Silk Hunters Organization in Aran'sha | World Anvil

Silk Hunters

We wander into darkness, into danger. Not to fight, not to face our fears, but to bring forth beauty.


  A t the edge of the desert, red mountains have stood watch for eons as silent sentinels. Hidden within their vast shadows, far into ravines carved by time and wind, lies the entrance to a deep cave system. Within this underworld, giant spiders have spun their webs, crafting labyrinths of silken threads that shimmer like liquid silver whenever a stray beam of light dares to penetrate the darkness.   To this day, armed villagers, marked by the scars of past expeditions, make the perilous journey through the rugged mountains to harvest these strands. Many who venture forth to the caves do not return, claimed by the unforgiving wilderness or ensnared as prey for the spiders, never to be seen again.   Once at the cave’s mouth, they descend into the abyss, carrying baskets crafted from river reeds, carefully woven to hold the precious silk. As they navigate the caverns, the sound of their labored breaths echoes in their ears, drowning out the silence that blankets these ancient caves. Their hearts race, each beat a drum of war against their chests, as they inch closer to the nests. They move silently, their presence announced only by the crunch of gravel underfoot and the occasional metallic clink of their tools against the rocks.   The air is thick with the musk of sweat and the tang of fear while some of them stare into the velvet abyss, always on the lookout for the slightest movement. Others ever so gently harvest the silken nets, their hands sheathed in gloves crafted from leather and secret compounds. Always afraid of a wrong move—for disturbing the wrong strand might awaken the brood of nightmares and spell doom for all.   After the harvest, they begin the perilious journey back - first up to the surface, then all the way back to the village. There, the webs are carefully cleaned, washed in clear river water and meticiously spun into balls of silk. This silk is then used by weavers all over the kingdom to create the most exquisite of clothings.  

Goals and Purpose

A dangerous profession, the silk hunters are the one and only source of silk for the sultanat. Primarily villagers by origin, these are not classically organized into a formal guild. There are no official memberships or collective objectives. Instead, they rely on a communal approach, sharing knowledge and techniques among themselves. Recruitment is largely informal, drawing from the pool of bold and adventurous youths within the village.   Their first and foremost goal resolves around harvesting and cleaning silk, a trade that provides the moneyy means to sustain their families. This practice has become the villager’s lifeline that enables the purchase of essential goods not locally available.   Within these hunter collectives, familial ties are strong; many groups consist of actual family members, while others bond closely, akin to a family unit. However, this critical economic dependency on silk trade also places the villagers in a vulnerable position. Tensions have arisen with city merchants who, driven by profit, seek to depress silk prices or gauge prices, threatening the village’s autonomy and livelihood.    

Members and Titles

  Teams of silk hunters consists of 5 to 10 members, usually with one navigator and an even split for the other roles. Since all members are recruited from the same villages they tend to have close-knit bonds and the more experienced members hand their knowledge down to the younger generation - often from father to daughter or son.  

Trained to plug strands of webs with the absolute minimum of momentum, these experts can harvest whole nets in minutes, But as skilled as they are, the slightest error can spell doom for a whole group. The harvesters are equipped with gloves coated in a secret alchemical mixture provided by the alchemists guild that repels the sticky silk, allowing them to gather the webs without hindrance.

These brave souls guard the harvesters while they work, eyes staring out in the darkness for the slightest movement. They are a small but formidable force, the last line of defense against the swarm. Clad in layers of hardened leather, they wield long polearms and spears, their sharp tips gleaming in the dim light, ready to fend off any threat.

Learned cartographs, these intrepid adventurers have memorized the twisted cave passages and guide expeditions into the depths. They are fervently protected by their companions, for without them the way back to the surface might be lost.

Daily Attire


Clad in layers of hardened leather, the Watchers move like shadows through the caverns. Their attire, worn and patched, bears the scars of countless encounters with spiders and rockfalls. Armed with spears, the long shafts allow them to maintain distance from the spiders, while the sharp tips gleam in the dim light- a silent warning to any arachnid that dares approach.
It takes a brave man to enter these caves. It takes an even braver man to do it again, knowing what terrors await.
Sadir Al'Quadar, "An explorers journal"
Their backpacks carry essential supplies: dried rations, a water flask, and if luck favors them, a vial of antivenom—a precious commodity against the paralysing venom. Torches and small lamps, held in callous hands, illuminate their path, casting flickering shadows on the cave walls.   Harvesters and Navigators
The harvesters and navigators tend to travel light. Their attire consists of simple tunics, faded and threadbare. Practicality
outweighs aesthetics; they need freedom of movement to gather the silk. Every harvester dons leather gloves, hardened with beeswax to protects their hands, for the tincture that rendersthe gloves non-sticky reacts poorly with human skin. These gloves are precious heirlooms, often in use for generations, allowing them to handle the webs strands without fear of entangling. Baskets woven from river reeds hang from everyone's shoulders, waiting to be filled with silken strands.
Cartographers tend to add parchment scrolls, quills and lodestones to their equipment to map the labyrinthine tunnels, to etch the twists and keep the maps up to date.

Every hunter also wears some kind of edged weaponcapable of cutting trough nets with some effort - the usual choice is a curved dagger or a short sword.


Artifacts and Keepsakes, places of power

  Amir's Hunting Dagger   Made from the fang of a gigantic spider with a hilt made of camel bone, this knife still drips with potent venom and can cut trough any web with ease.   The Cradle of Silk   A small, but permanent encampment only a few miles away from the cave's entrance, it is a temporary home and sanctuary for many delvers before descending into the depths.   Festival of Threads
  The most successful harvests are celebrated during the annual Festival of Threads, where stories of bravery and loss are told and woven into song and dance. It's a time of rememberance and joy where both villages join together.  

Noteworthy members

Amir Al'Farid - A grizzled expedition leader and a living legend among the hunters, this old one-armed warriors fighting days are done. He lives out his days in the Cradle providing advice and training to new and old members alike.

Karys Al'shar - A softspoken, old women with a gentle hand, she is the only healer available in the cradle - she's seen many of the hunters venture out and hopes to just save a few more lives.

Mishar Ka'ryn - An unremarkable man, Mishar's eye seem to shift constantly - behind the nervous appearance, which is very much a facade, hides a mind of steel. He is one of the most experienced navigators there is, a true master of the tunnels.
Year 356 after Eclipse- A royal find
A royal expedition, looking for a new mountain pass, stumbles upon the ravine. The party is ambushed by spiders, but the survivors bring back tales of caves full of silken webs.
Year 361 a. E - Into the depths
Rashid Al'Qadir leads the first expedition into the depths from Al'Hikma. They return with a modest haul of silk, but two of the villagers are claimed by the brood, never to be seen again.
Year 381 a. E - Amir's last stand
Amir Al'Farid and his companions face a colossal spider within the depths. They engage in a fierce battle, and after losing his entire group and an arm Amir emerges victorious in the end.
Year 403 a. E - An alchemist's solution
The Alchemists Guild of Al'Nahar provides a concotion that makes gloves not stick to the webs
Year 429 a. E - The day of tears
Diram Al'sikar leads twenty men into the depths - none of them are seen again.
Year 488 a. E - The collapse
A cave-in collapses the entrance to the caverns, leading to a silk shortage and a frantic search for another entrance.
Year 175 a. E - A new hope
A new entrance into the cave system is found when a sinkhole opens suddenly and claims two seekers.
Year 183 a. E - The Night of Fangs and Sorrow
The base camp is ambushed by giant spiders that ventured out of the cave system. The villagers are taken by surprise and beat them back at great cost of life.
Year 196 a. E - Treasure from the deeps
A large amount of silk is reaped from the caverns, leading too much celebration
Year 218 a. E - An eye for an eye
During a dispute over silk prices, an offended silk merchant stabs a watcher. The merchant is forced to take his place in the next expedition. Not a single soul returns.
Year 235 a. E - The great map
The great map is completed - an extensive map with descriptions of the cave system that (while not complete) helps navigating the depths. Memorizing becomes a requirement to become a navigator.
Year 248 a. E - Falling Skies
A great sandstorm almost buries Al'Hikma - rebuilding wipes out much of the prosperity the town once had
Year 249 a. E - A home away from home
The Cradle of silk is fortified with a wooden palisade and becomes a small, but permanent encampment for the silk hunters.


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