if the sahuagin was anyone important?
  • Also. She, uhh... has a beak... down there in the tentacles.
Chaos Gates: The Queen can create chaos gates, portals to the Material Plane.
  • Lasts 1 minute
  • Portals can open to the Steaming Fen or the Prime Material Plane.
  • There is a 25% chance that non-demons will magically age 1d10 years when they step through a chaos gate.
  • "Objects and magical effects cannot travel through the passage unless carried by creatures."
  • The gateway is all but invisible in anything except bright light. Although.. later it is said that the gate looks like a disk of black fire from the side.
  • The queen can extend a tentacle through the gate and pull you through. "No feat of strength can save the character, but the tentacle can be severed."
Warping Effect: When a chaos gate is opened, there is a cumulative 20% chance that a wave of chaos sweeps of the world. When a wave hits:
  • The terrain around the heroes changes. Mountains might become a desert, the grass might turn blue (the sun might turn green!).
  • Each day the heroes stay in this landscape, they must make a saving throw or take damage (toxic air, hot weather, etc).
  • Beasts of Chaos: Animals are transformed into Beasts of Chaos, chaotic neutral tentacled monstrosities. Bright light enrages them.
The Steaming Fen: The 14th layer of the Abyss.
  • The Steaming Fen a swampy island with a sprawling palace filled with treasures from every world that the Queen's agents are active on. 
  • The Queen rules the Fen through intimidation, favors and bargaining.  
  • A vast salt marsh and a turbulent ocean. Smells of decay. Lots of insects and vermin.
by Glen Michael Angus
The Queen's Throne Room: Located in the 14th layer of the Abyss, known as The Steaming Fen:
  • A vast cavern nearly 200 feet wide with a ceiling 500 feet high.
  • Her throne is a rock rising from a lake of fire. From here, she monitors the Steaming Fen and conducts her never-ending search for the Rod of Seven Parts.
  • Demons and yugoloths come and go from side tunnels.
  • The throne room is part of a gigantic castle carved from a massive mountain. Many rooms reach down into the briny, foul waters of the Steaming Fen's ocean and high into the air. 
Places in or near the Throne Room:
  • Lake of Flame: This pool of brackish salt water is forever covered with a sheet of oil that burns, creating a pall of choking smoke. Swimming does d6 per round. Exiting the lake leaves you coated in oil, tar and lumpy ash.
  • Throne: A pillar of obsidian polished to a mirror shine by hundreds of slaves. Has a flat top made of pure silver. Rises 20 feet above the flames.
  • Audience Area: Floor is covered in silver.
  • Wall of Gold: A huge slab of gold 60 feet square, is attached to one wall. She can call forth Miska's image in it, and it operates as a crystal ball.
  • Ramps: Leads to elsewhere in the castle - a maze of tangled passages. Large groups of spyder fiends
  • Balcony: 100 feet above the audience area. If Miska ever appears here, this is where he'll show himself to the troops.
  • Treasure Room: More than a million coins piled up in drifts up to 8 feet high. You can grab 2 magic items per round or 1500 platinum pieces.
Abilities:
  • She has a swim speed. How else will she deal with that accursed mermaid?
  • She can telepathically communicate with any creature that has a 3 INT or higher
  • Her tentacles reach up to 60 feet away!
  • She can force you under her body, where you are constricted by her tentacles. The beak down there can, uh, bite you and stuff.
  • You can sever her tentacles, but the tentacle remains animated if severed. She can regrow any severed tentaces in 24 hours.
  • She can shape change into human or merman form.
  • She can cast suggestion 1 month duration. She can polymorph you.
  • 3/day: Chain lightning, mass charm.
  • 1/day Symbols of discord, fear, hopelessness and pain/
  • Once per hour: Expel a cloud of smoke (or ink if underwater) she chooses one effect: darkness, stinking cloud or solid fog.
  • 3/hour she can create a chaos gate.
  • She has a "sixth sense" about the rod.
  • Weapon: Giant Trident +5
Book of Artifacts

One suggested way to destroy the Rod of Seven Parts: "Turn the Rod over to the Queen of Chaos, who will attempt to pervert its nature and neutralize it in the process (Characters who do this will not be treated with respect by the Queen).

Dragon Magazine 224

This issue has an article about the rod, sort of hyping up the boxed set. Two relevant quotes:

"The queen is a titanic lord of the Abyss, standing at about 24 feet tall. She has a corpulent humanoid torso that sits atop a mass of powerful tentacles."

"Direct confrontations with the queen tend to be short and painful for lesser creatures who displease her."

The Rod of Seven Parts Novel


The Queen of Chaos actually appears in the novel. Miska escapes the citadel of chaos and the heroes end up in the Queen's throne room. They overhear her arguing with Miska (they're speaking common?).

The Queen says to Miska: "It has been too long since I have known your embrace."

And he says his army awaits, and that "vengeance demands that I strike."

The Queen Responds: "My pleasure has been denied for too long" and she gets angry.

The heroes actually decide to attack them. We get a description of the Queen:

"The Queen of Chaos towered like a large building, rising from the midst of a nest of tentacles. Her body was a dark and shapeless blob, almost black in color, the upper portion resembling some grotesque, unspeakably foul version of a giantess. The form was vaguely humanoid and female, yet so bulbous and disfigured as to barely resemble anything like a woman."

I SWEAR it says this next: "Miska's human face was buried somewhere in the folds of the queen's monstrous body, but the two wolf heads were upraised and alert." Really??

The heroes attack Miska and the queen. The queen paralyzes one hero with her gaze, and swats the other aside with one of her tentacles. She summons a snake (?) which killed the third adventurer with a poisonous bite. 

The queen reads the main character's mind and finds out where he is from - a village called Colbytown. She decides that her army of Chaos will march there first.

Arquestan the Wind Duke shows up and holds the rod over his head, banishing Miska back to his prison. The Queen kills Arquestan with bolts of energy while the heroes grab the rod and run away.

The adventurers used Arquestan's wind chariot to escape and return home. They use the rod to resurrect their slain friend, and the rod pieces scatter.

Yeah that's right, I spoiled the ending for you.

Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss

The obyriths were the creatures that existed in the Abyss before demons came to be. The Queen of Chaos was an obyrith lord, who "...cowed most of her rivals under her banner, driving defiant lords to the lowest depths of the uncharted Abyss."

The Queen of Chaos called upon the sibriex to augment her armies with fiendish grafts.

"No new obyriths have been created since the Queen of Chaos retreated into the depths of the Abyss."

Dagon is her Rival: "When the Queen of Chaos called upon the obyrith lords to aid her in her battle against the Wind Dukes of Aaqa, Dagon refused her call. Other obyriths did as well, and the Queen destroyed them for her trouble." Dagon was powerful enough that the Queen didn't dare battle him.

She Killed Obox-ob: Obox-ob was the Prince of Demons during the Age before Ages. The Queen killed him and granted his title to Miska the Wolf Spider. An aspect of Obox-ob lived on.

Pazuzu was a thorn in the side of the Queen of Chaos.

Cabiri: An ancient obyrith, Cabiri was banished to the Wells of Darkness for refusing to fight alongside the Queen in the war against law.

The Queen's hordes conquered entire worlds on the Material Plane. "World after world fell under the Queen's dominion, and with each victory that which was once immutable became fluid; laws of nature became half-forgotten memories from a saner time. Chaos ascended, and the Abyss ascended with it."

When Miska was defeated, the Queen retreated deep into the Abyss, seeking refuge in the Steaming Fen.

Some few obyriths hold out for a return of the Queen of Chaos, but she has not emerged from the Steaming Fen since retiring there on the eve of the Upheaval.

Dragon Magazine 349

The Queen of Chaos "...looked past the Abyss and discovered something unthinkable - life had sprung up in those realms beyond. When this life began to seep into the Abyss, the obyriths quickly learned to shape these spirits, and by enhancing the evil and chaos they found in them, they created the first tanar'ri..."

The Queen marshalled the obyrith lords to her banner and murdered or imprisoned the rest:
  • Cabiri: Imprisoned in the Wells of Darkness.
  • Bechard: Beached on his own deviant shores.
  • Ubothar and Vroth-Khun: Imprisoned in other realms.
Dragon Magazine 357

When the Queen of Chaos marched on the multiverse, her first act was to strike against Obox-ob. "It was the sheer audacity of this move that ensured her victory - although powerful in her own right, she paled in comparison to the Primal Chaos that was the first Prince of Demons."

The Queen of Chaos was among the first to cultivate and nurture the first demons. Demogorgon was the first. The Queen tossed him aside.

A demon lord named Astaroth wanted to fight alongside the Queen of Chaos, but was rejected.

Cabiri: An obyrith who once ruled a large section of the Plain of 1,000 Portals, Cabiri had the ability to peer into possible futures. The Queen used Cabiri as an advisor. Cabiri foresaw the Queen's defeat, and fled the field of battle.

Dungeon Magazine 129

Bwimb: Bwimb was an elemental ooze who fought against the Wind Dukes in the war.

Elder Evils

Sertous: A minor demon lord of parasites and crawling things. He slew every one of the Queen's recruiters that entered his lair. "He had little defense against the Queen herself, who quickly grew tired of his insubordination, destroyed his body, and cast his essence into the gulf between planes as one might cast aside a carcass..."

Heroes of the Elemental Chaos

Bristia Pel, the princess of everlastin flame, was destroyed in the battle that led to the defeat and imprisonment of the Queen of Chaos.

The Queen is described as "dormant." She is a "...demonic primordial or obyrith now dormant in the Steaming Fen, an Abyssal layer."

The Blade of  Chaos: "The original blade of chaos was forged from a broken piece of panoply belonging to Miska the Wolf-Spider that was lost when the fabled Wind Dukes of Aqaa defeated him."

Demonomicon

In 4e, it looks like they tried to tie the war between law and choas with the Dawn War, which was the war between gods and primordials. It appears that in 4e, the Queen did not create Miska.

During an eclipse, the armies of Obox-ob were defending the layer's portals against Miska the Wolf-Spider and his forces. The Queen swooped in and killed Obox-ob.

Deal With Miska: Miska swore allegiance to the Queen in exchange for her aid in destroying the gods of the Astral Sea. "The alliance between the Queen of Chaos and Miska the Wolf-Spider began a climactic epoch of the Dawn War."

Wind Dukes are Dragons? An exarch of Moradin and 7 angels of Bahamut known as the Wind Dukes of Aaqa (!) crafted the Rod of Law.

The Rod of Law turned the tide of the war in the Astral Sea. The Queen of Chaos will not return until the Plain of a Thousand Portals is blighted by eclipse once more.

Obyrith Hall: Once per millenium, the obyriths meet at the Great Ziggurat of Oth-Magluroth on the Plain of a Thousand Portals.

Eclipse: Once every millenium, an immense orbiting mote of elemental earth eclipses the dying star that marks the edge of the upper abyssal vortex. This earthmote is known as A'othorh. It heralds the end of one great cycle and the start of the next.

The rare twilight lasts for several days. During this time, Pazuzu defers his authority to the Queen of Chaos.

The Queen Emerges: She crawls up to the Plain of Yawning Pits from the Steaming Fen and holds court with the remaining obyrith lords.

"Seers have prophesized that the Queen of Chaos will claim the Rod of Seven Parts during the next conclave, heralding the intervention of the Wind Dukes of Aaqa and the start of the next Chaos War."

Obyrith Realm: Inside the Great Ziggurat is the Well of Entropy, a portal said to be the only connection to the ruins of the obyriths' former realm.

The Fetid Pit of Vakorcha: This abyssal layer has a sucking pit that leads to the Steaming Fen. Vakorcha is home to three bebiliths that are loyal to Miska.

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