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:: Arachnians in Civilization: A field guide by Sharsis Fractis ::
Asherak ::

Arachnians in Civilization: A field guide by Sharsis Fractis ...


a. Preface

1. Arachnian: Fact and Fiction
2. Anatomy of an Arachnian
3. Bull in a Alchemist Shop: A view of Arachnian Mannerisms
4. When Web's Fly: Surviving an Arachnian Encounter
5. Final thoughts

a. I write this field guide based solely on my experience and life in Spur so far. My experience as a Shadow Walker has allowed the oppertunity to watch the Arachnian in Civilization undisturbed. I write this with the hope that those who come after me will have something to empower them with our struggle against the murderous arachs. While specifically written for those of Penthanian blood, it may serve as a reference to others.

1. Arachnian: Fact and Fiction

I wish to begin my field guide by reinforcing some facts and dispelling some fiction about the Arachnian.

Arachnians Eat Their Young: Fact. While I have not journeyed close enough to a "hunt" (Arachnian Den or Lair) this is a well documented fact. The twisted bloodlust of the common Arach is not swayed through their maternal instinct, if such instinct exist. While not confirmed, it is also rumored that young arachs will also attack, kill and eat their younger weaker siblings. This is probably why you rarely if ever encounter a weak or "runt" arach.

Arachnians eat young Penthanians. Myth. While there are many a Bard's Tale told to the young of our race about the evil arachnian who sneaks into the room of naughty children and eat them, it has no basis in reported history. However, there have been incidences of young pents being carried off by Arachnians and experimented on. However these assaults are rare, and usually not performed with stealth. Usually leaving the family dead. There is some myth among the arachs that locked in the innocence of a young pent will they find the key to releasing their curse. It would seem the arachs have their own Bard's Tales to believe in.

Arachnians are completely Immune to Magick. Myth... with some factual basis. It is well known that the body of an arach is highly resistant to the ways of magick. It is also well known they are not completely Immune. A wise pent will not use magick as a means of attack during an arachnian encounter. Many spells will bounce meaningly off their "skin". However, that does not mean a wise pent will not use his magick in a defencive way. While easily able to resist the spells cast towards them, they will encounter the same difficultly getting through your protective spells as anyone else.

Arachnians have an endless supply of webs. Myth. With little research in this area, it is believed that arachnians ability to produce and spin webs can vary from arach to arach.

2. Anatomy of an Arachnian

We all know very well the twisted and vile form of the arach. We will spend little time discussing the general appearance of the wretched race. Those of you fortunate enough to have never seen one will have no difficulty identifying them first hand. Instead we will discuss the finer points of their anatomy.

Know this; Arachs are natural killing machines. Nearly everything about their physical body is designed to further their cause. Their hard exoskeleton as with other bugs offers a fair amount of protection to their internal organs. However, this is also the arach's sole means on maintaining their body structure as arachs have no "bones" as we know it. The exoskeleton also enables them to carry several times their own body weight. Thus allowing them the ability to wear heavy armor. Thus adding to their ability to withstand the riggors of battle. This exoskeleton also limits the arachs's ability to move quickly or dodge blows effectively.

While pouring over the great library, I came across the notes for some form of Arachnian armor. After bribing the Drag-al librarian, he was able to translate the Frontacian notes for me. The notes were quite faded and crumbling in clumsy hands of the drag-al as he translated, so please forgive the holes in my report. As it turns out, the Frontacian had come across the molted exoskeleton of a rather large arachnian. With a great deal of effort, he was able to form the exoskeleton into a fine suit of armor. The armor it is noted, enstilled the user with a great degree of magick resistance. The process for his creation was lost in the crumbled notes, however I was able to draw 2 conclusions from this. First, arachnians "shed" their skin at some stage in their life. At what stage, I am not sure. Second, Arachnian magick resistance may be attributed in part, to their hard skin, and not their outstanding knowledge of magick.

From my first conclusion, I deduce there to be a point or points in an Arachnians life cycle where it becomes necessary to shed their skin. I would assume, this is done in seclusion or in the protection of a hunt. I would further assume, this process greatly weakens the arachnian during the time the skin is being shed, and shortly thereafter. From my observation of other insects, I deduce the arachnian skin would require some time to harden before they would even be able to move... or defend themselves. I am sure arachnians will bitterly object to this claim, much to the benefit of proving my point.

Anyone who has encountered an arach in combat will likely be well aware of their sideable mandibles. Many arachs' weapon of choice. While possesing no venom, they are quite capable of delivering critical wounds to their victims and should be avoided. As a side note, the large mandibles remove the ability for arachs to speak in the common tongue. In true arachnian form, they claim to simply do not wish to "lower" themselves to speak common. As we will learn in later chapters, simply let the arachs believe what the wish. We all know better.

3. Bull in a Alchemist Shop: A view of Arachnian Mannerisms

Through knowledge of the arachs' common mannerisms, we might be able to avoid nasty unproductive confrontations. (Not to mention those painful bites.) If one were to create an arach in a boiling cauldron, one would perhaps use the following recipie.

1 Cup of Frontacian arrogance
3 Cups San Elf Rage
3 Whole Go-blin-als (diced)
1/2 Cup of Leuian Pride
1 Pickled Secian (To flavor with insanity)
Mix in with 10 cups Unmagick and let boil for 2,000 years.
Let stand and serve at room temperature.

Arachs seem to hate everyone and everything. Quick to Anger, and long to hold a grudge, they make model citizens in Spur. They are often quick to throw a web or commit a sharp bite on anyone they feel is not worthy of their presence. Of course, our beautiful skin, and command of the runes fill them with bitter jealousy and are quick to attack. While first impressions lead one to believe them to be quite brave with little fear for anything, this simply is not true. Arachs are a race of cowards, plain and simple. They will only engage in combat or mischief if the odds are heavily in their favor. In several field studies, solitary, younger arachs are quite submissive in the presence of their natural enemy, namely.. me. However, enter a few more arachs, or perhaps more experienced arachs, and the situation quickly turns hostile. So keep this in mind. Arachs will only attack when the odds are greatly in their favor. This has been proven, time and time again.

4. When Webs Fly: Surviving an Arachnian Encounter

So, you've been webbed, now what? Well, first thing to do is not put yourself in a position to be webbed in the first place. Remember from the previous chapter, Arachnians will only attack if they feel the odds are greatly in their favor. That means, if you've reached the point that you've been webbed, you didn't access the situation correctly and the odds are now greatly stacked against you. Your only hope now, is to escape. We will discuss escape a little later.

First, lets discuss what you could have done to avoid this situation. First, stay away from town centers. Arachs love to cause trouble, and a town center is the easiest place to do that. Second, discretely get to know what spiders are better skilled then you and what spiders are not. Avoid the greater spiders at all costs. The lesser spiders only need to be avoided if they are in packs. If alone, they will likely leave you alone, due to their natural cowardice.

There are also some tell-tell signs of an impending arachnian attack such as a "chittering" noise that is emitted from the abdomen of the arachnian. Also an arach may click their mandibles loudly in anticipation of a bite. Often these are unconscious / involuntary signs driven by the beastly instincts of the arachnian. These can often be a warning for you to leave the arach, again if the odds are not in your favor, do not tempt fate and leave. (Note: Not all arachs emit these warning signals, be prepared for attack at all times)

So, you didn't listen to my advice, or you walked into a spider trap and now your covered in webs. Given that the odds are most likely not in your favor at this point, your only option is to escape. As calmly as possible, wait for the webs to fade. DO NOT STRUGGLE as this will only cause you to become more entangled. If you are a Psion, your mental powers are still available to you.. USE THEM. You may be tempted to hit the arachs with mental darts, I do not recommend this, as you will most likely be engaged multiple spiders and have little chance to kill them. Instead, use your mental abilities to slow your aggressors. This will allow you the chance to escape and impede any attempt to follow you. For everyone else, simply wait out the webs, they will fade allowing you a brief opportunity to flee. Take that opportunity and run.

5. Final thoughts

So, now you have read it. Perhaps it may save your life one day. Do not kid yourself, the odds are greatly stacked against the Penthanian people. As we have learned that is when the arachs attack. Be cautious, be wise and stay alive. Thank you for reading my field guide and may knowledge grant you power.

Sharsis Fractis.

Asherak ....

Asherak. The very name evokes mystery and images of mystical properties. But who was the man? Many around today have never even heard of the name, much less know who he was. Others have only heard his name vaguely mentioned in stories, or have just merely been in his Tower, which stands ominously in Tanga. Alas, much to my frustration, there were only a very select few who knew more than I did on the man, which, admittedly, was not much more than what has already been stated. Mayhaps I have nae delved into the books and tomes at my disposal enough, but, as near as I can tell, there be so little amount of information on Asherak, that it be negligible. It is for these reasons that this report shall be rather short. It was my original hope to speak to a person who had interacted with Asherak much, a person named Tish! a, however, she has been gone for many weeks now, and I cannae hold off the deadline any more.

From what I have uncovered however, Asherak was a great mage; talented in all forms of magick, from simple rune magick, to complex dimensional magicks, and everything in between. He apparently discovered many runeweaves which just now be entering' the realm of common knowledge. Mayhaps the most famous example of which be the runeweave of scrying. Asherak discovered this, and, indeed, even created a scrying pool, in which one can see any person or place without need of a runeweave. Such was his proficiency in magicks that he was able to separate his soul and consciousness from his body, in an effort to achieve some form of immortality.

As mentioned before, he owns a tower which stands in Tanga. This tower was apparently opened by a group of Penthanians, using a collection of shards. The details of that event are foggy, but I digress. He guards the tower very vehemently, very similar to how Xavier Savortigne protects the Spurian Haunted House. Intruders, apparently, are frowned upon.

As mentioned before, he owns a tower which stands in Tanga. This tower was apparently opened by a group of Penthanians, using a collection of shards. The details of that event are foggy, but I digress. He guards the tower very vehemently, very similar to how Xavier Savortigne protects the Spurian Haunted House. Intruders, apparently, are frowned upon.

Regrettably, that be the end of my report. I truly wish I could have found more, but, again, my main source of information--Tisha--has vanished. So, until such time as she comes around again so that I might ask her about Asherak, the report will remain as thus. Hopefully, at a later date, I will be able to add more to it.

Penned this day, the 20th of the 9th month, of the year 314 AC (Rina 9 314) by,
~Sage Weldoian C. Sesca-oskaloq, Spurian Branch of the Sage's Guild

The Revival of Asherak

Penned by the Secian Weldoian Sesca

Roughly two weeks, the ancient ArchMage Asherak was return to the realm of the living. As most Spurians know, images of this ancient Mage had began periodically popping up several weeks prior. Each time it appeared, the image delivered cryptic messages; all of them alluding to the eventual worship of the name "Asherak." Following these messages, what started out as a small groups of tin golems would appear. Such continued until slightly under a month ago, when Asherak possessed Padraig the Secian by way of runes. Luckily, Padraig was attending a gathering of Secians, who were able to quickly break Asherak's hold on Padraig. Before leaving, however, Asherak managed to say:


"Soon this tree will be buried beneath the ruins of my coming, each of you slaves of the armies of eternity which rise from the depths of Aradath to serve my bidding and wipe the civilized races from its rotten core. With every passing moment my spells grow in power, even now the creatures of the most distant lands of this world grow with my magicks, soon enough they will strike at the hearts of your civilization. Those who do not swear loyalty at the throne of Asherak will be destroyed, tell all you know, my coming has been prophesized, my return is eminent, your failure is assured. You will believe soon enough, my powers can be seen already. Adventure to the dark corners of this world, if you dare."


At roughly the same time, hydras--sent by Asherak--invaded TSC. When the aforementioned Secians returned to TSC, Weldoian the Secian was reported to feel a sharp pain in his head, before discovering blood dripping from his ear. He reported that Asherak had warned that he intended "to return the land to the state in which it was before the plague of civilization came and tampered with the pure magick of it all. He said he would kill all remnants of civilization...every city and every race. Lastly, after all this, he would then kill himself." After dispatching the hydras, many Spurians gathered and headed out to find Asherak's Tower, located in the distant Tanga. Upon finding, and entering it, they were warned to leave the tower, for they were unwelcome. Not heeding this warning, the group pressed further inward. In response, Asherak casted a spell which translocated them all to the Termite Mounds.

For awhile after that, all was relatively quiet (as far as I know). And then, several days ago, the image of Asherak once again appeared in TSC. The following is an account of what happened by Phannah Zeni the Human, a main player in the unfolding drama.


"We were standing in the square with all the old geezers catching up on old times when the vision of Asherak appeared. Same as usual with all the threats and such. Then we were attacked by Hydras and executioners and the like. So, after we killed at the bad guys we went back to the square and Ward had found an orange crystal shard on one of the creatures. As we all sat around talking about it the shard shattered and a wisp of smoke came out of it. It streaked off toward Asherak's tower. So, being the smart bunch that we are, we decided to follow it. It was me and Dhameon and the geezers and Binx. so, we get to the tower and the voice of Asherak greets us there and tells us not to enter. He said that it would be too dangerous and one of us would suffer and it was out of his control. So, of course we didn't listen and since I am weak, I dropped back a step when we entered and that wisp of smoke followed me. After a few steps it went up my nose and I couldn't stop it. I felt strange, like all my emotion was draining away. Then a thin crystal shell covered me, Orange no less."

"I was turned into a Pentathian and I wasn't alone in my body anymore."

"He would speak through me, but I found that I could still talk and I still had all my emotions. I made Binx and the others bring me back to Spur to find help. Stanrar was here and I encouraged him to ask questions of Asherak. When that wasn't getting anywhere very fast I left to talk to him on my own. Asherak told me that he wanted to live his life. That he had been imprisoned in the shard when they released the unmagick so many years ago. He was the prime mage for that in Pentathia. He was betrayed by his brethren and he says that he doesn't know how he ended up in the shard. He said that if they found his real body that he could be magicked back into it without killing me. He said that they tricked him and that if they tried to put him back in a shard that he would kill me. So, Noffbrau said he knew where the body was and he went to go find it with Stanrar and the rest of us went up to the crystal tower and through the portal into Tanga to wait for Stanrar and company. Once they showed up, they suggested that we put Asherak back in the shard and then from there into his corpse. I guess Asherak wasn't paying attention because when they started casting he said that he had been betrayed again and then he left my body and I died. Before they started casting I promised Asherak that I would make them return his body to him and I told Stanrar that I had made this promise. So we took the body back to the sapphire bridge and Stanrar dashed over with it. Then Asherak came out and greeted us. I was returned to normal when he left my body and Noffbrau rezzed me."


So, with that, the ancient Penthanian Asherak was brought back to our realm of the living. Only a few days after this conversation, Asherak appeared in TSC, claiming to have come to repay a debt owed to the city of Spur. This debt was repaid, apparently, when Asherak translocated a rather silly young Draco, who kept talking about chickens and his wish to become one, to his Tower. The Mage claimed that he had fulfilled the Draco's wish, however this remains to be seen as the Draco has not been seen since as far as I know. With that, he mentioned a lingering debt to Ward the Leuian before he disappeared, likely back to his Tower.


From the Emjedah Star: (Editor's note. At the time this went to press Asherak had not come back to repay his debt to Ward the Leuian for freeing him from the crystal shard.)

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