If I ever eat another one of these, it'll be the end of me.Snow Spiders are small furry arachnids, native to the cold parts of the Surface and the Outer Shell. With a coat of warm fuzz, the spiders have managed to make a home for themselves across regions like Phrojhana and Hela , able to survive even the harsh seasons of dark within their insulated nests. Communal, docile, and relatively harmless, they are common both in the wild and among spider-ranchers, valued for the useful fluff and blubbery meat.
Like fluffy balls of snow that bite.Snow Spiders are small, fur-covered arachnids, with eight legs with paddle-like feet and two long flexible arms. Unlike many spiders, their body is not segmented, but a single roughly spherical blob of meat and fur. Their fur is colored stark white and puffy, allowing them to blend into snow and frost. It is soft and dense, covering pale grey flesh of the Snow Spider like a coat.
Snow Spiders have a wide maw with blunt teeth used for mulching food. A secondary set of mandibles hold the spider's venom, delivered through sharp needles that extend when the mandibles bite. The venom of a Snow Spider is very mild, suited only to immobilize small prey. To other creatures, the venom causes only numbness and discomfort, though swarms of Snow Spiders have been known to bring down humans through a thousand poisonous bites.
If we were half as organized as them, we'd be much better off.Snow Spiders are relatively docile creatures, preying on small insects or feeding off fungi, moss, and lichen. They're more likely to flee than bite if disturbed unless cornered. Only if their hives are attacked do Snow Spiders become aggressive, swarming over their attackers until they are dead or have fled.
Communal creatures, the Snow Spider live together in nests made from webbing. These hives can hold up to several hundred spiders, with large hives growing to the size of boulders. Snow Spiders will weave bits of flora into their nests and encourage them to take root. Small patches of moss or fungi often dot the exterior of a nest, while more elaborate gardens are grown deep within.
In the Outer Shell, the Snow Spider hives often become covered in fungi and mushrooms, replacing the camouflage offered by snow on the Surface.In the wild, Snow Spiders hunt by ambushing prey. They hide in snowdrifts and pounce to bite, before dragging their victim back to the nest. When they aren't hunting, Snow Spiders forage moss or lichen, or work to maintain or expand the nest.
Short and to the point, like life should be.Snow Spiders have little ceremony when it comes to mating, gathering deep within the hive to pair off without consideration for rank or order. Eggs are deposited in the same chamber, tended to by the entire nest as a whole. Newborn spider hatchlings are tiny and furless, unable to survive outside the nest, relying on regurgitated food from the rest of the hive.
Hatchlings grow fast, reaching adulthood within a few weeks, and stop growing after a few months. As they age, Snow Spiders begin to spend more time within the hive, and their fur begins to lose its luster. At most, Snow Spider live up to two years. Those raised in a ranch sometimes live longer, unless they are harvested for food.
The walls and the floor were crawling, like it was alive. Every inch of it, covered in spiders.Snow Spiders are ranched in settlements on the Surface or in the Outer Shell. They are raised for their fur, harvested to make threads of fabric for a wide range of textiles, and for their meat. Their communal nature makes them easy to raise in great numbers, and their poison is mild enough so that fatalities are relatively uncommon.
The taste of a Snow Spider is characterized as pleasantly chewy.
Shearing the spiders is a laborious and unpleasant task, one where most workers receive the greatest share of bites. Many ranchers chose to kill entire hives by suffocating them with either smoke or smothering than try shaving a squirming mass of spiders. Once harvested, the spider's coat is spun into threads and from there made into thick, warm cloth, though it rarely maintains its white sheen for very long. Most dye the cloth to better hide filth, and it is a sign of considerable wealth to be able to wear a pure white outfit.
Ranchers often compete to see who can breed the largest individual snow spider. Such prized pets can become the centerpiece of a ranchers' entire operation, acting more as mascots than livestock.
The Surface The Snow Spiders are native to the Surface, a blasted wasteland of continent-spanning storms and blistering Blight. They share their home with strange and terrible beasts beneath the bleak sunlight and malignant stars. On the Surface, humanity are but unwanted visitors. Read More About The Surface
Spiderbite SpiritsSnow Spider venom is sometimes used to create powerful spirits, mixing them together with fermenting fungi in a closed casket. Brewers must take care to add the right amount of poison to the alcohol, or the whole batch is spoiled. Not enough, and the drink lacks the pleasant numbness of proper Spiderbite spirits, while too much can cause a drinker's throat to seize up.
The venom is also used by some Medikari as a painkiller, usually administered by live spiders.
Spider SocietyAlong with their gardens, Snow Spiders maintain tiny colonies of grubs, maggots, and other bugs, imprisoned within their nest for a later meal. Some ranchers swear that the spiders sometimes try to communicate with them - and fear that they are smarter than they appear. Fanciful accounts told over drink speak of Snow Spiders working together to utilize small tools left behind. Others claim to have seen the inside of their nests and been reminded of their own city-states.
Spider SilkWorking the coat of Snow Spiders into threads then into cloth is a time-consuming and delicate operation, not to mention tedious. Most weavers twine the silk with threads of fungi or mushroom leather or use the silk for the more decorative elements, both to reduce the labor required and stretch their supply of silk. The silk is expensive but relatively available in the Outer Shell, where most of the Snow Spiders are raised. In the Inner Shell, it is a luxury available only to the wealthy and powerful.
Spider StewSnow Spiders are raised not only for their silk, but also as food. In the Outer Shell where the spider is common, they are a popular ingredient for a Chnagahn pot.
NestballA clump of spiders are mashed together into a meaty paste, then kneaded into balls together with bits of fungi, mushroom. These are either hollowed and filled with mushroom or meat, then fried, or simply boiled and eaten whole.
Hatchling CrunchSnow Spider hatchlings are tossed into a cauldron of oil and flash-fried, then seasoned with powder of fungi or salt. Typically eaten as a snack, especially during Saen-Kaw matches in the Outer Shell.
Some farmhands make a game out of seeing who can eat a Snow Spider, live and moving.