June 5, 2012: In remote areas of Northeast India, swarms of thumb-sized, biting spiders have panicked villagers. The actual attacks are bad enough (in an area where dwellings are mostly mud-and-thatch construction, cut off by roads, the spiders easily enter homes), but what makes things worse is the fact that these appear to be a new species of tarantula, and anti-venom cannot be distributed for unknown species. Some bite victims have turned to Witch Doctors for help, and it is unclear if the initial fatalities were from the venom or simply from the treatment: blood-letting with razors.
Spider infested ship turned back from Guam landing - another delightful plague of spiders, albiet on a ship heading for Guam.
Game and Story Use
- If lifted wholesale as a story seed, this provides MANY opportunities for an adventure hook.
- PCs could be among the initial victims, or could be forced to explore an area where this is happening.
- PCs could be sent into the area specifically to investigate, as scientists, security guards for the expedition, or government officials.
- The players could even turn out to be responsible for the attacks, if their previous actions have created these monsters!
- For a mundane cause, someone could have sprayed the area with a spider pheremone (or its analogue), either deliberately, or by accident (perhaps a new brand of scent used in an anti-perspirant or domestic cleanser contains a pheremone mimic) … the scent is drawing spiders from all over the area.
- Alternatively, the basic idea could be used in many ways.
- A new species of a 'standard' monster causes trouble in remote areas; the PCs are sent to investigate.
- The PCs are traveling and suffer minor wounds that don't respond to normal treatment. Do they seek local help, or push onward?
- In a fantastical or science-fiction setting, the same story can have a supernatural or technological solution. A mage, mad scientist, or dark god is causing trouble!
- Even a regular God … perhaps plagues of frogs and flies are passe…
- This could be the result of an experiment in biological pest control - the spiders were meant to hunt rats or locusts or something, but have been too sucessful and outbred their food supply, leading them to rampage in search of an alternative.
- This could just be a random disaster befalling a PC - perhaps plaguing his fief or, as happened to one of the Norman expeditions to Sicily, infesting the campsite.