Gothridge Manor mentioned spiders the other day. Although I never found shroud and settled with cocoon it did get me thinking about spiders. Here is my next piece on spiderfolk.
Re-born as outcasts the spiderfolk live as loners, or if they are lucky in small settlements in the woods. Trapped between their human ancestors and the spiders who changed them the spiderfolk are torn with emotion about their new form.
Created by a spider capturing a human poisoning them leading to severe paralysis and wrapping them in a spidersilk cocoon (shroud if you are Greg Christopher or Gothridge Manor) as food for later. The victim falls to sleep in a paralyzed slumber. However, they awaken sooner than the spider had intended. Trapped inside the cocoon the victim struggles and eventually escapes.
The lucky ones escape the spiders lair and manage to make it to the woods they were previously in before capture, most return to humanity with a harrowing story to tell. Others wait in the cocoon until the spider comes for its meal, while happily unwrapping its meal there is a surprise in store, the victim is still alive. A fight ensues between the two normally ending in the death of the human (humanoid) After their escape they feel the effect of the poison wearing away but something is different.
Slowly they realize that something is different. In some cases the skin hardens and becomes more spider like, some find they can climb just like spiders. Others grow many thick hairs on their arms and legs and their feet change into spider feet. Certain unfortunate ones cannot hide the change, mandibles appear on their face leading to instant ostracizing from the local community they were originally members of, others gain the ability to spin web.
As is the nature of humans (humanoids) some choose to embrace this change, they see its advantages and although they are outcasts can find employment as trap makers, cat burglars, bounty hunters and the like.
For those who don't embrace it and despise this new form a difficult path lies ahead. The individual hates the spider like thing they have become, they have been tainted by spiders and their kind. They hate their impure body and quickly begin research in how to undo this terrible accident, which has turned them into such a monstrosity, they will stop at nothing to undo this condition. At the centre of their hate filled motivation to remove this so called curse. These spiderfolk most of all hate those who did it to them. They hate spiders with such a passion that some forget the reason of their research and become bent on destroying all spiders.
Because of their condition spiderfolk are reclusive and secretive they don't parade in public and never become poets or storytellers. Spiderfolk are focused specialists in whatever they choose. They like to get their work done and return to their homes away from prying eyes. If others enter their domain then they will be followed at a distance. Depending upon their actions depends entirely upon what kind of contact they receive. Spiderfolk have memories of their lives as humans (humanoids) they can remember basic emotion, when they see their own race, they are torn by a sense of longing to be in a group again and hatred of rejection which they received.
Because of these emotions visitors to their domain are treated depending on their behavior. If the individual or group move quietly through its territory and leave quietly then there will be no problem. If they make loud noises, start large fires and cause destruction in the woods then the spiderfolk will poison them by biting if it’s an individual or with blow darts and deception if it’s a group. While the noisy adventurers are unconscious they are moves far away from the domain they have trespassed in, when they awaken they often find themselves hanging from a web in a tree. This is not the only reaction spiderfolk have. In some cases if an adventurer(or group thereof) are nearly killed and are dying on the floor of the woods. The Spiderfolk are normally filled with compassion and will assist them keeping them alive if possible and helping them recover, this has won them allies in the past.
It takes a long time for the spiderfolk to trust a non-spiderfolk. Many choose to tell their family that they are working away from home or get a divorce if they are married. Some return home to be welcomed, their families are happy that they survived, others return home to be rejected forcing them to the woods. Some choose never to return home out of shame. A few have been welcomed by their families but hounded by other villagers forcing the entire family to leave their own town and find a place where they will be accepted.
If a spiderfolk looks hard enough he will find a village in the woods ninety percent of the residents are spiderfolk with only a few other family members living with them. This town is built to those who have an affinity to spiders many walkways are simply two pieces of web one for the hands and one for the feet. Many restaurants have odd foods for those whose tastes has been changed by the spiders. Many places have odd looking roads or buildings. Stairs are no longer needed nor are many other things therefore odd architecture is a common occurrence. Although the place is a town it is not wasteful and with regards to mother nature is closer to an elven community or a druid encampment than a human town. This town is top secret to all except the occasional adventurer and no one is brought here accidentally.