Tomb spiders were a type of monstrous spider native to the Shadowfell. Their bodies were suffused with negative energy, making them more dangerous than the more common varieties of monstrous spider.
These creatures had bright red bodies when young, that gradually became mottled grey as they grew older.
Like many arachnids the tomb spider had poisonous fangs, however, their poison possessed a unique property due to its infusion of negative energy. Those affected by this poison would be healed by negative energy, but harmed by positive energy such as seen in healing spells, as though they were undead. Such energies also had similar effects on tomb spiders themselves.
In addition, tomb spiders could spin sheets of sticky webbing and shoot them out to a range of 60 feet (18 meters). They typically positioned their sheets to ensnare flying creatures, but sometimes positioned them to trap prey on the ground.
Whenever a creature was entrapped in the web of a tomb spider, its brood would quickly move to overwhelm it. And if its offspring were in danger, a tomb spider would ignore attacks against itself in order to protect them.
The largest recorded tomb spider in history was a "pet" of House Barrison Del'Armgo in Menzoberranzan, measuring around 30 feet (9.1 meters) in diameter. Visitors would come to stare at the beast in awe at its size.
Tomb spiders were largely solitary creatures with their own hunting territories and no society to speak of despite their basic level of intelligence. However, they were known to share these territories if prey was plentiful.
These creatures laid their eggs within the corpses of humanoids, giants, and even monstrous humanoids that they completely wrapped up in webs. This process caused the corpse to become animated as a type of undead, which were typically referred to as web mummies, that would release the spider's hatched brood upon destruction. While inside their host, the brood of a tomb spider would feed upon its decaying internal organs. The spiderlings proceed to eat each other until a single, full-formed adult emerged. However, these hosts were often destroyed before the entire maturation process could be completed.
Because of their unique life cycle, tomb spiders were often found living near giants, humanoids, or monstrous humanoids. They typically preferred to live in the temperate forests of Faerûn, though could also be found within the Underdark. They frequently made their lairs in graveyards, catacombs, or crypts.
Tomb spiders were well liked by both drow and drider alike, who frequently encouraged them to nest near the borders of their territories. They would often gift them corpses or feed them prisoners. Tomb spiders looked forward to these meals and would never attack the one feeding them unless provoked or incredibly hungry.
- Rob Heinsoo, Stephen Schubert (May 19, 2009). Monster Manual 2 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 190–191. ISBN 0786995101.
- Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel (July 2006). Monster Manual IV. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 164–165. ISBN 0-7869-3920-6.
- Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel (July 2006). Monster Manual IV. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 166–167. ISBN 0-7869-3920-6.
- Cryptic Studios (June 2013). Neverwinter. Perfect World Entertainment.
- Ed Greenwood, The Hooded One (2013-12-29). Questions for Ed Greenwood (2013). Candlekeep Forum. Retrieved on 2020-11-28.
Magical spiders: Bloodsilk spider • Electric spider • Glass spider • Gaze spider • Goblin spider • Pet of Kalistes • Spellgaunt • Steeder
Planar spiders: Demonweb terror • Fire spider • Myrlochar • Phase spider • Tomb spider • Vortex spider
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