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Aranea (4e Monster)

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Date Created: October 5, 2009
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Aranea

An aranea in its spider form.

Araneas, also known as werespiders, are a type of lycanthrope. In their natural form, they resemble hunched spiders with a vaguely humanoid form. It has eight legs, which end in odd claw-like appendages; of these, it typically uses four to walk on and four to wield weapons or manipulate objects, but it can use any combination of its legs for any task. Most aranea have eight eyes as well, but some have as few as four or as many as twenty. Their bodies range in color from black or dull brown to vibrant orange, green, and yellow — the latter usually (but not always) indicates an exceptionally poisonous variety. Like all lycanthropes, aranea can alter their appearance to assume humanoid or animal forms. Specifically, they can appear as an ordinary human or one of several types of spiders, depending on the individual aranea.

Like most lycanthropes, aranea are cruel and predatory creatures. Whether this is an unavoidable result of their affliction or simply the path most choose to follow because of their need to feed off of other creatures is unclear. Aranea have no unifying beliefs, but those who choose to worship deities are most often drawn to Lolth, for obvious reasons. They do not typically seek out others of their kind, as doing so would only open themselves up to competition. When two aranea do meet, they typically mate (in the case of members of the opposite gender) or fight each other over territory — in both scenarios, the death of one or both participants is nearly inevitable.

Araneas prefer dark, damp places, especially those that are hard for other creatures to reach. They typically make their lairs in caves or abandoned ruins where they are likely to go unnoticed. Although they are not harmed by sunlight, most aranea prefer to avoid it if possible, favoring nocturnal activity where its keen eyesight gives it an edge against most prey. The Underdark makes a perfect nesting ground for aranea, but they can also be found in mountains, deep forests, and even rocky deserts — in truth, aranea can survive nearly anywhere as long as there is a steady supply of prey. Aranea have no preference towards what they eat but will favor targets that are weaker or otherwise easier to capture if given the choice.

A typical aranea is about 7 feet tall if it stands upright in its natural form, or slightly shorter in both human and spider form. They weigh around 350 pounds, but this can vary by a fair amount depending on the individual. They speak Common and sometimes one or two others languages; their voices are soft, but they pronounce words with a definitively sharp tone.

Aranea

A typical aranea is dark in coloration, with brown, black, and tan being the most common hues. Some have markings and may resemble a particular type of spider. They are cunning and patient predators that can wait for hours until the perfect opportunity to strike arises. Aranea have even been known to pursue their intended victims for days, intentionally delaying their attack simply to toy with their prey.

Aranea (Werespider)
Level 6 Skirmisher
Medium natural humanoid (shapechanger, spider)
XP 250
Initiative +8 Senses Perception +6; darkvision
HP 72; Bloodied 36
Regeneration 5 (if the aranea takes damage from a silver weapon, its regeneration doesn’t function on its next turn)
AC 20; Fortitude 18, Reflex 18, Will 19
Immune spidergut (see below)
Speed 8, climb 6 (spider climb)
BasicMelee Dagger (standard; at-will) ♦ Weapon
+11 vs. AC; 1d4 + 4 damage.
BasicMelee Bite (standard; at-will) ♦ Disease, Poison
+11 vs. AC; 1d10 + 4 poison damage, and the target is slowed (save ends) and contracts spidergut (see below).
Ranged Web (minor 1/round; at-will)
Ranged 10; +9 vs. Reflex; the target is immobilized (save ends).
Change Shape (minor; at-will) ♦ Polymorph
An aranea can alter its physical form to appear as a deathjump spider or a unique human (see Change Shape). It cannot use its bite or web attack in human form and cannot make dagger attacks in spider form.
Alignment Evil Languages Common
Skills Stealth +9
Str 16 (+6) Dex 17 (+6) Wis 16 (+6)
Con 16 (+6) Int 15 (+5) Cha 18 (+7)
Equipment Dagger


Spidergut
Level 6 Disease
Spidergut causes toxic, half-rotten pustules to form inside of the target's body. Attack: +9 vs. Fortitude
Endurance improve DC 19, maintain DC 14, worsen DC 13 or lower
The target is cured. Disease Arrow Left Initial Effect The target takes a –2 penalty to saving throws against powers with the poison keyword. Disease Arrow The target's insides feel as if they are crawling around. Whenever the target fails a saving throw, it takes 5 points of poison damage. The target also loses a healing surge, which cannot be recovered until the disease is cured. Disease Arrow Right Final State The target's hair falls out and its skin takes on a sickly pallor. Whenever the target takes poison damage, it loses a healing surge.


Aranea Tactics

They are cruel and like to torment their prey before eating it, but they are also smart enough to know when to get serious. They typically start combat from hiding and in their spider form to lull the opponent into a false sense of security. They use their bite against as many foes as possible in the first couple of rounds, using web against targets using melee weapons to keep them out of range. After a few rounds it assume its natural form, continuing to make bite attacks. If pressed, it scurries along walls and ceilings to escape the battle and let its regeneration go to work, then attacks again once the opponent has relaxed its guard.

Aranea Webcaster

Webcasters can weave stronger and longer-lasting webs than those of most aranea. These varieties are even more reclusive than the rest of their kind and are found almost exclusively in the Underdark, where they have earned a reputation as fearsome predators. Webcasters are typically bright yellow or dull orange in color with black, brown, or blue markings. They often set up elaborate networks of webs around their lairs and will wait for days until something is finally caught. Unless the victim seems to be freeing itself, the aranea will simply continue to wait for days or even weeks until the hapless creature starves to death.

Aranea Webcaster
Level 9 Elite Controller
Medium natural humanoid (shapechanger, spider)
XP 800
Initiative +8 Senses Perception +7; darkvision
HP 194; Bloodied 97
Regeneration 5 (if the aranea webcaster takes damage from a silver weapon, its regeneration doesn’t function on its next turn)
AC 23; Fortitude 21, Reflex 21, Will 22
Immune spidergut (see below)
Speed 8, climb 6 (spider climb)
Action Points 1
BasicMelee Longspear (standard; at-will) ♦ Weapon
Reach 2; +14 vs. AC; 1d10 + 5 damage.
BasicMelee Bite (standard; at-will) ♦ Disease, Poison
+14 vs. AC; 2d6 + 5 poison damage, and the target is slowed (save ends) and contracts spidergut (see below).
Ranged Sticky Web (minor 1/round; at-will)
Ranged 10; +13 vs. Reflex; the target is immobilized (save ends). Aftereffect: The target is slowed (save ends).
Area Clinging Strands (standard; recharge D6 (4) D6 (5) D6 (6)) ♦ Zone
Area burst 4 within 20; +11 vs. Reflex; the target is slowed (save ends). If the target is already slowed, it is instead immobilized (save ends). The burst creates a zone of thick webbing that lasts until all targets have saved against clinging strands. The zone is considered difficult terrain.
Change Shape (minor; at-will) ♦ Polymorph
An aranea webcaster can alter its physical form to appear as a deathjump spider or a unique human (see Change Shape). It cannot use its bite or web attack in human form and cannot make dagger attacks in spider form.
Alignment Evil Languages Common
Skills Stealth +13
Str 17 (+7) Dex 18 (+8) Wis 17 (+7)
Con 17 (+7) Int 16 (+7) Cha 19 (+8)
Equipment Longspear


Spidergut
Level 6 Disease
Spidergut causes toxic, half-rotten pustules to form inside of the target's body. Attack: +9 vs. Fortitude
Endurance improve DC 19, maintain DC 14, worsen DC 13 or lower
The target is cured. Disease Arrow Left Initial Effect The target takes a –2 penalty to saving throws against powers with the poison keyword. Disease Arrow The target's insides feel as if they are crawling around. Whenever the target fails a saving throw, it takes 5 points of poison damage. The target also loses a healing surge, which cannot be recovered until the disease is cured. Disease Arrow Right Final State The target's hair falls out and its skin takes on a sickly pallor. Whenever the target takes poison damage, it loses a healing surge.


Aranea Webcaster Tactics

Webcasters are ridiculously patient creatures. They prefer to avoid combat, instead letting attrition takes its toll on the enemies until they are all worn down to the point of exhaustion. When forced to defend itself, a webcaster uses clinging strands immediately and follows up with a sticky web attack against the most obvious threat. It continues to use both abilities whenever they are available, preferring to stay out of range and using its melee abilities only when necessary. If it becomes obvious that the aranea cannot win, it makes bite attacks against as many foes as possible (to infect them with its disease) before fleeing along walls and ceilings. It will then continue to stalk its prey for weeks, waiting until they lower their guard or are engaged in some other pressing matter before it strikes again.

Aranea Spiderkeeper

Spiderkeepers are aranea who have come to view spiders as something akin to children — fragile creatures that need its protection and guidance in order to prosper. To this end the spiderkeeper surrounds itself with all manner of arachnids, both monstrous and mundane. Particularly powerful spiderkeepers can maintain entourages of hundreds of even thousands of spiders; such individuals are rare, but they can wipe out entire villages in their search for food.

Aranea Spiderkeeper
Level 12 Controller (Leader)
Medium natural humanoid (shapechanger, spider)
XP 700
Initiative +11 Senses Perception +10; darkvision
Protective Swarm aura 5; the aranea spiderkeeper receives a +1 bonus to all defenses as long as an ally with the spider keyword is within the aura.
HP 123; Bloodied 61
Regeneration 10 (if the aranea spiderkeeper takes damage from a silver weapon, its regeneration doesn’t function on its next turn)
AC 26; Fortitude 24, Reflex 24, Will 25
Immune spidergut (see below)
Speed 8, climb 6 (spider climb)
BasicMelee Dagger (standard; at-will) ♦ Weapon
+17 vs. AC; 1d4 + 5 damage.
BasicMelee Bite (standard; at-will) ♦ Disease, Poison
+17 vs. AC; 2d6 + 5 poison damage, and the target is slowed (save ends) and contracts greater spidergut (see below).
Ranged Web (minor 1/round; at-will)
Ranged 10; +16 vs. Reflex; the target is immobilized (save ends).
Close Broodmother's Keen (standard; recharges when an ally with the spider keyword is reduced to 0 hit points)
Close burst 5; all allies with the spider keyword within the burst may make a melee basic attack as an immediate reaction.
Change Shape (minor; at-will) ♦ Polymorph
An aranea spiderkeeper can alter its physical form to appear as a demonweb terror or a unique human (see Change Shape). It cannot use its bite or web attack in human form and cannot make dagger attacks in spider form.
Walk Amongst the Swarm
An aranea spiderkeeper can move through spaces occupied by allied creatures with the spider keyword at normal speed.
Alignment Evil Languages Common
Skills Stealth +16
Str 19 (+10) Dex 20 (+11) Wis 19 (+10)
Con 19 (+10) Int 18 (+10) Cha 21 (+11)
Equipment Dagger


Greater Spidergut
Level 12 Disease
Spidergut causes toxic, half-rotten pustules to form inside of the target's body. Attack: +16 vs. Fortitude
Endurance improve DC 26, maintain DC 21, worsen DC 20 or lower
The target is cured. Disease Arrow Left Initial Effect The target takes a –4 penalty to saving throws against powers with the poison keyword. Disease Arrow The target's insides feel as if they are crawling around. Whenever the target fails a saving throw, it takes 10 points of poison damage. The target also loses a healing surge, which cannot be recovered until the disease is cured. Disease Arrow Right Final State The target's hair falls out and its skin takes on a sickly pallor. Whenever the target takes poison damage, it loses a healing surge.


Aranea Spiderkeeper Tactics

Though they like to enter combat with a fair number of allies at their side, spiderkeepers don't shy from battle — they wade in right beside their arachnid companions. They favor their spider form and prefer to bite opponents, using web only against those that the aranea feels pose a significant threat to it or its minions. It uses walk amongst the swarm to stay in melee range at all times. Whenever one of its spiders dies, the spiderkeeper uses broodmother's keen and then focuses all of its future attacks on the creature that killed its child.

Aranea Lore

A character knows the following information with a successful Nature check.

DC 15: Aranea, also known as werespiders, are shapeshifters that can alter their appearance between that of a human, a spider, and a hybrid of the two. Their bite is especially dangerous, as it is poisonous and carries a virulent disease known as spidergut.
DC 20: Aranea can recover from damage remarkably fast and will retreat as soon as they know they cannot win in order to heal, attacking again at a later time. It is best to kill them as quickly as possible, or a brief skirmish could turn into a guerrilla battle fought over several hours.

Encounter Groups

Araneas sometimes work with others of their kind, although such alliances are tenuous at best. They can sometimes find places among drow civilizations if they are so inclined, although whether the dark elves view the aranea as a near-divine race or as abominations to be purged from the world can vary greatly from one city to the next. Spiderkeepers, as their name implies, are often surrounded by one or more varieties of monstrous spiders.

Level 9 Encounter (XP 2,000) — Scouts of Lolth

  • 1 aranea webcaster (level 9 elite controller)
  • 2 drow warriors (level 11 lurker)

Level 12 Encounter (XP 3,400) — Arachnid Entourage

  • 1 aranea spiderkeeper (level 12 controller)
  • 3 blade spiders (level 10 brute)
  • 1 tomb spider (level 11 elite controller, MM2 190)



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