Spider, Xakhun

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Doomspider (Large)Drop Spider (Huge)Spider Rigger (Giant)Leaping Sword Spier (Sword, variant)
Climate/Terrain: Any non-arcticAny non-arcticAny non-arcticAny non-arctic
Frequency: Very rareRareVery rareRare
Organization: SolitaryPlatoon (pack)SolitaryPlatoon (pack)
Activity Cycle: AnyAnyAnyAny
Diet: OmnivoreCarnivoreOmnivoreCarnivore
Intelligence: Semi- (2-4)Low (5-7)Average (8-10)Low (5-7)
Treasure: NilNilNilNil
Alignment: NeutralChaotic evilNeutral evilChaotic evil
No. Appearing: 12-1012-5
Armor Class: 8643
Movement: 9, Wb 918, Wb 1212, Wb 126, Wb 9
Hit Dice: 1+12+24+43+3
THAC0: 19191517
No. of Attacks: 1111 + special
Damage/Attack: 11-61-82-8 (bite) plus 1-10 per leg
Special Attacks: FireballPoison, websPoison, websLeap, webs
Special Defenses: NilNil+4 to saves vs. gasSee below
Magic Resistance: NilNilNilNil
Size: S (2' diameter)M (5' diameter)L (7' diameter)M (5' diameter)
Morale: Average (8)Elite (14)Steady (12)Elite (14)
XP Value: 2704209751,400

As an extension of their worship of Lolth, the Xakhun revere spiders, for they are all the demoness' children. Four types of spiders are most commonly encountered aboard Xakhun windships. The usual complement for a Xan Kraban is as follows: one doomspider (the captain's “pet”), one spider rigger (for maintaining and repairing a ship's rigging), and either 1d6+4 drop spiders or 1d4+1 leaping sword spiders. For reasons that defy explanation, the drop spiders and sword spiders do not get along and cannot coexist aboard the same vessel without poisoning and dismembering each other. If there are any spiders aboard a windship, there must also be a trained Xakhun spidermaiden to command and control the sometimes ornery arachnids.

Doomspider (large variety)

The doomspider (known to foes of the Xakhun as the “Vengeance of Lolth”) is the most innocuous-and perhaps the most dangerous-arachnid aboard any Xakhun vessel. This furry black spider's bite inflicts 1 hp damage and is not poisonous. However, the creature has a pair of internal sacks each holding about a gallon of non-volatile resin. The spider can, at will, relax an internal sphincter that allows the chemicals to combine, triggering a decidedly volatile reaction that not only consumes the spider but triggers the equivalent of a delayed blast fireball, inflicting 8d6+8 hp damage to all within 20 feet. The doomspider is intelligent enough to fathom basic commands, but it obeys only its chosen mistress (usually the windship captain). Although doomspiders await their mistresses' command before mixing their internal chemicals, at least one Xakhun captain has been incinerated by her own pet-perhaps the result of offending Lolth in some fashion. Once the chemicals are mixed, the explosive process cannot be halted; the explosion occurs the following round-just enough time for the captain to make good her escape via magic.

Killing a doomspider has the same effect, triggering an explosion one round after the creature's death.

When not commanded to “self-destruct,” the doomspider is a relatively docile arachnid. It bites only those who attack it or its mistress. If its mistress is slain, a doomspider usually explodes 1d4 rounds afterward. The trick is to throw it off the ship before the inevitable occurs.

Drop Spider (huge variety)

Drop spiders are web-spinning huge spiders specially trained to launch themselves off the deck and lower themselves via web strands onto ships, groundlings, or anything else passing beneath the windship. Even if a drop spider's web strand is severed unexpectedly, the spider can often (80%) react quickly enough to shoot another strand, reaffixing itself to the Xakhun vessel before the end of the same round, so long as it remains within 30 feet of the windship. Moreover, the spider can withstand falls of any distance due to a unique cartilage structure in its legs. Thus, a drop spider could fall hundreds of feet and land on the ground without injury. However, for every 100 feet fallen, the drop spider must spend one round “stabilizing” itself. During this period of recovery, the spider cannot attack and suffers a -4 penalty to Armor Class.

Drop spiders have a thin mesh between their legs that enables them to glide toward designated targets with greater accuracy. They do not plummet uncontrollably, instead spiraling downward, seeking the best place to land and attack.

Drop spiders bite their prey, injecting Type D poison. In creating these beasts, the Xakhun also tampered with the venom. Not only does the affected victim suffer damage, but the poison causes severe disorientation. Anyone failing a save vs. poison succumbs to this “residual effect” immediately, suffering a -2 penalty to attack rolls and saving throws. This effect is not cumulative with multiple bites.

Drop spiders can shoot their webs either to secure a line to climb (or descend) or to entangle a foe. In the latter case, treat the drop spider's web as that of a large spider, except that the drop spider's web is a single strand with a range of 30 feet.

Spider Rigger (giant variety)

Spider riggers are essentially giant spiders that have been trained to maintain and repair the rigging of the Xan Kraban windships. They are as relentless in this task as normal giant spiders are at devouring prey. The spider rigger is more intelligent and responsive than its brutal kin, however, and it takes enough pride in its handiwork to attack bitterly any foe who deliberately severs the rigging or otherwise hampers the maneuverability of the vessel. Since the spider rigger plays such an important role aboard ship, it is the most important member of the Xakhun crew (next to the captain, of course) and is closely guarded.

Spider riggers have the same poisonous bite and web-spinning ability common to all giant spiders. They are immune to the dizzying effects of uhl vapor and receive +4 to their saves vs. other gas-based attacks and spells.

Leaping Sword Spider (sword variety)

These are smaller versions of the sword spider (see the MONSTROUS MANUAL™ tome, page 326). The Xakhun breed them smaller to fit aboard the confined Xakhun windships. Each spider can leap as far as 60 feet horizontally, impaling its prey with up to eight legs. Only one attack roll is made for the creature. If the attack is successful, the victim is struck by a number of legs based on its size: size S, three legs; size M, four legs, size L, five legs; size H, six legs; size G, all eight legs. Each leg inflicts 1-10 hp damage.

All upward attacks against the leaping sword spider receive a -4 penalty to the attack roll due to the impaling blades that protect the spider. The leaping spider's bite is not poisonous, but it can bite its victim in the same round it jabs with its sword-like legs.

Of all the Xakhun spiders, leaping sword spiders are the most difficult to train. If not treated well by their handlers, they are known to vent their irritation upon the crew and, sometimes, upon the ship itself. Unless the spidermaiden can regain control with a successful spider handling proficiency check, the untenable spiders must be destroyed.

Although sword spiders are ill-tempered and pose an obvious threat to the delicate Xakhun windships, they are inordinately stealthy, always moving carefully about deck without slashing the ship's rigging. In the rare event a leaping spider goes berserk, the spider rigger is usually quick to put it down before any serious damage is done.

Habitat/Society: The Xakhun spiders exist to bolster the fighting capability of the Xan Krabans. They normally “reside” in the crew compartment of the windship until called upon to attack nearby ships and enemies.

As mentioned previously, drop spiders and leaping sword spiders do not get along and cannot inhabit the same vessel. All spider types are raised with an inbred respect for the spider rigger and never conceive of attacking one, even if the spider rigger attacks it. The doomspider is basically ignored by the other spider varieties.

Since spiders are sacred to Lolth and the Xakhun, they are well guarded and shepherded. The Xakhun do not mistreat their spiders nor dispatch them without any thought to their retrieval. A Xakhun ship that loses its entire conwise tingent of spiders (or never had one to begin with) has disspider graced itself in the eyes of Lolth somehow. Xakhun are uncomfortable serving aboard a vessel devoid of spiders, believing the ship to be cursed.

Ecology: Lolth created these spiders to serve the drow in general as well as the Xakhun specifically. They are therefore found in drow cities and enclaves among the myriad other denizens and arachnids, usually at the beck and call of powerful drow priestesses. The chemical sacks of a paralyzed or held doomspider can be safely removed (although this process inevitably kills the creature) and then be used to create a powerful, portable explosive. Since the chemicals are individually safe, they can be transported in separate containers without fear of miscibility. The sacks and pads of the various web-spinning spiders can be used to create potions of climbing and slippers of spider climbing, while the legs of the sword spiders can be fashioned into ornate long swords (albeit with no special properties).

If Lolth believes that a Xakhun captain is mistreating her spiders, the demoness might command the captain's doomspider to explode in a manner that leaves the captain dead and the majority of the crew alive so that the survivors might consider the cause of their captain's misfortune.

If Lolth believes that a Xakhun captain is mistreating her spiders, the demoness might command the captain's doomspider to explode in a manner that leaves the captain dead and the majority of the crew alive so that the survivors might consider the cause of their captain's misfortune.

Important Note:

Xakhun who have turned their backs on Lolth and have become privateers (or player characters) faithful to Eilistraee are unable to command or control any of Lolth's “children.” In fact, spiders of all varieties attack these Xakhun on sight. Because the outcast Xakhun are hated so fiercely by Lolth's minions, they cannot benefit from the presence of spider riggers, web rigging, reinforced webbing in their windships, and so forth. Instead, they must rely more on conventional materials such as rope or sinew for the rigging and various earthly glues and pastes for sealing holes in the ship's membrane.