Chelicerata - 1d20 Jobs & Treasure

Spiders are the inheritors of a primal fear. They existed before we humans. They shall exist after us. They snare the unwary and hunt in the shadows. What's more, they are far more intelligent than we often give them credit for.

The common garden spider is but a descendant of a greater race. Before the western jungles were caught up in the blood wars, there was another power that ruled over that great swathe of fetid land. Their influence spread, and they dealt with every nation, every ruler, and every would-be-ruler; they traded in raw information. The spiders of the Sunless Fen were known as much for their subtlety as their murderous ways. I never traveled far into those wretched lands, as by the time I could write those monsters had already been unseated and the reign of the Eel had begun. It was not until I came to the city of Fallowdeep - the royal seat of Ilman Sound - that I met with one of the Spiders.


The house looked abandoned. The roof was in tatters and the yard had not been tended to in years, judging by the state of disrepair it was in. The attendant at the door was glassy-eyed, and he spoke no words. I dropped coin into the box he held only for an arm to spasm and push the front doors open. He was either a corpse or something close to it, or a barely-living husk of a man. The nearly-invisible strands of web that tethered all of his limbs was what gave it away. A human marionette, his strings winding up upwards into the awning of the house, and from there somewhere deeper.

Inside, I dealt with two more of these husk-creatures. They spoke, awkwardly. Stilted voices and slurred intonations. I was able to barter an audience with whatever monstrosity held the strings, or so I thought. They led me to a quiet chamber where a woman sat, alone. Her flesh was pierced with a thousand metal rings, covering her from shoulder to ankle. Each one was strung with a single silvery thread, which ran up through a grate in the ceiling.

I paid my weight in gold for answers to questions that I thought impossible. I am not at liberty to print them here, but I can speak of the basic mechanism by which the process happened. I asked a question, and the girl moved carefully. A few moments later and I could see a dozen or so rings pull taut, then release. She would translate these movements into words and provide an answer.

Whatever I spoke with that night was intelligent. It knew secrets that I thought well-guarded, although this only extended to the local region. It could not answer my queries of far-off lands. Once I had escaped that dreadful place, I spent a while trying to gather information around the city. The prevailing theory that I settled on was this: The Chelicerata are a reclusive race that have embedded themselves deeply within the society of Fallowdeep. They use their lesser, barely-intelligent cousins as spies and informants. Spiders and other related creatures all throughout the city eavesdrop, and report back in some fashion to whatever it is that lives in that old house. That creature then sells information to those with coin and furthers its network and power.

It has been known to hire mercenaries, bounty hunters, adventurers, bards, and craftsmen alike for various tasks. I spoke with a few who had taken the creature’s coin, and they admitted that the work was unnerving, but the pay was especially good. What’s more, there were whispers that this was not the only dwelling place of the Chelicerata - a few merchants, plied with alcohol, admitted that they had delivered a large shipment to a warehouse in Lanlisdowns. Their cargo had, on occasion, chittered.

Twenty Chelicerata Job Postings

The Chelicerata cannot leave their lair. Using the coin earned with their expensive information-peddling, they prefer to hire third parties. This allows them to remain out of the spotlight but also serves as a method by which they advertise. Those who work for them inevitably travel and spread rumors abroad which act as a lure for the curious.

1. Adventurers wanted for the culling of Lizardfolk - the natural predator of giant spiders.

2. Bounty hunters wanted for the capture of escaped human slaves who know too much.

3. Diplomats wanted to act as mediator with apprehensive (and wealthy) nobles.

4. Adventurers wanted for the retrieval of Chelicerata artifacts from old ruins.

5. Merchants wanted to deliver cargo to remote location. Must not ask questions.

6. Bounty hunters or assassins wanted to make an example of someone who paid with fake coin.

7. Merchants wanted to discreetly purchase a large estate in a foreign city under a false name, to be transferred to the Chelicerata at a future date.

8. Adventurers wanted to clear out lower levels of Chelicerata lair of dangerous infestation.

9. Adventurers wanted to complete the purchase of exotic slaves and deliver them to Chelicerata lair.

10. Couriers wanted to deliver important, time-sensitive information to various dead drops in neighboring cities.

11. Spellcasters wanted to scry/augur for various people and details.

12. Bounty hunters wanted for the capture of an old hermit who saw something.

13. Adventurers wanted to find and destroy a giant terror-wasp nest as an act of revenge.

14. Thieves wanted to infiltrate and rescue captive spider from jail.

15. Bards wanted to leak information in taverns and inns across various towns and cities.

16. Couriers wanted to deliver a message to foreign noble, return with correspondence.

17. Spellcasters wanted to shore up defensive wards and magically reinforce Chelicerata lair.

18. Trapmakers wanted to practice their art in Chelicerata lair.

19. Adventurers wanted to capture rare and dangerous creatures and bring them to Chelicerata lair.

20. Slavers wanted to fetch a suitable number of humanoids to serve as slaves, food, or both.

Twenty Treasures Guarded by the Spiders

When presented with either enticing information or a job that needs doing, the more wealthy Chelicerata are willing to barter with the various treasures and tools they accumulate over a lifetime. Some of them are crafted by the Spiderfolk themselves while others were taken as payment.

1. Mandible Lance

This polearm is adorned with a set of strange, reddish mandibles that have been grafted to the end of a metal staff. Once the mandibles have tasted blood they awaken to chitter noisily for the next 1d4 hours. While awake, the Lance will bite and tear the flesh of any who are unlucky enough to be stabbed by it.

2. Inkweb Cloak

A billowing cape and hood with a hidden clasp. Under normal circumstances, it appears to be made of black silk that absorbs light. Turning the brooch shifts the coloration of the cloak, allowing it to adapt to the colors of its surroundings. It is hydrophobic.

3. Ambush Shield

A tall kite-shield made of lightweight wood, roughly six feet tall. When firmly planted into the ground, it attempts to encase its wielder in a dark resin that can hide both shield and wielder in low-light conditions. The resin is easily broken, both from within and outside.

4. Lycosidae Goggles

A leather-strapped set of four-eyed goggles. Two of these lenses are made of red glass while the other two are thicker, clear glass. If the wielder looks through the tinted glass, the goggles dim ambient surroundings and highlight living creatures. If the wielder looks through the clear glass, their eyesight is amplified as if they were using an exceptionally powerful spyglass.

5. Boots of the Salticidae

A pair of thick, fur-padded leather boots with large straps to adjust the size. The wearer can make high-speed leaps that cover up to three times as much distance as a normal jump would. If the wearer uses the boots for this purpose more than twice without resting for at least a full eight hours, they risk damaging their lower body with the stress and impact.

6. Lungscarf

Fibrous strands of silver constitute this strangely elastic scarf. The user may breathe through the scarf, which provides up to three hours of clean air. This functions even when the user and scarf are submerged in liquid or surrounded by toxic gas. The scarf must be washed and allowed to dry between uses.

7. Trapdoor Mask

Finely carved from pale wood, this mask has the ability to remember the faces of the dead when placed upon a corpse. A pair of discrete toggles on either side of the mask allow the user to ‘cycle’ through memorized faces; the mask is capable of adopting a perfect yet still wooden replica of any face it has learned.

8. Serum Katar

A brass punch-dagger with a web-patterned engraved into the metal. The deep grooves connect to a hidden chamber in the handle, where preserved venom glands slowly produce a paralytic toxin. It takes five days to produce enough venom for a human-sized target, and the reservoir can only hold two doses. The venom spoils in 1d4 days if drained from the chamber.

9. Capturebow

An odd crossbow-like apparatus designed to fire nets with iron-weighted corners. It is a bulky contraption of oak and steel, with a hefty spidersilk string that requires the use of a foot-stirrup to cock, but can hurl a net up to forty feet.

10. Netweaver

A fat, bulky spider about one foot in length and width with stubby legs and a bulbous face. It was bred by the Chelicerata to produce webs, which it does with masterful skill. It lacks venom, though its bite is still painful. The Netweaver will produce a web in 2d4 hours after it is fed a sufficient quantity of food - once done with its task, it will go into a state of semi-hibernation until it is prompted to awaken once more.

11. Spine Gauntlets

Iron gauntlets constructed of solid, bulky iron and decorated with additional plating - all engraved with a web ornamentation. They are unique for their strange inner workings that allow the wearer to extend eight-inch long daggers from the wrist and palm on command.

12. The Emerald Flask

Carved and carefully hollowed from a single piece of gemstone, a mixture of resin, venom, and alchemical reagent has been carefully condensed into a unique catalyst that rests at the bottom of the flask, too large to slip out the neck even when the flask is upturned. The catalyst reacts to water, and when the flask is filled with clean water will produce two doses of potent alcohol in one week’s time. The alcohol tastes strongly of bitter herbs and smoke, and one dose has the added effect of greatly slowing one’s perception of time for ten minutes.

13. Adhesive Gloves

A pair of black and gold gloves crafted with leather stitched together by spider silk thread. Each glove has a small reservoir of webbing that clings tightly to all surfaces except  for the gloves. The gloves are capable of ejecting enough webbing to hold tightly to a surface or object three times per day before the sac must replenish itself.

14. Desiccating Dagger

A slim, hollow dagger made of a spider fang fastened to an ivory handle without any crossguard. Acts as a catalyst that wicks all moisture at an alarmingly rapid rate from any body it is impaled within. It can completely desiccate a human body in six hours, if left embedded.

15. Scarf of Illusory Strands

Long, extremely fine strands of spider silk have been woven together to make a bountiful scarf. Certain strands of the scarf can be tugged to alter the coloration of the scarf, which can change both color and pattern as well as produce a soft bioluminescent glow of any color desirable.

16. Cloak of New Beginnings

Considered by many to be an abomination, this patchy black cloak requires a week of uninterrupted wear to attune itself to the wearer’s physical form. Once it has, a spider-shaped brooch of brass can be toggled to activate the cloak’s primary feature. In a matter of moments, discrete glands woven into the cloak begin to rapidly produce multi-colored webbing in the identical shape as the wearer and cloak. At a glance the molting appears to be the genuine article, but close visual inspection or any physical touch at all reveals it to be a lifeless copy.

17. Purifying Bowl

This bowl of soft silver is roughly one foot in diameter. It bears strange web-like patterns and has been treated with a slick, resinous coating on the inside. Any solid foodstuff placed in the bowl will be dissolved into a liquid slurry in [1d6 x 10] minutes. The liquid food loses none of its taste or nutritional value, and is also cleansed of any poison or disease once the process is complete. The bowl has no effect on anything already in liquid form.

18. Golden Silk Tunic

Fine black cotton reinforced with leather has been stitched into a long tunic with gleaming threads of golden spider silk. It fits neatly beneath most forms of armor, and provides extra protection against fire and heat. If a sapient creature dies while wearing this tunic, their body bursts into flames and they are reduced to cinder. Then, they are reincarnated from the ashes as a spider-hybrid.

19. Fangmask

Two simple metal plates are held together by leather straps. It is designed to be worn around the face, obscuring the mouth and nose. Subtle hinges cause the mask to unfold when the wearer fully opens their mouth. This reveals twin fangs that are punctuated with extremely fine barbs. Even a feeble wearer is capable of punching through flesh, bone, and lesser armors when their bite strength is amplified by the mask’s inner workings.

20. Tincture of Long Death

A slim, sturdy brass flask with a wax-sealed stopper. Venoms extracted from various spiders and rare herbs have been mixed to create a four doses of this tincture. When consumed, the drinker falls into a coma. In this state, they do not require nutrients and they do not age. If one dose is consumed, they will remain in the coma for one year. If two doses are consumed, the duration is increased to five years. If three doses, twenty-five years. If four doses, one-hundred and twenty-five years.

Playing a Chelicerata


Every individual chelicerata is, by nature, an inquisitive creature. They wish to know the world around them and to hoard knowledge. They are almost always willing to barter this information. The body of every Chelicerata is unique, to some degree. Almost each individual is shaped like an orb weaver spider with a 15’ long body from head to abdomen. With their legs stretched out, a fully-grown Chelicerata can reach up to 40’ long from end-to-end. The coloration of each individual varies wildly - most often they are composed of a muted base color such as brown or black with colorful markings.


Find interesting places and delve into their history. Find interesting people and dredge up their past. Seek out secrets and hidden knowledge, esoteric tomes and obscure stories. Listen to local gossip and news from afar. Slowly spread your information network, and advertise yourself as a broker of information. Trade, barter. Do not lie - lies erode your customer base, and can destroy your reputation overnight.


Razor-thin thread that can be used like a deadly whip. Venoms and toxins that paralyze and destroy. Long limbs capped with hard, spear-like appendages for hand-to-hand combat. The intelligence to avoid encounters that are not necessarily advantageous.

Minions, in the form of lesser spiders, hired adventurers, and Husk Marionettes.

The Marionette

When a humanoid is slain by a mature Chelicerata - one that has researched and practiced this technique for at least two decades after reaching adulthood - the corpse is often taken back to the creature’s lair. There it is desiccated and preserved with care, its innards removed and flesh reinforced with leather if needed. Then, it is strung up with the steel-like threads. Chelicerata lairs vary, but they typically have enough space to run threads through the ceiling so as to suspend a Husk Marionette at crucial choke-points.

The Chelicerata can make use of these marionettes through various types of subterfuge. Careful manipulation of the thread allows for nearly-lifelike movement. This is supplanted by a sort of ventriloquism that allows the spider to speak through the husk. With enough practice, the husk can even be compelled to wield simple weapons that require strength but not dexterity: axes and heavy swords are a common choice. The marionettes serve as points of contact through which a Chelicerata may interact with humanoid visitors. They are exceptionally unnerving to anyone perceptive enough to realize they are dealing with a puppet rather than a living creature, or even an undead thrall as many are quick to assume.


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