[Approved] Xyzzch

Your Spider Infestation from Hell.

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Kaladis Anar
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Xyzzch

Name: Xyzzch

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Image Source by Brenthollowell | Current Link
Quick Facts: A Fast Breeding, Slow Growing Spider with Three Genders, Highly Territorial and Very large. The adults form webs outward from a central female spider, in a protective spread over their domain.
Rarity: Uncommon
Abundant|Common|Uncommon|Rare|Very Rare|Limited To: X|Unique
Hatchling
Height: 1ft Tall | 30 cm
Width: 1ft Wide | 30 cm
Length: 1ft Long | 30 cm
Weight: 5kg | 11lbs

Neutral Adult
Height: 3ft Tall | 91 cm
Width: 4ft Wide | 121 cm
Length: 3ft Long | 91 cm
Weight: 40kg | 88lbs

Male Adult
Height: 4ft Tall | 121 cm
Width: 5ft Wide | 152 cm
Length: 4ft Long | 121 cm
Weight: 70kg | 154lbs

Female Adult
Height: 6ft Tall | 182 cm
Width: 7ft Wide | 213 cm
Length: 6ft Long | 182 cm
Weight: 120kg | 264lbs

Native to: Caverns, Secluded Swamps, Dark Canopied Forests, Surface Caves and Underground Locations. Fertile lands are a usual preference.

Locations: Eastern Idalos, Southern Idalos, North Eastern Idalos, and South Western Idalos.

Appearance: Eight hardy legs, their legs are thinner at the tip, meaning when their legs strike in a kick or stomp, they make for effective puncturing attacks. A tail websack exists for spinning a web in the three adult varieties. The neutral gendered and female spider’s back is usually smooth, with the male having extrusions of chitin. Mostly black, they have stripes of beige up their legs, their eight eyes being the same color as their skin, and found just above two small mandibles, which are mostly used for chopping up their food. On the larger female, these mandibles are capable of unleashing a blinding spit, the glands for which are located just below them.

Habitat: They prefer dark areas, heavily canopied forests, caves, and underground you’ll find they go very deep indeed, if the food is still plentiful. The level of moisture doesn’t matter, the level of food does matter, they are not small creatures and they need a fertile area to thrive, though lesser groups of Xyzzch can exist in more barren lands. The most noticeable thing about the Xyzzch’s habitat is that neutral gendered Xyzzch tend to setup webs near other Xyzzch in a network, spreading out from the female protectively. This both expands their domain slowly and sets up a network of webs, usually leaving space for animals to move and live in between, so food can reach the central areas.

Lifespan and Development: Starting as 9ft tall or 9ft long egg sacks, between twenty and twenty five spiderlings will hatch from each sack. Females laying up to five egg sacks at once, and preferring to lay them in close view of food. This makes the hatchlings vulnerable to predators, and also brings predators into the spider’s webs to be fed off in turn. Most hatchlings will die off within two trials, depending how much food exists, twenty to thirty will survive to the first gender stage of adulthood. If no prepared food exists at all in their mothers webbing, no dead or decaying animals are nearby, and it looks like all the hatchlings are going to starve, it is rare but possible they will swarm the female who laid them, overwhelming her to feed on their mother. This can gradually create shifts in territory from the inside out if females are killed, splitting their domain. Though the hatchlings are not picky about exactly who they swarm, and if another easier prey such as a male Xyzzch is nearby, they will be preferred. Meaning preparing food for her hatchlings is of paramount concern to a Spidermother when they are about to give birth, and she will often rather die than run from threats to her webbing, not for the webbing, for its stored food supply. Unlike their smaller cousins where the male is often consumed in mating, here three or four males are kept around, to be a preferred choice for the hatchlings if they ever run out of food, and to defend the webbing rather than expose the female. Hatchlings have a very long growing period, lasting twenty arcs from hatchling to adult, and another two if they grow further into a male or female, for a full life expectancy of 65 arcs.

Birthing hatchlings every arc, the Xyzzch are rapid breeders and can overwhelm an area all too easily, requiring fertile lands or predators thinning their numbers to thrive in. What limits their population to a swarm like behaviour, is the length of time hatchlings take to grow to maturity, the amount of hatchlings they produce, and their obvious food concerns. They go through three gender stages after hatchling, starting as a 1ft tall hatchling, the ones that survive will all grow to about 3ft tall as a neutral adult, with no gender or mating instinct. These neutral adults often form their own web structures, many building around the female mother's webbing for safety in numbers, and replacing her if she dies, they also serve to protect the Spidermother indirectly as they spread out from her in layers. If there is enough room for an entirely new female, at least three thousand square feet, or a female is missing, the largest of the neutral spiders nearby will instinctively grow to become a female, taking one of the neutral gendered spider’s webs, usually with its quick death to take their place. If more than one female grows in the same space, or they become too close due to being moved around, they will always fight to the death to assert their territory. Three of four of the most hardy neutral spiders will become males, and they will coexist often without incident. The female spider will choose who is to breed, often taking more than one male in case she becomes hungry during the act. The fact a neutral spider can grow into a female, means only two spiders of many hatchings need to survive, for these spiders to come back in another two arcs, making eradicating them a lengthy, often lifelong affair. What makes it longer, is that they take so long to grow to full size in the first place, a population systematically wiped out decades ago, all the way to eggsacks, could suddenly surge again two decades later if the extermination is not done very thoroughly.

Diet: Very large insects, birds, small reptiles, small mammals and sometimes larger creatures if they can be taken by surprise. The food is wrapped in webbing to preserve it for later, this also serves to cage it. Unlike small spiders, the Xyzzch doesn’t put the victim to sleep, so it is usually killed first, but this isn’t a requirement if it stops moving from fright. A live victim can expect to be stuck in the webbing for anything up to a season, dying of starvation most likely before being eaten. A skilled survivalist will know this, and know that if he is wrapped up he can still escape in his own time, especially if help is at hand, but if he fights to the death he has no such luxury.

Temperament: Exceptionally territorial, neutral Xyzzch will always attack if you are in or near their webbing, preferring to wait till you are surrounded. Considering anything they catch food, the bigger the better in fact. If they had to choose between two meals, it would be the biggest one they could take without being killed. The neutral gendered Xyzzch work together to a point if webs are threatened. You will see them lashing out at each other in warning rather than to cause harm. If a fight does break out between two Xyzzch one will always die. When not defending against predators or larger prey invading their webs, individual Xyzzch are isolationist, preferring to remain in their webs or nearby, but by the nature of how often they breed, it makes them constantly expand where their webs are placed. Forever a game of population control for a mother Xyzzch, depending on how many egg sacks she lays, too many hatchlings and they might consider her food, too few and the territory around her own webbing will weaken, she must guess correctly how many egg sacks to lay or pay the price. Males show less intelligence and more instinct, which is likely necessary given the chance of them being eaten when breeding, or the increased chance of them becoming hatchling food, meaning they never withdraw from defending their female. Neutral adults are a mix, they will preserve themselves by withdrawing when in serious pain, but won’t allow their webbing to be damaged even if they are hurt. It is rare a female would flee rather than die, if her food supply was ruined and she was hurt she might, she would then seek out the safest neutral web, taking it over by force.

Abilities: Hatchlings have numbers, and a swarming behaviour, otherwise they are no problem for a swing of a sword or an experienced mage if they can avoid being overwhelmed. Neutral Adult Xyzzch use their already existing webbing, and surprise attacks or drops, having thumping legs which can break bone. Spiders in folklore have seven or eight times a human's strength for their size, while this doesn’t quite hold true to folklore legend at this size, they still have the strength of something almost twice their size, making them able to exert considerable force on a small area with their legs if they stamp or kick you. Giving normal metal armor a run for their money if they hit, they will probably make a dent in most metals, though your sword strikes will still cut into them, if you see them coming in time.

It is the male and female Xyzzch however that you have to be careful of, while the neutral’s bite is comparable to a dogs teeth, and their kick a horses kick, a male spider's bite is comparable to that of a bear, so you can imagine what their kick can do. Thankfully you won’t find these arachnids looking for you, you actually have to go looking for them, deep in their web structures. Males have a natural hardened chitin armor around their bodies, instinct driven to fight to defend females till the death, so they will likely not be seen until you are nearing where the female is. A male’s hardened outer shell is comparable to steel, their mouths, eyes, and underbellies are their weakspots. The underbelly of a male is akin to a leathery hide, and they are much more likely to spin smaller webs to their advantage, or try to catch you in one if you stand still.

Female spiders are a juggernaut, more intelligent and more lethal still, you will only see a fully grown female spider at the heart of the web structure, after having killed most of the males, and several neutral Xyzzch, usually with many hatchlings waiting ready to swarm at you. Females will frequently try to catch you in shot webbing, thankfully because of their size you will not usually miss them coming. Their bite is devastating, and their kicks enough to puncture all but the hardest metals. Their chitin hide is said to be harder to pierce than cobalt, and if that wasn’t enough they have a blinding spit attack from a small mouth below their eyes. Go for the eyes if you ever find yourself face to face with this creature, and even then it will probably take more than one eye. Their underbelly is like steel, good luck getting underneath them though, it’s not a place most would want to be! Anyone caught in the spit of a female Xyzzch can expect to spend two trials blind, their sight will come back in flicks of color slowly but surely, if they survive the assault that is.

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A male Xyzzch compared against a 6ft tall human | Silhouette Image Credit by Clipartfest


Research Notes: Researchers note that regular travellers will rarely if ever come across a female or male Xyzzch, more likely encountering a neutral one. Neutral Xyzzch are still a handful but do serve to not only keep the female and its eggsacks insulated, but also keep people safe from running across a more lethal variety of arachnid. It is rumoured experienced adventuring parties sometimes hunt down the mothers, because the unspun webbing from their tail’s websack, is worth a pretty coin or two for clothing manufacture, matching that of silk, only hardier. Of course mother spiders never leave their nests, so getting to them is difficult, and then killing them is a different matter entirely! Sadly already spun webbing cannot be used for clothing, made coarse during the spinning process. The regular neutral and male adults Xyzzch’s websack isn’t worth a fraction of the same, its quality will buy a few meals, but won’t make you rich.

Local Folklore differs on the Xyzzch, some place them squarely in Sintra’s obvious domain and creation. Others whisper they are a natural creation of some great and terrible creature beneath the earth, or pets of a terrible being from another realm, and a few learned folk insist that others make up far too many stories, that they are merely well adapted, fearsome predators.

Credit: Kaladis Anar
Last edited by Kaladis Anar on Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:47 am, edited 8 times in total. word count: 2226
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NPCs: Ralari - Alaya| Themes: Social - Dreams - Nightmares
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I genuinely like this. I think it is a bit long, but I can live with that.
I think Kaladis has left us. So, if anyone else feels a need to shorten it, I invite them to do so.
I'd also say the text can be colored differently.
word count: 52
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