Crypt spiders are a bizarre variety of giant arachnids that dwell within dusty tombs, crumbling ruins, and well-stocked mausoleums wherever desiccated corpses are plentiful. The bane of scholars and grave robbers alike, their choice of lair is entirely dependent on their peculiar dietary needs.
One of the largest arachnids in western Immoren, adult crypt spiders are roughly as long as a man is tall and stand nearly half that distance from the ground. They are bloated and corpulent, and in bright light their partially translucent flesh exposes the innards beneath. Crypt spider legs are tipped with a serrated barb that allows them to easily cling to stone walls. They have six bulbous eyes and can see in near-complete darkness. Crypt spiders' oversized mandibles are used to get at the marrow within the cracked bones of the dead. Crypt spiders secrete a highly caustic digestive fluid in small amounts to dissolve bone, and it readily eats flesh and even metal in large quantities.
Crypt spiders eat the dead; more specifically, they gain their only sustenance from the marrow of long-dead corpses. Crypt spiders spin webs, not to capture prey, but rather for the purpose of coating the walls and ceilings of their lairs to make them easier to climb. Additionally, crypt spiders build elaborate nests that serve as shelter for them and their young.
A tomb infested with crypt spiders usually holds a colony of two or three adults and possibly hundreds of spiderlings. Larger crypts may house a dozen or more adults. Crypt spiders are occasionally found within graveyards, devouring the corpses of the newly dead.
More pest than dangerous beast, a crypt spider can still pose a threat to any who seek forgotten lore and treasure in the ruins of western Immoren. Crypt spiders only attack the living in self-defence, but they do not take kindly to adventurers who disturb their home and feeding grounds. Crypt spiders attack by squirting their gastric juice at enemies, and they can also deliver a powerful bite.
Crypt spiders retain the memories of the corpses they consume, though these memories have no effect on a crypt spider’s behaviour.
Alchemists have had some success distilling potions from the brains of crypt spiders. Anyone who imbibes this grey, oily fluid, known as cryptospector, briefly gains the memories and insights of the last intelligent corpse consumed by the spider. The memories are implanted in the drinker’s mind: though they clearly belong to another, they are not overwhelming and pose little threat of loss of self. Instead, the drinker can sift through them as if he were thinking back through his own natural memories.