Features Archive | 9/28/2012
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Triumphs of Drow Spider Husbandry
Appendix d12
By Jason Sholtis

With the Rise of the Underdark campaign underway, this year has seen its share of drow incursions against the surface world—playing out right now in both the current D&D Encounters season and D&D Lair Assault. Add the recent release of Menzoberranzan: City of Intrigue, and it’s highly possible that your campaign could be venturing into the Underdark.

To help DMs add further detail to their adventures underground, Jason Sholtis (of The Dungeon Dozen) has provided the following tables—in the spirit of the 1st Edition DMG’s appendices, charts, and random encounters!

Triumphs of Drow Spider Husbandry

Lolth may be the queen of spiders, so what exotic types of spiders might be found in her domain? The following table offers optional experiments in drow spider husbandry that players might encounter in the Underdark.


  1. Lolth’s pincushions: arachnids covered with envenomed porcupine-like quills, used tactically as mobile defensive walls.

  2. Spider corps of engineers: work collectively; teams of large spiders undertake tasks such as spanning chasms with web-bridges, bracing unstable cave ceilings, etc.

  3. Silk mares, sessile: produce mass quantities of specialized silks on command, attended by service arachnids who must provide all care.

  4. Seeing-eye spiders: bred for giant eyes and outsized sensory arrays, serve as watchdogs on drow expeditions.

  5. Trap spiders: set and monitor arrays of interconnected snares, introduced into forbidden areas, treasure chambers, etc.

  6. Siege spiders: fist-sized arachnids released in vast armies, employ acid venom to breach enemy fortifications.

  7. Assassin spiders: hunt down and kill specific targets; article of clothing or other means of fixing scent required.

  8. Physician spiders: use bandage-webbing and healing venom to aid battlefield casualties (still occasionally feed upon the helpless, but improving).

  9. Spider squire: ambulates on four legs, using other limbs to arm and equip drow warriors.

  10. Aero-spiders: create effective wings by nets of webbing between elongated legs, used for aerial recon, drop down for attacks at need.

  11. Venom-cannon spiders: spray jets of contact poison accurately to spear range; slow moving and bulky due to grossly bloated poison sacks.

  12. Exterminator spiders: bred to root out and destroy (undesirable) Underdark vermin infestations.

About the Author

Jason Sholtis serves humanity by day as a humble social services worker but keeps evenings free for self-indulgences such as writing, drawing and playing in rock bands. D&D occupies a special place in his heart. His semi-daily blog The Dungeon Dozen focuses exclusively on random tables for the twelve-sided die.

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