Giant Spiders are huge predatory arachnids that try to avoid contact with all other species. They are not very intelligent and work solely on instinct. As well they are powerful and extremely quick. All Giant Spiders are poisonous in two ways: paralyzing and gooifying. The sight of one instills fear in anyone that sees one and gives the Spider an advantage.
Image description: The most dangerous of all Giant Spiders, a Tormenter, closing in on its prey. Picture drawn by Mikael.
Appearance. Ranging from 1-2 peds to 4 peds in diameter, Giant Spiders are a gruesome sight to see. They have 8 legs, which all have different uses. The two forelegs have pincers at their ends. Rightly so these are used for defense and as well slightly stability when moving quickly. The two legs in the mid-section of the Spider are used for stability in movement and are the primary movers when a Giant Spider wants to move sideways. The two back legs are used primarily for the power in the forward movement. Giant Spiders generally range from 1-3 hebs in weight and are fairly lean compared to their size. In general, the legs of Giant Spiders are not very dense compared to the rest of the body. The density of a Giant Spider depends on its type and how its hunting is going. There are 3 different types of Giant Spiders known to the races: Shiverlings and Arachnoranchas (short: Arachs) are the most common of the bunch and fall into the smaller range whereas the rare and extremely powerful Tormentor falls in the larger range:
The Shiverlings ("Shivers")
Shiverlings (short form: "Shivers") are the smallest of Giant Spiders. They are normally grey with black symmetrical lines on their, backs but occasionally a black one can be found as well. They have little to no hair on their bodies. The symmetrical lines are very indicative to their standing in the group. The more lines they have, the older they are. They can be found in any forest that is big enough for them to hide in. They will venture out to open fields as long as they feel the area is safe. The reason they are called Shiverlings is due to their poison. They have a distinct advantage in that they are able to spit their poison whereas the other types of spiders have to bite their prey to poison it. Shiverling poison paralyzes the victim and sends them into small convulsions so that it looks like the prey is shivering. Shiverlings tend to make their nests on the ground in caves or hollows.
The Arachnoranchas ("Arachs")
Arachnoranchas (short form: "Arachs") are only slightly bigger than the Shiverlings They are black with red markings on their backs. They are the hairiest of all the Spiders and can sometimes have hair up to half a ped long. Their heads seem slightly disproportionate to their bodies, looking somewhat big. Arachs usually hide in the deepest parts of the forests in which they reside and do not venture far from their lairs. They make their nests as high up in the trees as they possibly can so that they can be away from everything else going on in the forest. They are at home in the trees almost as much as they are on ground. Some can actually move faster in the trees than on the ground. Arachs tend to drop on their prey from above, biting them before they can react. Their poison causes their victims to be paralyzed and it slowly eats away at its insides. Once the victim's internal organs have been liquefied the Arachs feasts on its prey.
Tormentors are much bigger than the other Spiders, the smallest being about one and a half times the size of the biggest Arachs. Tormentors are completely black with no other markings on them. They have no hair whatsoever on their bodies, are extremely rare and have a very short lifespan (1-2 years). The main role of the Tormentor is to impregnate the females of the Arachs and Shiverlings. Different Tormentors develop different habits. The Tormentor develops the habits of either of the other two types of spiders. Without this adaptation, there would be no young born as Tormentors are the only males. In general they are outcasts from the Spider society and are only allowed to enter another Spider's area during the mating season.
Giant Spiders have two special abilities. The first is the ability to move just
as quickly laterally as they can forward which the four flexible legs in the mid
section of the Spider accomplish. Removing one of those four legs will not
simply cut the Spiderís mobility in quarter, but it will cut it in fact in half,
both for forward and lateral movement.
The second most notable ability of a Giant Spider is its sense for its own threads. The instant something is trapped in one of the Spider's webs the Spider knows instinctively and precisely which web it is. The reason for this seems that the string of the web is part of the Spiderís body. When something gets caught on the web the Spider can feel it on its own body from the pressure exerted. If the Spider has too much web it becomes less effective at sensing the vibrations in the web. This is not a serious issue for these beasts because the web is sticky and the captured prey struggles to get free. During this struggle the Spider can pinpoint where the food is. This is how Giant Spiders are so quick to get to their prey.
Territory. Giant Spiders can be found in caverns in the depths of the earth or in deep, dark parts of forests, be it below Santharian lands or in the northern part of the Sarvonian continent. They are sometimes found in desert areas as well, but are less likely to be here. Giant Spiders have mainly been seen in the Shivering Wood and the southern parts of the Vontron, but also in caves of the Zirkumire Mountains, north of Ximax. Especially large parts of the Skeleton Coast in Northern Sarvonia are said to be extremely Spider infested, and their webs may spread over large, dark canyons, where not much sunlight comes through. But only few people venture in this dangerous region to tell the tale of these magnificent natural wonders...
Habitat/Behaviour. If someone sees one of these Spiders it is likely that they have been caught in one of their snares. Reclusive by nature Giant Spiders do not intermingle in their own types, let alone other beasts. If they were to see a Spider more than likely it would be in the depths of a forest or a deep dark cavern. Usually no one sees one unless they go looking for it. If they were to see one it would more than likely be hunting for food or checking its webs. If someone were lucky to get close enough to see its lair it could be found toying with its food or setting up traps around the area. Most of what a Giant Spider does is purely based on instinct, they are said to have little to no intelligence in general.
Males generally have a lifespan of 1-2 years and females have a lifespan of upwards of 10 years
Diet. Giant Spiders feast on flesh and blood. They eat anything and everything that gets caught in one of their snares. They don't have any particularity as to what they eat, as long as it is flesh and blood it is food for the Spiders. Sometimes when prey is low they will eat even their own kind. Spiders do not normally coexist so they have no qualms about eating Spiders of another type. After they have captured something to eat, Spiders paralyze their prey, then wrap it into a silk cocoon. The cocoon is wrapped so tightly that none of the strongest men could escape it. The silk is also sticking so it is extremely difficult to cut through more than several strands without cleaning the blade. Spiders do not eat their prey right away but when they finally get around to it they inject a poison that turns their preyís innards into a savory jelly. They then leave their food hanging for several days, sometimes even weeks. Finally the Giant Spiders suck their prey dry until there is only skin left.
Mating. Though Giant Spiders do not normally intermingle they must intermingle to reproduce. All of the Shiverlings and Arachs are female whereas the Tormentors are male. The Tormentors come along every once in a while to fertilize the eggs that have been planted by the females. There is no ritual between them, it is simply done by instinct. This is why Giant Spiders have not expanded their areas of control. If the females were to change where their lair is the male would not be able to fertilize the eggs and hence there would be no reproduction of the species. In each lair there is only one male born. If there is more than one male born then it will grow to be able to fertilize the next batch of eggs. If more than one is born they will battle to determine which one survives. For these male Giant Spiders there is no running away. They keep fighting until one is left standing. Since male lifetimes are only 1-2 years, if the father of the current fertilizer returns the next year, he will be summarily be killed by the females. There are a few rare occasions where all the males die before they can fertilize the eggs and a year of eggs has gone to waste. That is why the lifetime of females is so much longer than that of males.
Information provided by Artimidor and Tyrian Jadewalker