Anansi (5e Race)

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Most races have an inherent, irrationally intense fear of spiders that goes far beyond their actual potential to do harm. Add to that the existential horror of self-aware spider people, and it's no mystery why most shudder at the word 'anansi.' If you can get past the seemingly 'empty' black eyes and the too-many legs though, they're actually decent people.
Drelson Bronzehall, wandering diplomat and cultural anthropologist.

Physical Description[edit]

Credit to Opoterser

Anansi are sentient spiders. They are very light for their size, and their four front-most legs are much more flexible than other varieties of spiders, terminating in two small grasping "fingers" each. Anansi hunt primarily with the potent venom they secrete from their bodies, and can bring down prey many times their size. Anansi can be many different colors, with some even having semi-reflective exoskeletons.


Anansi evolved from simple spiders in the Underdark, apparently from a diet consisting mainly on cranium rats and some other psionic creatures, although they never developed psionic powers of their own. They were forced to move above ground by Lolth, who viewed them as impure abominations. This resulted in the anansi becoming distrustful of magic and, to a lesser extent, elves. This tension has recently been somewhat assuaged by the elves' dedication to preserving nature, but many of the less-contacted anansi clans are still distrustful

After the drow exodus to the Underdark, the anansi spread out among the forests of the world, and began to acclimate. Recently, some anansi clans have begun exporting limited quantities of wood, ore, and furs to trade in cities. Citing a need to modernize their living conditions, and to become a new race in a growing world, and to distance themselves from the Lolth's stigma, the broodmothers of the anansi Ax'hi, Ne'ka, Vi'wen, and Ta'geh signed trade agreements with several cities.


Anansi society revolves around the broodmother, a female anansi who voluntarily undergoes metamorphosis to become a large and long-lived matriarch. The broodmother must not only be a voluntary, but will always be chosen by popular vote. This is done because broodmothers have very limited movement and cannot hunt. This makes good public relations incredibly important for any aspiring broodmother, for without the clan's support she would simply be neglected and starve to death. She then chooses a partner, who then fecundates her and is immediately either killed, exiled or forced to become a servant anansi. Her functions as broodmother are both administrative and reproductive: She is the only fertile female in the whole clan and only with her death can another female become a broodmother. Males, on the other hand, are always fertile, but can't reproduce unless the females let them.

The reach of a clan is generally limited to the forest they live in. Unlike humans, dwarves, elves, and other nation-builder races, anansi are more concerned with the long-term sustainability of their clan forest. For most anansi, the first step in expanding the clan's influence is to plant trees and preserve the animals that live there. This also means that they will attack with no hesitation lumberjacks and hunters who trespass on their territory.

Fortunately, their terrain is easy to spot. The abundance of web and their fortresses are obvious symbols of an anansi colony.

Their "fortresses" and homes are the branches and hollows of the biggest and sturdiest trees, reinforced and enveloped by giant cocoons of webbing, and reinforced with weaver adhesive and stone. They are nocturnal and only the guards, generally stalkers, are awake during the day.

As their locations tend to be easy to spot, commerce is not completely farfetched, although difficult: They are mostly active during the night, every transaction must be approved by the broodmother and they don't use coinage, as metal has absolutely no value to them. Their silk, limited amounts of wood, feathers they obtain from birds and, ocassionally, their own poison are great products they are willing to let go in exchange for meat, tree saplings or even fresh prisoners.

Anansi Names[edit]

Anansi are born in large broods, and so are not individually named at birth. Anansi young are nameless until they return from their first independant hunt, at which time they choose a name for themselves. Anansi names are frequently harsh and sibilant; most are composed of two syllables joined by an apostrophe.

Male: Ke'kron, Xe'lak, Vu'ki, Ne'vek, Sa'zi

Female: Vu'Hel, Fe'wah, Do'cek, Um'pex, Qa'sin

Anansi broodmothers are referred to simply as "mother" by their offspring and "Broodmother [name]" by others.

Notable Examples: Broodmother Gu'zel is perhaps one of the most famous anansi; her mastery of illusion magic led her clan's forest to be feared by orcs, bandits, and goblins alike. To this day, many still speak of the "legend of the nightmare wood" around campfires late at night.

Anansi Traits[edit]

Race of evolved spiders.
Ability Score Increase. Your ability score increase is dependant on subrace.
Age. Anansi are fully capable of survival at birth. They start hunting in group at 1 week of age, hunt independently at the young age of 1 month old, and mature over the course of 7 years when they are finally considered adults. Anansi males and the females who do not become broodmothers generally live to age 40 or 50. Broodmothers can live for more than 150 years.
Alignment. Anansi are generally true neutral as they spend most of their time simply hunting and gathering to support the current broodmother. They may change their moral alignment depending on the races that frequently contact with them.
Size. With the exception of the broodmothers, anansi are small creatures weighing around 20 to 30 pounds while standing between 3 and 3 and a half feet tall. Your size is Small.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet.
Spider Perception. You can see in dim light within 30 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray. You can pinpoint exactly where creatures are if both of you are touching the same web.
Trichobothria. Trichobothria are fine hairs found on spiders, insects and other animals with exoskeletons. The hairs are so sensitive that some can pick up air movement down to one ten-billionth of a meter, roughly the width of an atom, allowing animals to feel the presence of nearby predators and prey. You have blindsight with a range of 5 feet.
Fangs. Sharp and filled with toxins, your teeth are natural weapons. On a hit, you deal 1d6 piercing damage, instead of the normal 1 bludgeoning damage.
Spider Climb. Anasi are naturally capable of moving across walls and ceilings, even with very little grip. You have a climbing speed equal to your walking speed, and can use this speed to move upsidedown.
Spider Anatomy. Thanks to your relation to insects, you have an exoskeleton, even if thin. When you aren't wearing armor, your AC is 11 + your Dexterity modifier. You can use your natural armor to determine your AC if the armor you wear would leave you with a lower AC. A shield's benefits apply as normal while you use your natural armor.
Languages. You speak Common and Anansi. Anansi is a language of clicks and hisses with many harsh sounds interspersed. Anansi are able to speak common, but only very roughly as they have trouble with many sounds. You can't write nor read.
Subrace. Choose one between weaver, stalker, mariner, and broodmother.


Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2 and your Constitution increases by 1.
Developed Spinnerets. The most common of the anasi, the weaver subrace is particularly adept at crafting webbing. As an action, you can produce up to 15 feet of rope-like webs, which have an AC of 10 and 4 hitpoints. On contact with anything that isn't you, it sticks until broken or removed. You can produce an amount of this webbing equal to your Constitution modifier × 10, regaining all use after finishing a long rest. At 3rd level, you can expend 15 feet of this webbing to cast the web spell, using Constitution as your spellcasting modifier.
Adept Crafters. Thanks to their already genetically established role in society, most weavers adopt other trades. You have proficiency in one artisan's tool of your choice.


Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2 and your Wisdom increases by 1.
Predatorial Hunt. You can designate any creature you can see, hear or smell as your prey. For the next hour, you have advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to track their movements.
First Strike. When hitting a surprised creature, you deal an extra 1d12 damage.
Natural Jumper. When jumping, you can use your Dexterity modifier instead of Strength.


Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution, Dexterity and Strength scores increases by 1.
Water Strider. Being from a special breed of anasi, you can skid across lakes and rivers like nothing. You can walk ontop of water, not falling in unless you choose to do so.
Water Breathing. You can breath air and water.


Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma, Intelligence and Wisdom scores increases by 1.
Size. A broodmother is significantly larger than most anasi, about 6 or 7 feet tall, and much heavier. Your size is Medium.
Heavier Frame. Being much larger than your other kin leads to some downsides. Your climbing speed granted by the Spider Climb trait is halved.
Matriarch. Being naturally made for it, broodmothers are much more convincing. You have proficiency in one Charisma based skill of your choice.

Random Height and Weight[edit]

General Anasi[edit]
2′ 11″ +1d8 16 lb. × (1d2) lb.

*Height = base height + height modifier
**Weight = base weight + (height modifier × weight modifier)

6′ 0″ +2d10 120 lb. × 1 lb.

*Height = base height + height modifier
**Weight = base weight + (height modifier × weight modifier)

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