Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd EditionCampaign Setting Logo

Climate/Terrain:Heavily wooded forest
Organization:Solitary or pairs
Activity Cycle:Any
Intelligence:Low (5-7)
Alignment:Neutral evil
No. Appearing:1-2
Armor Class:6
Hit Dice:5
No. of Attacks:3
Special Attacks:Poison
Special Defenses:Traps (see below)
Magic Resistance:Nil
Size:M (6' tall)
Morale:Elite (13)
XP Value:650

Ettercaps are ugly bipedal creatures that get along very well with all types of giant spiders. These creatures of low intelligence are exceedingly cruel, very cunning, and are skilled in setting traps - very deadly traps - much like the spiders that often live around them.

Ettercaps stand around six feet tall, even with their stooping gait and hunched shoulders. The creatures have short, spindly legs, long arms that reach nearly to their ankles, and large pot-bellies. The hands of ettercaps have a thumb and three long fingers that end in razor sharp claws. Their bodies are covered by tufts of thick, wiry, black hair, and their skin is dark and thick. Ettercaps' heads are almost equine in shape, but they have large reptilian eyes, usually blood-red in color, and large fangs, one protruding downward from each side of the mouth. The mouth itself is large and lined with very sharp teeth.

Ettercaps do not have a formal language. They express themselves through a combination of high-pitched chittering noises, shrieks, and violent actions.

Combat: If caught in a battle, an ettercap first strikes with its claws, causing 1-3 points of damage with each set. The creature then tries to bite its opponent, inflicting 1d8 points of damage with its teeth and powerful jaws. A successful bite attack by an ettercap enables the monster to inject its victim with a powerful poison from the glands above the ettercap's fangs.

The poison secreted by an ettercap is highly toxic and very similar to the poison of giant spiders. A creature injected with it must immediately roll a saving throw vs. poison. A failed roll means that the creature dies within 1d4 turns when the toxigen paralyzes the victim's heart.

Many adventurers never get the chance to raise a sword against ettercaps because of the devious traps they use for protection. Ettercaps prefer to ambush unwary travelers and lead them into traps rather than fight them face to face.

Like spiders, ettercaps have silk glands located in their abdomen. The thin, strong strands of silvery silk-like material these glands secrete are used by ettercaps to construct elaborate traps made up of nets, trip wires, garottes, and anything else the monsters can make out of the strands. The traps are designed so that they often immobilize the adventurer who stumbles into it. If this is the case, ettercaps never hesitate to attack that character first, trying to poison the victim before he escapes. Different ettercaps prefer different trap designs, so encounters with different ettercaps should expose the adventurer to new traps each time.

Habitat/Society: Ettercaps prefer to dwell in the deepest part of a forest, near paths that are frequented by game or travelers. The creatures' nests are made of a frame of strands filled with rotting leaves and moss. The lairs are often located on the ground, but can also be found up in large, sturdy trees. No treasure is to be found in ettercap lairs, but occasionally items dropped by adventurers who have fallen into ettercap traps are found nearby.

Though usually only one ettercap is encountered at any time, on rare occasions a pair of ettercaps can be found together. The pairs encountered are always mated couples, though the female and male appear to be identical. Ettercap young are abandoned as soon as they are born, so adults are never encountered with young.

Ecology: An ettercap eats any meat, regardless of the type of creature from which it comes. Upon capturing a victim, the ettercap poisons it so it cannot escape; once the creature is dead, the ettercap immediately devours as much of the corpse as possible. Typically, an ettercap can consume an entire deer or a large humanoid in a single sitting. Anything remaining after the ettercap has gorged itself is left for scavengers.

Often (40%), 2d4 spiders of some monstrous type are found cooperating with an ettercap. The ettercap uses any giant spider webs available when it designs its traps. Creatures killed by an ettercap in the web of a giant spider are shared with the spider instead of being devoured entirely by the ettercap.

Ettercap poison is highly valued, partly because of its extreme toxicity and partly because it is rather difficult to obtain. An ettercap's poison glands hold only one ounce of poison at any time, but this ounce is worth up to 1,000 gp on the open market.

Monstrous Manual (2140)
MC2 Volume II (2103)