No. Encountered: 2d4
Armour Class: 5
Hit Dice: 1/2 to 5
No. of Attacks: 1 (bite)
Damage: 0 + special
Saving Throw: 16, 15, or 14 (+2 avoidance, +2 transformation)
Experience Points: 1/2 HD: 25; 1 HD: 40; 1+2 to 2 HD: 60; 2+2 or 3 HD 95; 3+2 or 4 HD 165; 4+2 or 5 HD 275
Treasure Class: Nil
The museums and memoria of the Hyperborean sorcerer-tyrants ensrhined deeds rather than works and took as their medium not stone or pigment or earthly or transcosmic metals but the very stuff of memory, imbued into the feeding and breeding of living mirrors created by whim to serve the vanity of those who held themselves higher than gods. Memory spiders range from thumb- to head-sized, thick-limbed and agile, their silvery chitin reflecting vision from the moment between perception and memory. When they attach to a creature to feed or incubate their eggs, their legs rattle like mirrored keys tapping out messages on an armature of flesh. From Hyperborean, this sound translates to “the accession to witness.”
Since the Green Death and the degradation of the Hyperborean sorcerer-tyrants, the spiders have sought their sustenance in those places where events most resemble the panoply of destruction and creation that marked the doomed reign of their creators. In effect, this means dungeons, where they have adapted to the twisted logics of the places between the earth and its dark mirrors.
The web lairs of memory spiders resemble, from certain angles, palaces laid room by room in accesses of the mind. The webs of the memory spider are gauzy and light and sticky, clinging to anyone who stumbles through their architecture. Until the webs are removed by strong alcohol, the shrouded blunderer cannot earn experience as all short-term memories are absorbed by the webs.
It is unlikely to find any treasure beneath the webs of the memory spiders. Any treasure dropped there passes out of memory and into legend.
* Variable hit dice: HD equal half of the dungeon level or 1d10/2, though all memory spiders encountered at one time will have the same hit dice. For results from odd numbers, round down and add 2 hit points.
* If not attacked, the memory spiders will latch on to a single target and begin to feed, sifting through the target’s memories. They will cling to the target for 1 turn per hit die. During this time, the target is helpless, unable to move or see. When the memory spiders detach, the target will have gained some useful information about the dungeon level or area: a partial map, the direction and distance of the most dangerous creature or most valuable treasure, a shortcut to other areas, or other useful knowledge.
* Any hostile action will lead to attack, concentrating as a group on one target per round (random or the target with the most recent strong memories; the spiders are attracted and aroused by association, trauma, obsession). A successful bite causes no damage, but the target must save versus poison. When a target fails a saving throw, that spider latches on and begins to lay its eggs. The others in the group all do the same, and from the hidden corners of time, memory spiders flood forth, entirely cover the victim, and begin to inject their eggs. Roll 1d6:
1. Memories propagate. The reproductive energy of the spider’s copulation reaches a crescendo and takes physical form. Roll on the dungeon level’s random encounter table. The result is summoned. The breeding colony of memory spiders remain attached to their target until the encounter is resolved. The target can act, but all rolls are at -2.
2. Mixing memory and desire. The memory spiders inject their eggs, and the pupating young seek to change their nest to a more fertile flavor of thought. Roll on the random encounter table for this level or area. The target must save vs. transformation or be polymorphed into the result. If the save target is made exactly, the target acquires a useful but unconcealable aspect of the result.
3. Minds drift like silk. The target and all attached memory spiders assume gaseous form for 1d6 (1d6 1-4 = turns, 5-6 = hours), expanding and attenuating to one additional room or area on the level per turn. The later desublimation is in a random area in the cloud. The target and spiders are impervious to normal and magic effects while gaseous unless they would affect memories.
4. Sleep is no respite except from time. The target and all attached memory spiders are transported to another random room on the dungeon level or in the area. (If the save is failed by more than 4, this can be to any room in the dungeon or place in the surrounding adventure area). There, the target is wrapped in thick memory webs, held exempt from time’s passing and impervious to all effects until the webs are destroyed by someone who knew the target before entering this level and who speaks the target’s name.
5. Only replete in memory. The target is covered in memory spiders for 1d6 (1d6: 1-4 = turns, 5-6 = hours). Each turn, a day’s worth of rations (including water and light sources) are destroyed. If the target runs out, another person in the room or immediate area suffers the effect until the full duration elapses. If no one in the room or area has rations at any turn’s elapsing, the target takes 1d6 in damage instead. Again, no normal or magical effects can reach the target, and nothing will attack the target while the spiders are attached. Any attempt to bring the impregnated host out of the dungeon level or area will fail as the helpers repeatedly forget their companion. The target is unable to be surprised.
6. The mind wanders. The memory spiders inject their eggs, each one encased in a sac spun of memory web. These break down the relation of matter to time, gestating new memory spiders in the under-life of the target. The target’s mind wanders the dungeon level in space and time for 1d8 (1d6: 1 = turns, 2-5 = hours, 6 = days). Check supplies (light, rations, water) normally for the duration. When the duration expires, roll 1d6: 1 = death, 2-5 = survival, 6 = survival with useful information about the level or area. If any supplies were exhausted, 1-2 = death, 3-5 = survival with scarring, mutation, insanity, or trauma, 6 = survival with useful information. If the original save is failed by 4 or more, also make a random encounter check once per hour (and at least once). For each of these that indicate an encounter, apply a modifier of -1 to the final 1d6.
During the gestation period, the affected character cannot act but can be led around by others, covered in a rattling web of mirrorlike memory spiders. No normal or magical effects can reach the target, and nothing will attack the target while the spiders are attached, though any attempt to bring the impregnated host out of the dungeon level or other area will fail as the helpers repeatedly forget their companion. The target is also creepily unable to be surprised, turning to face any sudden threat -- though their companions might not know why.
Whatever the effect, when it has ended or resolved one way or another, the attached memory spiders wither and detach, falling to the ground like slivers from a broken mirror. The target, dead or alive vomits forth immature memory spiders equal to double the number originally encountered. These race away into forgetfulness until they have matured.