Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Underused Arachnids

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This is other post(s) that was on g+ that I'm publishing here to make it plausible to find
(go previous post or click the g+ archive tag for the others)

I've added pseudoscorpions here as well . I think that's all of the arachnids I'm going to do.
The 2 other contenders were Hooded tickspiders and Vingaroon

 I can't a strong enough reason to use hooded tick spiders over regular spiders (the closest I got was a cannon balls but a curled up clunky spider as cannon ball is just as good).

Vingaroons are the other arachnid also called Whip scorpions ( Uropygids/Thelyphonida) . They are pretty sweet looking , spray acid and have the name Vingaroon but I don't think are distinctive enough to spin off into something that couldn't be done with scorpions or Amblypygi.
image from the wiki article on them



Latin translates to : False scorpion

Terrible common names: False scorpion or Pseudoscorpion. Land crab, Lobster insect. Book Scorpion

Kind of okay storys about them:

Pretty much nothing I can find. I guess being small, not amazingly numerous nor dangerous keeps you out of the mythology? Even Aristotle has only this say:

There are also other minute animals, as I observed before, some of which occur in wool, and in woollen goods; as the moths, which are produced in the greatest abundance when the wool is dusty, as especially if a spider is enclosed with them, for this creature is thirsty, and dries up any fluid which may be present. This worm also occurs in garments. There is one which occurs in old honeycombs, like the creature which inhabits dry wood; this appears to be the least of all creatures, it is called acari, it is white and small. Others also are found in books, some of which are like those which occur in garments; others are like scorpions; they have no tails, and are very small. And on the whole, they occur in everything, so to say, which from being dry, becomes moist, or being moist, becomes dry, if it has any life in it"

Most Obvious Thing about them:

They are small (2mm to 8mm and the biggest at 12mm) , have pincers , a tear drop body tapering at the head and no stinger.

Some points of note I couldn't put anywhere else:

They hitch rides on other animals by latching on with their pincers (especially flys) which is called phoresy because someone let their kid come up with a name rather than just jamming some greek and/or latin together for once.

They inject a paralysation poison with their pincers and slobber acidic goo from its mouth onto things to break them down before slurping up them (unlike the injection method of spiders)

Their little pincers have sensitive hairs all over them acting like a motion sensor , even detecting stuff behind them

They can sometimes be found living on bigger creations and prey on any parasites they find.

They also can be found in old books , preying on book worms.

Name You Should Use Instead: Beeky-Doo, Nip-Nip, Snipper, Bookward, Clip-Drudge

But why not use a scorpion? You want something with pincers that is not a crab and is also cute.Or you want something that is a bug , but not with an immediately familiar image. Scorpions look constantly hostile.
Absurd Fantasy Ways To Use them:

You have them as book guardians , maybe flat enough to be hiding in-between the pages. They have a nice "helper" feel(they way they rush around with them arms held up?) to them so maybe as librarians or assistants to alchemists or wizards? Like you could see one of these little dudes handing some one a jar or a book right?. One could be a mobile book shelve with all the rectangular sections on either side of its longitudinal mid-line being a book slotted into place. A small thieving band of them with paralysation attacks and weird collections of things.

Maybe trying to rebuild their book collection? Maybe they can't see words as anything other than the thing the word describes so their rebuilt library is a collection of book covers stuffed with actual things .

If super a big you can use them anywhere you wanna use a giant crab but it's too far from the sea. Plus acid slobber waterfall from its mouth.

As assassins , flat enough to crawl under a door gap , maybe not to kill but cause stroke like paralysation in the night or disfiguring acid burns

One more option ; found running around on super big creatures attacking ticks , lice and your players.


Latin translates to : Shepherd. Poss a reference to stilt walking shepherds which are a real thing and should encourage you to weird up all your mundane professions

Terrible common names: Daddy long legs (a name people use for crane flys ,and some species of spider), Harvestmen

Kind of okay storys about them: There is that dumb-as one about them being the most poisonous animal but their fangs are too short to bite humans. I hate that one as it is absurdly persistent. The same myth also exists about the spiders referred to as daddy long legs but with the addition that since they eat spiders all that venom concentrates in their own. Which is an okay idea about a legendary poisonous thing having to eat only poisonous things or seeking out more poisonous things to consume in order to increase its lethalness. So if you wanted to catch a king basilisk you would have to catch something almost as bad first as bait.

Back to Opilione myths: killing one will make it rain the next day, and picking one up by all its legs but one will reveal the whereabouts of your cattle; via the direction pointed at by the last leg

Most Obvious Thing about them:

their head and body is just one lump unlike the segmentation of spiders. Their legs are real long so they can be closer to heaven for angelfucking.

Some points of note I couldn't put anywhere else:

None of them are poisonous. Their chelicerae , which are the normal poison fangs in spiders are little pincers. Some of them have crazy big pincers though.


But why not use a spider? These things look goofy and bizarre. Their behaviour and abilitys should be weird or unpredictable.

Absurd Fantasy Ways To Use them: Opliliones sometimes huddle in big groups but surprisingly compact spaces. Take that up a bunch and have 20 metre tall Opiliones that can hide in a rabbit hole. Or 20 of them all roiling out of that little hole because something startled them or they are going to eat an entire buffalo herd.

Their absurd striding makes them seem appropriate for being the steed of weird moon people or for walking on cloud top or tree canopy. Or being the transport of choice for Moebius attired gurus or uncanny mercantiles.

Abilities to walk insane distances with space distorting legs.

Disturbing nocturnal urban predators/dream eaters walking silent along streets peeking in 3rd story windows and then stepping in through a slightly ajar window. Like the BFG but the F starts for FuckedUp


Latin translates to: Flees from the sun
Terrible common use names: camel spider , sun spider, wind scorpion
Kinda of okay common name: Jerrymander, Haarskeerders ("hair cutters") , Baardskeerders ("beard cutters")

Kind of okay stories about them: They cut off hair when people sleep

to line their nest with, they disembowel camels, they chase people (technically they do this, but they just want to stay in your shadow because it is nice and cool BUT YOU KEEP MOVING DAMN IT)

Most obvious thing about them : They are a little more elongated than a spider and they have massive oversize secateur like fangs which can crush and cut. They are not poisonous but extremely faster


But why not use a spider?
: Emphasis that these have a face like a industrial barrel crusher . Spiders are subtle and patient, these are belligerent and aggressive , relentless and have the finesse of a ram-raid. Spiders are about poisoning and trapping. These are about running down and chewing things to pieces. They are the arachnid equivalent of those joke chattering teeth.

Absurd fantasy ways to use them:

Giant versions as Anti-armour steeds , ridden to crash into heavy cavalry and cut right through a horse and barding in seconds.

A legend of one always running just behind the sun, constantly hungry, or a desert tide of them sweeping across it with the retreating edge of the night eating anything that has awoke too early or stayed up too late

A colony of them that collect hair and beards to build people made of hair so they can puppet them from inside and seemlessly blend in with people. A face sized arachnid that runs as fast as an arrow and will leap on your face and chew threw it.

from here

Terrible common names: Whip scorpion , whip spider, tailless whip scorpion , (whip scorpion is name shared with Thelyphonidia)

Kind of Okay storys about them: They sting with their whips

Most Obvious Thing about them:
their first pair of legs are massively long and thing and serve the function of antenna. Their pedipalps (little legs at the front that normally look like little fangs or antenna) are huge , impressively spiked and look like a mantis scythe crab claw hybrid


But why not use a scorpion?: These look like some had a go at making a demolition vehicle out of an arachnid. They are not poisonous , way more of brute force monsters. The huge pedipalps could used to sweep down whole groups. The whips can be a creepy tappy tap foreshadowing of the monster as they delicately drift around corners and into crevices. Something about them suggests they should be fighting groups rather than stalking single opponents

Absurd Fantasy Ways To Use them: They are kind of terrible as steeds though, too flat looking, but as a massively oversized warmachine they would be awesome. Any time you want to use a giant crab but want it to seem smarter and faster. Unlike the Facedestroyer these only really work at horse sized for fantasy monster purposes. As gladiatorial opponent it would make a great image standing in the middle of the ring , scythes held aloft , whips questing for targets , as its doomed opponents sneak around the fragile cover provided .

The Scythe of one would make a great looking weapon for some darksun style shenanigans. either as a simple club or a way cooler scissor thing.

I could see these like the beetle things from dark crystal, bursting out of a hole to reap down a helpless civilian population .


1 comment:

  1. Dammit, the stilt reference was there from the beginning and insinuated itself semisubconscious-like.