The Great Spider Civilization was devised by Zak Arntson at Harlekin-Maus

Great Spiders are horse-sized intelligent creatures with sharp intellects alien to our own. They reside in vast murky forests and prey upon wildlife, hapless travelers, and each other. The most cunning join the Great Burrow beneath the surface world, a maze of tunnels and webbed chambers ruled by their Queen Mother.

Draw Great Spider tunnels and chambers in black. Great Spiders prefer to reuse rooms for lairs and larders, burrowing only when necessary or constructing new chambers from the Great Spider Burrowing table. If you don't have a cave complex, roll any die across your map and create one as described in the Primordial Age rules.

Pick a spot on the surface above the cave complex and draw a finger-wide forest. Now draw a tunnel connecting the forest to those tunnels. The caverns' primordial beasts are your first Great Spiders, and each cave is now a lair. Expand each cavern by a bead in size.

Each lair is two beads in size, and consists of a web and larder. Each Great Spider is represented by a Black-round-md. A White-round-md is either captured prey (in a larder) or Great Spider Treasure. You may want to represent larder White-round-md with white d6's to save space, setting the die's face to the number of White-round-md. When tallying the current population, add up all Great Spider Black-round-md, including the Queen Mother. No lair may hold more than 5 White-round-md except the Royal Larder, which may hold up to 10.

Make up a name for your Great Spider Civilization which reflects its arrogant, predatory nature.

The Age of Spiders ends if all spiders are wiped out, the only living spider is the Queen Mother, or the Web of Worlds is opened.

The Great Spider YearEdit

At the end of each season, any unclaimed lair loses all White-round-md. This includes the Royal Larder.


In spring, Egg sacs burst and prey multiplies. If the population is less than 8, subtract the current population from a d8 (with a minimum result of one). If the Great Burrow contains a Chamber of Countless Eyes, roll a 2d8 instead. This is the number of new Great Spiders who survived to adulthood. Fill empty rooms first, then draw any new lairs required, connected to the Great Burrow by a tunnel at least 1 thumb long. Place 1 Black-round-md and 1 White-round-md in each newly-claimed lair.


In summer, Great Spiders hunt. For each Great Spider other than the Queen Mother roll a d6 on the Great Spider Hunting table. The Queen Mother does not hunt; her ravenous appetite removes d6 White-round-md from the Royal Larder (it's okay to reduce her larder to zero).


In fall, Great Spiders burrow. First, the countless spiderlings expand their haunt. Enlarge an existing Spiderling Haunt or create a new one as described in Great Spider Burrowing, below.

Next, find the first entry equal to or less than the current population on the Great Spider Burrowing table that hasn't yet been burrowed. Draw the new chamber and connect it to an existing tunnel. Opening the Web is a special activity which can be performed multiple times and does not create new chambers. Great Spider Treasures are always crafted of weird materials (typically silk, chitin and bone) and serve equally weird purposes.


In winter, The Queen Mother collects her tribute while her sisters plot. Skip this season if the Queen Mother's Lair has not yet been burrowed.

If there is a Queen Mother, each spider removes 1 non-treasure White-round-md from her larder (if available) and places it into the Royal Larder. Following tribute, the Great Spider with the most White-round-md attacks the Queen Mother using the Voracious Appetites rules below. Every new Queen Mother should receive an appropriately sinister and spidery name. If there is a tie for most White-round-md, two random contenders fight, hoping to challenge the Queen Mother next winter.

If there is no Queen Mother, the Great Spider with the largest larder moves herself and the White-round-md in her larder into the Queen's Lair and Royal Larder.

In either case above, if there is ever a tie for largest larder, randomly pick two of these spiders to fight.

Voracious AppetitesEdit

Whenever a Great Spider attacks another, each spider rolls a d6 and adds the number of White-round-md, including treasures, in her larder. The Queen Mother receives an additional +2. The loser is devoured and her Black-round-md removed. If the newly-unoccupied lair has a larger larder than the winner's, the winner may move into the lair. A new Queen Mother always moves into the Queen's Chamber, adding her own WB to the Royal Larder. In the case of a tie, both spiders are killed.

End of the Spider AgeEdit

For every Great Spider Black-round-md on the map, excepting the Queen, roll a d6. On a roll of 1-4, remove it. Those that remain are giant spiders as described in Wandering Monsters. If the Queen is still alive, the Black-round-md remains as a spider queen alpha predator, too cemented in her dominance of this world to leave for others. She uses the web rules as per giant spider Wandering Monsters.

All Great Spider Treasures remain. For every larder, roll a d6. If the roll is less than or equal to the White-round-md, remove all but 1 White-round-md, otherwise remove all White-round-md. Also add 1 White-round-md to the Spiderling Haunt area, Midden and Royal Larder. These White-round-md are unnoticed loot from long-dead prey. Now proceed to the Great Disaster.

Great Spider HuntingEdit

Roll Great Spider Hunting Results
1 Gone hungry. If there is a White-round-md in the Great Spider's larder, remove it. If there isn't, the Great Spider attempts to eat one of her sisters. Pick the closest Great Spider (including the Queen Mother) and attack using the Voracious Appetite rules above.
2-3 Good hunting. If there is less than 1 White-round-md in the the Great Spider's lair, add one.
4-5 Superb hunting. If there is less than 2 White-round-md to the Great Spider's larder, add two.
6 Hunt befitting a Queen. If there is less than 3 White-round-md to the Great Spider's larder, add three.

Great Spider BurrowingEdit

Pop Great Spider Burrowing
* Spiderling Haunt: A mazelike series of chambers where spiderlings fight for survival. To begin the Haunt, draw a tunnel leading from the surface forest to a convoluted series of chambers taking up about a half-finger in length. All expansions or newly-added chambers are a bead in size.
3 Midden: This is where the Great Spiders toss the remainders of their meals and molted carapaces. A finger from the nearest chamber, draw a pit 2 beads high and 1 bead wide.
4 Weaving Chamber: A web-choked chamber in which to study web magics and plot against each other. Draw a large chamber a finger in length and a thumb high. Place 1 White-round-md in this chamber; this is a Great Spider Treasure.
5 Queen Mother's Lair: Draw a large chamber 1 finger in length and a 1 bead high. This is the Queen Mother's Throne Chamber. Also draw a Royal Larder of at least 2 beads in size connected to the Lair. Place 1 White-round-md in the Lair; this is a Great Spider Treasure.
6 Chamber of Countless Eyes: Great Spiders glean knowledge beyond this world in this room. Draw an ornate room 1 finger-length wide and a thumb tall. Place 1 White-round-md in the Lair; this is a Great Spider Treasure. During spring, the d8 roll for population increases to a 2d8 as Great Spiders from the world over gather to learn at the Great Burrow.
8 Web of Worlds: A weird sphere holding a vast eldritch web that spans between worlds. Draw a round room a half-finger in diameter, connected to the Great Spider civilization by a tunnel at least a finger in length. During the Age of Monsters, whenever wandering monsters appear, one of those monsters is placed in this room and is an extra-planar equivalent of the rolled monster.
3 Opening the Web: The Great Spiders' weird studies stretch their Web of Worlds across unseeable vistas. If the Great Burrow has a Web of Worlds, place 1 White-round-md on it. If the White-round-md equals or exceeds the population, end the Spider Age. The Web has opened and each spider either travels beyond the stars, or remains behind, afraid and bitter.