Chris Van Deelen

No. Enc: 1d6
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 150' (50')
AC: 1
HD: 8 (alpha) 2
Attacks: 1 bite or two claws
Damage: 1d10+1d6 or 1d6+1d6 / 1d6+1d6 (alpha), 1d4+1d6 or 1d3+1d6 / 1d3+1d6
Save: L12 or 4
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: N/A

Life finds a way.

Life has had a habit of showing up in the most inhospitable locations on earth, from the deepest crevasses in the oceans, to the volcanoes that unleash the fury of nature itself. To the amazement of scientists everywhere, life has evolved in these extreme conditions.

One particularly deadly species of spider mutated and has been found to live in volcanoes or other ‘hot spots’ around the globe. Instead of being tiny terrors like their ancestors, these have reached ungodly sizes, and as such they require a great deal of food to survive.

Giant spiders in the wastelands are nothing new. Giant spiders that can burn with a touch and spew molten lava? Yes, these creatures are new and deadly beyond measure! The largest of these creatures are about the size of a small sedan, weighing in excess of 500 pounds, while most are about the size of a Doberman and weigh about fifty pounds. They glow a deep golden-crimson, and the heat they generate is noticeable out to 100 feet. Anyone in a 10 foot radius of these monsters will suffer 1d6 points of thermal damage per round.

The creatures hunt in packs, with the largest and deadliest being the ‘alpha’, leading the rest. The ‘alpha’ is content to allow the rest of its pack surround and ‘soften’ up the target, before forcing the others away to feed.

When engaging in combat, the creatures will surround a victim, allowing the heat of their bodies to inflict damage. It does not matter how many of the creatures are together, the damage inflicted is always 1d6 thermal. They will spring in and bite and slash with their red-hot mandibles and legs until the creature has been killed. At this time the ‘alpha’ will appear, and due to some very strange metabolic process, it is able to cool its mandibles as well as its throat and stomach to a point where the food will not be instantly incinerated. At this point it will feed, and then allow the others of the pack to pick at the remains.

If a target proves to be particularly difficult, they can shoot a stream of super-heated stomach fluids, which has the overall consistency of molten rock. The range of this attack is 40 feet, and multiple strikes will stack with one another.

This ‘lava’ will inflict 3d6 points of thermal damage per round, for 2d3 rounds. This is for the ‘alpha’. All other members of the hunting pack will only inflict 1d6 damage per round and it will last for only 1d3 rounds. Anything flammable it touches must make a saving throw versus thermal (see wisdom from the Wastelands issue 1), or burst into flame, this includes items carried by the victim. Anything that fails the saving throw will automatically suffer 1d3-1 condition levels of damage until they are destroyed. The creature can only use this attack once per day.

These creatures make their homes primarily in volcanoes as well as other locations which are perpetually burning, such as the oil-fields in North Dakota, the coal mines Centralia, Pennsylvania and other locations which have been generating thermal radiation for decades or centuries. They can stand colder temperatures, but do not like them, and will always be on the lookout for places they can use for homes. If they cannot find suitable spots, they will choose an area and use their lava-like stomach fluids to set fires, making their temporary homes far more to their liking.

As to be expected, these creatures are vulnerable to cold-based attacks. They suffer triple damage from any cold-based weapon, and suffer a -4 to any saving throw involving cold.

Mutations: Energy retaining cell structure (modified), gigantism, immunity (thermal), toxic weapon, vulnerability (cold)

Source: Lavalantula (2015)