The araneas are a race of sentient, shape-changing spider-like creatures.

According to legend, the araneas were created by a Calishite wizard during the Night Wars to infiltrate the ranks of the drow armies. When the wars ended, they were hunted down and killed or driven into the Spider Swamp. They became a neutral, pacifistic people. Originally, they were only able to change into drow, but after a while, some gained the ability to change into a Calishite human or a half-elf and return to the human cities incognito as well as spread out from Calimshan into the wider world. This allowed them to trade silks, herbs and poisons with the coastal city of Volothamp.

Over 800 years after their banishment, in 290 DR, Qysara Shoon V blamed them for a plague that was ravaging Almraiven. As a result, they were nearly wiped out by Volothamp's military. They adopted the worship of Zanassu, a demon lord of spiders, for protection and came to inhabit a city that was once called Ajhuutal somewhere in the swamp. The Qysara banished their god back to the Abyss two years later, which led to a gradual degradation of their society while the priests of Zanassu desperately awaited their god's return for the next 1000 years.

When Zanassu did return (or at least a powerful tanar'ri who claimed to be him, since Selvetarm had since defeated Zanassu & stolen his divine essence), his reign of tyranny lasted for 66 years, during which time his agents completely took over Volothamp's government and the araneas became its secret rulers. But when the Time of Troubles came, the demon disappeared without a trace somewhere in the Forest of Mir, combined with the advent of the Darkstalker wars, this ended the araneas' reign as if it had never happened. His priests went back to desperately awaiting his return, still not knowing that they were actually worshipping Selvetarm while the rest of the araneas became relatively peaceful, though they have been violently expanding their territory into the southern reaches of the Forest of Mir.


The humpbacked body of an aranea is a little bigger than a human torso; unusually, this hump is where the creature's brain is located. It has two fanged mandibles, eight legs and can spin webs, just like a normal spider. It also has two arms located underneath it's mandibles that are roughly two feet long, ending in hands with 4 multiple jointed fingers and a double jointed thumb. Most weigh about 150 pounds.


CR 4 (1,200 XP) N MEDIUM MAGICAL BEAST Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +6

DEFENSE AC 13; touch 12, flat-footed 11 (+2 Dex, +1 natural) hp 22 (3d10+6) Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +4

OFFENSE Speed 50 ft., Climb 25 ft. Melee Bite +5 (1d6+poison) {B]Ranged[/B] Web +5 Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft. Special Attacks poison, web Sorcerer Spells Prepared (CL 3; +5 ranged touch) 1st - mage armor, silent image, sleep 0 (at will) - daze, detect magic, ghost sound, light, resistance

STATISTICS Str 11, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 13, Cha 14 Base Atk +3; CMB +3; CMD 15 Feats: Improved Initiative, Iron WillB, Weapon Finesse Skills: Acrobatics +5, Climb +7, Escape Artist +5, Perception +6; +2 racial bonus on Perception checks, +4 racial bonus on Climb checks. Languages: Common, Sylvan

ECOLOGY Environment Warm forests Organization Solitary or colony (2-6) Treasure Value 800 gp

SPECIAL ABILITIES Poison (Ex): Bite--injury; save Fort DC 13, frequency 1/round for 6 rounds, effect 1d4 Str, cure 2 consecutive saves.

Spells: An aranea casts spells as a 3rd-level sorcerer. It prefers illusions and enchantments and avoids fire spells.

Web (Ex): An aranea can throw a web up to six times per day. This is similar to an attack with a net but has a maximum range of 50 feet, with a range increment of 10 feet, and is effective against targets of up to Large size. The web anchors the target in place, allowing no movement.

An entangled creature can escape with a DC 13 Escape Artist check or burst the web with a DC 17 Strength check. The check DCs are Constitution-based, and the Strength check DC includes a +4 racial bonus. The web has 6 hit points, hardness 0, and takes double damage from fire.

The aranea are an intelligent giant spider race. They are as large as small ponies, and are greenish-brown in color. An aranea is distinguishable from other giant spiders by the massive odd-shaped lump on its back that houses its large brain. Aranea are web-spinners, and their bite is poisonous.

The front limbs of an aranea are divided into flexible digits. The aranea uses these to graps prey, manipulate simple tools, and cast spells.

Aranea live in dense forests or jungles, spinning their web himes high in the trees. Part of each web is roofed with bark, leaves, and vines held together with webbing. In the covered part of their lairs, the aranea keep their crude tools, magic research, and crude "furniture" of web, vines, bark, and wood.

Aranea are the traditional enemies of the phanaton, and attack them on sight. They are friendly with bugbears and often hire them to guard the forest beneath their lairs.1

VARIANT ARANEA The typical aranea is a spellcasting, intelligent spider that is roughly the size of a pony. Further north, in the dark temperate forests of Hule, the aranea have developed the ability to change their shape. This allows them to walk undetected among the more civilized races there, often achieving high status among the populace.

Hule Aranea The aranea of Hule are glossy black in color, with red beady eyes and slender, almost elegant hands.

Subtype: The Hule aranea gains the Shapeshifter subtype.

Special Qualities: The Hule aranea gains the following special qualities.

Environment: The Hule aranea is found in temperate forests.

Change Shape: A Hule aranea’s natural form is that of a Medium monstrous spider. It can assume two other forms. The first is a unique Small or Medium humanoid; an aranea in its humanoid form always assumes the same appearance and traits, much as a lycanthrope would. In humanoid form, an aranea cannot use its bite attack, webs, or poison.

The second form is a Medium spider–humanoid hybrid. In hybrid form, an aranea looks like a Medium humanoid at first glance, but a DC 18 Perception check reveals the creature’s fangs and spinnerets. The aranea retains its bite attack, webs, and poison in this form, and can also wield weapons or wear armor. When in hybrid form, an aranea’s speed is 30 feet (6 squares).

An aranea remains in one form until it chooses to assume a new one. A change in form cannot be dispelled, nor does an aranea revert to its natural form when killed. A true seeing spell, however, reveals its natural form if it is in humanoid or hybrid form.

Skilled: Hule aranea gain a +4 racial bonus to Bluff checks.

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