Spider, Garden Orb WeaverThe creature scampers down its web toward you, far more nimble than a thing the size of a cow has any right to be. As it moves, however, it becomes clear that this isn’t a spider—spiders don’t have venom-dripping stingers on their back.

Duergar bear responsibility for the creation of this ill-tempered amalgam. More specifically, a single duergar—a mad alchemist whose name is lost to time—set about creating a new tunnel guardian. He struck upon the idea of fusing a monstrous spider with the stinger of a giant scorpion. He fully expected the creature to remain mindless although he prayed to his dark gods to grant the abomination slight intelligence, making it all the better to train. Annoyed by his incessant prayers, the gods granted his wish, making the skittering just intelligent enough to be cunning and dangerous. His creation an abject failure, the alchemist up and left…

The skittering thrived, however, spawning incessantly. Now, ironically, the creature that was designed to be a guardian for the duergar stalks their every move through the darkness, seeking to feed its near-insatiable appetite on the tender flesh of the dark dwarves. Of course, the flesh of other creatures also serves their needs although nothing is quite as delectable to a skittering as a duergar.

Skittering (CR 7)

XP 3,200
NE Large aberration
+5; Senses darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 45 ft.; Perception +15

AC 18, touch 10, flat-footed 17 (+1 Dex, +8 natural, −1 size)
hp 85 (10d8+40)
Fort +7, Ref +4, Will +9

Speed 30 ft., climb 40 ft.
Melee bite +12 (1d8+6) and sting +12 (1d6+6 plus poison)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.; 15 ft. with sting
Special Attacks web (+8 ranged, DC 19, 5 hp)

Str 23, Dex 12, Con 19, Int 6, Wis 14, Cha 7
Base Atk +7; CMB +14; CMD 25 (37 vs. trip)
Feats Alertness, Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Stealth), Step Up
Skills Acrobatics +8, Climb +14, Perception +15, Sense Motive +4, Stealth +15 (+19 in webs); Racial Modifiers +4 Stealth (+8 in webs)

Environment underground
Organization solitary, pair, or colony (3–10)
Treasure incidental

Poison (Ex) Sting—Injury; save Fort DC 19; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d4 Str; cure 2 consecutive saves.

Typical Characteristics

Roughly the size of a cow, an adult skittering weighs roughly 500 lb.—much of its large size is accounted for by its extremely long legs. A skittering resembles a Large monstrous spider in all ways save for one feature—its deadly tail. Originally procured from a gigantic scorpion, the skittering’s tail is amazingly flexible, able to lash out in any direction the skittering chooses, often striking foes up to fifteen feet away.


Over the centuries, skittering have developed a taste for humanoid flesh, particularly that of their progenitor race. Despite the preference, though, skittering are equal opportunity hunters and make meals from whatever stumbles into their webs. They use their massive mandibles to crush the bones of prey, swallowing large chunks of flesh at a time.

Skittering procreate in the same manner as normal spiders with the female laying eggs. Upon hatching, the young skittering must quickly learn to fend for themselves. It’s not uncommon for a dominant youngling to kill and devour its siblings shortly after hatching.

Habitat and Society

Skittering are ill-tempered creatures and prefer to spend most of their time hunting alone. On rare occasions, a traveler has the misfortune to stumble upon the nest of a mating pair. The traveler’s best hope for survival in this instance is for the pair to fight among themselves to determine who will get the meal.

An even rarer event—thankfully—occurs when a skittering of superior intellect is born. Such a creature possesses the evil cunning to draw several skittering together, called a colony by those who speak of such things. This advanced leader works hard to control the colony, keeping personalities in order and tempers in check, all with the goal of raiding small outposts of humanoids—drow, duergar, and svirfneblin are all equal targets. The destruction wrought by a raiding colony is a sight to behold—from a safe distance, of course.

(Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible)

7 thoughts on “Skittering”

  1. While this is an awesome and creepy monster, my standing slight arachnophobia kicked in after a moment of gazing into the bristled visage atop this picture, albeit after a moment of “What is that?” confusion.

    Delightful beast…I look forward to having my players snap it’s exoskeleton, or be slain by the beast.

  2. Simon the Overthinker

    And the deep dark just got better (or worse)! I am loving some of the recent monsters posted. Keep them coming!

  3. Oddly enough, its a language that speaks like drow without the eleven influences.

    Also, saw the latest tweet to gain attention for the article. Warning aracnophobes…you guys are the best.

  4. That’s indeed a lot more intelligent than “just intelligent enough to be cunning and dangerous”. I’ve read “animal” intelligence is around 3, and we all know how smart “animals” are. . .

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