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Types of Aranea

by Rob

I was idly surfing at work today (as you do) when I happened across the Aranea Traits by John Hare from way back in 1998. I was dead impressed, impressed enough to immediately set to expanding and clarifying the rules for them :)

(PS - I do not vouch for the real world accuracy of any of these spider types and abilities!)

Wolf Spider

Gains the benefit of the non-weapon proficiencies of Hunting and Tracking (as a ranger) while in spider form. However, wolf spiders cannot webcast like other araneas can. They still can still spin ropes of silk, but do not create webs and cannot use them as a weapon.

Money Spider

A smaller than average aranea - money spiders are usually thieves. They move at speed 21 instead of 18 as is typical when in spider form, and gain a +20% bonus to hide in shadows and move silently percentages. However, money spiders suffer a -1 penalty to hit rolls when involved in melee due to their smaller stature.

Orb Spider

These araneas spin large webs, which they can use to detect nearby creatures via vibration. An aranea in contact with his web gains an ability similar to Detect Noise, with a 10% chance of success per level of aranea (minimum 30%). Orb spiders cannot run as fast as most other araneas, with a movement rate of only 15.

Wasp Spider

These araneas are particularly adept at immobilising their victims with webs, gaining a +2 bonus to hit when webcasting. Wasp spider aranea disdain the use of other ranged weapons, however, and cannot take a proficiency in any other form of ranged weapon.

Water Spider

Water spiders can effectively "breathe" underwater for three rounds for every Constitution point they possess, as spines on their body effectively trap a skin of air around them when they dive. They also build "diving bells" out of silk which they live in underwater, periodically topping them up with air by returning to the surface. Water spiders automatically gain the swimming proficiency, but similar to wolf spiders cannot use webcasting in combat - webcasting being unsuitable for underwater combat.

Spitting spider

Spitting spiders can spit a strand of web at their foes, which in addition to having the same effect as a normal webcasting attack carries a contact poison equivalent to that of a normal aranea bite (ie save versus poison or take 1d4 damage a round for 1d4 rounds. Spitting spiders are somewhat slower than normal aranea however, suffering a -2 penalty to their initiative rolls.

Trapdoor spider

Trapdoor spiders prefer to lie in wait and ambush their foes. When attacking from a concealed position victims of a trapdoor spider suffer a -4 penalty to their surprise rolls in a manner similar to elves. Trapdoor spider aranea dislike wide open spaces however, where they feel exposed, suffering a -1 penalty to their saving throws due to agoraphobia.

Crab spider

Crab spiders are more agile than most, moving at speed 21 instead of the usual 18. They also gain a -1 initiative bonus because of their speed. However, they tend to act before they think quite often, and so when a crab spider aranea takes a course of action, he carries it out without hesitation or stopping to think of the consequences (like that Planescape factol, I forget which one...)

Funnel spider

All aranea are happy enough operating during the night, but funnel spiders have particularly nocturnal habits. Funnel spider infravision extends 120' rather than the usual 60', but they suffer a -1 penalty to their hit rolls and lose all Dexterity bonuses when in bright light (continual light spells or broad daylight).

Jumping spider

Jumping spiders gain a special Jump attack, similar to the 1st level spell, Jump - either 30 feet straight forward or upwards. Jumping spiders cannot use the webcasting ability used by other araneas however. A jumping spider can jump no more than once every three rounds. Jumping spiders enjoy 360' vision.

Bird eating spider

Very different in nature from the usual aranea. Bird eating spiders use different stat adjustments than normal - +1 strength, +1 constitution, -1 charisma, -1 wisdom.

Mangora spider

These beautiful spiders have delicate velvety fur, and produce exceptional quality silk. Mangoras form the ambassadors of the aranea race, and are most comfortable with other races. Mangoras gain the acting proficiency for free, and their silk is worth twice the market value of lesser quality silks. While mangora spider skin is better looking than other araneas, it is not as tough. Mangoras have a natural armour class of 9, instead of the 7 enjoyed by most other araneas.

Widow spider

These aranea have more potent venom then their comrades. Aranea widow bites inflict d6 damage over d6 rounds to those who fail their saves. Widow spiders are reclusive however, suffering a -1 penalty to their charisma scores.

Flat spider

These aranea are much, much faster when running than their kin. Flat spiders move at speed 24. However, their fangs are smaller than other spiders, inflicting only 1 point of damage, and their poison weaker - victims save against it with a +4 bonus. Flat spiders cannot use webcasting in combat either.

Fishing spider

Fishing spiders can run across water without sinking if they make a successful Dexterity check. They must make a check each round, or they sink. It is advisable for fishing spiders to learn how to swim...

Bolas spider

Bolas spiders use pheromones to lure their victims close to them. Araneas of this breed can attempt to charm a single insectoid creature once per day, this has the same effect as a Hypnotism spell. The same trick can be tried on humans and humanoids, but they gain a +3 bonus to their saving throws.

Bolas spiders are also particularly adept webcasters, gaining a +1 bonus to their hit rolls.

However, they suffer in melee combat, with a -2 penalty to hit rolls when fighting in melee.

Cross spider

The commonest aranea type around, cross spiders make up the bulk of aranea population. Cross spiders are the default aranea type, gaining no special hindrances or bonuses.

Spider silk

Aranea put their silk to an amazing array of uses. Some of them are given below...
- drag lines, helping a clumsy aranea who has the misfortune to fall from a great height.
- wrapping up food
- wrapping up themselves (silk clothes)
- ballooning (flight - sort of.)
- carrying messages to other aranea via vibrations in their webs (thrumming)
- bungee cord
- diving bells for water spiders
- fishing rods for fishing spiders
- trapdoors for trapdoor spiders