A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Drider (template)

    Drider

    The monster's beauty somehow makes it seem all the more appalling. From above, the fine ebon features, ruby eyes, and shining white hair of a drow warrior clad in armour. From below, the clattering legs and abdomen of a tremendous black spider.

    The creature bares ivory fangs and you and hisses, before scuttling forward with inhuman speed to attack.


    Driders are tragic, yet nonetheless horrifying creatures. These mortals have been cursed by the drow goddess Lloth for failing or defying her, and are doomed to live on as hideous abominations. Some few retain their sanity but most become twisted things that despise all creatures, themselves above all.

    From the waist up a drider appears just as it did before being cursed, save for a pair of ivory fangs much like those of a vampire. From the waist down, it bears the body and many legs of a Large monstrous spider, usually with the glossy black chitin and red hourglass markings of a black widow. Almost all driders originate as drow priestesses, warriors, or wizards, though the occasional non-drow might also draw Lloth's ire.

    Driders speak Abyssal in addition to any languages they knew before being cursed.

    Creating A Drider
    "Drider" is an acquired template that can be applied to any humanoid or giant of at least 6th level (referred to hereafter as the base creature).

    Size & Type
    The creature's type changes to monstrous humanoid and its size increases one step (e.g. from Medium to Large). It retains all of its subtypes and gains the [Augmented] and [Evil] subtypes. It uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here or those that require a body part possessed only by the creature's original form.

    Hit Dice
    Increase all racial Hit Dice to d8s.

    Speed
    The creature's base land speed becomes 40 feet and it gains a climb speed of 20 feet.

    Armour Class
    A drider has a +6 natural armor bonus or the base creature’s natural armor bonus, whichever is better.

    Base Attack/Grapple
    Base attack bonus is unchanged. Recalculate the case creatures grapple bonus according to its new size modifier.

    Attacks & Damage
    A drider retains any manufactured weapon attacks and natural attacks of the base creature, save those that rely on its original lower body. It gains a bite attack as a primary natural attack (or as a secondary natural attack if wielding weapons) that also inflicts the creature's poison (see below). It also gains four slam attacks as secondary natural attacks (made with its legs). All these attacks deal damage based on the drider's size.

    Special Attacks
    A drider retains the special attacks of the base creature, and also gains the special attacks described below.

    Save DCs are equal to 10 + ½ drider’s HD + drider’s Con modifier unless otherwise noted.

    Cocoon (Ex)
    A drider may make a bite attack or may use its web attack against a grappled opponent by making a successful grapple check. A grappled creature is automatically ht by the web attack.

    Improved Grab (Ex)
    To use this ability, a drider must hit with a slam attack. If it wins the ensuing grapple check, it establishes a hold, may make a bite attack as a primary attack (at its full attack bonus), and may attempt to cocoon the opponent on the following round.

    Poison (Ex)
    A drider's venom is inflicted via its bite and deals initial and secondary damage of 2d4 Str on a failed Fortitude save.

    Web (Ex)
    A drider can throw a web once every 1d4 rounds. 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 up to one size category larger than the drider. An entangled creature can escape a web with a successful Escape Artist check or burst it with a Strength check. Attempts to burst a web by those caught in it take a –4 penalty.

    By spending 10 minutes of work, a drider can create a sheet of sticky webbing with maximum dimensions of one 5-foot square per Hit Dice. It may repeat this process as many times as it wishes, creating either separate or contiguous webs that last indefinitely. It usually positions these sheets to snare flying creatures but can also try to trap prey on the ground. Approaching creatures must succeed on a DC 20 Spot check to notice a web; otherwise they stumble into it and become trapped as though by a successful web attack. Attempts to escape or burst the webbing gain a +5 bonus if the trapped creature has something to walk on or grab while pulling free. Each 5-foot section of web has hit points equal to the drider's Hit Dice and damage reduction 5/—.

    Special Qualities
    A drider retains all the special qualities of the base creature, and also gains those described below.

    Darkvision (Ex)
    A drider gains darkvision out to 60 feet.

    Spider Empathy (Ex)
    This ability functions as a druid's wild empathy, save that the drider gains a +6 racial bonus on the check and may only use it to influence spiders and similar creatures.

    Spider's Ichor (Ex)
    For all effects related to race, a drider is considered to be the base creature, a monstrous humanoid, a creature of the vermin type, and a spider.

    Tremorsense (Ex)
    A drider can detect and pinpoint any creature or object within 60 feet in contact with the ground, or within any range in contact with the drider’s webs.

    Undersized Weapons (Ex)
    Although it has greatly increased in bulk, a drider wields manufactured weapons and deals damage with its bite attack as though it were a creature of its original size (i.e. Medium for a Large drider).

    Web-Walking (Ex)
    As an immediate action a drider may affix a line of webbing to a solid point within reach and descend as if via featherfall (or faster if it chooses to release the line). While descending (or ascending a pre-existing line) in this way a drider may generate webbing indefinitely and may support up to its maximum encumbrance in creatures and objects.

    A drider can move freely across any webs at its climb speed without penalty. It can even move freely through the area of web spell, as if it were using air walk in open air.

    Saves
    Unchanged.

    Abilities
    A drider gains +2 Constitution, +4 Dexterity, and +4 Strength.

    Skills
    Climb, Hide, Intimidate, Knowledge (dungeoneering), Knowledge (religion), Listen, Move Silently, Spot, and Survival are always treated as class skills for the drider (the drider regains any cross-class skill ranks invested in these skills when the template is applied).

    Driders have a +8 racial bonus on Climb checks and may always take 10 on such checks. Driders gain a +8 racial bonus on Move Silently checks travelling via webs.

    Feats
    Same as the base creature.

    Environment
    Same as the base creature.

    Organization
    Solitary or nest (6-10). Driders are often accompanied by monstrous spiders of varying sizes.

    Challenge Rating
    As base creature +1.

    Treasure
    Standard.

    Alignment
    Always chaotic evil. Virtually all driders are driven mad by their curse, whether directly or by their ensuing despair. Exceptions are so rare as to be non-existent.

    Spoiler: Drider Adventurers
    Show

    Characters that succumb to the mental aspect of the curse become loyal to Lloth, which affects certain classes as described below. Characters that are transformed physically but that retain their original alignments also retain their original statistics.

    Clerics lose their ability to turn undead but gain the ability to rebuke undead. They replace their original domains with any two of the following domains: Chaos, Darkness, Destruction, Evil, Madness, or Trickery.

    Druids and rangers must select monstrous spiders as their animal companions.

    Druids and monks may continue to advance in those classes, in spite of their chaotic evil alignment.

    Paladins cannot advance as paladins but may advance as blackguards, ignoring the prerequisites of that class.

    Sorcerers and wizards must select a Tiny monstrous spider as their familiar.

    Advancement
    By character class.

    Level Adjustment
    Same as the base creature +2.

    Feats
    Envenomed Weapons
    You've learned to apply your venom to your manufactured weapons.

    Prerequisites
    Poison special attack.

    Benefits
    Your manufactured weapons also inflict the effects of your poison.

    Special
    This feat does not allow you to stockpile, share, or sell your poison - it is simply assumed that you apply the poison to your weapons sometime before an encounter and that it rapidly loses its potency once removed from your person.
    Last edited by rferries; 2020-03-08 at 03:19 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    May 2016

    Default Re: Drider (template)

    Hey, rferries. This is a great idea, and I think it's an excellent template.

    I have a couple thoughts and questions that I hope will be helpful to you. I notice you're using Pathfinder, and I'm a 3.5e guy, so please forgive me if some of my comments here are edition-based misconceptions.

    One of the things that stands out to me is that I'm always leery about abilities that diverge sharply from the norm without any real justification. What I mean by that is that you've given your drider a few attack options that are kind of unusual for a spiderkind creature, and I feel like that's the kind of thing that needs a real justification before you do it. Like, the slam attacks are a nifty idea, but I can't think of a good reason why a drider should have those if a similar-sized spider doesn't have them. Likewise with Improved Grab: if a standard spider doesn't get Improved Grab, it doesn't seem to make much sense for a drider to get it. And having the Grab ability work with unarmed strikes is also a divergence from the norm.

    None of these are bad ideas --- as a professional spider biologist, I kind of feel like Improved Grab is a really good fit for spiders --- but they feel like the kinds of things that would be better implemented as general house rules to be retrofitted to all spiderkind creatures, rather than as elements of a specific spiderkind template. If someone's not using these abilities for all spiderkind, then I kind of think this template shouldn't grant it, either.

    I also think you might be giving a little too much for LA +1 here. Five natural attacks, all of which have Improved Grab as a rider, alongside Poison and Web, and +8 Str, +4 Dex, +4 Con. Spiders tend to have below-average Strength scores for their size, so I would recommend a more modest Str boost, like +4. And I'd remove the slams.

    Some other comments and thoughts here:

    Quote Originally Posted by rferries View Post
    Hit Dice
    Increase all current and future Hit Dice to d8s.
    I think this language is only used for undead, and I don't think it makes sense for the drider's d8's to override the normal hit dice you get from class levels (the way undead hit dice work), so it should probably just say "racial hit dice increase to d8s." But, all creatures that can qualify already have d8 hit dice, so I'm not sure this is even necessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by rferries View Post
    Base Attack/Grapple
    Recalculate according to the creature's new size.
    Are you recalculating BAB here too? Or just the size modifiers to grapple checks?

    Quote Originally Posted by rferries View Post
    Cocoon (Ex)
    A drider may make a bite attack and/or may use its web attack against a grappled opponent by making a successful grapple check.
    This is neat, and calling it "Coccoon" is a good touch. I kind of wish I'd thought of that name, instead of the "Silken Touch" I ended up using.

    Quote Originally Posted by rferries View Post
    Poison (Ex)
    A drider's venom is inflicted via its bite and deals initial and secondary damage of 2d4 Str on a failed Fortitude save. A creature reduced to 0 Strength by the poison takes Constitution damage instead of Strength damage as its internal organs are dissolved.
    Is this Strength-to-Constitution thing a normal way for poisons to work in Pathfinder? I've never seen it before, so this is another thing I'd personally avoid if you aren't using it as a general house rule. But it is an interesting way to represent necrotizing poison.

    Quote Originally Posted by rferries View Post
    Web (Sp)
    Is there a specific reason why you made the Web ability spell-like? It's always Ex for spiderkind, isn't it?

    Quote Originally Posted by rferries View Post
    By spending 10 minutes of work, a drider can create a sheet of sticky webbing up to three times its size.
    There's nothing wrong here, but something in me wants to see the web size defined in terms of a specific number of squares. Plus, three times its own size is kind of... dinky. A Medium drider just gets 3 squares? For the spiders I worked with, webs were almost like the proportional size of a basketball court (don't quote me on that: I haven't actually checked the math, and I think I'm exaggerating). Maybe something like "Constitution modifier x size category (Tiny = 1, Small = 2, etc)" would be a fairly reasonable number of squares? It would probably get ridiculously big for some of the giants, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by rferries View Post
    Spider's Ichor (Ex)
    For all effects related to race, a drider is considered to be the base creature, a monstrous humanoid, a creature of the vermin type, and a spider.
    You might want to specify "whichever is more beneficial" here, just to head off any confusion over apparent paradoxes.

    Quote Originally Posted by rferries View Post
    Undersized Weapons (Ex)
    Although it has greatly increased in bulk, a drider wields manufactured weapons and deals damage with its bite attack as though it were a creature of its original size (i.e. Medium for a Large drider).
    This is something I like to implement with centaurs and other "tauric" creatures, so I approve; but I still think this is better as a general house rule, rather than for a specific template. I actually implemented it as a new "Tauric" subtype for Monstrous Humanoids. It has undersized weapons, but also loses the size penalty on attack rolls and the size bonus on grapple checks, and it counts as a Humanoid for effects that only target Humanoids (because they basically are humanoid from the waist up).

    Quote Originally Posted by rferries View Post
    Web-Walking (Ex)
    As an immediate action a drider may affix a line of webbing to a solid point within reach and descend as if via featherfall (or faster if it chooses to release the line). While descending (or ascending a pre-existing line) in this way a drider may generate webbing indefinitely and may support up to its maximum encumbrance in creatures and objects.
    This is one of the more elegant and simpler ways I've seen someone write in mechanics for dragline silk, so that's awesome.

    Quote Originally Posted by rferries View Post
    Feats
    Envenomed Weapons
    You've learned to apply your venom to your manufactured weapons.

    Prerequisites
    Poison special attack.

    Benefits
    Your manufactured weapons also inflict the effects of your poison.

    Special
    This feat does not allow you to stockpile, share, or sell your poison - it is simply assumed that the poison rapidly loses its potency once removed from your person.
    This is an excellent feat. I've tried to think of ways to do this, but I'm always stuck on the idea that it needs to take an action of some kind to apply the poison. Maybe it's not so important after all, though? I might also want to restrict it to piercing and slashing weapons, just because a deep, open wound is kind of what I imagine is necessary for Injury poisons.

    -----

    Anyway, this is a cool template, and I hope my comments will be helpful to you in some way.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Drider (template)

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Jay View Post
    I notice you're using Pathfinder, and I'm a 3.5e guy, so please forgive me if some of my comments here are edition-based misconceptions.
    No worries - they're meant for 3.5 but I like to crib things from PF (e.g. Undersized Weapons, the Pathfinder version of Web, etc).

    One of the things that stands out to me is that I'm always leery about abilities that diverge sharply from the norm without any real justification. What I mean by that is that you've given your drider a few attack options that are kind of unusual for a spiderkind creature, and I feel like that's the kind of thing that needs a real justification before you do it. Like, the slam attacks are a nifty idea, but I can't think of a good reason why a drider should have those if a similar-sized spider doesn't have them. Likewise with Improved Grab: if a standard spider doesn't get Improved Grab, it doesn't seem to make much sense for a drider to get it. And having the Grab ability work with unarmed strikes is also a divergence from the norm.

    None of these are bad ideas --- as a professional spider biologist, I kind of feel like Improved Grab is a really good fit for spiders --- but they feel like the kinds of things that would be better implemented as general house rules to be retrofitted to all spiderkind creatures, rather than as elements of a specific spiderkind template. If someone's not using these abilities for all spiderkind, then I kind of think this template shouldn't grant it, either.
    I much prefer to have things standardized as well, this was just something of an exception as I was trying to emulate real-life spiders e.g. immediately wrapping up ensnared prey (hence having Improved Grab), and doing so using their front legs (hence having slam attacks, or for a drider their humanoid arms as well). Agreed that these abilities should be applied to existing monstrous spiders IMHO. Edited the Improved Grab to remove unarmed strikes though, now it just uses the actual "spider" anatomy.

    The multiple slam attacks were inspired by centaurs - if a centaur gets 2 hoof attacks, a drider should get 4 (since they have twice as many legs haha). However I think even standard monstrous spiders should get slams as well - it may not be entirely true to real life but Shelob, sword spiders, and similar fantastical spiders are usually able to strike with their legs.

    I also think you might be giving a little too much for LA +1 here. Five natural attacks, all of which have Improved Grab as a rider, alongside Poison and Web, and +8 Str, +4 Dex, +4 Con. Spiders tend to have below-average Strength scores for their size, so I would recommend a more modest Str boost, like +4. And I'd remove the slams.
    I reasoned that since the template can only be applied to level 6+ characters (in keeping with the original lore), there was a bit more leeway with the power level - spiderclimb, flight, grappling builds etc can all outperform what the template gives you at that level.

    Reducing the Str hurts potential grappling builds and feels a bit off (a horse-sized spider feels like it should have proportionately greater strength) but it's fair enough I suppose, so I've reduced the boosts to Con +2, Dex +4, and Str +4 (almost in line with a Large monstrous spider's racial modifiers) and eliminated the animalistic Wisdom bonus entirely.

    I think this language is only used for undead, and I don't think it makes sense for the drider's d8's to override the normal hit dice you get from class levels (the way undead hit dice work), so it should probably just say "racial hit dice increase to d8s." But, all creatures that can qualify already have d8 hit dice, so I'm not sure this is even necessary.
    Fair enough, I've eliminated this portion.

    Are you recalculating BAB here too? Or just the size modifiers to grapple checks?
    Good catch, fixed.

    Is this Strength-to-Constitution thing a normal way for poisons to work in Pathfinder? I've never seen it before, so this is another thing I'd personally avoid if you aren't using it as a general house rule. But it is an interesting way to represent necrotizing poison.
    It was another attempt at verisimilitude, but it's probably overcomplicated. Removed the digestive enzymes haha.

    Is there a specific reason why you made the Web ability spell-like? It's always Ex for spiderkind, isn't it?
    Whoops! I had originally planned it to simply be web X times/day, forgot to edit the heading.

    There's nothing wrong here, but something in me wants to see the web size defined in terms of a specific number of squares. Plus, three times its own size is kind of... dinky. A Medium drider just gets 3 squares? For the spiders I worked with, webs were almost like the proportional size of a basketball court (don't quote me on that: I haven't actually checked the math, and I think I'm exaggerating). Maybe something like "Constitution modifier x size category (Tiny = 1, Small = 2, etc)" would be a fairly reasonable number of squares? It would probably get ridiculously big for some of the giants, though.
    Agreed, I was just copy-pasting from PF. Edited it to "By spending 10 minutes of work, a drider can create a sheet of sticky webbing with maximum dimensions of one 5-foot square per Hit Dice. It may repeat this process as many times as it wishes, creating either separate or contiguous webs that last indefinitely. " - this isn't huge, but the idea is that a drider can repeat the process as many times as they wish to create a huge web or blanket the walls/floor/ceiling of their lair (think Xenomorphs).

    You might want to specify "whichever is more beneficial" here, just to head off any confusion over apparent paradoxes.
    This is cribbed from the "Orc Blood" & "Elven Blood" of half-orcs/elves - as with those qualities it is usually harmful (e.g. susceptible to multiple types of bane weapons).

    This is something I like to implement with centaurs and other "tauric" creatures, so I approve; but I still think this is better as a general house rule, rather than for a specific template. I actually implemented it as a new "Tauric" subtype for Monstrous Humanoids. It has undersized weapons, but also loses the size penalty on attack rolls and the size bonus on grapple checks, and it counts as a Humanoid for effects that only target Humanoids (because they basically are humanoid from the waist up).
    Agreed, I just include it in my "tauric" homebrew each time (and cribbed it from PF) - my centaurs have both this and Powerful Build haha. Neat idea of making an actual subtype though - there are certainly enough creatures (lamia, centaurs, salamanders, driders etc) that could use it.

    This is an excellent feat. I've tried to think of ways to do this, but I'm always stuck on the idea that it needs to take an action of some kind to apply the poison. Maybe it's not so important after all, though? I might also want to restrict it to piercing and slashing weapons, just because a deep, open wound is kind of what I imagine is necessary for Injury poisons.
    Edited a bit re:application, though I'm going to rule that "injury" poisons can still work through bludgeoning weapons for simplicity.

    Thanks for kind words and very detailed comments!

  4. - Top - End - #4
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    nonsi's Avatar

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    Default Re: Drider (template)

    .

    What about racial HD?
    All those benefits with only LA +1 is way over the top.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Drider (template)

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    .

    What about racial HD?
    All those benefits with only LA +1 is way over the top.
    The goal was to avoid racial HD and treat it as a pure template (like vampirism). I think something else that's being overlooked is that the template is applied only to characters of 6th level or higher (in keeping with the original Lloth lore), so the benefits are largely superfluous at that level.

    However! I've increased the LA to +2 now anyways :)

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Drider (template)

    so if a cleric trade his turn undead for something else before becoming a drider then this cleric would lose nothing and gain rebuking?

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Drider (template)

    Quote Originally Posted by noob View Post
    so if a cleric trade his turn undead for something else before becoming a drider then this cleric would lose nothing and gain rebuking?
    No, they shouldn't gain anything then (at least by RAI).

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