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Selvetarm Symbol.png
Aliases Zanassu, Lolth's Champion, Lord of Venomire, Prince of the Aranea, the Spider Demon, the Spider That Waits, Thane of Lolth
Alignment Chaotic Evil
Divine Rank Lesser God
Pantheon Dark Seldarine
Portfolio Drow Warriors
Domains Chaos, Drow, Evil, Spider, War
Home Plane Demonweb Pits (Abyss)
Worshippers Drow, Fighters, Barbarians, Warriors, Warmongers, The Bloodthirsty, Evil Aranea
Favoured Weapon Venommace (Heavy mace)

Selvetarm is a member of the Dark Seldarine. A wrathful, violent, raging deity, he is little more than a slave to Lolth, and amongst the most tormented, twisted members of his pantheon.

Selvetarm appears as either a strongly built, psychotic looking male drow warrior, or as a giant spider retaining his drow head. In both forms, his eyes burn with hatred and insanity.

In the Dark Seldarine[edit]

Selvetarm was born of a union between Vhaeraun, the God of Male Drow, and an elf demigoddess named Zandilar the Dancer. Initially a conflicted, neutral soul who was uncertain of what he wanted out of life, Selvetarm rejected both aspects of his heritage for a long time. Ironically, this led to him becoming an ally of Eilistraee, who began convincing him to embrace the cause of good.

Lolth refused to countenance this; she manipulated Selvetarm into slaying a Demon Prince named Zanassu, claiming that this would impress Eilistraee and grant him greater power. Instead, the demon's essence corrupted Selvetarm and drove him half-mad, whilst also leaving him vulnerable to Lolth's magical binding; she took him as her champion and, arguably, as her consort, a position he has remained in ever since.

Selvetarm's mind has broken under this treatment; he feels nothing but overwhelming, bloodthirsty hatred for everything and everyone, especially his captor Lolth; yet at the same time those magical bindings compel him to love and adore her as much as he hates her, and so he is utterly loyal to her - even during the Silence of Lolth, he could not muster the will to oppose her, and in fact stood against his own father when he tried to slay Lolth. 5th edition amped up Selvetarm's berserker status, declaring that Lolth actually imprisons him in her own magical webbing whenever she doesn't have a task for him to do, as she fears that he would turn on and slaughter every other creature in the Demonweb Pits if left to run loose - more importantly, even she isn't sure that he wouldn't turn on her after there was nobody else left to kill.

For his weakness, Vhaeraun hates his wayward son and would destroy him without hesitation if he could.

Eilistraee misses Selvetarm as he was, and pities his current state, but must temper sympathy with survival, as he would destroy her if Lolth so commanded.

The only member of the Dark Seldarine Selvetarm is on anything resembling good terms with is Kiaransalee, due to her also being compelled to serve the Goddess of Drow.


Selvetarm's church is basically non-existent; reflecting his subordinate position to Lolth, Selvetarm's worshippers are formally considered to be merely the militant arm of Lolth's own church, and worshipping him individually is regarded as heresy. Almost exclusively found amongst male drow (10:1 males:females), his faith is rarely professed openly, as it's often seen as something of a career-killer. Worship is practiced through the honing of martial skills and the seeking of battle.

Dogma: "War is the ultimate expression of individual power, and only through battle and death can you realize the respect of your comrades. Hone your fighting skills constantly and teach those who will follow into the fray. Never give or receive quarter, and hope to die amid the bloodlust of battle against overwhelming odds."

Aranean Worship[edit]

Because of his absorbing the essence of Zanassu, Selvetarm has inherited the worship of the evil aranea who originally paid homage to that demon. Little is known about this branch of his faith, and it's only mentioned in "Demihuman Deities", but what is known is that, whilst they still regard Zanassu-Selvetarm as a war god, their version of his faith places the emphasis on on craftiness, patience and subtlety. Very different to the stereotypical warrior-drone or raging berserker of the drow branch.


Selvetarm first appeared in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook, "Demihuman Deities". He was subsequently updated in multiple 3e sourcebooks released for the Forgotten Realms line, with most information stemming from "Faiths & Pantheons".

Selvetarm vs. Keptolo[edit]

Selvetarm's faith is believed to only be canonical to the Faerun version of the Dark Seldarine; on Oerth, a different male drow is revered as Lolth's closest ally, in the form of Keptolo, the Exalted Consort.

One easy way to reconcile the discrepancy is that each fills a different role; whilst they may, arguably, both be consorts, Selvetarm is kept by Lolth for his skills as a warrior, whilst Keptolo is kept for his skills as a lover.

5th edition brought the two gods into the same version of the Dark Seldarine for the first time, with the release of Volo's Guide. Here, it was stated that Keptolo alone is Lolth's consort, and thus shares her bedchamber, whilst Selvetarm is her champion, and she keeps him around only to fight her enemies.

The non-human deities of Dungeons and Dragons
Leader Others
Dragons: Io Aasterinian - Astilabor - Bahamut - Chronepsis - Falazure - Garyx - Hlal - Lendys - Null - Sardior - Tamara - Tiamat
Drow: Lolth Eilistraee - Ghaunadaur - Keptolo - Kiaransalee - Malyk - Selvetarm - Vhaeraun - Zinzerena
Dwarves: Moradin Abbathor - Berronar Truesilver - Clangeddin Silverbeard - Deep Duerra - Dugmaren Brightmantle - Dumathoin - Fortubo
Gendwar Argrim - Gorm Gulthyn - Haela Brightaxe - Hanseath - Laduguer - Marthammor Duin - Muamman Duathal
Mya - Roknar - Sharindlar - Thard Harr - Tharmekhûl - Thautam - Ulaa - Valkauna - Vergadain
Elves: Corellon Larethian Aerdrie Faenya - Alathrien Druanna - Alobal Lorfiril - Angharradh - Araleth Letheranil - Darahl Firecloak - Deep Sashelas
Elebrin Liothiel - Erevan Ilesere - Fenmarel Mestarine - Gadhelyn - Hanali Celanil - Kirith Sotheril - Labelas Enoreth
Melira Taralen - Mythrien Sarath - Naralis Analor - Rellavar Danuvien - Rillifane Rallathil - Sarula Iliene - Sehanine Moonbow
Shevarash - Solonor Thelandira - Tethrin Veraldé - Tarsellis Meunniduin - Trishina - Vandria Gilmadrith - Ye'Cind
Giants: Annam Diancastra - Grolantor - Hiatea - Iallanis - Karontor - Memnor - Othea - Skoraeus Stonebones - Stronmaus - Surtr - Thrym
Goliaths: Kavaki Kuliak - Manethak - Naki-Uthai - Theleya - Vanua
Gnomes: Garl Glittergold Baervan Wildwanderer - Baravar Cloakshadow - Bleredd - Callarduran Smoothhands - Flandal Steelskin - Gaerdal Ironhand
Gelf Darkhearth - Nebelun - Rill Cleverthrush - Roykyn - Segojan Earthcaller - Sheyanna Flaxenstrand - The Glutton - Urdlen
Goblinoids: Maglubiyet Bargrivyek - Grankhul - Hruggek - Khurgorbaeyag - Kikanuti - Nomog-Geaya - Skiggaret
Halflings: Yondalla Arvoreen - Brandobaris - Charmalaine - Cyrrollalee - Dallah Thaun - Sheela Peryroyl - Urogalan
Illumian: Tarmuid Aulasha - Glautru - Soorinek - Syeret - Wathaku
Orcs: Gruumsh Bahgtru - Ilneval - Luthic - Shargaas - Yurtrus
Raptorans: Tuilviel Glithien Duthila - Kithin - Lliendil - Nilthina - Ventila
Others: Aventernus - Balador - Blibdoolpoolp - Cegilune - Daragor - Diinkarazan - Diirinka - Eadro - Elder Evils - Eshebala
Ferrix - Gaknulak - Great Mother - Gorellik - Gzemnid - Hleid - Iborighu - Ilsensine - Jazirian - Kanchelsis - Kecuala
Kuraulyek - Kurtulmak - Laogzed - Maanzecorian - Mak Thuum Ngatha - Merrshaulk - Parrafaire - Psilofyr
The Patient One - Quorlinn - Ramenos - Raxivort - Refnara - Rhiannon - Sekolah - Semuanya - Sess'innek
Shekinester - Skerrit - Solanil - Squerrik - Ssharstrune - Syranita - Vaprak - Wastri - The Whale Mother - Zehir