Steeders were giant spiders, sharing many physical characteristics of their smaller cousins. Their bodies were covered in a fine fur that varied in color. They had eight powerful legs and large mandibles.
A common tactic used by duergar cavalry was to ambush a target and charge in, using the steeder's mass to smash a target against a wall or push them over a cliff. Steeders instinctively used their mandibles to bite a target.
Thanks to their strong legs, steeders were excellent jumpers. They were capable of leaping 24‒30 ft (7.3‒9.1 m) in any direction. They were also able to survive a drop of up to 24 ft (7.3 m). It was originally reported steeders lacked a venomous bite, but later accounts stated they did have one.[note 1] Steeders had the innate ability to duplicate the effects of the invisibility spell once per day, which also affected their duergar rider. Steeders walked on ceilings and walls using a sticky substance secreted from the base of their legs.
Steeders were predatory and aggressive, even to one another. A steeder would instantly attempt to attack another steeder. Due to this, they are stabled in individual stalls and blinders were used when more than one steeder was used in a caravan or battle group. Steeders were capable of being trained to respond to both hand and verbal commands.
Steeders were domesticated by the duergar and employed as mounts. Female steeders were used in battle while the smaller males were used to transport cargo. A steeder was able to transport between 300‒900 lb (140‒410 kg) of cargo or equipment. Unlike other dray animals, steeders would not pull a wagon. A duergar rode on the back of the steeder in a specialized saddle made from leather. Connected to this saddle was a complicated system of prods and straps, which allowed the duergar to control and direct the steeder.
There was demand for steeder eggs, with an individual egg fetching up to 500 gp at the market. By the 1370s DR, the sale of steeder eggs was permitted to non-duergar races. Steeders had to be properly trained and a steeder trainer was considered a professional trade among the duergar. An experienced steeder trainer could charge up to 1,000 gp for their services. Many temples of Laduguer included large stables used to care for and breed steeders.
Female steeders were both larger and stronger than males. They tolerated each other during mating, but afterwards the female devoured the male. Once hatched, a newborn steeder reached maturity within six months. Steeders were obligate carnivores. Steeders were selectively bred by the duergar from giant hunting spiders that were common in the Underdark. As a result, steeders were far more intelligent than their ancestors.
- Out of the Abyss
- Johnathan M. Richards (March 1998). “Ecology of the Steeder”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon #245 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 76–81.
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- Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (May 29, 2018). Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 238. ISBN 978-0786966240.
- Matt Sernett, Erik Scott de Bie, Ari Marmell (August 2011). Neverwinter Campaign Setting. Edited by Tanis O'Connor. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 132. ISBN 0-7869-5814-6.
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Magical spiders: Bloodsilk • Electric • Glass • Gaze • Goblin • Pet of Kalistes • Spellgaunt • Steeder
Planar spiders: Demonweb terror • Fire • Myrlochar • Phase • Shadow • Tomb • Vortex
Constructs: Arachnar • Bone spider • Jade spider • Retriever • Spiderwalker • Stone spider
Outsiders: Bebilith • Darkweaver • Greelox • Inferno spider • Red widow • Yochlol
Creations of Lolth: Abyssal widow • Chwidencha • Drider (Vampire) • Shunned
Humanoids: Aranea • Chitine • Choldrith • Ettercap • Werespider
Miscellaneous: Kitthix • Neogi • Rhylfang • Susurrus
Undead spiders: Wraith spider