Saturday, December 13, 2014

Purple Spiders

"The scrubby brush was almost like a grove of small trees, for it reached as high as the heads of the two girls, neither of whom was very tall. They were obliged to thread their way in and out, until Dorothy was afraid they would get lost, and finally they were halted by a curious thing that barred their further progress. It was a huge web—as if woven by gigantic spiders—and the delicate, lacy film was fastened stoutly to the branches of the bushes and continued to the right and left in the form of a half circle. The threads of this web were of a brilliant purple color and woven into numerous artistic patterns, but it reached from the ground to branches above the heads of the girls and formed a sort of fence that hedged them in..."
Glinda of Oz
by L. Frank Baum

Purple Spiders (Enormous)
No. Enc.: 1d4 (2d6)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 5 [14] (as Chain-Mail)
Hit Dice: 4+
Attacks: 2 (claws) or 1 (bite)
Damage: 1d4 (claw), 2d4+poison (Bite: Save or Sleep for 1d4 Turns per HD of spider)
Save: T4 or MU4 (see below)
Morale: 9 [+3 bonus if led by King / -6 penalty if confronted by White Crabs]

Special: These spiders are intelligent and may advance as either thieves or Magic-Users. They all have the ability to cast Charm once per day.

No one knows for certain when these massive tyrannical arachnids first made their way from the Purple Forest into the woods and copses surrounding Wermspittle. Highly intelligent and eminently social creatures, these spiders possess unusually big heads, wicked sharp claws, small yellow-glowing eyes and fuzzy hair all over their massive purple bodies. They typically communicate by means of a peculiar whistling--speech, but a few have taken the time to learn other languages from their slaves.

They prey upon the unwary and imprudent by weaving partially incomplete domes or sacs of vivid purple webs strung between trees, working together as a group to quickly and quietly finish the web-trap behind those who have crossed the threshold, cutting off any chance of escape. The vivid purple silk of these spiders glows slightly in the dark and is incredibly tough, requiring +1 weapons or better to cut through it. Lumberjacks working the deeper, darker parts of the Purple Forest have been harvesting the webs from old traps and defunct enclave-nests in the hopes that someone can eventually figure out how to use the stuff to make durable fabric or something equally useful.

All those captured by the spiders are thoroughly inspected and either delegated to serve as cattle or relegated to particular work-groups according to their obvious characteristics or qualities. Any captive willing to teach the spiders new languages or fresh spells will receive preferential treatment over those who can only serve as dumb-labor. The spiders will bite their slaves daily to keep them pliable and weakened and hence more manageable. Some of the spiders' slaves have been in their service for centuries--regular doses of their venom apparently can prolong the victim's physical longevity, but often at the cost of their minds. The venom of the Purple Spiders is also very valuable to various distillers as it lends itself to the formulation of a potent violet liqueur much sought after by Oneirists and other dreamers.

Those prisoners deemed unsuitable for whatever reason are massively envenomated, wrapped in webs and dragged through the Purple Forest to a place of gnarled old standing stones on the edge of a bleak and deadly desert region prowled by nightmares, phantasms and vicious figments. Few ever wake up; those that do are rarely seen again.

Purple Spiders greatly fear White Crabs since the crabs are one of the few creatures that can slash through their webs with their pincers.

It is unknown just what, if any, connection these spiders might have to the Purple Clouds...

Purple Spider King
No. Enc.: 1
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 5 [14] (as Chain-Mail)
Hit Dice: 9
Attacks: 2 (claws) or 1 (bite)
Damage: 1d6 (claw), 1d8+poison (Bite: Save or Sleep for 10d4 Turns)
Save: MU9

Special: Can cast Charm once per day in addition to the normal spell-casting abilities of a 9th level Magic-User (Spells per day: 3,3,3,2,1.)

Suggested Spells First Level: Comprehend Languages, Detect Magic, Magic Missile. Second Level: Amnesia, Mirror Image, Ray of Enfeeblement. Third Level: Feign Death, Hold Person, Protection From Normal Missiles. Fourth Level: Arcane Eye, Charm Monster. Fifth Level: Feeblemind.

Bloated and corpulent, the King of the Purple Spiders maintains a harem-kraal where he imprisons dozens of female spiders, both purple and other types. Any females that show signs of becoming any sort of a threat to the King are summarily executed. He greatly fears a return to the Old Ways that would put a Queen on the throne...a Queen who would almost certainly kill Her male consort in the midst of their mating...a prospect that gives the aging King nightmares that He suspects may be something more...

Source: Glinda of Oz by L. Frank Baum, with a wee whiff of the infamous spiders of Tolkein's Mirkwood and those notorious nasty-brutes that dwell in the cold wastes of a host of Dreamlands beyond the plateau of Leng...


  1. Another nasty one and an inspiration that caught me out, but only because I didn't see it - the tones of Oz and Wermspittle actually complement each other very well.

    1. Sorry I missed this comment previously. Thanks for the kind words--Mr. Baum's Oz is very close to the heart and soul of Wermspittle...and it is a connection/connectivity that flows naturally and fruitfully through some clear channels that might not be quite as obvious at first glance, but are definitely there. I'll provide a bit more detail on this sort of thing as I roll out the reading list/appendix stuff.


Thanks for your comment. We value your feedback and appreciate your support of our efforts.