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Shield Spider, by Enuryn
(Commissioned by Pirateaba)

Shield Spiders are one of the most dangerous monsters found in the Floodplains.

Appearance[]

Shield Spiders are large spiders that have a black and silver pattern on their carapace which gives them an appearance of being armored, hence the name. This armor covers their back and legs.[1] The abdomen carapace is weaker.

Shield Spiders can grow to any proportions given enough time, so that there is no "usual" or "normal" size for them. While a three-foot tall Shield Spider is considered "mature", individual spiders can grow to the size of two wagons,[2] or twice the size of considerable buildings.[3]

Shield Spider blood is a pale blue ichor.[4]

Reproduction[]

Shield Spiders lay small, white eggs in sacs, the size of each sac depending on the mother's age: In average, a spider lays a few hundred eggs in one sac, older spiders may produce thousands. After having filled one sac, they produce the next.[2]

A baby Shield Spider is not much larger than a spider on Earth. However, they can be dangerous as adult ones, in large numbers.[1]

Shield Spiders are active all around the year, even in winter,[5][6] but they spawn excessively in the spring.[2]

Nests[]

Shield Spiders nests, also called Pits, are covered with a camouflaged layer. Inside the nest lies generations of Shield Spiders waiting for prey to fall into the trap, from tiny hatchlings to several foot sized specimens. Often, there is one dominant, large spider which is considered the matriarch[2] of her nest. Nest populations can range from least fifty, or as many as three hundred.[6]

Shield Spider pits can be hidden in different surroundings, usually held together by their sticky spiderweb[7]: Within the Floodplains, the Shield Spiders camouflage the pit with a layer of dirt, dead grass and sticks that collapses when the prey walks over the nest.[1] Prey includes rats, rabbits, Corusdeer, Fortress Beavers and unsuspecting travellers.[2]

Eggs laid in the late season of the year can provide a problem in the Floodplains in early spring, when they hatch.

Shield Spiders are territorial and and can kill rivaling nests.[8]

Powers/Abilities[]

Shield Spiders are notorious for tracking and killing their prey across thousands of leagues, making it almost pointless to run from them. What is worse, single mature Shield Spiders are hunting outside of their nest. They prefer to herd fleeing prey straight into the pits. If the net collapses, the inhabitating spiders are swarming all over it, both to protect the eggs and to find the prey.[1]

They are considered to be a Silver-rank threat, while a nest of them might even lead to the notification of a Gold-rank team. Their carapace is extremely tough and can resist acid and steel blades, while there bite is so poisonous that not even a Healing Potion could cure it.[1]

Rags' tribe could clear out smaller Shield Spider pits with few casualties even before she migrated out of the area of Liscor, provided that there were at least two Hobgoblins and enough Goblins present.[9]

Weaknesses[]

They can be burnt, especially their dry, webbed pits are vulnerable to fire.[1]

Blunt force or piercing through the carapace is the strategy that experienced warriors employ,[2] but this is the brute force approach for which enormous strength is required.[10]

Acid works rather slow against their thick armor, although it can corrode the joints once it gets into there.[1]

While spiders are not known for being noisy, Shield Spiders scream when they die[1] or when provoked.[11]

Habitat around Liscor[]

Shield Spiders are can be found in the Floodplains, where they are a major danger most of the year. Other parts of Izril where they occur are the Gnoll Plains.[12]

They are a pest in the muddy valleys around Liscor shortly after the flood period ends, and are exterminated each year in an event referred to as the annual spring culling. The backbone of the Shield Spider hunt are Liscor's adventurers and the City Guard, but Antinium Soldiers or the military may also compete in this event.[2][13] While the culling in the first year of Painted Antinium participation was especially successful, the Spider Mating was also greatly enhanced after various events that provided enough prey for them.[14] However, forays against Shield Spiders can be done all around the year; Ilvriss for example went out to clear out a few spider pits before the season started, when he was bored.[15]

The majority of the Shield Spider population in the Floodplains was exterminated by [Druid] Nalthaliarstrelous.[16]

Usage[]

The solid carapace is a base material for crafting,[17] including even armor[18]. Shield Spider Armor is a trade secret of the Armored Antinium [19]

The Adventurer's Guild of Liscor has a bounty of an average of eleven pieces of silver per Shield Spider slain and will pay more for their bodies,[17] though unbroken carapaces, broken or burnt ones are worth much less.[20]

Erin has expressed her intention to make a meal out of Shield Spiders, but has not followed through since.[21] Garry the Antinium cook has however already gone there and done that, having presented a Stuffed Shield Spider abdomen with lentils and fried eggs to his Queen.[22]

As Pets[]

Shield Spiders can't be tamed unless by a very experienced [Beastmaster].[1] One Goblin tribe under the command of the [Goblin Lord], namely their chieftain Blacktide, had taken to use living tamed Shield Spiders as mounts.[23] That particular tribe was last prominently seen during the Battle of Invrisil.[24]

[Necromancers] can try and use dead shield spiders. Pisces is known to employ tiny undead shield spiders as spies[25]; while Reiss used a very large undead Shield Spider as his mount,[26] after Zel Shivertail killed it.[4]

Revi Cotton the [Summoner] has captured the spirit of a Shield Spider as a tool to fight for her.[27] She can also summon an entire horde of Shield Spiders.[28]

Trivia[]

  • The Antinium hate spiders; even the dead ones make the Workers very agitated.[17] This may have to do with the fact that the Antinium nutrition sludge includes Shield Spiders[2], but also that the Antinium regularly battle the spiders underground.
  • After clearing out a nest early in her career as an [Innkeeper], Erin lost respect of Shield Spiders as a serious threat.[29]
  • Liscor's Dungeon has a large pit (a mile-deep vertical drop) with hundred's of thousands of enormous Shield Spiders - that is one of the (as currently assumed: five) main monster caverns (or monster silos).[3] Another one held Face-Eater Moths. The Shield Spider Cavern was sealed from the Dungeon proper by the Halfseekers and Griffon Hunt with a magically-raised wall.[30]
  • Shield Spiders will instinctually abandon their prey when faced with the threat of Crelers and even fight together with other species against this threat.[11]
  • Erin didn't believe that Toren would pushed Lyonette into Shield Spider nests to terrorize her. Which he did.[31]

References[]

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