|Official Name||Giant Spider|
|Common Nicknames||Fender Spider, Nightmarach|
|Habitat||Fendarfelle and Drowda|
The Giant Spider has terrified many people for decades and was originally widespread across the north and west of Aloria until the Cataclysm, which isolated them to only two continents. They are certainly not an ideal creature to encounter for arachnophobes, well-known for their venom and varied dens, living in web-dense trees, tunnels beneath the earth, and mountain cave systems. They are also the feature of many horror stories among the colonists of Fendarfelle and the Sihndar of Drowda, but with the rise of Bone Horrors, many Giant Spider populations close to the coastline have seen a drastic reduction as they suffer at the hands of these undead beasts.
Giant Spiders are attested to frequently as the bane of life in records of the Allorn Empire. It is unknown how or when they spread out from Fendarfelle to other regions, but for millennia, they plagued Westwynd and Altaleï’s jungles and marshes in particular, their great nests elevated in the treetops out of reach or discovery by those who were unfamiliar with what to look for. They were also known to the Drovv, who supposedly had the power to tame them, but if this learned skill ever existed, it has not survived into the modern day. Surprisingly, it was the decay of the Allorn Empire which spelled the end for the Giant Spider outside of their homeland as with more and more jungles being chopped down to feed the needs of the nation, the Giant Spiders lost their habitats. Some attempted to dwell in ruins, commonly those of the Meraic, or neglected Elven sites, but these groups rarely lasted long. By 500 BC, they were eradicated in these places, and only remained to exist in northern lands which included Drowda, or in Fendarfelle.
The Fifth Void Invasion signaled another change for the large arachnids. Those of their number in Drowda were mutated into a more compact but lethal variant and marched with the Void south. However, when the Cataclysm tore apart the world, thousands of them died as northern lands became drastically altered, if not outright disappeared, leaving only those on Fendarfelle and Drowda to survive. Over the coming two centuries, they did. Later, the Giant Spider was one of the more horrific discoveries by the Ithanians who now called Fendarfelle home. However, the Giant Spider has been forced to contend with a new foe on the jungle continent in recent years: the Bone Horrors. Risen during the Bone Horror Crisis, these amalgamations devastated the Giant Spider’s numbers as the arachnid’s main weapon, a paralyzing venom, did nothing to the creatures. Most have since learned to avoid Bone Horrors, using their greater maneuverability to their advantage, but their damage and continued assaults will likely keep the Spiders from generating the sprawling, nightmarish dens they once did. Meanwhile, such terrors remain for the Sihndar, the lands of Lirranna overrun with the creatures, some capable of reaching enormous sizes.
The Giant Spider resembles a mega-sized tarantula, reaching a body length of three to five feet, with their limbs adding to their apparent size, and heavily varying in weights due to different factors. Giant Spider heads feature a set of six large bright-green eyes, four being located on the front of the face and two are located laterally on both sides of the head. This head is also home to their mouths, which feature a pair of prominent black fangs that allow them to dispense their paralyzing venom. The head is directly attached to the cephalothorax, the central part of the body which features the connection points for the four pairs of legs, each of which are striped. Lastly, there is the abdomen, thick and bulbous, and responsible for holding silk glands and spinnerets. Giant Spiders are naturally shades of brown, with the striping on their legs featuring a shift between two tones of brown, while the rest of their bodies are covered in small, thin hairs.
Giant Spiders have a stark gender dimorphism, males of the species always being smaller than females. Males are also more aggressive and move to quickly spray their webbing or rush a foe to spear them with venom when confronted. There is also a ratio of birth that favors males, which is generally three for every one female.
- Drow Giant Spider: While highly divergent from an external point of view, the Drow Giant Spider (or Drovv Giant Spider as they are sometimes also called) is simply a Void-based corrupted sub-species of the Giant Spider. Their bodies are a deep, gleaming blue, with a dark turquoise stripping on their legs, which are also narrower, and with harsher curves in the body segments. They are commonly in the smaller range of the Giant Spider sizes, but can mutate into massive creatures as tall as ten feet. They have a great fondness for underground tunnels and mountain caves rather than the open-air constructs usually employed by Fendarfelle Giant Spiders. They have not just paralyzing venom, but also acid venom, spat out rather than injected. They are almost exclusively found in Lirranna's territory, but some have been known to nest in other adjoining areas.
Life Span and Development
Giant Spiders are laid in egg sacs formed of webbing around anywhere from ten to twenty individual eggs, which are themselves pale orange. They are then left to develop, and hatch alone in and around Giant Spider nests, and upon hatching, they will compete with one another for survival and for consumption of nearby prey. During this process, up to half the egg sac brood will die, and this process of internal competition lasts over two to three months, the timespan it takes for the adolescents to mature into adults. While emerging almost identical to adults, except much smaller, Giant Spider adolescents are known for possessing minor, tertiary rings of pale brown along their legs which eventually fade with age. Adults will also shun adolescents, if not outright attack them, if they approach a nest before they are old enough. Males are capable of living around 100 years, though often rarely reach such heights, while females have been known to reach 200, though similarly will rarely reach such ages.
Giant Spiders are commonly in possession of the same mental ability as other species of arachnid, though with a few alterations. Their hunting methods are varied based on their prey, with some groups having learned to “fish” local streams or rivers by understanding where to shoot their water-resistant webbing into the water to grab the most fish. Others rely on more conventional means, with an expanse of webbing laid out across an area, before reacting to their webs being broken, trodden on, or a victim getting stuck. The majority of Giant Spiders eat other animals, never hunting the Races of Aloria, but those groups closest to the Fendarfelle coastline have been known to hunt Asha slaves in the fields, or attack groups traveling without much defense or torchlight at night. There are then the Giant Spiders of Drowda, who are actively antagonistic toward the Sihndar and do commonly eat them. Beyond these traits, Giant Spiders are an enigma. There are some claims that females are more intelligent than males, and elders of the species, those who have lived for decades, are often noted for these traits as well, but there is nothing to confirm these rumors. What is known is that they hate fire and heat, as well as thunderstorms, weaknesses often exploited by others.
Territory and Groupings
Giant Spiders live in nests of anywhere from 100 to 300 individuals and have a range of nesting options. While most exist in the treetops, their webbing forming great networks of travel and blotting out the sun on the ground, others form their nests in tunnels or cave systems under the ground. They are a very territorial species, especially to those they find within their nests.
- Giant Spider venom is prized for its wide variety of uses but is incredibly hard to come by for obvious reasons.
- There are tales passed around the settlements of Fendarfelle about a hyper-intelligent female Giant Spider who lives in the deepest part of the Fendarfelle jungles, nicknamed “Reine de la Forêt.” She is said to patrol a large section of the Fendarfelle forest that is purely dead trees bound together by dense webs. Another version says that she can speak and possesses magical powers.
- Dryder Bone Horrors (spider corpses with the top half of a Human or other beast) are one of the most common types in Fendarfelle due to the copious corpses of Giant Spiders risen during the initial, and later stages, of the Bone Horror Crisis.