Prestige Classes


“There are many paths to understanding the Spider Queen. Some worship her, others fear her, but few fully comprehend her glory. The road I walk, however, offers the most thorough knowledge of Lolth’s generous blessings.”

—Derzen Vrinn, arachnomancer

By discarding the religious traditions dominating drow culture, the arachnomancer finds a different way to serve the Weaver of Webs. Through careful study, the arachnomancer comes to understand spiders in a unique and disturbing way, developing a rapport with the vermin. It doesn’t take long for the arachnomancer to shape his magical studies to awaken the Spider Queen’s blessings within himself, allowing him to assume the form of a monstrous spider.


To many, arachnomancers are expressions of the Flesh-Carver’s influence on the mortal world, but the fact is that only masters of arcane magic, not divine, can learn the techniques necessary to enter this class. Still, many drow clerics compromise their religious studies to dabble in arcane magic so that they too can know the power of the Spider Queen.


You are obsessed with spiders. They fill your dreams and your waking thoughts. The extent of your preoccupation does not stop with ordinary spiders: You are fascinated by all spiderkind, from the monstrous spiders of the Underdark to the dreaded bebiliths that the priestesses conjure for the most profane rituals.

Even when not studying spiders, you find ways to bring them up in conversation, dropping fascinating (to you) tidbits and trivia about different breeds of spiders, their mating habits, and their hunting habits, and going to great lengths to extol the virtues of vermin. Although the drow might tolerate or even appreciate such insights, your attraction to spiders does little to endear you to members of other races.


The greatest strength you have as an arachnomancer is the ability to assume the form of a monstrous spider. Although this ability greatly enhances your combat prowess, you are no more durable in your spider shape than you were in your original form. However, you gain the extraordinary abilities of your new form, including a poisonous bite and the ability to spin webs.

Even if you don’t fall back on your spider shape ability, you still have a number of assets. The first level you take in this class significantly improves your spellcasting options by granting you the bonus spells of the Spider domain. You sacrifice some of your spellcasting potential, but you still have a large enough array of spells to augment your other arachnomancer features and to eliminate foes.


Images and icons of spiders have always been a part of your life. Your society taught you to venerate these creatures, to exalt them as the children of Lolth. It’s no wonder, then, you became obsessed with them.

What began as idle curiosity—a preoccupation with the movements of their graceful forms, the intricate beauty of their magnificent webs, and the trembling of their victims before they sink poison-bearing fangs into flesh—soon filled your dreams. You simply could no longer bear to be away from them.

You threw yourself into the study of spiders, interacting with them and allowing them to pierce your flesh so that you could experience the ambrosia of their venom. You bent your magical knowledge to their study and emulation, until one day you realized that the kinship you felt with these creatures was no longer yours alone: The spiders seemed to regard you as one of their own.

You find you have more in common with the vermin you study than with other creatures, and you even prefer the company of spiders to the mercurial drow. Though you might be distant and somewhat off-putting, the understanding of spiders that you have accumulated grants you unique status and freedom. The drow regard you as a favored servant of Lolth and indulge you in your pursuits.

One of the first feats you should take after entering this class is Natural Spell. This feat allows you to access your spells even when in spider form. As for skills, investing in Handle Animal improves your chances of training vermin, who can then serve you as minions, guardians, or companions.


Your best resource is the kinship you share with vermin. Spiders are likely abundant in your native environment (since they are drawn to dark elf communities), so you have no shortage of allies. If you are not a drow, you can join a nest of spiders, exerting your influence until the creatures accept you as part of the pack.

Clearly, drow veneration of all things arachnid grants some benefits. Few drow would dare cross such an obviously blessed individual.


“As if spiders and drow weren’t bad enough, there are spiders who think they are drow, and worse, drow who think they are spiders!”

—Osson Hjortgar, deepwarden

Where there are drow and spiders, there’s bound to be an arachnomancer. Given the nature of drow culture, the arachnomancer class is a logical expression of drow values and religious beliefs. As such, there’s at least one arachnomancer in any drow community.


Each arachnomancer arrives at his understanding of spiders in a slightly different way, although many study the nature and capabilities of these creatures for similar reasons. Naturally selfish, would-be arachnomancers conceal their knowledge from others, perhaps out of some misguided belief that they are somehow special to the Spider Queen and gifted with unique insight into the vermin. Some simply aim to exploit Lolth’s creatures by tapping into the power of these monstrous arachnids.

Despite their guarded, selfish nature, arachnomancers enjoy a certain amount of reverence from Lolth’s church. Few high priestesses dare harm established arachnomancers directly, regardless of any affront they might present. Instead, arachnomancers become tools in the priestesses’ secret power grabs and intrigues. Most arachnomancers find themselves in the employ of influential drow matriarchs and showered with gifts, comforts, and the fulfillment of every desire, with only the occasional mission or appearance to interrupt their foul studies.

NPC Reactions

Arachnomancers are reclusive individuals. To the common drow, the arachnomancer is a pure expression of Lolth, the visible hand of the Spider Queen. Thus, drow of all stations are friendly or even helpful toward these individuals.

Outside the safety and security of the drow city, however, arachnomancers find a less tolerant world. To those who have suffered depredations at the hands of the dark elves, arachnomancers epitomize the abominable nature of drow civilization. This revulsion crosses nearly all racial boundaries, leading to invariably hostile attitudes.


Characters who have ranks in Knowledge (dungeoneering) can research arachnomancers to learn more about them. When a character makes a successful skill check, the following lore is revealed, including the information from lower DCs.

DC 10: There is a breed of Underdark spellcasters that dabble in spider-magic.

DC 15: They call themselves arachnomancers with good reason. They can transform themselves into spiders.

DC 20: Arachnomancers are specialized spellcasters, typically wizards, who invest their magical energy to better understand the characteristics of spiders. Through their studies, they learn to assume the form of spiders, imbuing them with the senses and capabilities of the objects of their obsession.

Characters interested in finding an arachnomancer will have little luck unless they are willing to explore the Underdark, and even then, they must often enter a drow city. There, they might find a few clues about a local arachnomancer with a Gather Information check, but extensive questioning is almost guaranteed to raise the suspicions of the community. This activity will bring the arachnomancer to the PCs—and he is not likely to have conversation on his mind.


The arachnomancer class offers arcane spellcasters a chance to expand their combat capabilities in new directions. Although entry into this class does diminish spellcasting capabilities, it offers a suite of powers to compensate for the loss: Indeed, arachnomancers retain their usefulness even after their daily allotment of spells is exhausted.

Players who enjoy tinkering with their characters and having a broad range of options available to them might be attracted to this class. The arachnomancer class requires commitment, so characters branching into this class do so for the long term, in order to access the greatest transformations at high levels.


To the drow of Eberron, spiders and their kind are sacred but ultimately just reflections of the scorpion, a creature blessed by their strange deity Vulkoor. Arachnomancers hold a place in society similar to that of driders: They are seen as chosen servants of the Mockery, of whom it’s believed Vulkoor is a part.

With a little work, you can adapt this class so that it reflects the traits of scorpions rather than spiders. Replace handle spiders with handle scorpions (functioning like the aforementioned ability, but with scorpions). Additionally, the prestige class does not offer access to the Spider domain, nor does it grant the webwalking ability. Instead, it improves spellcasting ability at all eight levels rather than six. Finally, instead of transforming into a spider, the arachnomancer changes into a similarly sized monstrous scorpion.

Hit Die: d6.


To qualify to become a arachnomancer, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Alignment: Any evil.

Skills: Climb 4 ranks, Knowledge (nature) 4 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 8 ranks.

Feat: Verminfriend.

Spells: Ability to cast spider climb, summon swarm, or web as an arcane spell.

Class Skills

The arachnomancer's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis).

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Table: The Arachnomancer

Level Base
Special Spells per day
1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Poison save bonus, handle spiders, Spider domain +1 level of existing spellcasting class
2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Spider shape
3rd +2 +1 +1 +3 Tremorsense 20 ft. +1 level of existing spellcasting class
4th +3 +1 +1 +4 Webwalking +1 level of existing spellcasting class
5th +3 +1 +1 +4 Spider shape (Tiny, Huge)
6th +4 +2 +2 +5 Tremorsense 60 ft. +1 level of existing spellcasting class
7th +5 +2 +2 +5 Climb speed +1 level of existing spellcasting class
8th +6 +2 +2 +6 Spider shape (Gargantuan)
Class Features

All of the following are class features of the arachnomancer prestige class.

Arachnomancers slowly absorb the characteristics of vermin as they advance until they transcend their ordinary form, in the process discovering the power to assume the form of a monstrous spider. Their studies awaken certain verminlike qualities within them, leaving these characters forever changed.

Spellcasting: At 1st, 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 7th level, you gain new spells per day and an increase in caster level (and spells known, if applicable) as if you had also gained a level in a spellcasting class to which you belonged before adding the prestige class level. You do not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. If you had more than one arcane spellcasting class before becoming an arachnomancer, you must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining spells per day, caster level, and spells known.

Poison Save Bonus (Ex): You gain a bonus on saving throws against poison equal to your class level.

Handle Spiders (Ex): You gain a +5 bonus on skill checks to use the Handle Animal skill with spiders (see page 46).

Spider Domain: You gain access to the Spider domain and the granted power associated with the domain (rebuke spiders as an evil cleric rebukes undead, a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Cha modifier). If you already have access to one or more domains, you can now choose spells from this domain as your daily domain spells. If you do not already have a domain, each day you can prepare one domain spell for each level you can cast, from 1st on up. See the deity, domains, and domain spells cleric class feature, PH 32.

Spider Shape (Su): At 2nd level, you can change into a Small, Medium, or Large monstrous spider (either hunting or web-spinning) and back again three times per day. At 5th level, you can also take the form of a Tiny or Huge monstrous spider, and at 8th level, you can take the form of a Gargantuan monstrous spider. The effect lasts for 1 hour per arachnomancer level. This ability functions as wild shape, so you can select and use the Natural Spell feat. See the wild shape druid class feature, PH 37.

Tremorsense (Ex): Starting at 3rd level, you can detect and pinpoint any creature or object within 20 feet. At 6th level, your tremorsense extends to 60 feet. You can use this ability five times per day. Activating this ability is a swift action, and it lasts for a number of rounds equal to your arachnomancer class level.

Webwalking (Su): Starting at 4th level, you can ignore webs (magical or nonmagical) as if you were under the effect of a freedom of movement spell. You can climb webs at your normal land speed without needing to make Climb checks and walk along webs without needing to make Balance checks.

Climb Speed (Ex): At 7th level, you gain a climb speed equal to your normal land speed. In addition, you gain a +8 bonus on Climb checks and you can always choose to take 10 on these checks, even if rushed or threatened.