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"Appartion of the Spider Princess", an 1887 woodblock print by Yoshitoshi. It depicts Sakata Kintoki (left) sleeping in the chamber of his master Minamoto no Raiko, which is being secretly visited by a Tsuchigumo woman.
The Tsuchigumo lives in the Japanese Alps. The name means "ground spider", likely due to perceived physical traits that were later exaggerated or embellished.
earth spider depiction by Kuniyoshi Ichiyusai
A spider-limbed monster of the same name appears in some Japanese folktales, which possibly were mythical retellings of battles against these peoples. According to Japanese History, Japanese people used "Tsuchigumo" as a derogatory term for bandits and thieves, akin to the Tsuchigumo that lived under the ground and in caves.
The most famous example is that of Minamoto no Raiko. In this story, Raiko investigates tales of a giant skull flying through the air. He and his retainers chase the skull, but it eludes them. It is during this chase that he finds a youth named Kintaro. Raiko, impressed by Kintaro's strength, initiated him as one of his retainers and continued on his venture. The search for the skull proves fruitless, and Raiko retires for the night. At the house where they stay, Raiko finds himself feeling ill, and a young servant boy brings him medicine daily, under the pretence of helping him to recover. Raiko continues to grow ill, and begins to suspect the boy of mischief. One day, he waits for the daily visit and then lashes out, striking the boy and causing him to run from the house. This breaks a powerful illusion, and Raiko finds himself covered in a spider's web. His retainers free him, and together they Track down the boy by his trail of blood. They follow it into the mountains, and there find a huge spider, dead from a wound.
There are many alternate tellings of this popular story. In another famous version, instead of being a small boy, the Tsuchigumo appears as a beautiful woman leading an army of Yokai. Raiko's retainers prepare to battle the Yokai, but Raiko avoids them and strikes the woman, causing the Yokai to disappear as if an illusion. He then follows the woman to a cave in the mountains where she transforms into a great spider. After a battle, Raiko splits her open. Even after the Tsuchigumo's death, several thousand spiders the size of human infants are said to have crawled from its belly. Raiko and his retainers claim total victory only after having made sure every last one is slain. Raiko was wielding a sword named "Kumokirimaru" meaning spider-cutter.
Another telling shows the Tsuchigumo in a positive light. In this tale the Tsuchigumo is captured by Raiko. He vows to save Raiko's life three times. In the end he keeps his word. The last time he rescues Raiko he is cast into the sea. some tales say he becomes a crab, another version tells of a rescue of the spider by another demon.
Illustration of a tsuchigumo (earth spider) being attacked by four legendary warriors, including General Minamoto Raiko- and Sakata Kintoki (Kintaro-). From Japanese Fairy Tales, Second Series, by Lafcadio Hearn.
|Huge outsider (Chaotic, Extraplanar, Evil)|
|Hit Dice||12d8+96 (150 hp)|
|Speed||40 ft. (8 squares), Climb 20 ft.|
|Armor Class||22 (-2 size, +1 Dexterity, +13 natural), touch 9, flat-footed 21|
|Attack||Bite +19 melee (2d6+9 plus poison) or web +11 ranged|
|Full Attack||Bite +19 melee (2d6+9 plus poison) and 2 claws +14 melee (2d4+4); or web +11 ranged|
|Space/Reach||15 ft./10 ft.|
|Special Attacks||Poison, rend armor, web|
|Special Qualities||Damage reduction 10/good, Darkvision 60 ft., plane shift, Scent, telepathy 100 ft.|
|Saves||Fort +16, Ref +9, Will +9|
|Abilities||Strength 28, Dexterity 12, Constitution 26, Intelligence 11, Wisdom 13, Charisma 13|
|Skills||Climb +24, Diplomacy +3, Hide +16, Jump +28, Listen +16, Move Silently +16, Search +15, Sense Motive +16, Spot +16, Survival +1 (+3 following tracks)|
|Feats||Cleave, Improved Initiative, Improved Grapple, Power Attack, Track|
|Environment||A chaotic evil-aligned plane|
|Alignment||Always chaotic evil|
|Advancement||13-18 HD (Huge); 19-36 HD (Gargantuan)|
are enormous, predatory, arachnid demons that hunt other demons. A bebilith has
a body the size of a plow horse, with legs spanning more than 14 feet. It weighs
more than two tons.
understand but do not speak Abyssal. Their telepathy allows them to communicate
silently with one another.
A bebilith attacks
any creature it sees. It usually picks one target and concentrates its attacks
on that opponent, using its webs to isolate the target from its comrades. Should
the bebilith become overwhelmed by tougher opponents, it often attempts to bite
one or more of its victims and retreats, allowing its poison to do its work.
natural weapons, as well as any weapons it wields, are treated as chaotic-aligned
and evil-aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
(Ex): Injury, Fortitude DC 24, initial damage 1d6 Constitution, secondary damage 2d6
Constitution. Bebilith venom is highly perishable, losing its potency and becoming inert,
foul-smelling goo almost as soon as it comes into contact with air. The save DC
If a bebilith hits with both claw attacks, it pulls apart any armor worn by
its foe. This attack deals 4d6+18 points of damage to the opponent's armor. Creatures
not wearing armor are unaffected by this special attack. Armor reduced to 0 hit
points is destroyed. Damaged armor may be repaired with a successful Craft (armorsmithing)
(Ex): A bebilith can throw a web up to four times per day. This is
similar to an attack with a net but has a maximum range of 30 feet, with a range
increment of 10 feet. This attack is effective against targets of up to Gargantuan
size. The web anchors the target in place, allowing no movement.
entangled creature can escape with a DC 24 Escape Artist check or burst the web
with a DC 24 Strength check. The check DCs are Constitution-based. The web has
14 hit points and hardness 0. There is a 75% chance that the webbing will not
burn if any sort of fire is applied to it (check each round).
shift (Su): This ability affects only the bebilith. It is otherwise
similar to the spell (caster level 12th).
Skills: A bebilith has mottled coloration that gives it a +8 racial bonus on Hide checks.
Originally Posted by
Dracomortis of the Wizards Community forums.
On this thread
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (the Planes) can learn more about bebiliths. When a character makes a successful skill check, the following lore is revealed, including the information from the lower DCs. Those who recognize the creatures ancestry can use Craft (poisonmaking) to learn more.
|Knowledge (the Planes)|
|This arachnoid creature is a bebilith, a type of demon. This result reveals all outsider and tanarri traits.|
|Bebiliths are highly predatory creatures that enjoy hunting other demons, but arent picky and wont pass up the opportunity to hunt other creatures.|
|A bebilith tends to focus on one opponent at a time. If it cannot single out an enemy, it will use bite the creature and retreat, waiting while its poison weakens the victim. In addition to its poisonous bite, a bebilith possesses the ability to rend a foes armor, destroying it.|
|A bebiliths venom, while extremely potent, is also highly perishable and loses its potency upon contact with the air almost instantaneously.|
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