|The ONLY picture of a spider in this post|
because I am a wuss afraid of the damn things.
The Arachnid Invasion of Fernveld!
The land called Ferveld is a suitably generic locale for down-to-earth D&D antics: a remote wilderness region with semi-isolated settlements. The region itself can be as fleshed and interesting as I need it to be but conceptually it doesn't need to be anything unique because it's what is going to happen in that region which matters more. And that something is a mass-invasion of disgusting, horrifying, giant creepy-crawlies.
It's become a D&D staple of associating Dark Elves with spiders and this here is no different. Could I make these Dark Elves more interesting and unique? Sure, I could but it doesn't matter because within the confine of this game all that need to be known is that they are A) evil invaders from below the earth and B) breed monstrous spiders to attack the surface-dwellers. Indeed, the main enemies of such a game would be an endless horde of monstrous spiders bred to be bigger, meaner and smarter. Like arachnid attack hounds, in a way. These creatures would pour over from every unguarded hole to the dark realm below, from every sewer, every dungeon (explored or not) and cause utter chaos as they first eat the livestock and then people.
The first sign of the spider invasion would not be spider themselves but rather goblins or kobolds or some suitably crummy low-HD monster which dwell underground. Their underground lairs taken from them by the advancing spider hordes they would spill over to the land in spite of how much they loathe sunlight. These would be hordes of angry, hungry and terrified goblins/kobolds with nothing to lose. When these pathetic creatures fall, there would be a brief moment of relief. But then come the spiders. Small ones, at first, isolated cases even but they would slowly eat away at the local ecosystem. Forests, already foreboding, would become covered in cobwebs where the local wildlife and even predators such as wolves are found in cocoons, eaten alive. Livestock would disappear soon and people would retreat behind the city walls and into the keeps. However, as one would expect, walls are of little use as defense against spiders. People will grow increasingly hungry, scared and isolated as more and more land is taken by hordes of semi-intelligent spiders.
The Spider Types
Spiders are creatures I personally loathe and am terrified of, which is all the more a reason to use them. They are truly fascinating creatures with a great variation in shape, size and methods of hunting and killing. Combining these ideas with magically-augmented breeding from the Dark Elves would open up a staggeringly large variety of spiders both grounded in reality and fantasy. Even if more than 3/4 of the enemies in such a game would be a type of arachnid you could still see a terrifying variety of tactics and situations emerge. And that's not even getting into size variations! The classic web-weaving spider is but one variety of spider, after all.
- Spider Swarm: Countless tiny spiders crawling over you and eating you alive. Sweet dreams.
- Scorpions: Not actually spiders but still an arachnid which the Dark Elves could have imported from a far-away land.
- Jumping Spiders: These are ambush predators with great jumping capacity. They are unlikely to be seen before it's too late.
- Mimic Spider: Magically-bred to be able to fold their bodies and change texture. Can even fit inside suit of armors and briefly pretend to be a humanoid. Can't speak but can mimic sounds.
- Poisonous Spider: Many spiders have a deadly bite but these have been magically-bred to have extremely potent poison.
- Razor Spiders: Not based on any real-life spiders, these creatures have been magically bred to have razor-sharp fangs and legs which make armor less effective as they slice you down.
- Trapdoor Spiders: Hide in a hole and then jumps you. Part trap, part monster.
- Web-Spitter Spiders: Have a ranged attack which binds you into place.
- Wolf Spiders: These creatures, named after the spider type, actively hunt down their preys. Could have been bred by the Dark Elves to be more intelligent and use pack tactics.
A single creature with a staggering variety of means to kill you. Spiders are disturbingly good hunters. Gotta love spiders...