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Old 12-16-2018, 05:36 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2006
Default Total Spiderness

Yvor was wiping slime, venom, and fuzzy blue-white hair from his sword, his breath steaming the frigid air of the ice channel.

“Aelin, you're wise in the ways of nature, could I ask you a question?”

“Please do.”

“Why are there so many gods-blighted spiders everywhere? And I don't just mean why are there always a few in my study no matter how clean the staff keeps it. I don't think I've ever delved without fighting a few, and I've delved in many places where bugs just don't make sense. Inside a volcano – sulfer spiders; under the sea – water spiders; inside a glacier – frost spiders; cloud castle – sky spiders. They're freaking everywhere. Why?”

Aelin scratched his beard and appeared to ponder deeply. He opened his mouth as if to speak, paused, and finally just said “Isn't Nature amazing?”
Spiderness is not a well understood concept, and there are very good reasons for this. However, most delvers understand one thing instinctively – wherever they go, no matter how remote, no matter how strange, probably has spiders. Those who learn why often wish they hadn't.

Common knowledge: Yep, spiders of many sizes are pretty much everywhere. If there in an unambiguous non-spider top predator (civilization, a dragon, etc.), it might keep the bigger ones rare, but you can never get rid of them. It's almost like the gods give spiders a special blessing for some reason. Or maybe just there's always bugs to eat if you look hard enough with all eight eyes.

Naturalist, Hidden Lore (Nature Spirits or Elder Things), or Theology (And in a fire-associated church) at -2:
Natural spiders play a special role in nature fighting unnatural spiders called “Spidernesses.” A spiderness takes the form of a spider but is actually a myriad of tiny spiderlike Elder Things linked together in an unholy arachnoidal congress. They can only be destroyed by fire, acid, or natural spiders – disrupting them in other ways just scatters the Things and creates swarms of smaller spidernesses.

You know that sharing this knowledge with the uninitiated without dire need will make powerful people very angry.

Naturalist, Hidden Lore (Nature Spirits or Elder Things), or Theology (And in a fire-associated church) at -8: Spidernesses can infiltrate mortal bodies and minds, and are a potentially devastating weapon of assassination or sabotage. Worse, the gods have smote large spiderness infestations in the past by purging entire countries with fire. They are kept secret for a reason.

Luckily, the gods of Nature seem to have appointed natural spiders as their champions against this affront to the natural order, so you can sleep … easier? ... A little easier?

For larger spidernesses, use the stats for regular giant spiders (also see here), with the following changes:
  • Is an Elder Thing
  • IQ, Will, and Per are SM+12
  • Homogeneous
  • Regeneration (at SM+3 per round).
  • Totally Unkillable (Achilles heels – fire, acid, damage from natural spiders), on death releases a Spideness Cascade. Keep track of how much achilles heel type damage the spiderness has suffered.
  • Slippery 10 (Alternately, sometimes a spiderness that has a long time to hang around somewhere will combine silk and minerals to make armor, adding 2xSM+2 to DR at the cost of this trait.)
  • Spider Vulnerability - treat natural spiders as having Higher Purpose 1 vs. spidernesses, Higher Purpose 2 if Nature's Strength is +1 or higher in the area. Natural spiders are also immune to spox and spiderstruck.
  • Spoxvenom – 1d corrosion (tiny spider-shaped things ripping you up on the way in) + Spox (see below), HT-3 roll prevents spox but not the damage. Spidernessess do not have venom, but they are a kind of venom. Ignore any venomous abilities of the spider template and replace with this.

Swarms of smaller spidernesses are treated as a spider swarm with double HP that does spoxvenom damage.

Spiderness Clouds are aerial mists of atomic spidernesses are treated as spore clouds that do spoxvenom damage instead of “it touched me” or “I breathed some” damage.
Spiderness Cascade – the “death” a spiderness signifies it has been so badly disrupted the tiny Things making it can no longer co-ordinate on that scale. (Or if it was killed early due to being damaged by its Achilles heel, the spidernesses doing something akin to panicking.) So they reconfigure into spidernessess of the size they can handle. This creates
1d-1 Spidernesses of parent SM-2
2d-1 Spidernesses of parent SM-3
2d Spidernesses of parent SM-4
(Parent SM)d-4 Spiderness swarms
These must take a ready maneuver on their first turn to stand up and re-orient.

Any result where there is no giant spider template of the appropriate size spawns swarms instead of that line, replaces the line below that with spiderness clouds, and removes any remaining lines.

Spiderness swarms instead spawn 1d/2 spiderness clouds when slain, and spiderness clouds disperse into suspicious black mist. Given time and sustenance, they will return.

For every full multiple of base HP damage done to the spiderness from the achilles heel damage type, reduce these totals by 1 per die. Minimum is 0.

Example: a SM+2 spiderness with 26 HP base is 'slain' after taking 59 HP of fire and spider damage (plus a lot of other damage, which is not relevant here). It spawns 1d-3 SM 0 spidernesses, 2d-5 SM-1 spidernesses, 2d-4 spiderness swarms, and 2d-8 spiderness clouds.

Spox – you have spidernesses in your bloodstream. Roll vs. HT-3 1/day, and every additional time you are infected. On failure you develop ugly pus-filled cysts all over your body if you have none, or spawn a spiderness swarm on your body from these cysts while taking 1d large area injury crushing damage (this pops the cysts). In either case you are at -2 DX from the pain until the condition is healed.

Every time you spawn a swarm you must make a Will-1 roll or gain a level of Spiderstruck.

Note that in a tough fight with spidernesses you may go through the entire cycle several times, spawning new swarms from your flesh at a distressing rate.

Relieve Sickness cast at a penalty of -5 can cure spox, but even then you will expel a spiderness cloud from your mouth. Otherwise only two critical successes on the HT-3 roll on two successive days will allow someone to overcome it.

Spiderstruck - they got into your brain, and are pulling on the threads of your mindweb. Treat every level of this as a backwards Higher Purpose against spidernesses, that is, as a penalty instead of a bonus. It starts at -1 and can increase all the way to -6 before you are completely spiderstruck and become an extension of spiderness will (an NPC.) Completely spiderstruck NPCs have acted as mostly asymptomatic carriers of spox in the past, releasing spiderness swarms quietly in the night, but usually they are swarmed by natural spiders who instinctively know what's up.

This can be cured the same way as spox, but every level increases the penalty by an additional -1.
Spelemental Splane of Spidererness
Rumor has it that there are entire planes outside of creation where everything is spiderness. If so, I'm sure they would love to have you visit.

There are also rumors that the elemental plane of fire is what was left of that place when the gods finally tracked it down. Regardless, it is probably inadvisable to let a spiderness infestation get out of hand - heavy artillery will be coming.

Big Momma Spider (False Spiderness)
Some natural spiders carry their young on their back. A SM +1 or larger giant spider, when slain, may spawn 1d/2 hexes of spider swarm per SM squared of the mother. A SM +2 or bigger spider might have giant spider babies – 2d spiders of 3 SMs smaller than the mother, or 4d of 4 SMs smaller. So a slain S.O.O.C.S (SM+4) would spawn 2d SM+1 giant spiders, 4d SM 0 giant spiders, or 8d spider swarms. Delvers who get a good view of the top of the spidermomma can realize she has passengers on a PER based Naturalist roll (possibly at severe penalty due to the inevitable distractions.)

Note: Spiderness Cascades are a cool ability that can be a royal PITA to game out if handled badly by the PCs. Know your group before you throw a spiderness spitan at them.

That said, having the natural spider "cavalry" swarm over the hill at a dramatic moment can only be ... good ... right?

Merry Spidernessmas Everyone!

Last edited by martinl; 01-14-2019 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 12-16-2018, 07:53 PM   #2
Christopher R. Rice
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Join Date: Jun 2006
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Default Re: Total Spiderness

I'm pretty well known for having night terrors on these boards. Lots of my critters and write-ups hail from there. This could be from one of those dreams its so creepy. Spox is . . . man, that's just . . .

. . . so yeah. Good job. Your write-ups are great and someone should put them all in a downloadable PDF for people. :-)
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Old 12-16-2018, 08:45 PM   #3
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Default Re: Total Spiderness

I like it.

But, just so you know... in my games, it's Wasps all the way down.
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Old 12-16-2018, 09:19 PM   #4
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Default Re: Total Spiderness

Holy spider-ridden creepiness, Batman.

I like that it gives real spiders a reason to exist :)

One of my players has a real-life phobia of giant spiders... hates them in game. Luckily he doesn’t read these boards.
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Old 12-16-2018, 11:28 PM   #5
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Default Re: Total Spiderness

I can see this working with Monster Hunters as well.
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Old 12-19-2018, 03:42 PM   #6
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Oneof the coolest monster/horror writeups I've seen in awhile.
Great job.
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