Monday Monsters: Spider Webs & Venom


This Monday Monsters post is two things: late, and mostly about monster elements than whole creatures. As for being late, well, toddlers are walking human Petri dishes. Which is all I’ll say about that. This isn’t a parenting blog after all.

As for monster elements? If you’re familiar with Fate, you know about the Bronze Rule – the idea that you can turn just about anything in Fate into a character. Rather than do another arachnid-themed creature for this post, I thought it’d be fun to stat up common elements of said spider monsters: webs and venom.

The excellent Fate Adversary Toolkit introduces something called obstacles. They’re things the player characters have to deal with, but unlike enemies obstacles (usually) can’t be attacked. At least not directly. Hazards are obstacles whose main purpose is to damage characters, while blocks merely prevent characters from taking action. Those seem like great ways to represent spider venom and spider webs, respectively.

Giant Spider Venom

Good (+3) Giant Spider Venom, Weapon: 2

Spider venom is a hazard, as its main goal is to damage the character. To inject venom into an opponent, you could create a hazard instead of creating an aspect on a successful create an advantage action. Or even on an attack if the spider has a stunt that creates an aspect on a success with style, like the Giant Huntsman Spider. Once it’s been injected, the venom attacks on the spider’s turn using its single skill and on a success it inflicts extra stress equal to its weapon rating. (Here are the rules for weapon ratings.) The venom above is sort of a “standard” venom, and would fit the Giant Jumping Spider or the Giant Trapdoor Spider well.

Great (+4) Paralytic Venom, Weapon: 1
Great (+4) Nauseating Venom, Weapon: 1

Hazards can also attempt to create advantages, again using their single skill. In this case, the aspects should be something like Weakened, Shaky, Blurred Vision and other poison related effects. The paralytic venom above would be good for the Giant Orb-Weaver, while the nauseating venom could be for the Giant Hunting Spider.

Superb (+5) Necrotic Venom, Weapon: 4

If you really want something nasty, the necrotic venom above fits the bill. A high skill rating and a high weapon rating makes that poison very dangerous. Normally hazards can’t be attacked by the player characters; they just have to be avoided, usually be leaving the area. But as spider venom is inside the character, that’s not possible. So in this case it makes sense for the character to be able to attempt to overcome the venom, representing their body neutralizing the poison or someone applying first aid. The hazard again rolls with its single skill, and if the player is successful, it’s eliminated.

Giant Spider Webs

Good (+3) Giant Spider Webs
Superb (+5) Huge Spider Webs

Spider webs are blocks. They don’t actively attack characters, but passively prevent movement and make certain types of actions harder. Unlike hazards, blocks don’t get a turn, but provide passive opposition the player has to roll against under certain circumstances. In this case, the giant spiderwebs would probably make it more difficult to leave a zone, or to get close enough to a spider to attack it in melee. If the player character fails to overcome the block, it simply prevents them from taking whatever action they were attempting.

Just like the spider venom hazards, I think you could add spider webs to a scene whenever a giant spider would create an aspect. I probably wouldn’t have more than a single block per zone though, as I don’t believe their ratings stack. Plus, they’d start to get annoying. You’re looking to challenge your players, not irritate them. Blocks can be completely removed from the scene, but that’s somewhat hard to do. You need a successful overcome action, and the skill rating of the block increases by +2 steps. That could be done by burning the spider webs, hacking at them with an axe, or casting a big, flashy disintegration spell.

Lastly, in case you didn’t yet know, Evil Hat just released their Fate Horror Toolkit. I’ve snagged a PDF copy (shipping books to Japan is expensive, but I’ll get a hardcopy eventually), and can’t wait to dig into it.

Monday Monsters: Spider Webs & Venom

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