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6, Wb 15
NO. OF ATTACKS:
S (2' diameter)
Spider-spies are enchanted spiders of large size, developed by the Herathian mages. The spider-spies are one of the more successful Herathian biological design endeavours. Unlike a regular spider, the webs of a spider-spy are usually large, gossamer-thin web-lines rather than thick, sprawling affairs. The lines are only slightly thicker than a human hair and can cover up to one square mile per hit point of the spider.
These webs are not used to trap prey, but to relay messages to the spider-spy and then to the aranea controlling the spy. Any creature touching the web alerts the spy. The spider-spy can tell a remarkable amount about the creature in that single moment. For example, the spider-spy can identify the creature's exact location, approximate size, mental state (anxious, despondent, gloating, etc.), general alignment (evil, good, or neutral), magical abilities, race, sex, and approximate age. It can also determine whether the creature has Legacies. If the creature touching the web fails a saving throw vs. magic, the spider-spy also gets an indication of the creature's surface thoughts, as per the ESP spell. The Herathians train the spider spies to filter out "noise" contacts, such as when one of their webs gets broken by a bird, cat, forest ray, etc.
Spider-spy controllers are highly trained and valued individuals in aranean society. Communicating with the spider-spies is a difficult art requiring at least two non-weapon proficiency slots. Spider-spies communicate with their keepers via a soft chittering language, using sounds produced through their mouths and spinnerets, complemented by signs made with their legs.
The Red Curse: Spider spies acquire Legacies and require cinnabryl. Their aranean masters usually supply this metal for them.
Combat: Spider-spies are trained to flee from combat if at all possible. The spiders spies are too valuable to be risked in combat.
If attacked, spider spies will immediately chitter to alert their caretakers. A spider-spy is usually linked to its controller via an ultra-thin web strand, so it can also send a silent distress call through this strand.
If forced into combat, spider-spies will bite. The victim must make a successful saving throw vs. poison at a +5 bonus or die. Onset time is about five minutes. If the saving throw succeeds, the victim still takes 8 points of damage. A single spider-spy can deliver up to three bites per day.
If more than one spider-spy is forced into combat, one will attempt to bite while the others hang back and shoot webs at the attackers.
Spider-spy webs are so thin that they are essentially invisible. The webs can be discovered with a detect invisibility spell. A thief who suspects that the webs may be in the area can use the find/remove traps skill to detect the webs.
Habitat/Society: Spider-spies are found in small groups, always with an aranea controller nearby. Each group of 2 to 5 spider spies runs one web network (up to nine square miles). One spy sits at the centre of the web and gathers information. The other spy(s) travels around the web, repairing breaks and occasionally checking in with the aranea controller. They rotate positions frequently.
Ecology: The spider-spies are not naturally occurring creatures, and their breeding is carefully controlled. Spider spies feed on a diet of small warm-blooded creatures and large insects.