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Aracne Prime

by Marco Dalmonte English translation by Gary Davies

(An-Ying Zhu Hou, Asharya, Night Spider, Rakhnee, Spider Queen)
Patroness of the Planar Spiders and the Aranea, Patroness of Oppression

Level, Alignment, Sphere: 6th (Initiate), LE, Entropy
Symbol: a square spider’s web
Portfolio: planar spiders and evil aranea, oppression, deceit, darkness
Worshipped in: Alphatia, Cestia, Savage Coast (Herath), Isle of Dawn (Lost Plateau, Thothia), Ochalea, Thanegioth
Appearance: an enormous blacker than night of about three metres of length, with four pairs of legs (the forward pair end with three prehensile digits) and six scarlet eyes that shine like heated coal.
History: PROBABLE THEORY: during her mortal life many millennia ago, Aracne Prime was a planar spider of an evil nature that lived in an outer plane. After having corrupted her followers carrying them towards the way of Entropy, succeeded in becoming Immortal around 5000 BC, and began to spread the seeds of the evil among the planar spiders, sending her horde to sow terror in the other planes and to enslave the weaker races, among which in particular the phanatons of the plane of Thorne (who had until then lived together in peace with the planar spiders). However the plans of conquest of Aracne Prime were roughly interrupted when a group of adventurers penetrated into her home plane armed with the knowledge of her True Name and challenged her, threatening to destroying her for ever. Forced to escape after being deprived of a large part of her power following this defeat, Aracne sought refuge on the Prime Plane together with a throng of planar spiders to her followers and a multitude of phanaton slaves, ending with them skulking in the heart of that which later became the Isle of Dawn, where created the kingdom of Aran well before that the Thonians founded their empire. Her disciples were crossed later with local giant spiders, created the Aranea race, that with the passing of time manifested in the southern forests of the Isle of Dawn. After Aracne Prime was contacted by Korotiku, who with his suggestions convinced her to divide her subjects for exploring Mystara and founding an extensive culture that could rival that of the humans. Aracne Prime ordered her aranea of using the magic for colonising unexplored area. It was thus that were created the Aranea colonies in the Savage Coast, in the Archipelago of Thanegioth and in other parts of Mystara, with the intent on the part of Aracne Prime of creating an empire of vast dimensions, while the plan of Korotiku was simply for freeing the aranea from the abominable influence of their great mother. Korotiku became an always most important presence in the aranea pantheon, especially in the colonies, while secretly acting also among the phanatons of Aran for inducing them to rebel. With the advent of the Great Rain of Fire and the chaos that followed, the phanatons (who had been reproducing so much that they outnumbered their masters three to one) chose the occasion for revolting and began to fight aranea and planar spiders everywhere they were encountered. Therefore the kingdom of Aran decayed, and the colonies had to look to provide for themselves without more guidance from the motherland. The efforts made by Aracne Prime for halting the collapse of her kingdom were futile, and Korotiku revealed his true intentions when around 2600 BC a group of his aranea followers were introduced into the sanctuary of Aracne Prime and assaulted it. The Immortal was not destroyed, but simply deprived of most power, until becoming a paltry Initiate.
After this betrayal, Aracne Prime fled underground and was isolated from the rest of her issue, developing a strong paranoia and a mortal dread of being destroyed. It would take 2000 years for the survivors of Aran to find Aracne Prime and convince her that the traitors had been exterminated and she could again covet a position of power on Mystara, but in the meantime things were changed. Thothia, Alphatia and Thyatis were awkward powers in the Isle of Dawn, and the contacts with the former colony were by now lost. It was around 450 AC that Aracne Prime finally decided to act by extending her design out from the Thothian Plateau and sent her daughter, Aketheti (a horrible being in a position to change from planar spider into a human being) to inter the pharaoh of the nearby Thothia. Very soon the Thothian kingdom forget its faith in Rathanos (who had saved it from destruction 800 years before) and thanks to the influence of Aketheti and of the new convert Pharaoh Ramenhotep X, an odd form of mysticism based on the veneration of spiders and of the unfathomable mysteries of the cosmos is popular in Thothia through the publication of the Canon of the Square Web. The descendents of Ramenhotep X were then all controlled by Aketheti, who spent age after age pretending to be daughters and nieces of herself and reinforcing for the next five centuries the control of Aracne Prime on Thothia, that actually remained imprisoned in the web of the Spider of the Night.*
Personality: Aracne Prime is an untrustworthy and manipulative being who nevertheless has an incredible fear of dying, because of the events that she saw fleeing from her home plane. In the course of the centuries she has tried to expand her influence also over the aranea of Herath, distant descendents of her ancient servants, the planar spiders that had fled with her to Mystara, but because of the attention that Korotiku has for the aranea of Herath and of the distance between the Isle of Dawn and the Savage Coast, her plans have been slow. Because of her plots she has made a throng of powerful enemies that comprises Korotiku (patron of the aranea and the non evil planar spiders), Rathanos (original patron of Thothia), Terra and Zirchev (patrons of the phanatons that she harassed so much).
Patron: unknown [presumed: Hel]
Allies: Alphaks in the Isle of Dawn and in Alphatia, Iliric in Herath
Enemies: Korotiku, Rathanos, Terra, Zirchev
Alignment of followers: any; the clerics must be Neutral or Chaotic
Favourite weapon: natural weapons (allowed all bludgeoning weapons and nets)
Clerics’ skills and powers: +2 bonus to ST versus Poison and Paralysis
Domains: Entropy, Law, Evil, Slavery
Preferred weapon: natural weapons (bite or claw/fist)
Source: M5, DotE
*Thothia remains under the nefarious and indolent influence of the Spider of the Night until a group of heroic adventurers arrived on the Isle of Dawn to conduct treaties between the empires of Alphatia and Thyatis discovered the deceit and drove off Aketheti, liberating Thothia according to the events described in the adventure M5, Talons of Night (set between 1003 and 1004 AC).