Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Random Monster: The Conflagration Spider

Stumbled upon via a friend's feed:

art by Edward Gorey, of course

Anyway, this fellow looks like a fun time. 

And since I enjoy aggravating my poor players with yet another spider variant...  After all, they almost had their asses handed to them by a single pesky crustacean last session. So let's do this...

Conflagration Spider:
Angry, belligerent, and aflame, these arachnids were the unholy development of the vivimancer-alchemist Vladan Bačić. Bačić consorted with certain abyssal powers to create a predator with flammable glands that bathed the beast in arcane fire as it sprinted after its prey or invaded a lair.

The spiders, bred and controlled by the vivimancer, were used to protect his lord's fortifications and to raid the camps of besieging enemies or an opposing army, wreaking destruction and panic. The spiders eventually broke free of their bond-magic, escaping into the mountainous region of the Kawrwel Wastes, a rough land of sparse forests and rocky escarpments, where they lurk and dwell among the ruins and caverns of that ancient borderland to this day. 

Stalkers and sprint-hunters, the spiders lurk among the rock, before bursting into the open, igniting their flames, to descend upon panicked and confused prey. Although born of arachnid stock, Conflagration Spiders have a distinct intolerance for other spiders, stalking them, burning their webs, and consuming any that they capture. 

Attributes: HD4, AC 5/14, Atk: 1d8 bite + 1d8 flame damage (1d3 rounds). Anyone in melee takes 1d6 automatic heat/fire damage. The flame is arcane fire, and not readily extinguished. An individual spider can maintain its fire for 2d3 rounds before needing to regenerate its fire-gland stores. Resistances: Immune to fire, half damage from cold attacks. Curiosities: The glands may be of great value to alchemists and similar researchers hoping to reverse-engineer Vladan Bačić's methods. Great care is required to safely remove a spider's flame-gland, requiring an appropriate attribute or skill roll at difficulty. Failure will result in an explosion (2d6 damage, 10 foot radius, save for half).

seemed apropos

Note: According to the table of contents I found for the book, the cover image depicts "The Black Spider," by Jeremias Gotthelf, a horror story/morality tale of misfortunes befalling a town after a bargain is struck with the Devil (and his avatar, the eponymous spider). I was hoping to find a Project Gutenberg or Librovox version, but it looks like "free" English versions aren't currently available... What translated excerpts I have been able to find have an atmosphere of classic gothic horror and desperation.

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