Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Storied webs and the spiders that weave them

Give me death or give me knowledge...

Art Mostly By Me: I used a photograph of a spider and made distance marks to allow me to make a pic with the correct perspective and proportions. From the marks I drew a spider around them.

Of Literature and Wars (Fluff)
They stalk halls devoted to the written word, collectors of bound volumes, tablets, and scrolls. In this city of infinite variation, they scour the streets to possess all that might be known or imagined. This devotion is akin to religion, for which they will war and murder to fulfill their literary faith. Literary Spiders and Library Sphinxes, two sides in a war for facts and fantasy.

The origins of their enmity is little more than competition for a limited resource, though each could name an endless list of the other's wrongs. Through brokering information, they have built up monetary empires that they use to purchase what cannot be discovered or stolen.

Literary Spiders (Fluff)
They are the ancestors of diminutive arachnids who made their homes in dusty corners of seldom visited libraries. Despite their rigorous attention to the histories of innumerable races and cultures, they have little in the way of knowledge of their own history.

Their entrance into sentience lacks a single progenitor, rather it is the first act that has made it into memory, when the first spider transcribed words on a page into their web. While the name of this first scribe is lost, the words they transcribed are not: There are no eyes here / In this valley of dying stars / In this hollow valley. These words are a prayer to Literary Spiders, and incantation for inspiration and strength.

From this first act of replication, the Literary Spiders began their journey towards meaningful thought. This journey, however, took untold ages in the lifespan of spiders, and their histories do not mark the time between the first repetition and the first cognition.

The first true cognitive act was to construct stories, written into their webs, repetitions of the dreams that all spiders find in their sleep. Simple at first, these stories gained breadth and greater meaning as these spiders constructed silken novels in unused halls and abandoned houses. As these stories grew, so did their forms, bodies pushed to greater size by need or hidden force.

From nameless halls they went out into the world, finding only temporary homes before being driven out by need or ignorant violence. In the Dreaming City on the Rem Sea, they found their first home, constructing libraries and conservatories for aspiring storytellers. Like so many, they were driven out from their homes, many among a horde of refugees fleeing the Marchen as they laid waste to the Rem Sea and the cities near its shores. With the multitude of lost souls, they found a new home in the Infinite City, and in it a new source of stories to hoard.

Hidden within their library fortresses are Father Lore and Mother Secrets, the leaders of the Literary Spiders. With more similarities to demigods than mortal beings, they possess incredible amounts of arcane power and knowledge. While they were once 'married', they are no longer, having parted company over a disagreement about the merits of the 'Dada' art and literary movement. After nearly destroying numerous city blocks, the City Works Agency brokered an 'amicable' parting of ways. Now, they only communicate through intermediaries.

Personality and Proclivities
To judge such creatures by human standards would be unfair, but if one were to, they'd be judge odd and perhaps slightly silly. The size of large dogs, they go about as most spiders do, without clothes. This however is not to say they go about 'nude', as they have adopted certain fashionable human affectations.

Strutting about their libraries and the infinite streets, donning human headwear and eyewear, though they need neither. Their choices do not fall along gender lines, but rather along the individual spider's strange tastes. The single commonality of style choice among all Literary Spider is that they can almost always be found to be toting around a floating rubber balloon.

While this may appear to an absurdity, it is actually a shrewd choice on the part of the spiders. These balloons actually contain a spell, much as a scroll might contain one. By pointing the charm weighing down the balloon at a target and popping the balloon, the user (or spider) releases the stored spell.

Much like their balloons, the spiders' strange and oftentimes amusing accessories are more than simple affectations. Their eyewear and headwear is almost always enchanted to provide protection as well as a host of any other beneficial abilities. It goes without saying that the spiders are always prepared.

Strange Accessories
Inflate Balloon (Item Creation)
You can create enchanted balloons.
Prerequisite: Caster level 3rd.
Benefit: You can create an enchanted balloon of any spell that you know. By popping the balloon (Standard Action that Doesn't Provoke an Attack of Opportunity) they can activate the spell stored in the balloon. As part of creating the balloon, they also create a charm that is used to aim the spell. Creating a balloon takes 2 hours if its base price is 250 gp or less, otherwise creating a balloon takes 1 day for each 1,000 gp in its base price. To make a balloon, you must use up raw materials costing half of this base price. See the magic item creation rules in Magic Items for more information.

The balloon has AC 13, 1 hit point, and a break DC of 7.
The DC to determine the spell stored in the balloon is equal to 15 + the spell level of the balloon (although this DC might be higher for rare or unusual balloons).

The price of a balloon is equal to the level of the spell × the creator's caster level × 50 gp.

OSR / LotFP / AD&D
Given the correct training, any mage or cleric can create a magic balloon. The cleric or mage must know and be able to cast the spell in order to make a spell balloon.

It takes Spell Level x 2D6 Days to create a spell balloon and costs 50 gp (OSR) / sp (LotFP) per day.

To create a spell balloon the base chance is 75% minus 1% per level of the spell, BUT plus 1% for each level the spell caster possesses. While it is up to the GM as to the cost of creating a spell balloon, here is a general rule of thumb. spell × the creator's caster level × 60 gp. 

Pits and Perils
At 9th level a Wizard may create a magic balloon. The wizard must know and be able to cast the spell in order to make a spell balloon out of it.

Materials: 60 gp
Time Taken: 1 Week

Into the Odd
Given the right knowledge and materials, an Explorer can create magic balloons. How the Explorer gains the knowledge is up to the GM, but here are some possible balloons an Explorer can learn to create:

Fire Ray: 1D10 damage and ignores armor.
Cold Breath: Target takes 1D6 Damage and is frozen in place until they pass a Str save.
Protective Aura: Grants 3 armor for an hour.
Webby Balloon: Strands spread between two surfaces up to 20ft apart. Those within only move very slowly unless they pass a dex save lasts for 10 minutes.
Clarifying Pop: Everyone hearing the pop of the balloon can perfectly understand one another, despite language barriers. This effect lasts for an hour.
Frightening Pop: Target must make a Will save or lose D6 Will.

It costs 25 Shillings to create a balloon.

Weird Mathematics
I named this one 'Mr. Oswald Webworth'. Art Mostly By: Me
Roughly the size of a large dog, a brown furred arachnid, standing perfectly still while clutching the string to a red balloon in its right pedipalp (small front leg near the mouth). Atop its head, at a jaunty angle, is a red-banded bowler hat, over its largest right eye a monocle. A reedy voice asks, “What are you doing?”

OSR / LotFP / AD&D
Type: Magical Animal
Activity Cycle: Any
Diet: Stories, Vegetables, and Meat.
Intelligence: Very High (Int: 17+)
Treasure: Hat of Protection +2, Magic Balloon w/ Random Spell, and Eyewear of Comprehend Written Languages.
Alignment: Neutral (Though generally affable the majority of the time.)
No. Appearing: 1 OR 2 to 4 (1D3+1) A group is called a 'Knitting'
Armor Class: 18 / 2
Movement: 40 ft (Can climb any surface)
Hit Dice: 5
THAC0/To-Hit: 13 / +7
No. of Attacks: 1
Damage: 1D6+2 (Bite) plus Poison (The poison causes 1D8 points of temporary Strength damage as well as 2D4 points of normal damage.)
All Saves: 12
Spell Resistance: 15%
Experience: 3,500
Special Abilities / Attacks -
Jumping: They can jump 80 feet forward or 40 feet vertically.
They are skilled mages, the average Literary Spider is a Level 3 Wizards.
Memorized Spells:
1st - Shield, Magic Missile, and Sleep
2ndForget Invisibility
Construct Web: They can construct sticky traps horizontally or vertically so as to entrap any creature which touches the web. Some will lurk above a path in order to drop upon prey. The web is as tough and clinging as a web spell. Any creature with 18 or greater strength con break free in 1 melee round, a 17 strength requires 2 melee rounds, etc. Webs are quite flammable

DnD 3.PF
CR 4
XP 1,200
N Magical Animal
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 60 ft.; Perception +4

AC 18, touch 13, flat-footed 11 (+4 Dex, +1 natural, +2 Deflection, +4 Mage Armor)
HP 36 (3d8+3d6+12)
Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +4

Speed 30 ft., Climb 30 ft.
Melee: Bite +3 (1d6 plus poison)
Special Attack: Web (+7 ranged, DC 12, hp 2)

Str 11, Dex 19, Con 12, Int 18, Wis 10, Cha 13
Base Atk +3; CMB +3; CMD 16 (27 vs. trip)

Climb +19, Perception +7 (+11 in webs), Stealth +10 (+14 in webs), ; Racial Modifiers +4 Perception, +4 Stealth (+8 in webs), +16 Climb
Appraise +10, Craft (Book) +10, Knowledge Arcana +10, Knowledge History +10, Knowledge Religion +10, Linguistics +8, Spellcraft +9.
Languages: Common, plus any 5 the DM sees useful.

Toughness and Craft Balloon

Environment: Any (Usually Libraries)
Organization: Solitary, Pair, or Knitting (2 - 4)
Treasure: Hat of Protection +2 and Eyewear of Comprehend Written Languages

Special Abilities
Poison (Ex) Bite—injury; save Fort DC 14; frequency 1/round for 4 rounds; effect 1d2 Strength damage; cure 1 save.

Spells – Wizard Level 3
Level 0: Acid Splash, Read Magic, Detect Magic, Message
Level 1: Magic Missile, Mage Armor, Color Spray
Level 2: Summon Swarm, Scorching Ray

An earlier version of 'Mr. Oswald Webworth'. Art Mostly By: Me

Pits and Perils
Attacks: 1
Level: 5
Move: 50'
Size: M
Side: N
Number: 1, 2 to 4 (1D3+1 'Knitting')
Treasure: Hat of Protection (Acts as Leather +2) and Eyewear of Comprehend Written Languges
Special Abilities:
Poison: Must save at -1, failure results in paralysis for 1 turn.
Climb: It can climb any surface.
Webs: Can spin webs that can hold a Medium sized creature for 1D6 rounds.

Spell Casting
Level 3 Wizard
SP: 4
Spells Known: 6
Spells: Bolt, Null, Rout (P&P II), Bane (P&P II), Ring (P&P III), and Void (P&P III)

Into the Odd
Str: 12 Dex: 16 Will: 17 HP: 9 Armor: 2 (Hat of Protection)
Driven to acquire and protect rare books...

Spit Web: Requires a Str Save at (-1) or become stuck for 1D6 rounds.
Bite: 1D6 Damage plus Poison.
Poison: Strength save or lose 1D8 Strength.

Arcane Mastery – Can cast 1 spell a round.
Fire Ray: 1D8 damage and ignores armor.
Cold Breath: Target takes 1D4 Damage and is frozen in place until they pass a Str save.
Protective Aura: Grants 3 armor for an hour.

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