Spider (3.5e Racial Paragon Class)
From D&D Wiki
For those wishing to be a true paragon of spiders among spider-kind. This class features abilities from spider-like entities straight out of Monster Manual and Monster Manual III. Most abilities gained are gained as weaker versions of the corresponding abilities from the previously mentioned monsters. However, almost all abilities in this 10 level progression end up about as powerful as their monster counterparts' descriptions by 10th level.
Making a Spider Paragon
Spider Paragons possess a small assortment of tricks more suited for surprise combat, stealth, and assassination. However, a spider paragon possesses low resistances to willpower and are likely to not be that strong.
Abilities: Spider paragons rely very heavily on Dexterity. DMs are well aware of the monsters with spider-like appearances having quite the high dexterity. Constitution comes in handy for both increased HP and making it harder to resist the poison that a spider paragon possesses.
Races: Drow and races with any spider-like qualities are the ones most likely to join this paragon class. Drow Spider Paragons would be either a progression to Drider, or a Lolth blessed Drow that is slowly becoming an avatar of the goddess. Those already spider-like would seek to tap into what lay hidden in their heritage. This does not stop practically any race from taking levels in this paragon class (However, the DM may impose the character worship Lolth as a deity, or other restrictions, including no multiclassing until 11th level).
Alignment: Chaotic Good, Chaotic Neutral, Chaotic Evil, Neutral Evil, or Lawful Evil.
Starting Gold: 1d4×10 gp (25 gp).
|1st||+0||+2||+0||+0||Natural Strikes, Poisonous Bite, Webbing|
|4th||+3||+4||+1||+1||Chitin Armor Growth|
Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
A spider paragon develops into a spider-like creature the further into its progression it goes. With each level, a spider paragon gains an ability that makes it more like the creature it attempts to emulate. A paragon begins its journey by developing the outer appearance of a spider. Then the spider paragon looks inward, learning to tap into its inner spider. All of the following are class features of the Spider.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Spider paragons are proficient with their natural bite and web attacks. No armor or shield proficiencies, however.
Poisonous Bite (Ex): A spider paragon also begins with fangs sprouting from their upper mouth (Or their natural bite is altered). At 1st level, a spider paragon gains a natural bite attack (if not already in possession of one) and a poison special quality to the bite attack (replaces the one existing already, if applicable). The natural bite attack is a secondary attack. The bite and poison damage is indicated in the table below. The poison from the bite does damage to Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution. This is selected at the time of character creation and cannot be changed. The save against the poison is a fortitude save equal to (10 + Constitution Modifier + Spider Paragon Level). The damage for the poison indicated is initial and secondary damage.
Full size range given in case of size changes. If base creature already has a bite attack, use better value.
Webbing (Ex): Finally, a Spider paragon grows an appropriately-sized arachnid-like abdomen out of their lower back. This grants the ability to fling a wad of webbing 3 times per day. This ability gains a +1 use per day each level after 1st, maxing out at 8 times per day at 6th level. The webbing acts for all intents and purposes like a net. However, the web has a range of 50 feet, with a range increment of 10 feet. Spider paragons can also opt to set up a trap with their webbing. Doing so takes up 1 use of their webbing feature. The webbing's maximum square footage is given in the same table. Also, the webbing has a few other notable differences as indicated in the table below. Each 5-foot section has the hit points given on the table, and web traps have damage reduction 5/—. The trap has a DC Spot check of (10 + Spider Paragon Level). The webbing is able to snare a creature up to one size category larger than the spider paragon.
|Break DC||Hit Points||Maximum Square|
Full size range given in case of size changes.
A single strand is strong enough to support the spider and one creature of the same size. A creature can escape using an escape artist or strength check. Doing so takes a standard action to attempt. A creature snared in the net receives a +5 circumstance bonus if the snared creature has something to walk on or grab while pulling free.
Spider Sight (Ex): As a spider paragon progresses, their eyes take on a red coloration, and the skin around the eyes blacken, taking on a pitch black color and feeling like chitin. At 2nd level, a spider paragon gains low light vision and darkvision out 20 feet. If the paragon already possesses either of these qualities, use the better value. The range increases to 40 feet at 3rd level, and finally to 60 feet at 4th level.
Spider Legs (Ex): A little further along in a spider paragon's progress, their legs begin to feel like chitin. At 3rd level, a spider paragon gains the ability to walk on their own webbing and gain tremorsense while walking on their own webs, extending the full length of the webs. Finally, a Spider paragon gains a climb speed equal to (base land speed - 10 feet, minimum 20 feet). This also grants a +8 bonus to climb checks, along with allowing a spider paragon to take 10 on a climb check, even if rushed or threatened. Web walking improves at 8th level to all webs, including those not made by the Spider Paragon. Tremorsense improves at 10th level to include a 60 foot radius when standing on the ground.
Chitin Armor Growth (Ex): Time has passed since the beginning of the spider paragon's transformation. Their body has now turned pitch black and begins growing an even layer of chitin. At 4th level, a spider paragon gains a cumulative Natural Armor adjustment of +1 for every 2 levels of Spider Paragon (+2 @ 4th, +3 @ 6th, +4 @ 8th, +5 @ 10th). If any other sources of natural armor exists, the values stack.
Harpooning (Ex): Having taken on the full appearance of a spider, a spider paragon comes to gain a ranged ability with its own poisonous bite attack. At 5th level, a Spider Paragon gains the ability to fire its fangs at a range of 20 feet (no range increment). A successful hit deals full bite damage (Including poison damage). The fangs also attach to the struck target as the fangs sink into the flesh and apply a special adhesive to remain stuck. The fangs are still attached to the mouth of a spider paragon, and as such can be used to reel in a target as a free action immediately after the fangs have attached to the target; treat this as a trip attack (using the bite's attack bonus, and an additional +5 to the check) Success means the target was yanked off its feet and pulled right next to the spider paragon and the adhesive wears off immediately, entitling the spider paragon to a free bite attack. Failure indicates the fangs rip free (and deal an additional full bite attack damage). A spider paragon can only reel in a creature of the same size category as it in this manner. Attempts to reel in a creature larger than it results in an automatic failure. The glue exuded by the fangs decomposes quickly, and at the end of the Spider Paragon's turn, the fangs automatically detaches and returns to the Spider Paragon's mouth (without dealing damage) if an attempt to reel in the target has not been made.
Rend Armor (Ex): After spending time learning to use its physical abilities, a Spider Paragon taps into the full extent of its physical body. At 6th level, a Spider Paragon gains the instinct to strike through armor directly and damage said armor. If a spider paragon manages to land two successful natural attacks that deal damage (EG: 2 unarmed strikes, poisonous bite attack and one unarmed strike, harpooning and poisonous bite, etc.), the damage is also dealt to the armor. This feature does not work on targets not wearing any armor.
Change Shape (Su): After experimenting with and tapping further into their inner spider, the spider paragon learns how to shift forms. Effectively, this allows a spider paragon to alter its appearance to various degrees of its base humanoid and spider-like appearance. At 7th level, a Spider Paragon gains the ability to change its appearance at will to one of four forms.
First: A spider paragon appears as a humanoid of either its base size category or one size category smaller (if applicable). A spider paragon cannot use any class features it has gained while in this form (Exceptions being Ethereal Jaunt and Plane Shift, gained later on). They can still wield weapons and wear armor however. Whenever a spider paragon takes this form, it is always the same in physical appearance. Typically this is the form a Spider Paragon takes to appear as they did before their transformation.
Second: A spider paragon appears as a humanoid with some spider-like features. The paragon appears at first glance to be a humanoid. However, a DC 18 spot check reveals fangs and subtle hints of chitin on their fists. The paragon loses use of its Chitin Armor Growth class feature while in this form in exchange for its disguised appearance.
Third: A spider paragon appears as they normally would in this form, this being the default form.
Fourth: A spider paragon takes on the shape and appearance of a Monstrous Spider of its size category. It retains full use of most of its class features, but loses the ability to wield weapons, wear armor, and strike with unarmed attacks (along with the Improved Unarmed Strike bonus feat from the Natural Attacks class feature) while in this form. Similar to the second form, a DC 18 spot check reveals a few subtle differences, namely the eyes having a subtle iris/pupil distinction and a fleshy, hairless patch on its underside.
Changing to an alternate form is a standard action that provokes an attack of opportunity. If a Spider Paragon is knocked out or killed, they revert to their default form immediately. If a limb is severed, the limb reverts to its default appearance immediately and any attackers that notice this gain a +2 circumstance bonus to their spot check (where applicable).
Plane Shift (Su): A spider paragon continues tapping into its abilities, discovering that their new form comes with an ability to move through more supernatural means. At 8th level, they gain the ability to shift to another plane, but only on their own. This is treated as if having cast Plane Shift (Caster Level = Spider Paragon Level + 2). This can be done as an at will action. They can use this class feature from another plane to return to the material plane. They cannot use this feature to go from one alternate plane to another alternate plane.
Ethereal Jaunt (Sp): Having learned to tap into traveling to another plane, a spider paragon learns some time thereafter to travel to a parallel plane to their own by adjusting the technique just so. At 9th level, a Spider Paragon gains the same ability a Phase Spider possesses. At will and as a free action, a spider paragon can shift from the ethereal plane to the material plane. The paragon can also shift from the material plane to the ethereal plane as freely, but as a move action (or part of a move action). This ability is otherwise identical to Ethereal Jaunt (Caster Level = Spider Paragon Level + 5). This feature cannot be used if on any other plane (in case Plane Shift is used to move to a plane other than Ethereal or Material.
Spell Resistance (Sp): Having tapped into their inner spider so deeply, a Spider Paragon learns the final secret of what it means to be a spider. At 10th level, a Spider Paragon gains Spell Resistance 10. This ability ceases to function when in any form that denies its Chitin Armor Growth class feature. If any other source of natural spell resistance exists, the values stack. This excludes outside sources, such as items/weapons/armor/accessories that possess spell resistance, in which case the better value is used.
Spider Paragon Starting Package
Weapons: Bite (1d3 + Poison [1d4 Dex]), Unarmed Strike (x2), Web (50', incremented range, net statistics).
Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 3 + Int modifier.
Feat: Ability Focus (Poison).
Bonus Feats: Ability Focus (Web).
Gear: Backpack with waterskin, one day’s trail rations, bedroll, sack, and flint and steel.
Gold: 2d4 GP.
Playing a Spider Paragon
Religion: There is only one deity that a Spider paragon would worship: Lolth, the spider goddess.
Other Classes: Rouges would find the sneak and stealth of this class a certain similarity, or a friendly competition. Druids and Rangers would be tolerable if not find kinship to Spider Paragons due to the natural aspect of this class. Clerics and Paladins would most likely attempt to slay Spider Paragons like the bugs they seek to emulate. All other classes are likely to be indifferent. Exceptions do exist.
Combat: Spiders are most likely the type to sneak in, do some damage, then get back out. If forced into a prolonged fight, a Spider will employ their venom and webbing to full extent. At later levels, they are likely to mix in ranged combat into this.
Advancement: Spider Paragons have quite a time to progress as their paragon. Once they are done, they are likely to pick up Rogue or Rogue-like class levels. Classes or prestige classes that bolster or add to their repertoire of tricks are also applicable classes.
Spider Paragons in the World
If there would be a thuggish rogue or assasin in the area, likely a spider paragon can fit in with the lot. If there are spider themed influences in a specific area (Like areas Drow inhabit), these paragons are very likely to be found there too. If both occur in the same area, then it is almost certain there is at least one spider paragon somewhere nearby. They are also liable to be found in dark, natural locations (Mentioned Below).
Daily Life: Spider paragons are very likely to be roaming about dark locations and/or forests or caves. They are either likely to be acting as spiders would, or exploring with some curiosity about their world.
Organizations: Spider paragon congregations are likely to be places where they are welcomed, such as in Drow-influenced areas. Otherwise the paragons would congregate in a natural setting similar to ones an actual spider would thrive in. Congregations occur when 'welcoming a new Spider Paragon into the swarm'.
NPC Reactions: NPCs are likely to be weary, if not concerned, with the appearance of a Spider Paragon. It may cause some to make the mistake of assuming a spider paragon is an actual spider or some evil mage's experiment. Drow NPCs are most likely to take a positive look on a Spider Paragon, this race being the very rare exception. Other players may react similarly at first, or be curious about a spider paragon... Provided the others realize the spider paragon is not some mindless monster first.
Spider Paragon Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (Nature) can research Spider Paragons to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|5||"Spider Paragons possess abilities similar to that of actual spiders."|
|10||"Spider Paragons gain a handful of abilities and are good at stealth and assassinations."|
|15||Last known location where Spider Paragons congregate and how to become a spider paragon.|
|20||A particular Spider Paragon, including last known location and most recent notable deed accomplished.|
Spider Paragons in the Game
This class could be used to replace spider-like monsters with spider paragon humanoids for sake of mixing things up for encounters. Spider Paragon PCs could be a nice alternative for rogue-ish classes. This could especially be used in campaigns featuring Races of the Wild and/or Drow of the Underdark supplements.
Adaptation: It is possible to alter the class features to fit other spider-like concepts, including revoking some spider-like specials in exchange for levels in sorcerer. One possible idea is to keep the first four levels' class features, spread them through the odd set of 8 levels, and use the even set for a +1 to sorcerer level spells known/spells per day. 9th level, have spell resistance, and one final +1 sorcerer level at 10th level. Another idea for a full spider base class for monster oriented adventures could be to double the number of levels, place all class features at odd levels (1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19), adjust the class features to rebalance for intended results, and use the previous idea above to have all even levels (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20) be used for +1 level to sorcerer spells known and spells per day.