Spider Rider (3.5e Prestige Class)

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A spider rider.

Spider Rider

“Look! There is a spider rider leading the left flank”, Orethyl pointed as he thought to his spider.

“Yes”, thought his monstrous spider Aranai back to him, “We should engage with caution.”

Aranai began to crawl forward - accelerating into a scuttle - breaking into a run faster than the mightiest warhorse. Catching his foe in the flank, Aranai speared the enemy spider on Orethyl’s lance. The lance shattered as shards and splinters flew through the air, even as Orethyl leaped at his foe, drawing his blade to finish the job...

The war would be won, whatever the cost..

The History of the War of the Spider Queens, Orethyl, spider rider

Spiders are sacred. A bond with a spider is the ultimate gift - such is the teaching of the spider riders. Both Lolth and Arachne gift their greatest followers with spider-bonds. A follower is given a monstrous spider egg, and when it hatches, the new spider rider is bonded mentally, physically and spiritually to their spider. But the spider riders are divided: half of them worship Lolth, the other half Lolth’s sister - Arachne. This results in a war, a war that will last until one side is destroyed utterly: the War of the Spider Queens.

Becoming a Spider Rider

A character can only become a spider rider through her great devotion to spiders. A character ready to join the ranks of the spider riders is totally obsessed by spiders, studying and handling them constantly, bringing them up regularly in conversation. A character may seek to become a spider rider to become a master of mounted combat.

Entry Requirements
Alignment: Any chaotic. The character’s alignment must match her Spider Queen’s (see below). The spider queens demand chaos, so only a chaotic individual is granted the honor of becoming a spider rider.
Base Attack Bonus: +6.
Base Saves: Fortitude +5.
Skills: Ride 5 ranks, Knowledge (nature or religion) 4 ranks.
Feats: Mounted Combat
Race: If the character’s spider queen (see below) is Lolth, then drow. If not, then there is no prerequisite.
Special: The character must worship one of the three spider queens (Lolth, Arachne, or Aranae). The character must receive a monstrous spider egg from her deity (usually presented by a deity’s vassal).
Table: The Spider Rider

Hit Die: d8

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Spider Jump Special
1st +1 +2 +0 +0 Spider Mount, Spider Empathy, Planar Web 4/day
2nd +2 +3 +0 +0 10 ft. (10 ft.) Summon Spider Swarm 3/day, Spider Jump
3rd +3 +3 +1 +1 10 ft. (20 ft.) Rebuke Spiderkind
4th +4 +4 +1 +1 20 ft. (40 ft.) Perfect Rider +2
5th +5 +4 +1 +1 20 ft. (60 ft.) Summon Spider IV 1/day
6th +6 +5 +2 +2 40 ft. (100 ft.) Perfect Rider +4, Master Rider
7th +7 +5 +2 +2 40 ft. (140 ft.) Summon Spider V 1/day
8th +8 +6 +2 +2 80 ft. (220 ft.) Spider Knight
9th +9 +6 +3 +3 80 ft. (300 ft.) Summon Spider VI 1/day
10th +10 +7 +3 +3 120 ft. (500 ft.) Spider Calling 2/day
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level)
Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Ride (Dex), Use Rope (Dex), Balance (Dex), Tumble (Dex), and Knowledge (nature and religion) (Int).
Table: The Epic Spider Rider
Level Spider Jump Special
11th 120 ft. (500 ft) Bonus Feat
12th 120 ft. (560 ft)
13th 120 ft. (560 ft.)
14th 120 ft. (620 ft.) Bonus Feat
15th 120 ft. (620 ft.)
16th 120 ft. (680 ft.)
17th 120 ft. (680 ft.) Bonus Feat
18th 120 ft. (740 ft.)
19th 120 ft. (740 ft.)
20th 120 ft. (800 ft.) Bonus Feat

Class Features

All the following are class features of the spider rider.

Spider Mount (Su): When the spider rider gains her first level in the spider rider prestige class, her monstrous spider egg hatches. The spider is immune to fear effects and can speak, understand, and read any languages that the spider rider can. The spider is no longer mindless, but is ridden as a creature of Intelligence 1 (see below).

Spider Empathy (Sp): At 1st level the spider rider can speak mentally to any spiderkind[1] creature within 30ft. The spiderkind[1] creature will understand whatever the spider rider says to it. The spider rider can pinpoint the exact location of any spiderkind[1] creatures within 30ft, even if she can’t see them. She can use the Handle Animal skill with spiders (and monstrous spiders). For the purposes of qualifying for prestige classes and feat prerequisites she is treated as having the Vermin TrainerDrU feat.

Planar Web (Sp): At 1st level, the spider rider can use web as a spell-like ability four times a day (with a caster level equal to the character’s spider rider class level). The web materializes out of thin air at the point where the spell-like ability was aimed at.

Summon Spider Swarm (Sp): At 2nd level the spider rider can use summon spider swarm as a spell-like ability three times a day (with a caster level equal to the character’s spider rider class level).

Spider Jump (Ex): At 2nd level as a swift action, the spider rider gains the ability to travel between two points as if by means of a dimension door spell (except that you can take action after using this ability). She can travel up to the number of feet shown in the “Spider Jump” column of Table: The Spider Rider and a maximum total number per day equal to the value in parenthesis. The spider rider may include her monstrous spider mount in a spider jump. When this ability is performed it appears just like when a jumping spider “jumps.”

Rebuke Spiderkind (Su): At 3rd level the spider rider may rebuke spiderkind[1] creatures as a cleric would rebuke undead. She rebukes spiderkind as a cleric of three levels lower would. The character’s monstrous spider mount is unaffected by her rebuke attempts, and receives a +4 bonus against other spider rider rebuke attempts.

Perfect Rider (Ex): At 4th level, the spider rider gains a +2 competence bonus to Ride checks when riding a monstrous spider. This increases to a +4 competence bonus at 6th level.

Summon Spider IV (Sp): At 5th level the spider rider can use summon spider IV as a spell-like ability once per day (with a caster level equal to the character’s spider rider class level).

Master Rider (Ex): At 6th level, the spider rider does not suffer penalties to AC due to charging while mounted on a monstrous spider, and only takes half of the normal penalty to ranged attacks due to being mounted.

Summon Spider V (Sp): At 7th level the spider rider can use summon spider V as a spell-like ability once per day (with a caster level equal to the character’s spider rider class level).

Spider Knight (Ex): While riding a monstrous spider, the spider rider gains a +2 competence bonus to attack rolls and AC.

Summon Spider VI (Sp): At 9th level the spider rider can use summon spider VI as a spell-like ability once per day (with a caster level equal to the character’s spider rider class level).

Spider Calling (Sp): At 10th level the spider rider can use spider calling as a spell-like ability once per day (with the caster level equal to the character’s spider rider class level).

Spider Mount (Ex): At 11th level and every second level thereafter, the spider rider’s monstrous spider mount gains 2d10 Hit Dice.

Bonus Feat: At 11th level and every 3rd level thereafter, the epic spider rider gains a bonus feat chosen from the following list: Armor Skin, Combat Archery, Damage Reduction, Devastating Critical, Dire Charge, Distant Shot, Energy Resistance, Epic Endurance, Epic Leadership, Epic Prowess, Epic Toughness, Epic Weapon Focus, Epic Weapon Specialization, Exceptional Deflection, Improved Combat Reflexes, Improved Manyshot, Improved Stunning Fist, Improved Whirlwind Attack, Infinite Deflection, Instant Reload, Legendary Commander, Legendary Rider, Legendary Wrestler, Overwhelming Critical, Penetrate Damage Reduction, Perfect Two-Weapon Fighting, Reflect Arrows, Spellcasting Harrier, Storm of Throws, Superior Initiative, Swarm of Arrows, Two-Weapon Rend, Uncanny Accuracy. In addition to the feats on this list, the epic spider rider may treat any feat designated as a fighter bonus feat as being on the spider rider bonus feat list. A spider rider must still meet all prerequisites for a bonus feat, including ability score and base attack bonus minimums.

Monstrous Spider Mount

Monstrous spider mounts have the following game statistics.

Table: The Monstrous Spider Mount

Hit Die: d10

Rider’s Level Size HD Natural Armor Special
1st T/S 2 +0 Monstrous Spider Traits, Unbreakable Spider Bond
2nd M 4 +0 Evasion, Share Spells
3rd L 6 +1 Uncanny Dodge, Shrink 3/day
4th H 8 +1 Fast Movement +10ft
5th H 8 +2 Spider Bonus Feat
6th H 10 +2 Fast Movement +20ft
7th H 10 +3 Slippery Mind
8th H 12 +3 Fast Movement +30ft
9th H 12 +4 Spider Bonus Feat
10th H 14 +4 Improved Evasion

Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per hit die)
Climb (Str), Spot (Wis), Hide (Dex), Move Silently (Dex), Jump (Dex) and Use Rope (Dex).

Class Features

All the following are class features of the spider mount.

Monstrous Spider Traits: The monstrous spider mount must either be a web spinning or a hunting spider, but with the Dungeon Master’s permission, it may be a specific monstrous spider. Use the base statistics for a monstrous spider of the mount’s kind, but make the following changes.

Hit Dice: The number of d10 Hit Dice that the monstrous spider mount has (this replaces its normal Hit Dice). A monstrous spider mount has a good base attack bonus and good Fortitude and Reflex saves. Treat the monsterous spider mount as a character with class levels equal to the spider’s HD. A monstrous spider mount gains additional skill points and feats for bonus HD as normal for advancing a monster’s Hit Dice. The monstrous spider mount has 2+ Intelligence modifier skill points per Hit Die, but must train for one hour a day with the spider rider in order to gain these skill points.

Natural Armor: The number noted here is an improvement to the monstrous spider’s existing natural armor bonus.

Attacks: The monstrous spider mount can make multiple attacks with her bite attack as if it where a manufactured weapon, with a -5 penalty to each extra attack. The spider cannot use its poison ability while making multiple attacks.

Size: Upon hatching, the monstrous spider mount is Tiny size. 1d4 hours later, she sheds her skin and becomes Small size. When a new level in spider rider is gained by a spider’s rider, she sheds her skin and grows one category in size up to a maximum size of Huge at 4th level.

Type: The monstrous spider mount’s type changes from vermin to magical beast (augmented vermin).

Ability Scores: The monstrous spider mount’s ability scores are chosen using the elite array, replacing the 10 and the 8 with the rider’s Intelligence and Charisma scores, which the monstrous spider mount shares. The racial ability score adjustments, Armor Class and attack modifiers and bite damage due to size for the monstrous spider mount are shown on Table: Monstrous Spider Adjustments by Size. For details on monstrous spiders see Monstrous Spider: Tiny, Small, Medium, Large and Huge.

Optionally a DM may allow their player to roll 4 sets of 4d6 discarding the lowest die and arrange the results among the monstrous spider mount’s Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, and Wisdom scores.

Table: Monstrous Spider Adjustments by Size
Size Str Dex Con AC/Attack Bite Damage
Tiny -8 +6 +0 +2 1d3
Small -4 +6 +0 +1 1d4
Medium +0 +6 +2 +0 1d6
Large +4 +6 +2 -1 1d8
Huge +8 +6 +2 -2 2d6

Unbreakable Spider Bond (Su): The monstrous spider mount shares a bond with her rider that transcends the physical. The mount assumes the rider’s alignment. If a spider rider dies, the monstrous spider mount dies instantly as well. If the monstrous spider mount dies the rider must attempt a Fortitude saving throw of DC 25. If the saving throw is failed, the spider rider loses 2 hit points per spider rider level. She will then go into a rage for 1d12 + (her Constitution modifier) rounds as if she was a 1st level barbarian.

At all times, the monstrous spider mount and rider can communicate empathetically and telepathically, see out of each others eyes, and can locate each other as if by the locate creature spell.

The spider rider automatically passes Ride checks to attack while mounted and to control her mount in battle when mounted on her spider, and has full control over her spider’s speed at all times. The spider rider and her spider share the same initiative, which is rolled using their highest initiative bonus (The rider’s or the spider’s).

Shrink (Sp): 3 times per day at 3rd level, the monstrous spider mount can reduce its size to any size category smaller than itself as a swift action. This spell-like ability lasts until the spider decides to end it, which it can do as a free action. The caster level is 1 for this ability. This ability works like a stackable reduce person.

Fast Movement (Ex): At 4th level, the monstrous spider mount’s land and climb speeds increase by +10ft. At 6th level, the bonus to the monstrous spider mount’s speed increases by an additional +10ft and increases again at 8th level by another +10ft.

Spider Bonus Feat: The monstrous spider mount may select a bonus feat from the following list: Improved Critical (bite), Ability Focus, Acrobatic, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Improved Natural Attack (bite), Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Overrun, Stealthy and Weapon Focus (bite).

Evasion (Ex): If the monstrous spider mount makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, she instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the monstrous spider mount is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless monstrous spider mount does not gain the benefit of Evasion.

Share Spells (Ex): At the spider rider’s option, she may have any spell (but not any spell-like ability) she casts upon herself also affect her monstrous spider mount. The monstrous spider mount must be within 5 feet of her at the time of casting to receive the benefit. If the spell or effect has a duration other than instantaneous, it stops affecting the monstrous spider mount if she moves farther than 5 feet away and will not affect the spider again, even if it returns to the spider rider before the duration expires. Additionally, the spider rider may cast a spell with a target of “You” on her monstrous spider mount (as a touch range spell) instead of on herself. A spider rider and her spider can share spells even if the spells normally do not affect creatures of the companion’s type [magical beast (augmented vermin)].

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): The monstrous spider mount retains her Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if she is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, she still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.

Slippery Mind (Ex): If a monstrous spider mount with slippery mind is affected by an enchantment spell or effect and fails her saving throw, she can attempt it again 1 round later at the same DC. She gets only this one extra chance to succeed on her saving throw.

Improved Evasion (Ex): This ability works like Evasion, except that while the monstrous spider mount still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks she henceforth takes only half damage on a failed saving throw. A helpless monstrous spider mount does not gain the benefit of Improved Evasion.

Ex-Spider Riders

The spider rider can make a decision to which the monstrous spider mount objects. Switching from Lolth to another deity, offending the monstrous spider mount, ceasing to revere spiderkind, taking the spider for granted, or otherwise upsetting the spider can cause the spider to leave the rider. The spider rider loses all its supernatural and spell-like abilities gained from being a spider rider. The Rider can make amends only by contacting the monstrous spider mount to apologize. If the spider accepts the apology, the monstrous spider mount will come back to the rider and the rider will regain all spider rider class features.

If the spider rider’s monstrous spider mount dies, the rider can never have another monstrous spider mount to replace her deceased spider. However, the spider rider can spend one hour in a ritual to bring back the monstrous spider mount to life. The monstrous spider cannot be brought back to life in any other way (including methods that make the spider undead). The monstrous spider mount will then return to life in her original body. If the deity that the rider worships believes the rider to be unworthy, then the monstrous spider mount will not return to life. If the deity changes her mind about the rider’s worth at a later date, the ritual can be undertaken again. The monstrous spider mount’s body cannot be damaged, disfigured or destroyed unless the spider rider is also dead (and will be repaired instantly if the spider rider returns to life), and can be called to the spider rider when she wishes to perform the ritual.

Campaign Information

Playing a Spider Rider

Adventure: Spider riders usually adventure to gain power to use in the War of the Spider Queens. They also adventure in order to fulfill a task appointed to them by their patron (either Lolth or Arachne), or to find new candidates to train in the art of the spider riders. Neutral spider riders are rather obscure in their purposes. Their objectives are not known.

Characteristics: Spider riders are totally obsessed with spiders - their minds, bodies and souls are tied to the arachnids.

Spider riders rarely stop thinking about spiders in some way (even if it is just a corner of the mind considering some spider theory), and they often weave spider-knowledge into conversations simply because they can’t help it! They simply love spiders with their hearts, minds and souls, and can’t imagine others not doing the same to some degree. A spider rider’s way idea of impressing someone is showing off their knowledge of spiders. Because of this spider obsession most spider rider marriages are to another spider rider or a drow.

The spider rider and her monstrous spider are as one: they are mentally bonded and share their thoughts. The rider and the spider each have their own personality, opinions, and desires. However, both rider and spider are privy to the thoughts, opinions, and desires of the other.

Races: Drow are very often spider riders - their psyche is naturally predisposed to spider obsession. Humans are rarely spider riders as most are too squeamish, scared, or untrusting to even approach a monstrous spider (let alone ride one). dwarves, gnomes, orcs (and half-orcs), and halflings are almost never spider riders, due to their hatred of the dark-skinned elves (holding grudges even against Arachne’s drow).

Combat: The spider rider takes the party role of a fighter and fast-attacker. Their skill in arms and their spider mounts make them ideal front-line fighters. The spider’s speed makes them excellent at fast attacking and getting where they are needed. The spider rider truly comes into her own at 3rd level when the spider is finally large enough to mount.

Advancement: A spider rider should probably consider taking levels in fighter to gain specialized mounted combat bonus feats.

Resources: Spider riders may be given various magic or helpful items to help them on their quests by the other spider riders loyal to their patron deity.

Spider Riders in the World

Lolth is a liar. Arachne is the true Spider Queen!
—Orethyl, spider rider, a secret log-book stolen from a temple of Lolth

NPC Reactions: NPCs tend to jump to conclusions when it comes to spider riders, especially humans and elves: they tend to assume that they are servants of Lolth, and are reluctant to change this first judgment. While drow treat spider rider’s with great respect, others treat them like dirt.

Spider Rider Lore

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (religion) can research spider riders to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

Knowledge (Religion)
DC Result
11 Spider riders are drow who ride spiders to further Lolth’s causes.
16 Spider riders are mentally bonded to their spiders.
21 There is another Spider Queen who is attempting to use her spider riders to unseat Lolth.
26 The spider rider’s spider is actually so closely bonded that she is another aspect of the spider rider’s personality.

Spider Riders in the Game

Adaptation: As in Eberron, spiders are considered lesser to scorpions by drow, the spider could be replaced with a scorpion.

Sample Encounter: If the PCs enter a sacred drow temple or similar, they may encounter resistance in the form of a spider rider.

EL 11: Lamaë’an, a spider rider, guards a sacred drow ruin. She will attack any and all intruders until her death (such is her loyalty to Lolth).


CR 11

Female drow paladin of slaughter 6/spider rider 4
CE Medium humanoid (elf)
Init/Senses +3/darkvision 120 ft.; Listen +1, Spot +1
Aura debilitating
Languages Common, Elven, Undercommon, telepathy with Araënû
AC 20, touch 13, flat-footed 17
(+7 armor, +3 Dex)
hp 56 (10 HD)
Immune magic sleep
SR 19
Fort/Ref/Will +5/+5/+1 (+2 against spells and spell-like abilities); +2 against enchantment
Weakness light blindness
Speed 20 ft. (4 squares) in scale mail, base 30 ft.
Melee +1 unholy lance +14 (1d8+4/19–20)
Base Atk/Grp +10/+13
Atk Options smite good 2/day (+2 attack, +4 damage)
Special Actions deadly touch (8 hp/day), rebuke spiderkind 5/day (+2, 2d6+3, 1st), rebuke undead 5/day (+2, 2d6+3, 1st), spider jump 20 ft. (40 ft.), Cause Disease 1/week.
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 4th):
At will—detect good
1/day—dancing lights (CL 10th), darkness (CL 10th), faerie fire (CL 10th)
4/day—planar web (DC 14)
Abilities Str 17, Dex 16, Con 11, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 14
SQ able to notice secret or concealed doors, aura of evil, divine grace, spider empathy, perfect rider +2
Feats Exotic Weapon ProficiencyB (hand crossbow), Mounted Combat, Spirited Charge, Knight of LolthDrU, Spirited Charge.
Skills Handle Animal +11, Knowledge (nature) +11, Ride +16, Search +2, Spot +1, Listen +1, Use Rope +10
Possessions +1 unholy lance, +3 scale mail
Patron Deity Lolth
Araënû, Spider Mount

CR —

monstrous hunting spider
CE Huge magical beast (augmented vermin)
Init/Senses +5/darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 60 ft. (unlimited in web); Listen +1, Spot +1
Languages telepathy with Lamaë’an
AC 24, touch 13, flat-footed 19; uncanny dodge
(–2 size, +5 Dex, +9 natural, +2 armor)
hp 69 (10 HD)
Resist evasion
Fort/Ref/Will +11/+12/+3
Speed 50 ft. (10 squares), climb 30 ft.; Fleet of Foot, Run
Melee bite +15 melee (3d6+6 plus poison) or
Melee bite +15/+10 melee (3d6+6)
Space/Reach 15 ft./10 ft.
Base Atk/Grp +9/+23
Special Actions shrink 3/day, web
Abilities Str 23, Dex 20, Con 17, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 14
SQ fast movement, share spells, unbreakable spider bond
Feats Fleet of Foot, Improved Natural Attack (bite), Run
Skills Climb +23, Hide +8, Jump +25, Spot +16.
Possessions leather armor barding
Poison (Ex) Injury (bite attack as a standard action), Fortitude DC 18, initial and secondary damage 1d8 Str. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Web (Ex) Araënû often waits in its web or in trees, then lowers itself silently on silk strands and leaps onto prey passing beneath. A single strand is strong enough to support Araënû and one other Huge creature.

Araënû can move across its own web at its climb speed and can pinpoint the location of any creature touching its web.

Shrink (Sp) Three times per day, as a swift action, Araënû can reduce its size to any size category smaller than itself as though affected by a stackable reduce person spell for each reduction in size category. This spell-like ability lasts until it decides to end it, which it can do as a free action. The caster level is 1st for this ability.
Unbreakable Spider Bond (Su) Araënû shares a bond with Lamaë’an that transcends the physical. It has Lamaë’an’s alignment. If Lamaë’an dies, Araënû dies instantly as well. If it dies the Lamaë’an must attempt a Fortitude saving throw of DC 25. If the saving throw is failed, Lamaë’an loses 8 hit points. She will then go into a rage for 1d12 rounds as if she was a 1st level.

At all times, Araënû and Lamaë’an can communicate empathetically and telepathically, see out of each others eyes, and can locate each other as if by the locate creature spell.

Lamaë’an automatically passes Ride checks to attack while mounted and to control Araënû in battle when mounted on it. She has full control over Araënû’s speed at all times. Lamaë’an and Araënû share the same initiative, which is rolled using Araënû’s initiative bonus.

Share Saving Throws For each of her saving throws, Araënû uses its own base save bonus or the Lamaë’an's, whichever is higher. Araënû applies her own ability modifiers to saves, and she doesn’t share any other bonuses on saves that Lamaë’an might have.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Any creature that resembles a spider.

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