D&D and Pathfinder have a long tradition of monsters that are just two different animals smashed together. The owlbear is the de facto example of these “deadline” monsters. Today, I add another to the ranks of the amalgam creatures. What started as a silly joke soon became something actually quite frightening. Let’s take a look at the grizzly spider!
Striding on massive, hairy legs, this mix of spider and bear is a horrifying sight. It’s bear face sports multiple eyes and sharp claws extrude from the ends of each of its legs.
Grizzly Spider CR 7
N Large magical beast
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent; Perception +12
AC 20, touch 12, flat-footed 17 (+3 Dex, +8 natural, –1 size)
hp 76 (8d10+40)
Fort +11, Ref +9, Will +3
Speed 40 ft., climb 40 ft.
Melee bite +13 (1d6+6 plus 1d6 acid), 4 claws +8 (1d4+3 plus grab)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks encase, web (+11 ranged, DC 19, 8 hp)
Str 22, Dex 17, Con 20, Int 4, Wis 9, Cha 5
Base Atk +8; CMB +15 (+19 grapple); CMD 28 (36 vs. trip)
Feats Alertness, Endurance, Iron Will, Run
Skills Acrobatics +14, Perception +12, Sense Motive +1
SQ fragile exoskeleton
Environment Any forest or underground
Encase (Ex) Once per day, a grizzly spider can wrap a grappled creature in its webbing, trapping it in a corrosive cocoon. When it successfully maintains a grapple, a grizzly spider can choose to begin to wrap its target in webbing, which requires the use of the grizzly spider’s hind legs. During this time, the grizzly spider loses the grappled condition and the use of 2 of its claw attacks. The webbed target continues to become encased for 1 round. If the creature does not break the grapple after 1 round, it becomes trapped within the cocoon.
An encased creature is considered pinned and may attempt to break free as a full-round action, but at a –4 penalty. Encased creatures must succeed a DC 19 Fortitude save every turn or fall unconscious due to the negligible air available. The cocoon deals 1d6 acid damage every round to the creature within. The cocoon can be destroyed to release the creature. The cocoon has hardness 5, 24 hp, and a break DC of 19. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Fragile Exoskeleton (Ex) A grizzly spider’s chitinous body is hollow and does not properly support its ursine features. A grizzly spider’s claw attacks are considered secondary attacks.
The terrifying grizzly spider is an anomaly in the natural world. Combining the features of a dire bear and a giant spider, the creature is monstrosity that terrorizes whatever environment it inhabits. Grizzly spiders do not exclusively exhibit the features of a grizzly bear. In colder regions, for example, they appear to have features of a polar bear. These varying appearances lead to colloquial names such as polar spider or panda spider. Every grizzly spider is capable of spinning up their prey into deadly cocoons where the prey is slowly digested in advance to be consumed later. Grizzly spiders are quick to pounce on their targets to wrap them up in webbing and carry them away to a den or up into a tree.
Scholars debate the origin of the grizzly spider to this day. The commonly accepted origin is that of a mage experimenting with the combining of various creatures. Others cite an evil druid intentionally breeding the creatures to create the perfect guardian to the druid’s domain. A few even claim that the creature came about naturally, adapting to become the alpha predator in its environment. Regardless, grizzly spiders are now a staple throughout remote locales, ready to strike against unaware targets.
In Your Game
The PCs stumble upon a clutch of grizzly spider eggs just as the young emerge. The infant grizzly spiders imprint upon the group, following them wherever they go and even defending their accidental adoptive parents. Things take a turn for the troubling when the actual mother comes searching for her children.
Terror in the Treetops
The PCs visit a treetop village of grippli, only to learn that they are plagued by a grizzly spider. While setting out to vanquish the creature, a neighboring village intervenes. The PCs have to mediate when it’s revealed that the neighboring grippli revere the grizzly spider as a living god.
Wrapped Up Secrets
After clearing a grizzly spider’s den of its resident, the PCs find its latest victim. This person, long dead, has their equipment relatively intact. After a brief perusal of the gear, the PCs find that the person was tasked with delivering an important message to the nearby city.
I will be completely honest here. This monster started as a silly joke about a spider with bear arms. 2nd amendment jokes aside, I started mulling over the idea of such a creature. Amalgam monsters are commonplace throughout the Bestiaries and I took it as a challenge to take the pun and turn it into something scary. Spiders in Pathfinder usually have poison or webbing to contend with, but there hasn’t been a spider that wraps its prey in webbing. At least, there weren’t any rules for it yet. The idea of a spider spinning up a PC while fighting the rest of the party was just too good to pass up. Unfortunately, giving the grizzly spider so many claw attacks made it a bit too strong so that’s where the fragile exoskeleton feature came in to play. I though it interesting to provide a weakness that, at least to me, made sense from a physiological standpoint. That hollow exoskeleton has a lot of weight to bear!
That’s it for this week! Please let me know if you there are more animals you would like to see me smash together all lazy-like. Maybe it will lead to another interesting mix! If you end up adding the grizzly spider into your game or you have any request for a future Monstrous Physique, please drop me a line at KnowDirection@hotmail.com.