|Spider over crossed Sword and Mace|
|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, also known as The Spider That Waits and Lolth's Champion, 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
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 Zelvetarm 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, blood-thirsty hatred for everything and everyone, and especially hates 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 kil.
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."
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
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.