Happy New Year, from the Spider Flayers!
There has been a cave in the spider woods that the rangers have known about for some time. Occasionally it is home to whatever creatures are trying to cohabitate with the giant arachnids that give the forest its name, other times the whole cave is just overrun with arachnids.
But this time it is home to creatures who are not friends with the local insect population. The locals don’t know who lives here now, but the rangers have noticed a significant number of spiders split open and gutted in abandoned webs throughout the woods. And it looks like whoever has been doing it has moved into the cave.
So why on earth does this matter to the average party? Take your pick from the following (standard) adventure hooks:
- Someone from town has been taken in the night, time to mount a rescue operation.
- The local cleric, needed to cast some important spell on a party member was the person taken – now it’s personal!
- Auguries have indicated that something powerful and evil is growing in the spider woods.
- Someone saw a young woman wander into the spider woods and head towards the cave – obviously the residents are charming or dominating innocent victims into their grasp. (the young woman is actually one of the spider flayers).
- After an ambush, the party traces the ambushers back to the cave.
As this location was written for B/X or BECMI D&D, the undead spiders encountered in the cave are statted up using the rules for the animate dead spell (treat them as zombies, but with one more hit die than the spider type in question). Once they know they are under attack, Devraux and Alyann will work together to eliminate the party or at least scare them off.
Area 1 – Cave Entrance – The entrance to the lair is a wide but low-ceilinged (4′) cave that quickly narrows but becomes taller (9 to 12 feet throughout the cave). It is made of natural stone and there are old cobwebs everywhere.
Area 2 – Raised Alcove – This alcove has natural stairs down to area 5. A massive spider lays here, gutted, dried and long-dead. It is actually animated as a zombie, but is under orders to not take any action (except defensive if attacked) except to attack anyone trying to leave the caverns by climbing here from area 5 (except for the spider flayers).
Area 3 – Low Chamber – This chamber’s floor is covered in debris and old leaves, and there is a barricade between it and area 4. The barricade is made of old furniture and a broken door, although it looks to have been built some time ago as it is covered in old spider webs.
Area 4 – Dwarf’s Last Stand – In the back corner of this cavern is the body of a dwarf who was overwhelmed by the spiders. Depending on the level of the adventurers, the dwarf may have suitable treasure.
Area 5 – Grand Chamber – The ceiling in this chamber is at least 30 feet above the floor. The passage to area 6 is completely webbed over with massive spider webs. In the floor on the North side of the chamber is a passage leading into the floor and to the North. This passage has had crude stairs cut into it, as well as a trap that drags a collection of metal pots down the stairs while wrapping the tripwire around the victim’s ankle to pull him down also (save versus paralysis to avoid falling down the stairs if triggered – triggers 1-2 on a d6 for each person going down the stairs).
Area 6 – Spider Lair – Several zombie spiders are in this chamber, as well as the skeleton of an ogre. The ogre has level-appropriate treasure.
Area 7 – Spider Cave – This sunken chamber has never been explored by the Spider Flayers. It contains the corpse of a truly massive spider in its web (larger than any spider seen before by the adventurers – fortunately it really is dead) and a single stone altar to the chaotic god of spiders. The god is angered that the cave has become a lair of those who hate spiders, and will try to help adventurers to slay the spider flayers. Anyone of Neutral or Chaotic alignment touching the altar is treated as blessed when fighting the spider flayers. Persons of Lawful alignment gain the bonus to saving throws of being blessed, but not the attack bonus.
Area 8 – Guard Spiders – This alcove contains two undead spider guards protecting Alyann.
Area 9 – Alyann’s Chamber – This study and bedroom contains all of Alyann’s texts on thaumaturgy as well as her spellbooks. Alyann is one of the two spider flayers, a pair of chaotic and evil elves who have moved into the cave as they practice their magics and study the area. Alyann is an elf of 3 levels higher than the party, with an emphasis on spellcasting over combat.
Area 10 – Devraux’s Guard – This alcove is home to a living statue guard crafted to look identical to Devraux, the other spider flayer. (Select a type of living statue appropriate to the party level).
Area 11 – Devraux’s Chamber – Behind the tapestries is where Devraux practices and studies magic, although he is more of a military tactician. Devraux is an elf of 1 level higher than the party, with an emphasis on melee combat, but quite willing to also use spells. The passage connecting this chamber to area 9 also forks to the north, where fresh water can be found trickling down the wall, and a crude latrine has been built over the hole where the water runs off.