Friday, October 30, 2015

Frightful Fridays! Skull Spider

Hello, and thank you again for joining me in this celebration of three years of monster blogging. Today's post is on its rightful night, too. I couldn't let this mini run of monsters go by without including a spider monster. They're inherently creepy (at least to me), but I added a little more by having this spider drop its babies off in its victim, so they can gnaw on its brain and then make a home in the victim's skull and pretend to be him or her. That is a thing I could see sentient spiders doing, but that's just me.

I hope you enjoy the skull spider, and I'll be back tomorrow with the grand finale for this week's run. Thanks for reading!

Eight bristled, segmented legs support a humanoid skull with scraps of hair and rotting flesh making the victim’s features somewhat recognizable.
Skull Spider      CR 11
XP 12,800
LE Tiny aberration
Init +13; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +21
AC 26, touch 22, flat-footed 16 (+9 Dex, +1 dodge, +4 natural, +2 size)
hp 136 (16d8+64)
Fort +9, Ref +14, Will +12
Defensive Abilities improved evasion, skull; Immune mind-affecting effects
Speed 20 ft., climb 20 ft.
Melee bite +23 (1d4–1 plus grab and poison)
Space 2½ ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks deposit spiders, grab (Large)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 16th; concentration +20)
Str 8, Dex 29, Con 18, Int 21, Wis 14, Cha 19
Base Atk +12; CMB +19 (+23 grapple); CMD 29 (37 vs. trip)
Feats Agile Maneuvers, Combat Expertise, Deceitful, Dodge, Improved Feint, Improved Initiative, Mobility, Weapon Finesse
Skills Bluff +24, Climb +21, Disguise +24, Escape Artist +16, Knowledge (all) +13, Perception +20, Spellcraft +19, Stealth +21
Languages Common, Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, Halfling, Orc; telepathy 300 ft. (skull spiders only)
SQ hive mind
Environment any temperate
Organization solitary, pair, infiltration (3–6), hive (7–20)
Treasure incidental
Deposit Spiders (Ex) If a skull spider successfully grapples an opponent, it can deposit dozens of miniscule spiders in the victim as a swift action. At the beginning of the victim’s next turn and each minute thereafter, it must succeed at a DC 22 Fortitude save or take 1d6 points of Charisma drain. The victim is unaware of this drain, and a successful DC 20 Heal check is required to discover the infestation. When the victim reaches 0 Cha, one of the minute spiders grows to its adult size and takes control of the victim. The spider retains all of the victim’s knowledge, abilities, and skills as well as its own.
Removing the spiders requires area of effect damage equal to one-fourth the skull spider’s maximum hit points. Any spell or effect that harms vermin also works on the spiders.
Hive Mind (Ex) If within 300 feet of each other, no skull spider is considered flanked or flat-footed unless they all are.
Skull Spider Poison (Ex) Bite—Injury; save Fort DC 22; frequency 1/round for 4 rounds; effect 1d2 Dex; cure 1 save. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Skull (Ex) A skull spider typically inhabits a humanoid skull when it begins combat. As long as it does so, it gains hardness 5, but all its movement rates decrease to 15 ft., it takes a –4 penalty to Dexterity, and it loses the benefit of improved evasion. The spider’s statistics with the skull are Ref +12; Defensive Abilities hardness 5; Speed 15 ft., climb 15 ft.; Melee bite +21 (1d4–1 plus grab and poison); Dex 25; CMB +17 (+21 grapple); CMD 27 (35 vs. trip); Skills Escape Artist +14, Stealth +19.

Hailing from a distant world where they destroyed its civilizations, skull spiders traveled to this planet to start their conquest anew. These aberrant creatures have a spider-like appearance, but they are not true spiders. They feast on brain tissue and prefer brains belonging to intelligent creatures. After feeding, they gain the memories and abilities of the creature they consume, and they roost in the victim’s skull and impersonate the victim. Their stolen memories fade over time, however. After a three- to five-year period, the spiders bud offspring and detach themselves from their host, using the skull as armor and leaving a gory, headless body behind. Until this time, skull spiders typically conduct themselves as their victims would behave and gain new experiences to share with other skull spiders, including their offspring.

Skull spiders gather in groups for mutual protection and information sharing. Small groups infiltrate a settlement and slowly convert the inhabitants. If skull spiders exclusively populate the settlement, the creatures send out a reconnaissance group to scout for a suitable spot to relocate. Mass exoduses of skull spiders leave baffling trails of headless corpses.


  1. this is cool looking out of sheer curiosity though did you get the idea from webbers skull from Don't Starve

  2. Sorry I missed your comment earlier. I haven't played Don't Starve, so I didn't get it directly from there, but I might have run across a reference to it, and it could have lodged in my psyche. :)