I’ve introduced the Araneas in my (heavily-homebrewed) Chult setting when the PCs decided to switch their homebase to Port castigliar. In typical rpg fashion the Araneas had a job to offer to the adventurers: kill as much of their hereditary enemies, the wasp-riding Batiri goblins, as they could. In exchange of what the Araneas offer them superior silk garments. The PCs have yet to focus real efforts in this matter (they did kill some Batiris that they’ve encountered randomly) but I’ve been thinking of adding a few « cultural » quirks to the Araneas.
I must say that I have nothing against spiders. Wasps? Now wasps are real JERKS, to everything they encounter, no doubt about that, but spiders? Nah. I don’t understand the hate. Really, its a modern thing too, I mean, to hate spiders. Mythology gives good roles to spider goddesses, often associated with the all-important art of weaving. Or at worst, a trickster role (agents of change), with spider male deities this time. So, in short, no Lol’th black elves S&M goddess there.
Of course, that isn’t to say that spider-folks shouldn’t feel a little alien to players, they certainly should! Fortunately, real-world spiders have an impressive diversity that we can easily plunder for inspiration.
Female Araneas are at least twice at large as the males and have superior intellect to boot. They’re VERY condescending towards males (note that they often extend that to males of other species). They see them as properties, and a nuisance when they’re not kept busy. Male Araneas aren’t dumb or anything like that, they have to be clever if they’re to survive their numerous ordeals, but female bullying is seen as perfectly normal, inevitable.
Relations with non-Araneas are always dealt through female ambassadors.
Webbing and Weaving
Contrary to popular belief, Araneas don’t use their webs to capture prey. They do enclosure their territory with massive webs, to the point of obscuring the area inside, but it acts as a defense against intruders.
Of course, that’s not the only use of their spidery silk, as can be guessed they are absolutely phenomenal weavers. Aesthetically pleasing, their silk garments are reputed to be nigh indestructible!
In game terms, Aranea garment gives resistance to slashing damage
Nocturnal and Stargazing
Araneas live mainly by night and have a strong fascination with stars which they say form the « great web in the sky » put there by their ancestors. In fact, it’s so important that their leaders are chosen based from their skills as astrologers/astronomers. Indeed, those can even accomplish feats of magic based on their knowledge of stars alignment.
Herbivorous, partly… and cannibals
Araneas have an varied diet which includes plants in it. Males are sometimes sent in hunting and scavenging forays to supplement their menus.
Female Araneas regularly eat males, whenever they feel they can afford to lose some, which is often. They’re delicious they say…
bagheera kiplingi is a spider from central america that eats plants (not exclusively), I had no idea that could be possible!