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Thank you Drizzt! But our article is in another castle!
This article title refers to a topic contained entirely within another campaign setting for which there is an established wiki. To avoid duplication of effort, this article contains only a short overview. For a complete article, see Menzoberranzan at the Forgotten Realms Wiki.
For the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition Forgotten Realms accessory, see Menzoberranzan (accessory).
For the Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition accessory, see Menzoberranzan: City of Intrigue.
For the computer game, see Menzoberranzan (video game).

Menzoberranzan, the City of Spiders, is a fictional city-state in the Forgotten Realms 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 city has 32,000 inhabitants—one-third drow and the rest humanoid slaves. 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.

Development and portrayal

Menzoberranzan was featured in its own PC game and has been the focus of accessories in at least two editions of Dungeons & Dragons.

While existing in the Forgotten Realms setting beforehand, Menzoberranzan was first popularized in 1990 in R.A. Salvatore's The Dark Elf Trilogy, where it prominently featured in the first and second books. Its portrayal of treacherous houses feuding for power considerably influenced later ideas of dark elf society in Dungeons & Dragons. Menzoberranzan itself was returned to by several other novels in the Forgotten Realms line, as well as a variety of other sources.