[Swords & Wizardry] New Deity: The God of Spiders!

…and so he left them, though he left them weeping, and at last came to Theth. There all men worship Hlo-hlo; though they are willing to believe in other gods, as missionaries attest, but only as creatures of the chase for the hunting of Hlo-hlo, who wears Their halos, so these people say, on golden hooks along his hunting-belt. And from Theth he came to the city of Moung and the temple of Moung-ga-ling, and entered and saw the spider-idol, Hlo-hlo, sitting there with Dead Man’s Diamond glittering on his lap, and looking for all the world like a full moon, but a full moon seen by a lunatic who had slept too long in its rays, for there was in Dead Man’s Diamond a certain sinister look and a boding of things to happen that are better not mentioned here. The face of the spider-idol was lit by that fatal gem; there was no other light. In spite of his shocking limbs and that demoniac body, his face was serene and apparently unconscious. A little fear came into the mind of Thangobrind the Jeweller, a passing tremor-no more; business was business and he hoped for the best. Thangobrind offered honey to Hlo-hlo and prostrated himself before him. Oh, he was cunning! When the priests stole out of the darkness to lap up the honey they were stretched senseless on the temple floor, for there was a drug in the honey that was offered to Hlo-hlo. And Thangobrind the Jeweller picked Dead Man’s Diamond up and put it on his shoulder and trudged away from the shrine; and Hlo-hlo the spider-idol said nothing at all, but he laughed softly as the jeweller shut the door.

Lord Dunsany, The Distressing Tale Of Thangobrind The Jeweller

These words he speaks are true,
We’re all humanary stew,
If we don’t pledge allegiance to
The Black Widow
The horror that he brings,
The horror of his sting,
The unholiest of kings,
The Black Widow.
Our minds will be his toy,
And every girl and boy
Will learn to be employed by
The Black Widow.

Alice Cooper, The Black Widow

The God of Spiders

Greater Deity

The Spider-God, Known by many names
Alignment: Chaos
Spheres of Influence: Stealth, Murder and, of course, Spiders
Symbol: A black spider on a red field
Typical Worshipers: Intelligent spiders, psychotic cultists following a spider theme

Haled by a thousand different names in as many regions, the God of Spiders is a horrific creature that is adored and worshiped as much as it is feared and dreaded. Always appearing as a bulky, grisly spider that can walk upright and has eyes that reflect a sinister, uncaring intelligence. When this deity feels slighted it is an unrelenting hunter that will never give up. Ever.

Some ancient cities contain bold temples dedicated to the God of Spiders and offer a variety of sacrifices to this nightmare deity, who notices each and every one, no matter how small. At times the favored of the Spider God rise as dreadful champions, leading an army of twisted followers to further the ends of this monster.

Abilities: Can use any six Cleric spells up to three times per day as a 12th level priest or wizard respectively. The Spider God can cast and retract a web as strong as a steel cable (it takes 20 hit points of damage to sever this web) and often does so to interrogate or torment those who offend it. The God of Spiders fights as a 13th level Fighter, a successful strike with its front legs (making two attacks per round) does 2d8 damage, a bite from the Spider God does 3d6 damage and causes paralysis (Save at -3 to resist or be paralyzed for 1d6 hours).

Honor Guard: Not only can the God of Spiders command and see through the eyes of any spider at will, this creature can also bestow “gifts” to the faithful (although sometimes these are granted at random to curse or bring certain mortals under its fell claw) as follows (the referee may choose or roll a d6):

1: Spider-face, can see perfectly in the dark, most normal people will attack this person on sight.

2: Web: Can cast a retractable web, as per the spell, this web can take 12 hp of damage before breaking and lasts for 16 hours rather than 8.

3: Command Spiders: can command 2HD of giant spiders per level.

4: Spideroid: A centauroid creature is created, from the torso up, humanoid, below the torso, giant spider, move becomes 18 and the resulting monster gains 2 HD.

5: Spider gifts: The character can cling to walls and ceilings and is 80% likely to not be surprised.

6: Spider Armor and Sword: The character is granted a shiny, chitinous, exoskeleton-like armor that is covered in stylized spiders. This armor grants -3/+3 to AC/AAC and can take 35 hit points of damage before being rendered useless, but regenerates 2d4 points of damage taken per day. The sword is +2 to Hit in combat and a successful hit does 2d6 damage and those struck must make a Saving Throw at +1 or be paralyzed for 1d4 rounds.

Awe: Seeing the God of Spiders any character must make a Saving Throw at -2 to face him in combat. Most creatures under 3 HD flee in terror.

Note (as with all of my deities): While I know that the original Supplement IV listed the Hit Points for deities I have always been loathe to do this in my games and the God of Spiders is no exception, it will slaughter most anything in its path in an OD&D setting. If you MUST have Hit Points for the God of Spiders, I would give him 250.

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7 Responses to [Swords & Wizardry] New Deity: The God of Spiders!

  1. Chgowiz says:

    My campaigns treat gods in similar ways. Players may be able to slay the favored and the highest priest, but if you face a god, you are mortal. They are not. There’s no sense in awarding HP.

  2. bat says:

    I agree heartily, but allow that option in the write-up because some referees will give deities hit points. I try to provide minions and honor guard types to give players something to defeat and to make the god even angrier at them.

  3. sean wills says:

    I especially like the ability to see thru the eyes of any spider – any characters who’ve wronged the spider god are gonna be so paranoid about being watched – haha !

  4. Lizardfolk says:

    I think these deities are my favourite, always a good and interesting read. This one too, again a hat’s off salute for the good work.

  5. bat says:

    Thank you, everyone, I really appreciate the comments a lot.
    Just as wily snake cults exist to topple society there is another creature that is perhaps more alien to us, the spider. Snakes represent evil to many of us for a variety of reasons, but spiders are just alien and weird and you know that they are watching us…

  6. Lizardfolk says:

    I’m always intrigued by the way we view animals either human traits (snakes as wicked and tempting) while insects and arachnids are ‘alien’, these themes recur and are wonderful for fantasy exactly because they will pretty much resonate with players the way you expect.

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