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19th century rendition of the metamorphosis of Arachné into an eight-legged monster, by Gustave Doré 19th century rendition of the metamorphosis of Arachné into an eight-legged monster, by Gustave Doré

Arachne was a fine weaver in Hypaipa of Lydia who became so conceited of her skill as a weaver that she began claiming that her skill was greater than that of Athena, the goddess of weaving.

Athena was angered, but gave Arachne a chance to redeem herself. Assuming the form of an old woman, she warned Arachne not to offend the gods. Arachne scoffed and wished for a weaving contest, so she could prove her skill. Athena dropped her disguise and the contest began.

Athena wove the scene of her victory over Poseidon that had inspired the people of Athens to name their city for her. Arachne's tapestry featured Zeus: Zeus being unfaithful with Leda, Zeus being unfaithful with Europa, Zeus being unfaithful with Danae.

Even Athena admitted that Arachne's work was flawless, but was outraged at Arachne's disrespectful choice of subjects. Finally losing her temper, Athena destroyed her tapestry and loom, and struck Arachne on the head. Arachne realized her folly and was crushed with shame. She ran off and hanged herself.

Athena took pity on Arachne. Sprinkling her with the juices of aconite, Athena loosened the rope, which became a cobweb, while Arachne herself was changed into a spider.


Possessing both humanoid and spiderlike forms. An aranea is an intelligent, shapechanging spider with sorcerous powers. In its natural form, an aranea resembles a big spider, with a humpbacked body a little bigger than a human torso. It has fanged mandibles like a normal spider. Two small arms, each about 2 feet long, lie below the mandibles. Each arm has a hand with four many-jointed fingers and a double-jointed thumb.

An aranea weighs about 150 pounds. The hump on its back houses its brain.

Medium magical beast (Shapechanger)
Hit Dice 3d10+6 (22 hp)
Initiative +6
Speed 50 ft. (10 squares), Climb 25 ft.
Armor Class 13 (+2 Dexterity, +1 natural), touch 12, flat-footed 11
Base Attack/Grapple +3/+3
Attack Bite +5 melee (1d6 plus poison) or web +5 ranged
Full Attack Bite +5 melee (1d6 plus poison) or web +5 ranged
Space/Reach 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks Poison, spells, web
Special Qualities Change shape, Darkvision 60 ft., Low-Light Vision
Saves Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +4
Abilities Strength 11, Dexterity 15, Constitution 14, Intelligence 14, Wisdom 13, Charisma 14
Skills Climb +14, Concentration +8, Escape Artist +5, Jump +13, Listen +6, Spot +6
Improved Initiative, Iron WillB, Weapon Finesse
Temperate forests
Organization Solitary or colony (3-6)
Challenge Rating
Standard coins; double goods; standard items
Usually neutral
By character class
Level Adjustment +4


An aranea avoids physical combat and uses its webs and spells when it can. In a battle, it tries to immobilize or distract the most aggressive opponents first. Araneas often subdue opponents for ransom.

Poison (Ex) Injury, Fortitude DC 13, initial damage 1d6 Strength, secondary damage 2d6 Strength. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Spells An aranea casts spells as a 3rd-level sorcerer. It prefers illusions and enchantments and avoids fire spells.
Typical sorcerer Spells Known (6/6; save DC 12 + spell level):

0- daze, detect magic, ghost sound, light, resistance;

1st-mage armor, silent image, sleep.

Web (Ex) In spider or hybrid form (see below), an aranea can throw a web up to six times per day. 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 of up to Large size. The web anchors the target in place, allowing no movement.

An entangled creature can escape with a DC 13 Escape Artist check or burst the web with a DC 17 Strength check. The check DCs are Constitution-based, and the Strength check DC includes a +4 racial bonus. The web has 6 hit points, hardness 0, and takes double damage from fire.

Change Shape (Su) An aranea's natural form is that of a Medium monstrous spider. It can assume two other forms. The first is a unique Small or Medium humanoid; an aranea in its humanoid form always assumes the same appearance and traits, much as a lycanthrope would. In humanoid form, an aranea cannot use its bite attack, webs, or poison.

The second form is a Medium spider-humanoid hybrid. In hybrid form, an aranea looks like a Medium humanoid at first glance, but a DC 18 Spot check reveals the creature's fangs and spinnerets. The aranea retains its bite attack, webs, and poison in this form, and can also wield weapons or wear armor. When in hybrid form, an aranea's speed is 30 feet (6 squares).

An aranea remains in one form until it chooses to assume a new one. A change in form cannot be dispelled, nor does an aranea revert to its natural form when killed. A true seeing spell, however, reveals its natural form if it is in humanoid or hybrid form.

Skills Araneas have a +2 racial bonus on Jump, Listen, and Spot checks. They have a +8 racial bonus on Climb checks and can always choose to take 10 on Climb checks even if rushed or threatened.


Evandar_TAybara of the Wizards Community forums.

On this Thread

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (Arcana) can learn more about aranea. When a character makes a successful skill check, the following lore is revealed, including the information from lower DCs.

Knowledge (Arcana)
DC Result
14 This creature is an aranea, an intelligent, shapechanging spider. This result reveals all magical beast and shapechanger traits.
19 In its spider or hybrid forms, an aranea can throw webs and has a poisonous bite that can weaken or incapacitate opponents. Most araneas speak Common and Sylvan.
24 All araneas have some sorcerous talents, usually preferring illusions and enchantments and avoiding fire spells.

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