Araña: The Widow’s Gift

Knacks: Spider’s Blood, Spider’s Cloak, Spider’s Flight, Spider’s Kiss, Spider’s Step

Apprentice Degree: Crawler
Adept Degree: Climber
Master Degree: Weaver

There is a small, red spider with yellow legs in Castille known as the malmignata locally, but called the fate widow in other countries. Though only the size of a grown man’s thumbnail, this aggressive creature is oddly territorial for a web-spinning spider. It will bite an intruder, even a human, who brushes up against its web and inject a powerful necrotoxin (1 Dramatic Wound / 5 minutes / 60 minutes) capable of killing or at least incapacitating all but the hardiest of creatures.

Rarely, however (perhaps one bite in one thousand), the fate widow’s venom merely causes a metamorphosis, wreaking massive changes upon a (human) victim’s body. The hair on his arms and the nape of his neck grow fine and become sensitive to the slightest shift in the air currents around him. The glands in his throat transform into venom sacs. The pores on his hands and feet begin to secrete minute amounts of a rapidly-dissolving glue which will temporarily adhere to a wall, or can be spun into unbreakable threads. Even the victim’s blood changes, providing resistance not only to fate widow venom, but to the venoms of all its cousins.

While most of the changes Araña spawns are internal, it also turns its practitioners’ irises jet black and causes them to reflect light across several planes, as if they were multifaceted. Anyone who looks into an Araña user’s eyes and sees a flickering candle flame reflected back at him eight times will know there is something unnatural afoot. Because Araña is not a Bargainer’s Sorcery, its abilities require a Drama Die to be activated.

Apprentice Degree
At this level of power, a practitioner of Araña is capable of moving as quietly as a spider. So long as his hands and feet are bare and he is moving on all fours (hands and feet, not hands and knees), he may spend a Drama Die to automatically succeed on any unopposed Shadowing or Stealth checks he attempts, and to receive one Free Raise per Mastery Level on any opposed checks using those Knacks. Once activated, this power lasts until the end of the Scene.

Adept Degree
As an Adept, the secretions of an Araña user’s hands and feet are so strong, he can climb even a smooth, sheer surface so long as his hands and feet are bare. The Adept may spend a Drama Die to automatically succeed at any climbing rolls attempted outside of combat, and to receive one Free Raise per Mastery Level on any Active Defenses using Climbing he attempts during combat. Once activated, this power lasts until the end of the Scene.

Master Degree
The Master of Araña has learned to spin the sticky substance secreted by his bare hands into fine ropes of webbing. Although these ropes are only about a quarter-inch thick, they are virtually unbreakable: they will support up to one thousand pounds of weight before snapping, and they cannot be cut by ordinary weapons (however, blades made by the Djinn or the Sidhe, Dracheneisen weapons, Twisted Blades, or similarly “magical” weapons can cut them).

The Master can spend a Drama Die to use these threads to bind a person’s limbs; such a person cannot escape, even using Contortion, as the freshly spun threads will bind to his skin and clothing. This takes about two minutes to do outside of combat, or five Actions during combat. He may also spend a Drama Die to create silken rope: five feet for every Action spent during combat, or for every minute invested outside of combat. After its initial creation, this rope loses its stickiness and can be used like any other exceptionally strong rope. Either form of webbing will last until the end of the Act before degrading into frayed strands that can be easily broken.

Sorcerous Knacks

Spider’s Blood. Araña practitioners develop resistance to spider venoms of all sorts. He is completely immune to the venom of the fate widow spider. In addition, whenever he is injected with spider venom, whether through a bite or a poisoned needle or blade, he may spend a Drama Die to make a roll of his Resolve + Spider’s Blood vs. a TN of 20. If this roll is successful, the venom has no effect.

Spider’s Cloak. Just as a spider can conceal itself in the shadows around its web, a practitioner of Araña learns to conceal himself or another person or object in webbing and go unnoticed by passers by. By spending a Drama Die, he may conceal one person or object in webbing and debris, dirt, or dust found around the area where the web will be spun. It takes two Actions during combat or one minute outside of combat to hide a hand-held item, four Actions or two minutes to conceal a small item, and six Actions or three minutes to conceal a man-sized creature or object (the Araña user may conceal himself). Each additional object or creature hidden will require another Drama Die.

Once an object or creature (or two, or three, or whatever) is concealed, the Araña user must make a roll of his Panache + Spider’s Cloak; he may add Unkept Dice equal to his Rank in the Conceal Knack to this Skill Check. The result is the TN that anyone or anything must meet or exceed with a Perception Check to determine anything is out of the ordinary should the location of the concealed items or creatures be stumbled upon.

Spider’s Flight. The fate widow is capable of jumping up to fifty times its body length, and a practitioner of Araña develops fluid sacs in his legs that allow him to perform similar feats. By spending a Drama Die, he may leap up to ten times his Rank in this Knack horizontally, and up to five times his Rank in this Knack vertically. (Both measurements are in feet.)

Spider’s Kiss. A user of Araña develops poison sacs in his throat, and can use these to envenom a bladed weapon or deliver a poisonous bite. By spending a Drama Die and biting an enemy in combat (use the Attack (Dirty Fighting) Knack) and inflicting at least one Flesh Wound, or by spending a Drama Die and licking a bladed weapon (which later inflicts at least one Flesh Wound on an enemy), an opponent is injected with this poison. At the end of the Round in which the subject is envenomed he takes some number of Flesh Wounds in damage: Roll dice equal to the Araña user’s Rank in this Knack and Keep dice equal to his Mastery Level in Araña to determine how many. Note that it takes one Action to lick a weapon in combat and coat it with enough poison to be effective.

Spider’s Step. A practitioner of Araña develops unnaturally swift reflexes and the ability to sense when an attack is coming. By spending a Drama Die, he may add twice his Rank in this Knack to his TN to be Hit whenever he is using Footwork to determine his Passive Defense (this is cumulative with any other ability that adds to his TN to be Hit while using Footwork). In addition, he receives a similar bonus to any Active Defense rolls he makes to avoid a trap. Once activated, this power lasts until the end of the Scene.

Game Master’s Secrets
Despite it’s Castillian origins, the source of this shamanism is an ancient and malicious Unseelie noble known only as the Queen of Air and Darkness. She is obsessed with the Bargainers and intent on summoning them back to Terra to watch as they wreak havoc over the entire world. For centuries, the Queen has been fusing ordinary Sidhe with spiders using the crossbreeding magic practiced on the Isle of the Red God in the Midnight Archipelago, creating savage, mindless servants. Over the course of many, many years, this corrupted bloodline has trickled into the Castillian gene pool, and while it is extremely rare, it does manifest on occasion.

Because Araña is a shamanism, it has no inherent effect (positive or negative) on the Barrier.

Full credit for Araña goes to André La Roche, who created the Sorcery for 7th Sea 2nd Edition.