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|A spidershell is a construct creature made from the cast-off husk of
a monstrous spider. Animated with strange drow magic, they are used as
guardians and steeds by dark elves.
Spiders shed their exoskeletons as they grow, and the cast-off husks often are nearly intact and resemble the original creature. The spider-loving worshippers of the Spider Goddess respect these cast-off shells as parts of holy spiders, but not with quite the same reverence they hold for their living former owners. The drow use magically-receptive fungal matter to make new eyes and fill the hollow shell and then animate the filled shell as a mindless servant. When active, a spidershell's fungal parts (which show through at the joints and the eyes) faintly glow in the manner of luminous wall fungi common in the great underground. When at rest, the construct's fungi become dark.
An active spidershell creature looks much like the creature that originally wore it as an exoskeleton, except for the glowing fungi. They obey their creator, or any other creature that learns the proper command words defined during the construction process.
Creating a spidershell
"Spidershell" is a template that can be applied to any completely arthropodic creature (one with an exoskeleton covering its entire body and no internal skeleton)ˇtypically spiders, but ants, scorpions, and other creatures that have an exoskeleton and no outer soft parts (a drider, for example, has a fleshy upper body that doesn't work with the construction process). Normally they are made from the discarded husks of these creatures, but in some cases live vermin have been slain in a way that won't harm the exoskeleton (such as drowning or certain spells) and used to create this sort of monster.
The creature's type changes to "construct." It uses all of the base creature's statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
To construct a spidershell, the creator needs the Craft Wondrous Item feat and must expend 800 gp per hit die and 50 XP per hit die of the base creature. The cost includes the necessary exoskeleton, three kinds Underdark fungi, and all other mundane ingredients. Preparing the shell requires a successful Craft (leatherworking) check (DC 13). If the creator is a bard, sorcerer, or wizard, the construction process requires mending, either gentle repose or wood shape, and either giant vermin or minor creation. The process takes eight days.
Hit Dice: The base creature's hit dice change
Special Attacks: A spidershell retains all of the extraordinary abilities of the base creature (except those that require a continuing active metabolism, such as poison and web), and also gains the following:
Poison Chamber (Ex): While a spidershell cannot create its own poison, if the base creature normally has an extraordinary poison attack, the construction process includes building a small reservoir attached to the fangs (or other attack method, as appropriate). When the construct uses the appropriate attack form (such as a bite for a spider), this poison is deployed automatically. The reservoir holds three doses of poison before it needs to be filled (drow normally fill the reservoir with drow sleep poison). The poison has the normal effect for its type.
Special Qualities: A spidershell retains all of the special qualities of the base creature (except those that require a continuing active metabolism), and gains the construct type. The creature also gains the following:
Glowing Body (Ex): Because its magical fungi interior glows when it is doing anything other than standing completely still, a spidershell is easy to spot even in total darkness (at worst it has a 40% miss chance when operating in total darkness). Spells such as invisibility completely hide the creature as normal (the glowing fungi is insufficient to actually light an area, so the effect is not like a torch that has been made invisible).
Wood Spell Vulnerability (Ex): A spidershell's fungal parts are treated as wood for the purpose of spell effects such as repel wood. Ironwood reduces the creature's movement by half but increases natural armor by +5. Warp wood or wood shape deals a spidershell 1d6 points of damage per caster level (maximum 5d6).
Altered Healing (Ex): The creature's once-living body parts do not respond to standard healing spells. If cast on the creature with the intent to repair damage, wood shape acts as cure moderate wounds. Mending acts as cure minor wounds.
Abilities: As a construct creature, a spidershell has no Constitution or Intelligence score.
Skills: As a construct creature, a spidershell has no ranks in any skills. It loses any racial bonus to skills it had as a living creature.
Feats: As a construct creature, a spidershell has no feats.
Climate-Terrain: Any land and underground.
Alignment: Always neutral.
This example uses a Large monstrous hunting spider owned by drow as the base creature.
Spidershell Large Monstrous (Hunting) Spider
Hit Dice: 4d10 (22 hp)
Initiative: +3 (+3 Dex)
Speed: 40 ft., climb 20 ft.
AC: 14 (-1 size, +3 Dex, +2 natural)
Attacks: Bite +4 melee
Damage: Bite 1d8+3 and poison
Face/Reach: 10 ft. by 10 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Poison chamber (holds drow sleep poison)
Special Qualities: Altered healing, construct, glowing body, wood spell vulnerability
Saves: Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +1
Abilities: Str 15, Dex 17, Con ˇ, Int ˇ, Wis 10, Cha 2
Climate/Terrain: Any land and underground
Organization: Solitary or colony (2-5)
Challenge Rating: 2
Advancement: 6-9 HD (Large)