OSR: Spider Wizards

Someone pointed out that putting one or two random words in front of "wizard" generates a class idea. Here's a "benefit spider wizard". If you thought my recent GLOG wizards were too sensible then this is the class for you.

If you don't like spiders, this is not the class for you.

Spiders are reasonably clever. They need to plot hunting routes and ambush paths and anchor points for webs. Small spiders don't typically live long enough to learn anything else, but they never stop growing. A few become the size of cats, cagey and clever, as smart as a person. Some grow larger and larger. In Foreign Parts, or deep underground, there are tales of spiders are big as horses or fabled elephants.

The slightest magical contamination - a wizard's library, a spilled potion, a buried artifact - tips spiders from cunning into true intelligence and self-awareness. They learn to write. They collaborate and build structures. Larger spiders occupy the same niche as wolves. Some species are pack hunters. Some, the most feared, hunt alone. They prefer lowland forests with dense trees, few paths, and limited sunlight.

Spider wizards are outsiders. Their abilities are slightly more advanced and reputable than folk magic and midnight witchcraft, but not reputable enough to receive official acknowledgement. They learned their spells from spiders, carefully bribed with food and friendship. They are a rare and eccentric breed.
 Nico Navarro

School: Spider Wizard

Perk: You are immune to spider venom. Spiderwebs refuse to stick to you.

Drawback: You must eat meat as a major component of any ration.


1. Perform a startling leap up to 20' horizontally or 10' vertically.
2. Touch a woven object to learn how long ago it was created. You may also receive impressions of its creator.

3. At will, you can remain perfectly motionless. You still need air, but you do not appear to breathe. You can remain like this for a number of hours equal to your Constitution.

Spider Wizard perks are situational but convenient. The drawback is significant if you are from a herbivorous race; you probably can't become a Spider Wizard. The cantrips are fairly useful for exploration.

Spider Wizard Spell List

You automatically get the "Speak with Spiders" spell at level 1. Roll for  your other spell normally.

1. Speak with Spiders
R: 0 T: self D: [dice] minutes
You can talk to spiders and they can talk back. Small spiders know about water, wind, and bugs. Larger spiders know about people and may even be able to tell them apart. Really large spiders, the dangerous ones, know all sorts of things. Spiders will generally treat people who can speak to them with cautious respect.

2. Hold Person
R: 50' T: creature D: concentration, up to [sum] rounds
Target creature is locked in place. You must maintain concentration for this spell to work. Target can breathe and move their eyes, but cannot swim, fly, or perform any other action. If the creature is particularly willful, blasphemous, or a spellcaster, it may Save each round to break free, with a penalty equal to the [dice] you invested.

3. Featherfall
R: 10’ T: [dice] creatures or objects D: 0
If you would take fall damage, you can cast this spell as a reaction to negate it. You float gently to the ground (possibly alarmingly late).

4. Entangling Web
R; 50' T: area D: 0
At a point you designate, a [dice]x10' radius sphere of web bursts into existence. Anything in the web moves at half speed and takes a -4 penalty to Attack and Defense.

5. Spontaneous Generation
R. touch T: object D: 0
You hand another creature a nonmagical object. They must willingly take it from you. The maximum size of the object depends on how many dice are invested in the spell: 1 [dice]: pebble-sized, 2 [dice]: grape-sized, 3 [dice]: bucket or helmet-sized, 4 [dice]: person-sized. Up to [sum] rounds later, at a time you chose, the object permanently turns into spiders (or one big spider). The spiders aren't hostile or venomous, but their bites itch and they probably don't want to be held.

6. Gift of
R: touch T: point D: [sum] hours
A rope [dice]x50' long appears where you designate. You can choose to have one end anchored securely to a solid surface. The rope is very strong and slightly sticky.

7. Gift of Fangs

R: touch T: [dice] weapons D: 1 hour
Weapons you touch become venomous, dealing an additional 1d4 damage on a hit.

8. Spiderclimb
R: touch T: [dice] creatures D: [sum] minutes
Targets can climb or walk up any solid surface as well as a spider could, even upside-down. Crumbling surfaces, liquids, or jumping will break the spell.

9. Poisoned Words
R: 50' T: creature of [sum] HD or less D: 0
Target creature vomits up 2d10 litres of spiders.
The spiders aren't hostile or venomous, but their bites itch and they probably don't want to be held. This spell does not deal any damage, but it may require a Morale check.

10. Widower's Friend
R: 0 T: self D: [dice] hours
You summon a tiny black spider with yellow markings. Its venom requires creatures of 4 HD or less to Save or Die. You can name and describe one target. The spider will try to find the target and bite them within the duration of the spell. After that, it still exists, but it forgets who it needs to hunt. You can remind it by speaking to it. The spider has 1 HP and moves at normal speed.

Emblem Spells
11. Spiderform

R: 0 T: self D: [sum] hours
You transform into a spider the size of a pebble. You can fit through a keyhole. You have 1 HP and Defense 16 (as Plate).  If you are reduced to 0 HP, you die.  You move at normal speed, but you can climb as a spider, descend on a silk thread, and do other plausible spider things. You can cast spells you have memorized, but you cannot use any gear. You are not venomous unless you cast the gift of fangs spell. Your venom then deals 1d4 damage. You can see 30' in all light conditions.

12. Trapdoor Monster
R: 50' T: point D: varies.

A gigantic trapdoor spider appears beneath a solid surface within 10' of a point you designate. The exact position of the perfectly camouflaged trap door isn't know to you or anyone else. The spider will attack the nearest creature smaller than it or of approximately equal size. It owes you nothing and is not friendly. The size, HD, and damage of the spider depends on the [sum] rolled:
1-7: person-sized, 2 HD, 2d6 damage
8-12: ogre-sized, 4 HD, 3d6 damage
>12: cottage-sized, 6 HD, 4d6 damage

Creatures reduced to 0 HP are dragged into the spider's lair. If you invest 4 [dice], the spider is permanent, although it will spend 12 hours wrapping and eating its prey before attacking again. Otherwise, it vanishes after attacking one creature.

Ryan Van Dongen
1. MD only return to your pool on a 1-2 for 24 hours
2. Take 1d6 damage
3. Random mutation for 1d6 rounds, then Save. Permanent if you fail. Mutations will be spider-based and disgusting.
4. Blind for 1d6 rounds
5. Panic for 1d6 rounds
6. Vomit 2d10 litres of spiders.

Doom of the Spider Wizard
1. You transform into a spider (as spiderform) for one day.
2. You transform into a spider (as spiderform) for three days. Living creatures (other than spiders) find you exceptionally disgusting and will squish you if they can.
3. You transform into a spider (as spiderform) permanently. Each month you are a spider, you must Save or forget one year of your previous life. Living creatures (
other than spiders) will go out of their way to squish or devour you.

This doom can be avoided by creating a work of textile art capable of moving an angel to tears, or by killing the Emperor of All Ravens.

EDIT: Here's some good advice on using spiders in your games.

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