Upon a casual glance, snow spiders appeared to be hairy, muscled, arachnids with eight legs. In reality, they were warm-blooded mammals. These creatures adjusted to living in freezing temperatures with their metabolism generating enough internal heat to keep them alive and functioning in the north. Snow spiders were covered in hard and thick white hairs on the head and back, while their legs were striped with pale grays and browns.
They had eight eyes of pale blue color and a pair of menacing chelicerae protruding from under their horrific heads. Snow spiders varied in size, depending on their age. The heads were connected to flexible necks, similar to those of owls, further distinguishing snow spiders from true arachnids. Their feet had three clawed and webbed toes facing forward and one back. The webbed feet aided them in both swimming and crossing snowdrifts.
Unlike ice spiders, snow spiders were not web-spinners. Thanks to their tremorsense, snow spiders could feel any creature within 60 feet (18 meters) from them that touched the ground, and they had keen eyesight. However, their senses of smell and hearing were average. They were capable swimmers and climbers, and their white tufts of fur made them quite proficient at camouflaging.
Snow spiders were immune to such mind-affecting spells and abilities as compulsion, charm, hypnotic pattern, and phantasms. Even though their fur was flammable and vulnerable to natural fire, it was resistant to magical flames, and they were unaffected by non-magical cold.
Snow spiders were known for their aggression. They hunted, wandering through subarctic bogs, rivers, and everfrost. These arachnids relied on their paralyzing venom.
They hunted in packs between five and fifteen individuals. Snow spiders' preferred hunting time was just before dawn and after sunset. A pack of snow spiders worked together, scouting, ambushing, and attacking in synch with each other.
Snow spiders communicated via series of clicks and chirrs, as well as a rudimentary form of sign language while hunting. Because of their anatomy, they could not learn another language but could be trained to understand it.
Like many of their kin, snow spiders attacked, pouncing from ambush, lading a quick venom injection, and dragging the paralyzed prey into a snowbank, a cave, or a tunnel. If the attacking spider missed or failed to paralyze its target, it darted back into safety before the prey could retaliate. If the victim was not paralyzed, snow spiders could choose to bite prey instead, damaging them with their corrosive acidic saliva or impaling them with the clawed appendages.
They often preyed on herd animals, scattering them apart by emitting a deep, resonant chining sound, driving the scared animals into the traps set by the spiders' hunting pack. Snow spiders were known to turn to cannibalism when food was scarce. The pack singled the weakest male and poured him.
A colony of snow spiders consisted of males with only one female - the queen. Snow spider queens were the biggest creatures of the pack, moved at slower speeds, had thicker hide, and could easily be distinguished from males by lacking brown and grey-colored fur on the legs. The queen dug the borrows for the pack, while male hunters brought her food. The females never left the vicinity of the pack's home, spending their lives guarding the dens and the young.
The queen gave birth twice per year to one or two kits. Males reached adulthood within one year and joined the hunting packs, while female kits were taken into the wilderness to die. However, when a snow spider community reached around 20 individuals, the queen raised a female kit for a year, after which the young female and several young males set out to start a new pack. When the queen reached old age, she gave birth to one female kit who, after reaching maturity, killed and ate the queen, inheriting the role. The old queen never defended herself, and other members of the pack, apart from the new queen, did not consume the old matriarch's body.
Snow spiders were hard, if not almost impossible, to domesticate as they did not eat things they did not kill themselves. And they relied on social interaction, making survival in captivity for individuals - improbable.
Snow spiders inhabited cold regions where snow rarely left the ground. They burrowed deep into rocky hills, building homes in well-hidden areas. In warmer months, snow spiders fell into semi-hibernation, coming out of their dens only several times per season late at night. In warmer temperatures, above 50F, snow spiders were slow and sluggish, while in winter, they hunted in packs and moved with darting speed.
- Wolfgang Baur, James Jacobs, George Strayton (September 2004). Frostburn. Edited by Greg Collins. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 154–155. ISBN 0-7869-2896-4.
- Belinda G. Ashley (1997). “The Dragon's Bestiary: Arctic Monsters”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon Annual #2 (TSR, Inc.), p. 33.
- Jennell Jaquays (1988). The Savage Frontier. (TSR, Inc), p. 47. ISBN 0-88038-593-6.
- Ed Greenwood and Steven E. Schend (July 1994). “Campaign Guide”. City of Splendors (TSR, Inc), p. 16. ISBN 0-5607-6868-1.
- Template:Cite dragon/46/The Iron Orb of the Duergar
Magical spiders: Bloodsilk • Electric • Glass • Gaze • Goblin • Pet of Kalistes • Spellgaunt • Steeder
Planar spiders: Demonweb terror • Fire • Myrlochar • Phase • Tomb • Vortex
Constructs: Arachnar • Bone spider • Jade spider • Retriever • Spiderwalker • Stone spider
Creations of Lolth: Abyssal widow • Chwidencha • Drider (Vampire) • Shunned
Outsiders: Bebilith • Darkweaver • Greelox • Inferno spider • Yochlol
Humanoids: Aranea • Chitine • Choldrith • Ettercap • Werespider
Miscellaneous: Kitthix • Neogi • Rhylfang • Susurrus
Undead spiders: Wraith spider