View Full Version : Spider Vampire ideas?

2015-08-28, 02:16 AM
In my current campaign, the BBEG is a vampire, but not a generic one. Basically, there was a race of spider-people (ettercaps crossed with pillars of eternity Vithrack, sort of) who had a high portion of necromancers in their population. They invented a way to turn their best and brightest into vampire/lich-like undead, but died out before they could. Enter the BBEG, who finds a book of this spider necromancy and uses it to turn himself into a vampire. However, the transformation gives him a lot of spider traits since it was designed to work on spider-people. Hence the draining of vital fluids, the heightened eyesight, etc.

I'd like input on what kind of abilities and weaknesses he should have that maintain the spider/undead theme. Not hard stats, just suggestions. Thanks for the help!

2015-08-28, 02:53 AM
In some myths, vampires are susceptible to fire.
In some popular culture, spiderwebs are flammable.
Perhaps the spider-lich is vulnerable to fire damage.

Climbing on walls is a common theme for spiders and vampires.

Maybe when it dominates someone, it does so through a thick web-strand leading to the back of the person's head. That makes a traditional vampire tactic easier for the PCs to detect and counter-act ("I sunder the web-strand").

2015-08-28, 02:59 AM
Lift from Tolkien? Light (especially piercing, righteous light) is dazzling and painful.

There's also Stephen King's "It"; arachnid analog nasty that uses fear to feed on susceptible kids. Similar to to Butcher's White Court vamps; those that feed on fear are repulsed by bravery, despair are burned by hope, lust feeders' lips blister when they touch someone experiencing True Love.

2015-08-28, 07:54 AM
I like the idea, but darnit, I would have liked it SO much more if the spider theme and vampire one were rolled into one succinct template if you will. Like a spider themed vampire bloodline, rather than vampirism made by spider people.
Do their traits get passed on? No?

As far as weaknesses go, one could be penalties to one's social ability score. A lingering feeling of predation as well as the slight body horror associated with having 6 other eyes could work.
Another is the compulsion to nest and save their food, rather than draining them on the spot.

For abilities? Gotta go with arachnomancy there. Good ol spider magic. Controlling swarms, using them to spy and assassinate for you. Summoning bigger ones for combat, and spells for various little tricks spiders have.
Also, different spells for different kinds of webs. Ones that are sticky, ones that are extremely strong tensile wise, and maybe garrote wire webs. Also, venom spells with a plethora of different effects.

2015-08-28, 08:10 AM
Don't go for the big creepy crawly. It's cartoonish and goofy unless done *really* well.
Instead, go for the swarm. Imagine, a living carpet of arachnids, moving with a single purpose, crawling over your body, the rustling chittering of thousands of legs forming words.

2015-08-28, 08:48 AM
... and model them as one huge crowd, otherwise the minionmancy (and dice rolling, and mathematics, and...) becomes a totally different sort of nightmare.

Red Fel
2015-08-28, 09:09 AM
I agree, vamp turning into the swarm is terrifying in an I am going to start screaming now and I don't think I'll stop sense. Bonus points, some versions of vampires (or other supernatural creatures) that have to be killed in a specific way involve the baddie turning into a swarm of vermin, and if you don't make sure every single one dies, the bugger comes back.

That said, there's literal spider, and then there's conceptual spider. And what, pray tell, is a conceptual spider? It's the idea. Look at what spiders give us. There's the web. The idea of an elaborate, carefully woven, all-encompassing trap, almost invisible until you wander in, inescapable once you do. The vibrations in the web - the squirming panic of the spider's prey - brings the intruder to the spider's attention, and the terrified writhing gives him pleasure. There's the entombment. After becoming ensnared in the spider's web, the victim is encased. It's a slow but thorough process, as mobility is hindered, then completely prevented, then light is cut off, and then air... and then everything. That gradual, building sense of despair, desperation and futility. There's the venom. The spider, having encased its prey, doesn't simply eat it right there. It injects its prey with a little something nasty, to liquefy its insides and turn it into a flesh smoothie. That kind of death, destruction from the inside out, is uniquely agonizing. Lastly, there are the eyes. Lots of eyes. So many **** eyes. The beast is all-seeing, and within its web domain, all-powerful.

So, let's put that together. What should it mean when your BBEG does whatever a spider-vamp does? Domain. Spiders have webs, your spider-vamp needs a domain. Within that domain, he should be more or less aware of everything. Easy way to do that is a creepy castle with cobwebs all over every surface, through which he can sense the PCs or any other intruders. The web. His domain should be a trap-fest. Not universally lethal ones - in fact, most of them should be fairly non-lethal, just crippling, injuring, and terrifying. The goal is to break the victims, and enjoy their fear and pain. Engulfing. The spider-vamp's lair should slowly build in the PCs a sense of futility. It should start as seeming inescapable, and then be terrifying, and then get worse. Every step should make the PCs feel less like superheroes, and more like flies in a web. The venom. Sow in the PCs a sense of doubt, confusion, and fear, by means of taunts and traps. Make them doubt themselves, make them pray for an end to their suffering. The encounter. The spider-vamp shouldn't be substantially more powerful than your average vamp. A few spider-themed abilities, like the swarm. But the real point should be that the PCs are already dead inside by the time they face him. Spiders don't generally prey on living, full-strength creatures; they generally prey on exhausted, encased, envenomed half-dead things. That's how your BBEG should fight.
Also, fire bad, because fire.

2015-08-28, 10:14 AM
@Southpaw- I was going to go with the traditional "sunlight kills" approach, but I love the idea of holy light driving him back. Though it may encourage the party to take portable spotlights with them haha.

@DMVerdandi- The BBEG is basically a spider-themed vampire bloodline now. There are no "classic" vampires to compare it to though. If the BBEG just offs someone, they won't become a vampire, but there is a difficult ritual that allows him to create more spider-vampire servants. I really like the idea of the ritual altering his venom briefly, during which time he can turn anyone he bites through a long, slow, inexorable poison that slowly corrupts their body and soul.

@RedFel- Thank you for that beautiful and succinct set of guidelines!

Dominates both humanoids and arachnids via gaze
Dissolves into a swarm of spiders at will, must kill them all to kill him outright
Can perform a ritual to create henchmen spider/vampires

Dies in sunlight
Stunned by righteous light
Extra damage from fire

The BBEG has a keep, a old ruined village and accompanying graveyard, a high level necromancer, and about 6ish vampire henchmen. Suggestions for spider-themed trapping it to kingdom come? Thanks for the help!

2015-08-29, 02:43 PM
Heh, here's an idea. As they take damage, rents and gashes appear, but they don't bleed. Instead, their body distorts, their form collapsing into itself, as spiders begin to spill out of the gaping wounds until nothing is left but a torn bag of skin and a swarm of spiders, as an alternative to the generic 'gaseous form at 0 hit points'.

2015-08-29, 04:49 PM
Vampires sometimes turn into a swarm of rats, bats and summon wolves. Instead, turn into a swarm of spiders and summon huge spiders.

Rather than just biting his pray, he could cover them in a web cocoon first and drain them from there.

Another thing could be to give the vampire 4 extra arms.

Could also make sticky silk nets and throw them at people.