Weekly Beastie: Kind Spider

kind-spiderSpiders have it pretty tough in fantasy worlds.

I’ll admit, those multiple legs and eyes can be unsettling. And if you live in some remote, hostile wilderness, their poison might even be dangerous. But in almost every case, spiders are timid creatures who would rather leave you the hell alone than eat you. Most spider fangs are incapable of piercing human skin, yet they’ll flee in terror before taking that chance. In fact, the average house spider does a fantastic job of eating the insects which could actually pester or cause problems for you.

And how do we repay them? By crushing them under books or boots, and making them some of the most dangerous fantasy wilderness creatures in stories like Lord of the Rings.

Kind Spiders are my way of addressing that balance. Not only are they peaceful beings, but full-fledged, Good-aligned nature defenders who could be valuable allies against true evil. That is, if not for a terrible curse which masks them as evil beings to anyone who fails a Wisdom save.

Alternatively, a GM could decide Kind Spiders are evil creatures who use their “Good” form to creep up to unsuspecting victims. If they wanted to keep catering to an anti-spider agenda.

A pay-what-you-want, OGL compatible PDF of the Kind Spider can be found at DriveThruRPG. You can also support our Weekly Beasties by giving to our Patreon page. The Beastie itself can be found below:

Medium beast, good

Armor Class 13

Hit Points 11 (2d8 + 2)

Speed 40 ft., climb 40 ft.

STR 12 (+1) DEX 16 (+2) CON 13 (+1) INT 3 (-4) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 4 (-3)

Skills Perception +3, Stealth +7

Senses Blindsight 10 ft., Darkvision, 60 ft., Passive Perception 11

Proficiency Bonus +2

Challenge 1/4 (50 XP)

Spider Climb. The spider can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.

Web Sense. While in contact with a web, the spider knows the exact location of any other creature in contact with the same web.

Web Walker. The spider ignores movement restrictions caused by webbing.

Good Natured. Kind Spiders cannot be reduced below an Unfriendly disposition towards any Good or Neutral sentient creature. They will fight only to defend themselves or their young, preferring to flee than strike another being down.

Hateful Curse. When any sentient character encounters a Kind Spider for the first time, the GM makes a secret DC 20 Wisdom saving throw. Druids and Rangers use their proficiency bonus. On a success, the character sees all Kind Spiders as adorably friendly, good-natured creatures.

On a failure, the character sees all Kind Spiders as horrific, spiteful beasts threatening to attack. On a critical failure, the character is compelled to attack or flee.

Pre-existing knowledge of Kind Spiders or the curse (DC 25 Intelligence check if unclear) does not mitigate how the creatures are perceived, only how a character might interact with them. Altering an individual’s perception of Kind Spiders requires divine intervention – assuming the deity in question cares about spiders.

Harmful Curse. When a character kills a Kind Spider, they are marked by its curse. For two weeks, anytime the character attempts rest, an insect swarm with 22 HP materializes to attack and pester them. Short rests may be completed by staying awake to swat them away, but long rests and sleep are impossible due to constant, +3 melee attacks each round which do 4d4 piercing damage. If the swarm is destroyed or dispersed, a new swarm takes its place within 2 rounds.

The swarm vanishes once the character abandons their decision to rest. The curse cannot be removed by normal divine methods, since the character struck down a good creature. The only certain way to remove the curse is to take a long rest in an active Kind Spider nest, where its webs will capture the swarm. Otherwise player characters must abstain from sleep or long rests for two weeks or find another creative solution for their hasty actions.

Actions

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 4 (1d6 + 1) piercing damage, and the target must make a DC 11 Constitution saving throw, taking 7 (2d6) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. If the poison damage reduces the target to 0 hit points, the target is stable but poisoned for 1 hour, even after regaining hit points, and is paralyzed while poisoned in this way.

Arachnids are among the most unsettling creatures of material and non-material planes, thanks to their multiple legs and poisoned fangs. But that doesn’t mean all spiders are evil.

Kind Spiders are one of the few good-aligned arachnids of the material plane, standing in stark opposition to their unaligned or evil brethren. They are timid creatures by nature, but are known to be respectful and supportive of the Druids and Rangers who know of their existence. On some rare occasions, Kind Spiders have reportedly delivered lost children back to their homes before returning to their nests without a reward.

Sadly, there is one major reason Kind Spiders shy away from civilization – the entire species has been cursed.

Legends say that in millennia past, the Kind Spiders stood in opposition to an evil Insect God who plagued the landscape. Their webs captured the magical swarms that threatened sentient races, frustrating the deity to no end. Its minions cast a curse on the entire race, putting them in opposition to the humans, elves, and dwarves they once defended.

True or not, the fact remains that when a sentient creature meets a Kind Spider for the first time, they are more likely to see the entire race as snarling beasts than potential allies. Villagers and adventurers alike have unwittingly massacred the peaceful creatures ever since, driving them into remote forests and dungeons. And as their numbers weaken, the powers of the Insect God grow stronger…

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