Riftcrawler Species in Flightless | World Anvil


The reason nobody crosses the Shiver Mountains, and the reason Hosquerre had to build their wall. These enormous, insectoid carnivores inhabit burrows throughout the rift and will prey on anything with warm blood. They will target humans as readily as an auroch.   They are used in the arenas of Hosquerre as gladiatorial opponents. Sending someone to face one unarmed is used as an execution method. Before being worthy of taking the throne, a Hosque princess must defeat one in combat.   The venom from the stingers can be used to create a vividly blue dye. This colour, Fisé Blue, is emblematic of Hosquerre.

Basic Information


Riftcrawlers have a lot in common with arachnids, though they don't exactly fit the criteria. They have have a large head with a pointed carapace, most of which is taken up by the enormous jaws. The riftcrawler's mouth is relatively small and lined with a ring of small teeth, and it's surrounded by 4 large fangs that interlock when closed and open horizontally. Three smaller fangs point upward from the bottom of the mouth. The mouth is heavily muscled; the fangs are capable of crushing bone if they snap closed. Below the mouth are a pair of pedipalps.   The main body of a gluemaker is bulbous, with a pronounced hunch. Its back carapace is segmented to aid movement and is covered in three rows of spines, each about a metre long. The underside of the gluemaker is soft and unprotected.   Gluemakers have six legs. The front two have an extra claw to serve as a pincer. Each leg ends in a large, blunt claw. The legs are covered in tiny hairs not visibly unless you get close.   At the back is the tail, which consists of 6 armoured segments and a stinger, very much like a scorpion's tail.

Genetics and Reproduction

Riftcrawlers are solitary and only come together to mate. The male digs a small nest and then catches and stings an animal. Rather than eating it, he drags the still-living creature to the nest and secures it to the walls with his glue. Then he sits on the edge of the nest and drums on the ground to attract a female.   When a female arrives, the male continues drumming the ground and the female joins in. This courtship ritual signals they are both ready to mate and do not intent to attack the other. The female approaches the male's nest and lays her eggs next to the prey caught inside. The male then fertilizes the eggs after they've been laid. The female uses her glue to create a lid over the nest and the parents go their separate ways.   In about a week, the eggs hatch into 10-12 baby riftcrawlers. The babies slowly eat the paralyzed animal that was left with them. When they first hatch, they are not strong enough to break through the lid on top of the nest. As they grow, they will eventually be able to break through it. When this happens, they are strong enough to survive in the world and crawl away.   Usually, only about half of the babies that hatch make it to this stage, because as they grow, the competition for the dwindling food supply leads them to fight and kill their siblings, or else hog the food from the weaker ones and allow them to starve.

Ecology and Habitats

They live only the dry, volcanic rift cutting through the Shiver Mountains. They require dry ground to dig their nests in and cannot survive at higher elevations due to the thinner air. Areas with gluemakers are frequently strewn with what appears to be melted, twisty rocks but are actually the solidified remains of their glue traps long after the victim has been consumed. They do not like rain, as it floods their nests.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Riftcrawlers have very small mouths and are incapable of eating solid food. To hunt, they lurk in the mouths of their nests, which are hidden under a lid of solidified glue and disguised with dirt and leaves. The nests are dug into the sides of hills.   When they hear or smell a large animal outside, they burst out with a spray of their sticky, glue-like saliva. The glue quickly thickens and clings to the animal, gluing it to the ground.   The riftcrawler then scuttles out of its hole, positions its body over the trapped animal, and stings it with its tail. The venom causes paralysis, though in smaller animals it is enough to stop the heart very quickly.   It drags the paralyzed prey back into its nest and uses more glue to attach it to the wall. Then it bits it with its outer fangs, injecting it with its digestive fluid. With the fangs still securing its mouth to the prey, it latches on with its inner mouth and begins to suck the blood and dissolving meat.   It repeats this as many times as needed until all that is left of the prey is the bones. It pushes the bones to the back of the nest and covers them with glue to mask their smell. When the nest fills with bones, it leaves and finds a new location to build a new nest.

Additional Information

Geographic Origin and Distribution

The live only in the rift of the Shiver Mountains

Average Intelligence

Not intelligent. They hunt by instinct and have no higher brain powers.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Riftcrawlers have no eyes and are blind. The spines on their back sense vibrations, allowing them to hear, and the hairs on their legs allow them to smell. Their sense of smell is acute; they can smell blood up to a half mile away.
50 - 75 years
Average Height
15 feet
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Black to dark brown