Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Three Spider Terrors

When I was working on the last terrors post I asked my family members "What would scare you if you were poking around in a dark cave?"  They all said spiders and snakes.  I guess we veteran role players get a little jaded with the common fears.  Here are three terrors based on spiders to try and tap back into that ickyness spiders evoke in us.  I'm sure these aren't that original but I tried to offer some interesting in-game effects.  The pale spiders also function in my old deadly distraction sense; not much threat unless the party gets distracted by them (trying to save a comrades body for some reason).

Pale spiders
These cat-sized spiders follow just at the edge of light, wait for a death, then swarm in.   Never fewer than six, they prod and clamber over a body in order to steal a soul.  They prove to be vicious fighters if an attempt is made to keep them from a body.  Corpses pale spiders have fed on can not be revived. 

Grey mugger
A tiny reclusive spider that often catches explorers unaware as they probe old bags and chests.  The bite of the grey mugger is but a sting (1 hit point) but thereafter the healing of the victim with serve to feed the spider (each hit point the victim heals, whether by magic, divine aid, or naturally, will go to the spider-- every 8 hit points will grow the spider and give it an additional hit die making it more fierce).  The spider must be found and slain to sever the link.   

Jerky Men

They are said to come staggering out of caves or old mines and motion for passersby to come close.  An embrace and a kiss is all they wish.  But they are not men.  A kiss from a jerky man, or just a touch, will infect the victim and the flesh near the bite will begin turning to tiny spiders (an inch per day) unless something is done. 

If a jerky man is killed in combat its thin skin will rip open to reveal cobwebs roiling with spiders.  The round after one dies, the person that killed them will be covered with spiders and begin taking one point of damage per round.  Upon death the victim will become a jerky man themselves.  (DMs can adjudicate how successful various means of removing the spiders are).


  1. good god! I'm almost to freaked out to use the Jerky Man... almost

  2. I love these creations, and humbly request -- nay beg! -- permission to use them in my own (free) fantasy heartbreaker (RCFG).

  3. @Syrus: Great, that's the kind of effect I was hoping for.

    @TheRubberduck: Thanks.

    @ravencrowking: Be my guest, that's why I share. A little attribution hidden somewhere in your credits would be cool so people might find there way back here.

    Okay, squirmy snakes will be coming up next.

    1. I will be happy to attribute. This is some well creepy work!

  4. Yikes. The first sentence of Grey Mugger made me go mmmeh, but then the vampiric healing thing..... ow. I wouldn't make it any bigger as it gets stronger: the idea that there might be something as hard to kill as a gorgon scuttling around in your saddlebags is truly alarming. And the jerky men - the minute you see that you know something's up, but the nature of the injury, the contagiousness of the victim... eeuuchhhh.

  5. Nice! And devious. I'm going to have nightmares about the jerky dudes.

  6. These are fantastic. I may end up statting them for Pathfinder and using them in my games.

  7. Thanks, a bunch!

    @richard: On the growth, I think I was conflating the spider ickyness with a that of a tick-- sitting there in the darkness swelling up on your lifeblood. In fact if you want to push the tone more toward disgust, the added HD wouldn't make it tougher, just more bloated and quivery.

    @LS: That's what I love to hear most, thanks.

  8. Cool! Sorry I missed this earlier!

    I'd like to use this in a free PDF zine I'm pulling together. Would that be OK with you Credits & links will be given.