All About Spiderkind (Arachonomicon; the Book of Spiderkind Chapter)
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All About Spiderkind
This chapter presents a definitive outlook on spiderkind in the Dungeons & Dragons game, from their distant origins to the way they hunt their prey.
What are the Spiderkind?
|“||I made them, and they are mine. Mine!||”|
|—Lolth, the Spider Queen|
The spiderkind are beings in spider form, whether they are true spiders or those demons of Lolth that take on the countenance of spiders.
The spiderkind hail from a web of power called the Arachania that is woven throughout existence. The Arachania is the very power source from which the spider queens draw their power.
Manifestations of the Arachania
Spiders are a manifestation of the Arachania, but they are not the only way the Arachania can manifest itself into beings.
When most people (those unaware of the web of power called the Arachania) think of spiderkind, they probably think of mundane (or even monstrous) spiders. Most people believe the only forms of spiderkind to be mundane and monstrous spiders. They could not be more wrong!
Spiderkind can take many different (though spider-shaped) forms. Although spiders and their larger “cousins” are the most common manifestations of the Arachania, there are, of course, many different forms, as Arachania is (in a way) chaos unbound, and no less so than the abyss.
A spiderkind creature is any creature that was created or altered by the power of the Arachania. In game terms a spiderkind creature is any creature with the spiderkind origin. The spiderkind orgin is different from other origins in in a single respect; a spiderkind creature can also have another origin in addition to the spiderkind origin. Creatures with two origins suffer all of the benefits and penalties of both origins. If there are any contadictions, the spiderkind origin takes precidence.
The introduction of the spiderkind origin means that several changes need to be made to the origins of various creatures in the monster manual. These changes are summarised below. The following creatures replace their current origin with the spiderkind origin:
The following creatures gain the spiderkind origin in addition to their current origin;
In the case of creatures from supplements, the dungeon master should determine whether or not a creature has the spiderkind origin or not. Generally, a spiderkind creature has either spider form or enough spider-like traits to possibly have hailed from the Arachania. Any creature with vaguely spiderish form should be considered spiderkind for simplicities’ sake.
The Origins of the Arachania and the Spiderkind
The origins of the spiderkind are in the distant past. Indeed, there is evidence of their existence long before we awoke into the world.
At the beginning of existence, just before the elves awoke, Arachne accidentally created the spiderkind. Originally, all spiderkind were ordinary spiders, though the Arachania (spiderkind) spawned many other forms.
As the spiderkind were created, a web of power grew around them and spread throughout existence. Arachne, the serendipitous creator of this power was bound to it. She named this power the Arachania, after herself.
Lolth, Arachne’s sister (though none know how the goddess had a demon-sister) grew jealous; lusting after Arachne’s power and her creations.
Over time, Lolth plotted. Just a few years after the elves’ awakening, she had managed to seduce many to evil. She had them (as their new mistress) perform a hideous ritual to bind her to the Arachania.
|The drow as Lolth made them,by Jackoilrain|
Having gained this new power she transformed them to be of her image; elves dark of skin and white of hair (just as she would be), and lead them into the underdark, preparing them to make war on Arachne.
Now, with the few drow who turned away from Lolth, Arachne fights back to save her creations from corruption at the hands of Lolth.
|“||Look upon the perfect form of the spider!||”|
|—Lolth, the Spider Queen|
Most spiderkind creatures are spider-formed, though some may have a form that hybrids spiders with some other creature (see the arachnoid creature template). Others share little or no similarity with spiders in physical form, instead having a link with the Arachania in some other (usually supernatural) way. This section is about the spiderkind that take spider-like form.
Most spiderkind (but not all) are ectothermic (cold-blooded) and rely upon their surroundings to control body temperature. However, many spiderkind are not of the material planes, being demons and celestials, and so are not actually ectothermic.
Many spiderkind have a strange method of food consumption; after subduing prey, they inject a chemical into the prey’s blood, liquefying their insides, and then drink the mushy soup.
There are, of course, exceptions; one particular variety of demon-spider drinks its prey’s blood, in a similar manner to a vampire, while the prey is still alive.
The mundane spiders that surface dwellers see every day and the monstrous varieties that make their lairs in the underdark propagate sexually, however many forms of spiderkind are demons and celestials, and thus propagate differently.
Such spiderkind often simply spawn almost randomly from the Arachania at unpredictable times, ending up both in the demonweb and the twilight web. Such creature usually cannot reproduce in themselves, although there is a variety of demon-spider that injects its eggs into the living via its fangs.
Spiderkind are usually either spawned from the Arachania fully-formed or born at a “hatchling” stage and grow to adulthood.
Spiderkind of the less-mundane varieties (including monstrous spiders) are capable of growing stronger as their bond with the Arachania grows. This may be from a gift from their spider queen, or merely by age. Either way, sometimes it is not always wise to judge an individual spiderkind’s strength based on previous experiences.
Generic Spider Biology
|Taken from the australian museum|
In order to truly understand spiderkind and the many variations they show, it is necessary to understand the basics of spider biology. The diagram shown is a simplistic diagram of a spider (araneomorphae genus).
Cephalothorax: Anterior body section, containing the head and thorax.
Abdomen: The posterior body section.
Jaw: These are used to inject poison to paralyse prey. These are a commonly recurring feature of many spiderkind.
Book Lungs: These are the spider’s equivalent to our lungs.
Spinnerets: These spin the spider’s silk into various different types of silk.
Spiderkind Outlook and Psychology
|“||She knows only this; she is the hunter, and you are the prey!||”|
|—Aëlinár, Spiderborn Arachnomancer|
While it is true that most spiderkind have the same mental ability as their smaller cousins, there are many spiderkind capable of free thought and action rather than simple instinct. This section is a study on how these “free thinkers” think and behave.
While monstrous spiders are not (as commonly believed) simply bigger spiders, they are gifted with the same mental ability as their smaller cousins.
This essentially means that they cannot decide how to behave for themselves; they are “pre-programmed” by nature.
This behavioral pattern is not as predictable as it sounds. The behavior patterns of most spiders (even the most common and well known species) are not completely understood, so there are many behavioral patterns the most knowledgeable arachnologists and arachnomancers do not fully understand. Therefore, the average adventurer does not stand a chance at predicting the behavioral patterns of monstrous spiders.
It seems likely that many adventurers are indeed caught unawares by such behavioral patterns and killed, although there are no accounts of such things to prove this true…
“Demon spider” is the generic name given to the fiendishly horrific creations of Lolth that take spider form.
Some of these creatures are merely fiendish monstrous spiders- spiders with demon-taint about them, but many more are completely different creatures altogether (such as the yochlol).
The problem with demon spiders is that they have so many different forms- while it is true that most of them take forms deeply reminiscent of spiders, they have many strange and unpredictable powers and abilities; and such is the nature of Lolth that many may be disguised as other creatures, or even other types of spider demon. Therefore, adventurers combating spider demons best be wary; anything could happen.
|(picture taken from wikipedia)|
An adventurer facing a spider demon should be wary; some demons have abilities that change as the battle flows, or have abilities based on the seasons or even change their tactics and powers based on Lolth’s whim alone!
The best way to combat such creatures is to try to sense its plan and be mindful of its actions; adventurers should be careful not to act as it wants them to. A spider demon that looks like the most powerful enemy in the battle may instead be a diversion for the real foe.
Spiders of the opposite side to demon spiders, celestial spiders are Arachne’s angels given spider form.
Unlike other angels, but much like spider demons, celestial spiders are created from the Arachania at Arachne’s whim.
Celestial Spiders are rarely a foe for adventurers; mostly they are too busy fighting Lolth’s army of demon spiders to trouble the material plane.
Even when they are on the material plane they have no reason to attack adventurers (unlike demon spiders, who see it as an excellent sport), and are actually likely to aid them.
Celestial spiders are not, however, complete opposites of demon spiders; celestial spiders are known for their unpredictability.
The drow that follow Lolth are driven towards power and perfection. The drow have no sense of “wrong” other than blasphemy towards Lolth. The drow measure each other by power alone; a drow only has a worth if they have power and a drow without power is nothing.
The drow try to emulate spiders, the children of lolth, as much as they can. As a result of this, drow see females as superior to males.
The drow feel three emotions to a much grater extent than any other; pride, anger and (though it would be death to suggest this to a drow) fear.
The drow that follow Arachne, however, have turned away from the drow psyche. They have a very strong sense of justice, and believe in equality and freedom. In one way only do they mirror the followers’ of lolth psyche; they revere spiders and are chaotic in alignment.
|Picture by Vince Locke|
As spydric-ones are humans “tainted” by the arachania (at least in their origins), their psychology is much varied. They are united in thought by their connection to the arachania. Many spydric-ones feel at home among spiderkind, almost as if they are their kin; indeed, many become arachnomancers and make their homes among monstrous spiders and in spider-colonies.
Driders are essentially drow, but even more tainted by the arachania, and so have similar thoughts and feelings to them. If anything they have an even closer bond to spiders than the drow.
Shunned are, like driders, essentially drow. The main exception to this is that their form is changed by Lolth as punishment.
Shunned are bitter. They hate and are hated by drow utterly. They are malicious and will quickly take out their anger on anyone that gets near to them.
|"Drider" by cyzra|
|“||My home is here now, amongst my new ‘friends’. Don’t let their bite stop you from visiting; they’re not all that poisonous. Really!||”|
|—Aëlan, Spiderkind Arachnomancer|
It is a well known fact that spiders are solitary and do not tolerate each other. It is even rumored that female spiders kill and eat males after mating (a rumor that actually has some truth). However some spiders do form colonies of a kind. Monstrous spiders are often gathered together into one lair to form a colony by some greater spiderkind being, and arachnomancers are known for the practice of taking up permanent residence in a spider colony.
In addition to this some of the more intelligent spiderkind creatures live and work together for mutual benefit. This section deals with spider-colonies and other social groupings of spiderkind that take spydric form.
Monstrous Spider Colonies: Monstrous spiders are, like mundane spiders, intolerant of each other; two spiders that come across each other are more than likely to kill each other.
There are some exceptions to this rule, of course; several species are known to have evolved to be social (or, more accurately “quasi-social”), and greater spiderkind are able to gather monstrous spiders together to one cause.
These “social” spiders have not developed the hierarchy that other arthropods (such as ants and bees) are known for, although females and larger spiders are dominant, and resources are invested in females rather than in “unnecessary” males.<br
Social spiders work together almost flawlessly; when a “prey item” proves too big for one spider to subdue, other spiders rush over to help, and “brood-care” is known to have developed.
Demon-Spiders and Celestial Spiders: Demon and celestial spiders do not share the intolerance of each other that spiders have.
Both beings have the same social patterns as demons and angels respectively.
Demon spiders have a strong hierarchy based on strength and female superiority. Beyond this (and loyalty to Lolth), there is no legal structure or order.
Celestial spiders, on the other hand, do not form a hierarchal society based on strength.
Drow: The drow have an extremely strong hierarchal society based entirely on power (and, of course, gender). The drow have no true laws; only the word of Lolth or threat of death will stop a drow’s schemes.
|A social Spider Web (from wikipedia)|
|“||You lie! Lolth is the true spider queen! Lolth! Do you hear me? Lolth!||”|
Those of the spiderkind that are conscious (such as spydric-ones, but not monstrous spiders) are in a constant war due to belief; the spiderkind mostly worship one of two deities, Lolth and Arachne, and the followers of these two deities are at constant war over the truth.
Both deities claim that they are the “true spider queen” and creator of spiders (the first of the spiderkind) and the arachania.
This war reaches epic proportions; unknown to the surface races the armies of the spiderkind wage war throughout the planes and the underdark.
The reason why the surface races are oblivious to this war is subterfuge- the spydric war is more about subterfuge than open combat, and that is just the way Lolth wants it!
The Religion of Lolth
The drow are known for their one central ideal; a strong worship of Lolth- the spider queen. The fact that there are an increasingly large number of drow that have ceased to follow Lolth and turned to Arachne is often overlooked.
The worship of lolth is beyond all else; followers of lolth (no-matter what race) always do so out of fear and with little real choice in the matter.
Even if an individual follows other deities as well as Lolth, the worship of these deities is a secondary (or even tertiary) concern. Followers of Lolth do not worship other deities to an even remotely similar degree; nor do they fear them even half as much.
Rites and Rituals of Lolth
|A sacrifice to Lolth's glory! (by Beth Trott)|
As such a greedy and heartless goddess, Lolth demands sacrifice to her glory. Almost all of the various festivals, ceremonies and rites involve some sacrifice or other. The sacrifice of living beings is a central tenet of her many rites.
Lolth has an extremely specific taste in her sacrifice. She prefers sentient sacrifices, humanoids over others, elves over humanoids, and her own drow (especially those that have “betrayed” her and turned to the worship of other deities) over elves. She prefers the sacrifice of her clerics over other drow, and prefers powerful sacrifices over weaker ones.
The appeasement of Lolth is not a ritual undertaken out of love or loyalty, but out of fear; bad things happen to drow who fall out of favor with Lolth. They may be transformed into a shunned, tortured by demon spiders, or simply dead. Those who gain the favor of Lolth, may be given the opportunity to undergo trials of strength, cunning, and dexterity in order to become a fearsome, yet honored drider. Failure in any one of these tests will result in instant falling of grace with Lolth and result in the transformation of a shunned. Only the best and brightest of Drow and other worshippers of Lolth succeed in becoming a drider.
It is blasphemy to pray to Lolth in any languages other than elven. Other languages (like deep speech), is acceptable in normal speech, but besmirching devotions to Lolth with “foul tongues” is completely unacceptable.
The drow pray before entering dangerous situations or endeavors, but also at the start of every day.
Prayers to Lolth never involve asking her for help (that would be a sign of weakness), instead offering her coming triumphs and victories, and even requests to be tested to prove strength.
Minor rites to Lolth are often performed when an individual wishes to celebrate a personal victory, and dedicates their triumphs to Lolth.
Minor rites involve symbolic sacrifices; wine, riches or even some of the petitioner’s blood! These rituals are always performed before and icon, holy symbol or idol of Lolth.
These rites are never performed in public, are often performed by a single individual, or (at most) several.
There are two types of religious ceremony that are dedicated to Lolth, both of which involve many individuals, and (of course), sacrifices to Lolth.
The first of the two types or rite are religious ceremonies similar to many ceremonies humans perform to appease their deities. These ceremonies are performed before a great idol or altar dedicated to Lolth and are always performed before a great number of people (all wishing to pay homage to Lolth), with many sacrifices.
|A mighty temple of Lolth dominates the dark streets of Erelhei Cinlu (by Francus Tsai)|
The second of the two types of rite is a contest between two individuals who try to prove their worth in the eyes of Lolth. A distinct majority of these rites involve combat or magical duels, but can be a contest in almost any form. The losers of these contests that manage to survive are shamed by Lolth’s anger and their own failure, and are (more often than not), transformed into shunned.
The drow conduct these rituals after achieving great victories (like the destruction of a foe) or simply at regular intervals to venerate Lolth.
Servants of Lolth
The priesthood of Lolth is unusual compared to the priesthoods of other deities in that the priesthood does not revere Lolth any more than the ordinary citizens of Lolth-worshiping societies.
Lolth’s clergy is often seen as a path to power; clerics of Lolth hold much power in Lolth-worshiping societies and the priesthood is the easiest way of working up to a position of power. The priesthood rarely accepts a cleric of low station into its ranks, although the drow houses do so even more rarely, so for drow of low station the priesthood is the easiest way to power.
The life of a priestess is not an easy one; the easiest method of advancement is through murdering priestesses of higher station and taking their place. This essentially means that a priestess has to constantly watch her back, while constantly scheming to overthrow priestesses of higher station. In addition to this each priestess must consider the church of Lolth as a whole over her own schemes; if a priestess’s schemes threaten the church of Lolth she will find herself severely punished by Lolth herself.
Becoming a Priestess
There are two very specific requirements for a female (males are forbidden from the clergy of Lolth); the first requirement is the gift of being able to draw power to the arachania, while the second is the ability to pass the tests of Lolth.
Being a cleric or paladin of Lolth is sufficient to be a member of the clergy (divine casters of Lolth draw their power from the arachania), although it is preferred for the applicant to be a spider rider, spider lord, priestess of the spider or arachnomancer (all of these classes and paragon paths are presented in the classes chapter of this book). Warlocks of the dark pact are also accepted into the clergy, with the condition that their pact is with Lolth, as their power is drawn directly from Lolth.
The tests of Lolth, on the other hand, are a harder prerequisite to pass. The tests are fiendishly difficult, and an aspiring priestess must not only pass an “entry test”, but many different tests throughout their career in the clergy. Lolth is not forgiving towards failures; any and all drow who fail a test of Lolth are transformed into shunned. Sometimes a failure may be saved from the humiliation of becoming a shunned; instead of taking away their true form Lolth may take away their life.
It is forbidden to interfere in the tests of Lolth, but despite this, many drow have interfered in order to destroy a dangerous foe or free a position for advancement.
|A mighty cleric of Lolth! (by Raven Mimura)|
Even those that are already priestesses are not safe from Lolth’s cruel tests, as priestesses are tested almost at random by Lolth at a mere whim. However, it is not the frequent tests of Lolth that a priestess has to endure that is the priestess has to be alert to. Lolth encourages her priestesses to use any means to get to the top, including murder; every priestess has to watch her back lest an ambitious priestess below (or a paranoid superior) decides to attempt to murder her.
One important difference between the clergy and divine casters of Lolth is that not all clerics (etc.) of Lolth are members of the priesthood; no matter how devout a cleric or other divine caster of Lolth may be, they are only one of the priesthood if they have formally joined. One who fulfils the requirements of the priesthood but does not formally join the priesthood may have Lolth’s favor, but she does not have any more authority than she can take for herself, does not speak for the priesthood and cannot rely on being backed up by the priesthood for the authority of her actions.
The priesthood has no official hierarchy; to have an official hierarchy would be directly against the teachings of Lolth. There are only three official titles within the priesthood, though these vary greatly;
Older, more experienced or more powerful priestesses are usually called “Revered Mother”, priestesses of moderate age or power are entitled “Revered Daughter” and all other priestesses are simply entitled “Revered”.
The hierarchy is not as simple as other ranked organizations (such as most military forces); the hierarchy follows a dominant-submissive pattern based on each individual’s power (and sometimes the power of the individual’s house).
Priestesses of Lolth only have two official duties, both of which are strongly interrelated.
The first duty that priestesses must perform is similar to the main duty of most priests and priestesses of other relations; namely that of leading worshippers of Lolth in prayers, ceremonies and rites. Only priestesses have both the right and the knowledge of how to perform the various ceremonies and major rites.
The second duty that all priestesses of Lolth must perform is enforcing the religious practices of Lolth; in cities where Lolth’s clergy is dominant, worshipping Lolth is compulsory. Failure to worship Lolth is punishable by anything up to death.
Lolth’s priestesses have no other official duties, though many perform marriage ceremonies or funerals (for a price…). In times when battles of the spydric war breaks out priestesses often serve as leaders of the actual battle, alongside arachnomancers, spider-lords, and spider riders. Despite the ever-looming spydric war, most priestesses are actually more concerned about their plotting than anything else.
The Spider Queen, Queen of the Demonweb, Flesh-Carver, Weaver of Webs, Lloth, The Deceiver, Aranae.
Symbol: A female drow’s head on a black widow spider’s body.
Home Plane: The demonweb.
Alignment: Chaotic Evil.
Worshipers: Drow, Driders, Spydric-Ones, Half-drow, Ettercaps, Chitines and other conscious spiderkind.
Areas of Influence: Spiderkind, the arachania, shadow and lies.
Favored Weapon: Spiderfang (dagger).
|A holy symbol of Lolth (by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law)|
Lolth is the self-proclaimed queen of both spiderkind and drow. Lolth attempted to steal Arachne’s power at the beginning of time, binding herself to the arachania. Lolth created the drow by tainting a select number of elves with the arachania. Lolth teaches her followers to scheme, cheat and to aspire to greater strength. Lolth pits her own followers against each other in order to cull the weak from the strong.
Lolth has three forms; that of a beautiful female drow, a beautiful female drider or a terrible black widow spider.
Lolth’s clerics (and others who hold power within her priesthood) have no actual formal training at all, other than the tests of Lolth.
Lolth wishes her followers to be as strong as possible, so the clerics of Lolth may go adventuring to gain power. Other reasons for going on quests include furthering Lolth’s plans and destroying Arachne’s followers.
Prayers to Lolth are not like prayers to other deities. Rather than asking Lolth for favors (which would merely anger Lolth) they instead dedicate triumphs to Lolth.
Lolth’s temples are dark colossuses, often shaped like a spider or carved with webs and spiders. Lolth’s temples are heavily guarded with the greatest of drow priestesses and warriors and they are literally infested with monstrous spiders.
Lolth’s rites almost always involve some sort of sacrifice. These sacrifices are usually symbolic in minor rites but always include slaughtered humanoids in major rites. Lolth’s rites often involve challenges of strength.
Heralds and Allies
Lolth’s herald is the bebilith called Gethshuq. She sends Minloth to announce her coming in worlds and planes which she is soon to attack to add to her home plane. She is allied to many different forms of demon, especially the Yochlols, her handmaidens.
Lolth often manifests an aspect of herself (called an avatar) to influence her followers and feed upon sacrifices to her glory.
|The terrors of the Demonweb (by Franz Vohwinkel)|
Traits: No gravity (outside Lolth’s web), infinite.
The Demonweb is Lolth’s personal plane; an infinitely expansive network of overlapping 20-foot wide web walkways with curved walls of slightly sticky webbing (although they are not sticky enough to impede movement). The walkways of the Demonweb sometimes flow with the faces of condemned souls stolen by Lolth. Climbing the walls of the Demonweb passages requires an easy DC athletics check. The walkways and walls have AC and Reflex defenses of 2, a Fortitude defense of 20 and 1000 hp per 16 squares.
Outside of the web tunnels there is a mass of grey clouds that are inimical to all but Lolth and her demons; a creature outside the web tunnels is hit by an attack each round on their turn (+[character level+3] Vs. Fortitude, medium normal necrotic damage, and the target is weakened until the end of their next turn).
In the Demonweb, explorers must contend with drow patrols, demons and arachnoid horrors which patrol the demonweb. There are numerous portals to other worlds and planes, but as they are not marked it is practically impossible for an adventurer to find their way to the individual planes and worlds they wish to travel to.
The Religion of Arachne
Lolth achieved much of her aspirations to destroy Arachne and her followers, and to steal much of her power for herself; however her plots are still, to this day, incomplete. Arachne survived all of the attacks against her, and (being bound to the same power as Lolth) is Lolth’s equal in power.
While Arachne has only a fraction of the worshippers that Lolth has, her forces are growing. Unbeknownst to those of the surface, war is brewing, a war which will shake the whole underdark.
Arachne is, in many ways, Lolth’s opposite; her only similarities are that they both claim queenship over spiderkind, both are chaotic and both are bound to the arachania.
Rites and Rituals of Arachne
The rites and rituals of Arachne are completely different from Lolth’s. A follower of Lolth witnessing any of Arachne’s rites and rituals would describe Arachne’s followers as “pathetically weak, worthy of nothing but death.”
Arachne’s prayers always begin with devotions to spiderkind and praises for the creation of the arachania. Other than this, prayers to Arachne vary greatly. Followers of Arachne commonly ask for aid in the destruction of Lolth’s followers.
Arachne’s temples hold a minor festival on the eighth day of every week (the 45 weeks in Arachne’s calendar last for eight days each, the remaining 5 days being the Days of Weaving). These minor rites never include sacrifices, but involve many prayers.
|The gardens of one of Arachne’s temples (from wikipedia)|
The Festival of the Eight, the Days of the Weaving and the Night of Webs; all of these are examples of major festivals of Arachne.
Festivals of Arachne generally take place in the open air of the temple gardens with much feasting and drinking.
Even Arachne’s major rites and festivals are devoid of sacrifices; she does not approve of the taking of life merely for appeasing her (or any other deity).
Servants of Arachne
The priests and priestesses of Arachne (Arachne has not the prejudice towards males that Lolth has) are a diverse group in comparison to Lolth’s clergy; it is not unheard of for an elf or human to be a member of the clergy.
Like Lolth, Arachne has clerics, paladins, priestesses (and priests) of the spider, arachnomancers, spider-lords and spider riders, but, unlike Lolth, never warlocks.
While it is true that a priestess of Arachne’s has a hard life compared to other followers of Arachne, she does not have to constantly watch her back. The hardship that fills a priestess of Arachne’s life is elsewhere; she must constantly lead others in the spydric war, a task that is full of danger.
Becoming a Priestess
There are two prerequisites to being a priestess of Arachne; the first is the ability to draw power from the Arachania (clerics and paladins of Arachne draw their power from the Arachania), while the second is a devotion to spiderkind.
There is no racial restriction on joining the clergy; humans are as equally welcome as drow in the priesthood of Arachne.
Arachne requires any aspiring priests and priestesses to prove their devotion to spiderkind on entry to her priesthood. Devotion to spiderkind is proven in a one-off test. This test often includes live spiders, although there are many variations on this test. Most of Arachne’s temples have devised their own tests, the rest using the same tests devised by Arachne herself shortly after the beginning of time.
One who fails the test is not prevented from joining the priesthood indefinitely; they are simply educated and allowed to re-take the test. This may set the applicant back several months or even a year, but it does grant her a second chance.
Hierarchy of the Priesthood
The priesthood of Arachne has a clearly defined structure based on ranking, although this hierarchy is less strict than many others.
New priests and priestesses still in training are entitled initiates and have no power within the clergy.
Priests and priestesses who have completed the necessary training are called Acolytes, and have a small amount of power within the priesthood.
The next rank is Avarchate; those of this rank have a moderate amount of power within the clergy.
|The entry tests of Arachne often include live spiders (from [The entry tests of Arachne often include live spiders wikipedia])|
The final standard rank within the priesthood is Exarchate; those of this rank have great power within the priesthood.
Finally there is the greatest rank of all; the hierarch. There is only one hierarch at any one time, and the hierarch has the greatest power of all.
Duties of the Clergy
The main duty of the clergy of Arachne is very simple, but also very hazardous; namely, destroy Lolth and her followers.
The armies of Arachne are lead by priests and priestesses of the priesthood Arachne, and priests and priestesses spend most of their time fighting against the followers of Lolth.
Other duties of the clergy are basically similar to those of other good-aligned priesthoods and clergies.
The Spider Queen, the Lady of the Spider, the True Queen of Spiders.
Symbol: A spider on a web.
Home Plane: The twilight web.
Worshipers: Drow, Driders, Spydric-Ones, Half-drow, Ettercaps, Chitines and other conscious spiderkind.
Areas of Influence: Spiderkind, the arachania and good.
Favored Weapon: The Fang (longsword)
|Holy symbol of Arachne (image by OlKu)|
Arachne is the creator of spiders and the Arachania. Arachne is believed to be Lolth’s sister by some, although many of Lolth’s followers deny this. Unlike her supposed sister, Lolth, Arachne is kind and benevolent.
At the beginning of time, Arachne was the mistress of the Arachania and of spiderkind, but Lolth, who was jealous of her, bound herself to the arachania and attempted to steal her power for herself.
Arachne’s previous form was that of an exceedingly beautiful elf, although this changed to a drow after the first drow converted to her. Her other form is that of a white spider.
Arachne’s clerics are taught to respect spiders and are trained in the knowledge of spiders and the arachania. They are also trained in the arts of war, so as to aid them in the spydric war.
Arachne usually sends her followers on quests to destroy Lolth and her followers, and also on quests to convert others to the religion of Arachne.
Prayers to Arachne always begin with devotions to spiderkind, but other than this, there are no hard and fast rules. Prayers to Arachne can be about just about anything.
Arachne’s temples are less overstated than Lolth’s, and are much smaller. Temples to Arachne in Lolth’s lands are always hidden. Temples outside of Lolth’s land are structures of white stone carved with spiders and webs, and surrounded by what can only be described as spider-infested gardens.
Rites and celebrations of Arachne never involve sacrifices of any sort. They usually involve many intoned prayers to Arachne and often feasts and drinks.
Heralds and Allies
Arachne’s herald is a Eilistraee. Her allies include celestial spiders.
Arachne rarely manifests an aspect (basically an avatar) of herself, although when she does it takes one of two forms; either an exceedingly beautiful drow or a white spider (a form she generally takes in battle).
The Dark Maiden, Lady of the Dance, Lady Silverhair, Moon Maiden, the Masked Lady.
Symbol: A naked drow female dancing before the moon with a silver sword.
Home Plane: The twilight web.
Areas of Influence: Song, Beauty, Dance, Swordwork, Hunting, Moonlight.
Favored Weapon: The Silverblade (Bastard Sword).
|Eilistraee's holy symbol by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law|
Eilistraee is Lolth’s unwitting daughter. Eilistraee once worked alone against Lolth’s power covertly, but since meeting Arachne she has more openly worked against Lolth.
Eilistraee is worshipped by dance and song, preferably under the moon. Eilistraee takes great delight in beauty, song, dance, hunting, master swordwork and, of course, moonlight.
Clerics of Eilistraee, collectively known as “dark ladies”, are trained in the arts of dance.
Eilistraee generally sends her followers on quests to help people who need help, but she has been known to ask her followers to aid Arachne’s followers in their quests or even complete quests for Arachne.
Eilistraee is worshipped by song and dance. It is preferred to be performed on the surface under the moon, but if this is not possible, merely singing and/or dancing is acceptable.
Eilistraee has relatively few temples, most of which are hidden due entirely to the tyranny of Lolth. The few that are not hidden are situated either near temples of Arachne or in great woodland glades surrounded by great natural beauty.
The rites and rituals of Eilistraee involve dancing in as little clothing as possible in the moonlight. One of the main festivals is called “the hunt”. It involves a large number of Eilistraee’s clerics hunting unclad with bastard swords under the moonlight.
Heralds and Allies
Eilistraee is the herald of Arachne and so has the same allies as Arachne does.
The Twilight Web
When much of Arachne’s power was stolen by Lolth at the beginning of time, Arachne declared war on Lolth and sought out a plane within which she could assemble her armies.
The plane she found was called the twilight garden at the time; so called because it was a vast beautiful garden always at the golden half-light of twilight.
Here Arachne assembled her bastion; about the trees she and her loyal celestial spider followers wove vast sheets of shining, golden webbing.
The result of her weaving was a towering structure of intricate latticed webbing, shining in its own golden light, and surrounded by a wide expanse of forest shrouded in sheets of golden silk.
The Twilight Web is a vast garden bathed in golden light; everything shines in golden hues. The golden webbing that shrouds the plane varies in stickiness; from completely non-sticky to stickier than the strongest glue.