Your party is moving through the woods following a trail. Your scout can hear some sounds coming from the trees above and your warrior is stepping in something white and sticky.

Is that webbing? The giant spiders descend on you before you can move and the initiative is rolled! 

Giant spiders are quite common in the forests and jungles of many worlds, including Faerun.

You might think that a “bigger than normal spider” is an easy monster to handle, but there are many aspects that make a giant spider interesting and memorable for your party.

What is a Giant Spider?

Giant Spiders come in a variety of sizes because the term giant can be very subjective. There are many sizes of giant spiders, including those that are the size of dogs or houses.

Nearly every spider in the real world has a giant counterpart.

They occupy a 10-foot by 10-foot square which is twice the size of a human being.

These are the facts about a giant spider.

Spider Climbing: The Spider can climb up difficult surfaces including ceilings upside down without needing to pass an ability test.

Web sense: The Spider can detect the exact location of all other creatures that are in close contact with the web.

Web Walker – The Spider ignores Movement restrictions due to webbing.

They can also be poisonous and have a rechargeable web attack. They often attack in groups of three to four.

They are also very well-rounded beings with a lot of points in stealth and strength, dexterity, and toughness. 

Their AC is 14 so they can be hit by most adventurers whenever a battle begins.

How do giant spiders work?

A giant spider’s three main abilities are web sense, spider climb, and web walker. They can use these skills to ambush prey and get around.

Spiders can travel anywhere in sleath and their prey can be found below, on walls, or up high.

Spiders can sense webs and keep prey from getting too close to the webbing. The spiders will detect if a fighter, barbarian, or curious druid, touches the web.

If this happens, they will move to investigate.

Webbing can slow down normal creatures by sticking and entrapping them. However, spiders can use web-walker to freely move through their webbing, pouncing on their prey without waiting for them to react.

For any spider, the two most effective battle tactics are Bite and web. The poison is the most dangerous, although biting can do some damage.

A DC constitution saving throw is required for any bitten target. The DC constitution save takes 2d8 poison damage for a failed to save, and half damage for a successful save. 

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If you fail to save, this can cause up to 16 damage. This could be quite a significant loss of life for low-level characters.

If you have to suffer from the bite and you lose zero hit points, you will not die, but you will be poisoned or paralyzed.

Even if your hit points are regained, you will still be paralyzed and poisoned for the hour.

Spiders also use their webbing as an attack. This is a rechargeable attack and can be used after 5-6 rolls are completed. The spider can also fire off a globular amount of webbing.

If they hit the target, webbing is used to restrain them. You can either burst the webbing with a 12 on a strength test, or you can have others attack it and take out the character.

How do Spiders Fight?

It is worth learning how giant spiders fight if the party comes across them. The majority of spiders are hunters and ambushers, so it is best to stick with regular spiders.

Spiders are real-life predators. They aim to capture prey, inject paralyzing poison into them, then tie them up with webbing for later.

Giant spiders will behave in the same manner. They won’t fight with adventuring groups, and they won’t wait to ambush people and paralyze them later.

A typical spider will wait until someone is tangled up in its web, or actively touching the web, before striking.

They prefer to leave their targets paralyzed and easy to eat than engage in combat. They will likely pursue the bards and squishy wizards first than the armored and heavily armed warriors.

Spiders will try to find the link to their web, then trap their prey in webbing and paralyze it with a bite.

The bite of a target is more likely to be contained in webbing than if it were free to move, so the spider should make a web first.

Remember that spiders do not fight for their food, but rather because they are pursuing adventures. If the prey is too aggressive, the spider will run away to continue fighting.

How to fight Spiders?

Here’s how you can effectively combat the spider’s tactics now that you are familiar with their tactics. 

Your melee fighters should be close enough to the victim to cut off the web or fight the spider if it attempts to bite.

Spellcasters and ranged fighters will have to attempt to hit the spider with all they have. AoE attacks are a great way of removing webbing from the battlefield.

Spellcasters ranged fighters, and spellcasters can use their abilities and attacks to stop spiders from moving. This prevents them from being able to advance on any fighters they have webbed.

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Another option is to run from a spider-controlled forest. Because spiders are hunters, not killers,

If they are defeated by your party and you don’t manage to paralyze or web anyone, the spiders might leave. They don’t have food so they won’t fight.

Making spiders interesting

These are the basic characteristics of spiders. However, if you’re looking to make spiders more interesting, you can also look at the real world for new tactics. Wolf spiders, for example, use trapdoors to entrap their prey.

They wait for prey to pass them by, hiding under dirt, debris, and rocks. Perhaps the adventurers are walking through a forest when suddenly, giant wolf spiders appear from the ground and begin biting at their targets.

If the biting succeeds you will have two to three party members poisoned and paralyzed, and the rest of them surrounded by spiders.

Mammoth Spiders are another type of spider. They can multi-attack with both a bite or with their huge claws.

They can also fire their webbing faster. Your party will have to fight a hard fight if they are under the spell of a mammoth Spider.

Finally, phase web spiders do not fire webs but can instead shift from the material to the ethereal or vice versa using bonus actions. 

They can teleport all over the battlefield flashing with bites. They can be very difficult to hit with it!

Use Swarms

Giant spiders often are not alone in forests. To add spice, you can have swarms smaller spiders wandering about.

Swarms can be much more difficult to hit and can do a lot of damage if they aren’t controlled.

If you feel that the giant spiders are falling too quickly, you can add some swarms to the right to represent their smaller cousins.

Giant Spiders: Who uses them?

If you don’t find giant spiders in nature, they will be found in the Underdark with the drow, or as mounts by goblins.

Loth, the drow’s spider queen, is believed to have giant spiders serving her. These spiders are used by the drow to move around the Underdark, and as steeds for pulling carts.

They are used by goblins in the same manner, riding giant spiders into battle to protect their prisoners and taking them hostage during raids. These factions are likely to clash with you if you encounter giant spiders.

A druid can turn into a spider by using Wild shape on the player’s side. This is because it is a climbing creature. 

They will be able to access all the character’s abilities including the ability to climb on walls and to create webs.

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It is a very interesting way to use it both in combat and non-combat. A druid can paralyze and web enemies in combat as a method of crowd control. 

The druid can climb walls and reach new locations.

Giant Spider FAQ

How do I Homebrew a Giant Spider?

You can homebrew a giant spider if you’re a DM. If your spiders are in a specific environment, you can give them elemental damage.

Frost spiders can cause frost damage to their victims by their bites.

The stealth of rock spiders could be used to disguise themselves as statues. Instead of shooting webs, they could learn Earth Sense, which allows them to detect the direction and number of others on the ground.

The durability of rock spiders may make up the difference in not shooting webs. Instead, they use their claws to batter their foes before they bite down with their hard jaws.

This can be done for any type of spider. Take a look at the area they live in and think about what they would have done to capture their food.

It is easy to modify some abilities or damage rolls or to use the huge spider template to create new creatures that look like spiders.

How many Giant Spiders are in a Group?

Although most spiders are seen as solitary hunters or warriors, some spiders are also very social. They hunt together and create massive webs that can hold more than 50,000 spiders.

Although you may not want to pit your party against so many giant spiders it is still interesting to explore a forest that has been overrun by an enormous horde.

In an overgrown jungle or forest, swarms, regular spiders, or giant spiders may all live together in a community.

This can be quite a frightening environment for anyone afraid of spiders, as almost everything is covered with webbing… which we all know well!

You can also treat spiders like a hive-minded race and maybe they are intelligent. This is a great adventurer hook that can carry a campaign! This leads to the next question.

Are Giant Spiders Intelligent?

A giant spider does not have the intelligence base of 2 and is a minus 4. They are entirely focused on their prey and hunting them.

Some necromancers and wizards are known to have control over giant spiders to deter petty adventurers from getting too far into their lands.

You can still homebrew giant spiders to make them smarter than their regular brethren. It is still a large animal that must follow the same rules as other large beasts.