Psychic Spiders Species in Scarterra | World Anvil

Psychic Spiders

Psychic spiders are an exotic supernatural spider of unknown origin.   Psychic vampires only display their psychic powers when it is time to mate. This is normally the only time they will seek out fully sapient prey.   Females must feed on the psychic energy of intelligent prey such as humans in order to be able to lay a clutch of viable eggs. Males will try to arrange things to make it easier for a female to hunt.   Males have a venom that will induce unconsciousness in humanoid targets and females have a venom that will drain mental attributes.   Both males and females can spin webs capable of trapping small prey outright or greatly slowing down a strong human adventurer but males have a special secondary form of webs known as webs of madness.  

Webs of Madness

Webs of madness by Me using nightcafe
Webs of madness looks like normal gauzy cobwebs that ordinary small spiders might weave but anyone who exposed needs to hope their will is strong or the webs of madness will slowly and gradually bring out their deepest fears and insecurities. This effect is slow and subtle enough that many afflicted do not realize they are afflicted. Scarnoctis is a gloomy place so one could realitically stew on dark thoughts here, and it often taking several hours to fully manifest the effects.   Beyond making them fearful, paranoid, and/or short tempered the webs of madness also cause the victim to release pheromones that attract psychic spiders from a great distance, so psychic spiders can always tell who is afflicted and who is not.
  A female psychic spider can drain psychic energy from any intelligent target, but those exposed to webs of madness have much weaker resistance to this. This is why males weave webs of madness, to attract mates.   Ratio wise, a pack of psychic spiders will usually have a 3:2 ration of males to females. Males will try to wound or slow down targets afflicted by the webs of madness without killing them in order to let the females get the psychic energy they crave. Males will generally try to kill any target that fights back that is not afflicted with webs of madness.   Both males and females will fight bravely, but they are not suicidal and will withdraw if clearly outmatched. Once a female has a taste of psychic energy but not quite enough, they will fight that much harder. Males will prioritize the safety of females over themselves, taking great risks but not outright sacrificing themselves.   Female psychic spiders do not have to kill their prey with mental damage in order to get the psychic energy they require to lay eggs. Once a female has enough psychic energy to lay a clutch of eggs, the female will withdraw from combat.   Once all the females are slain or have withdrawn, the males will follow suit. Most males and females alike will flee if they themselves are severely wounded.

Basic Information

Biological Traits

Fully grown, psychic spiders are roughly the size of Saint Bernard dogs. Females are much stronger and hardier than males weighing around 200 pounds on average than males and males are much faster who weigh around 130 pounds on average.

Genetics and Reproduction

Once full of enough psychic energy to lay viable eggs, a female will mate with any males nearby and then gestate the eggs awhile until it is time to lay the eggs in which case the female will enter the Astral Plane and weave her eggs sack there, then the female dies.   Eventually the spiderlings hatch and eat the body of their dead mother and then temporarily suffused with psychic energy make their way out of the astral plane back into the material plane, often arriving in a place in the material plane very far from where their parents once lived allowing psychic spiders to spread.

Growth Rate & Stages

Spiderlings grow up as normal spiders hunting insects and small birds and mammals and occasionally eating other spiders (but not other psychic spiders).   Males typically reach their full adult size within four years and females typically reach their full adult size within five years though in both cases this can be slowed down to six and eight years respectively if food is scarce.   Full adult size also means sexual maturity, females will typically try to lay thier clutch of eggs within a year or two of this.

Ecology and Habitats

Psychic spiders can survive almost anywhere in theory, but most mortals are not happy to have giant spiders in their area, especially if the giant spiders weave literal webs of despair and feed on their thoughts.   Most psychic spiders that survive to adulthood live in remote, reclusive places just barely outside the edge where mortals commonly live. More often than not in Scarnoctis rather than Scarterra proper.   Psychic spiders can swim reasonably well, but they are not fish and cannot survive in Scaraqua though they can swim well enough to island if necessary.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Most of the time, psychic spiders will hunt insects, mammals or any animal they can catch and overpower. They swallow small prey like insects and mice whole. Larger prey, they will kill, bundle in webs and pulverize into a liquid state than drink the slurry.   Psychic spiders are intelligent enough to generally avoid more dangerous prey though most targets intelligent enough to provide psychic energy are fairly dangerous so risks must be taken.   Only female psychic spiders need to feed on psychic energy and even then, only when it is time to lay eggs which is normally only once in their lifecycle.   Female psychic spiders ready to lay eggs can draw sustenance from any sapient target but they have a much easier time targeting individuals softened up by a male's webs of madness.

Additional Information

Social Structure

Unlike some spiders where the females eat the male spider after mating (or even before mating), psychic spiders females don't try to eat their mates. Also, unlike some spiders, psychic spiders won't try to eat siblings or strangers, just because they can. Psychic spiders will work together in small groups and they will hunt in packs.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Most psychic spiders live underground in the bowls of Scartnoctis. It is not impossible for them to survive above ground in Scarterra, but they have a harder time being reclusive above ground and rarely last long.   Psychic spiders can hold their breath a fairly long time and swim surprisingly well but they are not fish. They like wet places but don't live in the water.

Average Intelligence

Psychic spiders straddle the awkward middle ground being very clever beast and very dumb mortal.

Webs of Madness RPG rules

  Resisting the webs of madness takes a Willpower roll. Difficulty 6 if the character only had a light brush with a small bit of the webs or difficulty 8 if they are exposed to a lot of the webs (such as if they don't worry about the "ordinary" cobwebs and just push through).   Characters that pass their Willpower roll don't notice anything is wrong. Characters that fail will gradually have their negative personality traits come to the fore as their fears, resentments and insecurities bubble up to the surface. Given that psychic spiders tend to dwell in scary dark corners of Scarnoctis.   The effects will wear off in four or five days. Half the time if afflicted persons allies give them an emotionally uplifting pep talk (assuming they realize something is up)   The effect will wear off in a few hours with Purification ●●● magic. Again, half recovery time with a heart felt pep talk.  

Ordinary Webs

  Male and Female psychic spiders can create webbing which requires a Strength 4 Feats of Strength check. While this will ensnare small prey pretty easily, it will generally only inconvenience a human-sized target, especially if they are tough enough to survive in Scarnoctis, so psychic spiders don't usually bother trying to use their normal webbing to catch intelligent prey.
Genetic Ancestor(s)
Geographic Distribution

Male Psychic Spider Stats

Willpower 5   Dexterity 5, Strength 4, Stamina 5, Appearance 0, Charisma 1, Manipulation 2, Intelligence 1, Perception 3, Wits 3   Abilities: Alertness 3, Animal Ken 2, Athletics 3, Brawl 3, Dodge 3, Empathy 1, Legerdemain 1, Stealth 3, Subterfuge 1   8 dice attack pool: five dice damage pool (bite)   6 dice soak pool. Due to their exoskeleton they count as an H class target.   Targets hit with one or more unsoaked lethal damage from a male bite attack must make a Stamina roll to resist three additional levels of bashing damage (note lethal damage kills characters, bashing damage renders characters unconscious)   Male Spider Health Levels: OK, OK, -1, -2, -3, -5, Dead    

Female Psychic Spider Stats

Willpower 7   Dexterity 3, Strength 6, Stamina 5, Appearance 0, Charisma 1, Manipulation 2, Intelligence 1, Perception 3, Wits 3   Abilities: Alertness 3, Animal Ken 2, Athletics 3, Brawl 3, Dodge 3, Empathy 1, Legerdemain 1, Stealth 3, Subterfuge 1   6 dice attack pool: eight dice damage (bite)   6 dice soak pool. Due to their exoskeleton they count as an H class target.   Targets hit with one or more unsoaked lethal damage from a male bite attack automatically take one point of mental attribute damage, unless they are under the effect of webs of madness, in which case the target takes two points of mental attribute damage. Once a female has inflict three or four points of mental attribute damage, she is full and will stop pressing an attack and attempt to flee and find a safe place to lay her eggs.   Female Spider Health Levels: OK, OK, OK, -1, -2, -3, -5  

Psychic Healing

  Male and female psychic spiders can both spend a temporary Willpower point to heal one level of lethal damage or two levels of bashing damage. Male and female spiders regain willpower points by resting (like almost everyone else in @Scarterra), but females can also recover a temporary willpower point when they inflict mental attribute damage.

Cover image: black spider by Anthony :)


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