Culture of Spiders

We have released a few adventure hooks that could easily be expanded into full adventure modules with a bit of effort. One of the prime candidates is The City of Spiders.

As this hook introduced a whole city for the characters to explore along with factions to interact with it is easy to imaging creating several adventures within this one location.

So there seem to be two types of threat in this adventure. People from the various factions and spiders, large and small.

What I would like to do is gather some ideas of what ‘monsters’ you think complement the classic giant spider? I do not want to end up with a D&D menagerie in every room but I worry that a mono culture could get a bit same old same old fairly quickly.

So my four initial ideas are Drider style half human-half spiders possibly related to the inner circles of the church, Gemsting (giant scorpions) living in the surrounding landscape and giant wasps, the original ecological reason why the giant spiders both evolved and why they are tolerated in the city. Finally, there could be golem or or automata in spider form.

So can any of you come up with really good monsters that could naturally sit in a city dedicated to spiders?

3 Replies to “Culture of Spiders”

  1. My players are actually in a spider-rich environment where they are located now. One party (level 5 PCs) are sitting on the forest line looking at the Shrine of Hrassak (Shadow World – Quellbourne Companion). With that group, I have been using the info as provided by the book with an added challenge.

    I recently picked up the Tales from the Green Gryphon Inn and that also includes a spider-rich environment. The monthly group I have (level 1 PCs) are in Gryphonburg as well but have travelled southward away from the Shrine of Hrassak, but there are still a good amount of spiders, just not the 4′-8′ beasties found northward. The spider concentration is lower and the sizes are smaller and less deadly as is befitting the group skill level but also due to the proximity to civilization and the well travelled paths.

    In both cases, as the region is the same for both parties, the closer to the Shrine, the bigger and deadlier the breed of spider. I read in one of the companions, of a city devoted to spiders. I can’t recall the tome but one quote from the book “… people often wear large brimmed hats as spiders tend to fall on them often…” The upper levels of the city are all covered in webs and while sweeping up smaller nuisance spiders from living areas is acceptable, the outright killing of spiders is not.

    If the city is heavily infested with spiders, you can have the blend of the smaller one all the way to the tree-top-dwellers who trap humans. You can have varying degrees of poison for the different sized spiders.

    If there are humans co-existing with the spiders in a locale, then the deadlier ones would most likely be hunted or controlled in some manner, leaving survival of the fittest. The deadly ones that are around to a ripe old age will be very good at survival, stalking, hiding, attacking and will probably have the deadliest poison.

    If the locale is near evil/chaotic node or has evil people experimenting with the spiders, then definitely add the Drider and Gemsting types. The players in my group don’t know this yet, but the Spider Worshippers are worshipping a giant spider in one of the caves 🙂 That is the Whip Spider I did my best to convert from another game system into D100. I treat it as a very rare spider and this one is unique in that it’s been cultivated, protected from predators, and well fed.

    Another consideration to add are the prey that feed on the spiders. In a food-rich environment, you’ll have the prey that are attracted to the food source. Bats, birds, cats, etc. The heartier prey that can feed off of the poisonous spiders, Rocs maybe? Chimera? Rumtifusal? (C&T I) Giant Wasps.

    The evil/chaotic/twisted prey that feed off the really big baddies. Maybe someone thought it would be a good idea to cross breed a spider to control the Gemstings. There has to be some sort of checks and balances or the spiders would take over the continent. Something hunts them and eats them… and maybe eats PCs too!

    One of my favorite quotes which I have to paraphrase because I can’t remember the source of the quote “Why is everyone afraid of the big spiders? I know where the big spider is. It’s right there in front of me. it’s the little ones you can’t see that you have to worry about!”

    1. I have always been a bit of a fan of the Roc, but then I like Sinbad the Sailor and the two go hand in hand.

  2. 1 – You could build a spider caste system. There could be some spiders, probably smaller, that serve larger spiders, which serve even large spiders. The smallest could, for example, eat the garbage left by others – these could carry disease or infection, but be immune to it themselves. Hybridize spiders based on their role in the system and make their poison or other abilities reflect that.
    2 – You could have a species that lays parasitic eggs in humans, that’d be sufficiently gross. The party could find a warehouse of bodies with eggs inside them – one egg per body, or thousands.
    3 – Werespiders, anyone?
    4 – I recently created a demon for my campaign world that is like the Drider, but it keeps its spider-body hidden under a robe until it has to move rapidly. Their abdomen hangs downward, but can be flexed forward or backward to shoot webbing as an attack.
    5 – You mentioned the idea that other big nasties created a reason the humans accept the spiders. You could have some sort of symbiotic spider, maybe it affixes to a host and its venom gives some benefit. I might accept a spider stuck on my back, drawing nourishment from me in a benign way, if it made me super-strong or super-fast. Put it on you head backwards, you have 360-vision?

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