The Spider Queen’s Hatchery — When demons ascend to godhood, they sometimes leave their old planes abandoned… and sometimes, not so abandoned. In the body of a dead god, the most beloved of the Spider Queen’s children grow and feed….
The Spider Queen’s Hatchery
While it is rare, and some sages would wish it were impossible, it is nonetheless true that demon lords of sufficient might can transcend the Abyss and rise to join the ranks of the true gods. Such abominations tend to cement their status (and avoid annoying incursions) by carving out a dominion in the Astral Sea, leaving their old haunts behind to become prizes in demonic war. A few, however, enjoy having some, let us say, vacation property lost in the whirling madness that is the Abyss.
One such is the plane known as the Spider Queen’s Hatchery. This plane was once a minor outpost of an abyssal empire of great scope; while the rest has been lost, this place was kept secure. It was here that the Spider Queen earned her transcendence, in a battle which is not easily imagined, against Zar, a god once revered on a thousand mortal words as the master of mazes, puzzles, and patterns, but who is now utterly forgotten save in the most ancient and dusty of tomes. Zar fell here, and the Spider Queen sunk her thousand fangs into his flesh and drank of his divine essence, and then left behind the shell of a fallen god, a shell now filled, eternally, with her brood.
The rest of the plane was torn to shards and cast into the Formlessness by their battle; all that remains here is Zar’s immense and still-barely-living body. His divine essence is drained and his form is immobile, but the vast form still holds flickering sparks of life, enough that it is constantly regrown the flesh that is consumed by uncounted millions of demonic spiders that eternally hatch and grow within it.
The Queen visits here on occasion, when she has consumed a new mate and wishes to plant the next generation of her greatest servants, or when she wishes to meet with one of the great powers of the Abyss for some reason. She maintains a comfortable palace , called Strangleblood Hold, in the Spasming Heart, which is always guarded by her most elite followers. Most of the time, though, the body and its millions of swarming inhabitants are left to their own devices. She will often take some servants of hers and place them here, sometimes as punishment for failure, but more often as tests — a follower who can make the journey from the Intestinal Caverns to Strangleblood has great power and potential — he may be raised to exarch status, or he may be torn to soulshards and fed to her children, depending on her whim.
Traveling through the Hatchery usually means traversing vast and mostly empty blood vessels, or moving through the immense gallery of organs. The muscular tissues are filled with implanted eggs, hatching giant spiders who gnaw and burrow their way into the rest of the body, where they feed on godflesh and each other. There is a constant stink of necrotizing but undying flesh which fills the entire plane with its vile miasma. The walls constantly twitch and throb, but this is not due to the motions of Zar, but to the things which dwell and crawl within him. Cutting open any surface is likely to unleash anything from a swarm of ten thousand thumb-sized crimson crawlers to revealing a massive eight-eyed horror the size of an elephant.
It has been the case that some beings of power, servants of the Spider Queen or just those with their own special affinity for arachnids, have managed to build their own small redoubts in the godbody. Some are interested in studying, capturing, or otherwise using the inhabitants of the Hatchery; others are concerned with the Hatchery itself. While virtually all the potency is gone from the flesh, even the tiniest sliver of divine might can be valuable, and operations to extract and condense what remains are often attempted. Of course, the Spider Queen wishes that whatever power remains in Zar be given solely to her children as they feast, and she will make sure any intruders with designs on this power are dealt with.
A small cult of minotaurs has preserved the knowledge of Zar; they claim that he was their original creator and that most of their kind sought other gods when he fell. They wish to release him from his torment, and believe there is a way to finally kill him, involving a trip into the tangled, almost impassable, forest of nerves that is what is left of his pain-maddened mind. Such a mission, if successful, would result in the entirety of the plane dissolving to dust, not only freeing the few remnants of Zar’s essence but destroying the Spider Queen’s next generation of monstrous servitors, significantly undermining her power and humiliating her in front of her fellow deities.
Godfed is a template which can be applied to any creature with the Spider keyword. It represents a special and elite creature of the Spider Queen, one which has grown to full size in the corpse of a near-dead god. Godfed spiders are often given as pets or servants to favored, powerful, followers of the Spider Queen.
Prerequisite: Spider subtype
Defenses: +2 AC, +2 Will, +2 Fort, +2 Reflex
Regeneration:5 per tier, if the Godfed takes fire damage, regeneration does not function until the end of its next turn.
Resist: 5 Necrotic and Radiant per tier
Saving Throws: +2
Action Points: 1
Hit Points: +8 per level
Godfed Fangs: Any damage the Godfed creature does is both Necrotic and Radiant. If the Godfed creature has any attacks which do poison damage, the damage from the poison is increased by 2 per tier, and any poison effect which is (Save Ends) will save at -2.
Fragment of Immortality: Immediate reaction, when first bloodied: The godfed creature spends a healing surge.
Flurry Of Bites: At-Will. The Godfed creature may make two basic melee attacks. These may be against the same or different targets.