Giant spider poison effects on humans

allgood

Arachnopeon
Joined
Oct 15, 2010
Messages
3
Hi,

I am not into spiders like you guys are, how ever I am into Role Playing Games (RPGs), Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) in particular. In this game, set in various fantasy worlds, the heroes can come across giant spiders. These would range in size from about a dog, up to a pony in size. In general, just think of the size of a spider that would prey on humans.

Giant spiders are a staple of Fantasy stories. In The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, the hero, Frodo, is bitten by a spider and it looks like he is dead. In fact he just looks like he is dead and is dragged back to the spider lair and tied up for later. In The Tower of the Elephant by Robert E. Howard, one thief is killed instantly by a spider bite. The hero, Conan, is splashed by venom that burns his skin. The spider then tries to trap Conan with his webs.

In Dungeons and Dragons, a spider bite is usually represented by a roll of a dice. If you roll below a certain number your character dies, if above the number then your character lives. What I am wondering is this:

what are some of the different effects that a giant spider bite is likely to have on a human being? What are some of the different ways a giant spider might attack a human?

Think in terms of immediate effects, short term effect, long term effects and recovery.

I believe some spiders might not use poison. They would just bite the heroes. Others would use poison. What effect would that have? Immeadiate death? Sickness? Unconciousness? Would they just trap the hero and use the poison to digest them?

I am interested in variety and knowing what different spiders would do as well.

In the next post I have put a summary of some game mechanics if you want to model this for the game. This is not necessary. I can do this myself, what I need you guys for is your specialist knowledge.

Thank you in advance,

John.
 

allgood

Arachnopeon
Joined
Oct 15, 2010
Messages
3
Short rules primer

A quick introduction to the game mechanics with regards to spiders and poison.

Hit Points. A hero has a number of Hit Points (HP) that represent their ability to avoid death. It measures both their vitality and how experienced they are. The more experienced they are, the more they will have. For example, a Fighter gets between 1 and 8 hitpoints per level. An inexperienced Fighter might have 8HP, a moderately experienced Fighter might have 30HP, while an experienced Fighter might have 80HP. Damage will be healed over time.

Ability Scores. The hero's abilities are represented by their ability scores. They are Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma. Constitution would be used for resisting the effects of poison as it represents how healthy a hero is. You can reduce these scores by damage which will heal over time.

Dice. The game uses other dice besides six sided dice to simulate random events. When saying how many to roll you use the format xdy, where x is how many dice to roll, and dy is the type of dice with y being the number of sides to tell you which one to roll. The dice are: d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20 and d100. d100 is generated by rolling d10 twice, with one number being the 10's column and the other being the 1's column. For example: 1d20 means roll one twenty sided die, getting a number between 1 and 20. 3d6 means roll three six sided dice, getting a number between 3 and 18.

Attack roll. A spider would have to make an attack roll to determine if it hits a hero. If it does not hit then it means that the hero has jumped out of the way or their armour got in the way.

Saving throws. A hero has Saving Throws (ST) to see if they avoid the effects of different occurences. There is a poison saving throw that is used to see if they suffer the full effects. If the hero makes their saving throw after being bitten then the effects will be weaker. If they fail their saving throw then they will suffer the full effects of the poison.

Time. D&D has two specific time measurement unique to it. A Round (Rnd) is 10 seconds. A Turn is 10 minutes. All other time is as usual (minutes, hours, days, weeks etc).

Modelling. Here are some ways you could represent being bitten by a spider to get your creative juices flowing.
1. The bite does 1d6 damage to the hero, potentially killing him, definitely if he gets bitten enough times.
2. The bite is deadly, if bitten, make a ST vs poison. If he fails, he dies.
3. ST vs poison or dies. If he makes the ST then he suffers 1d6 damage to his strength score, making him weak.
4. (a complex example) The spider throws a web at the hero. The hero can make a Strength check to escape. After four webs have been thrown successfully at the hero he is considered pinned and can no longer escape without help. The spider will not attempt to bite until the player has stopped moving. When bitten, the hero suffers 1d4 HP damage and makes a ST vs Poison. If he makes it he will suffer 1d6 strength damage and be concious as the spider eats him. If he fails the ST the hero will suffer 2d6 Strength damage and fall unconcious. If rescued before being eaten, the hero needs bed rest until he has healed his Strength points up to maximum. He must make a Constitution check each week, success meaning a point is healed, failure meaning no point is gained that week. No HP damage may be healed until the character is not under the effect of the poison anymore (ie all Strength points are healed).
 

Quixtar

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 22, 2007
Messages
513
A spider the size of humans would have fangs large enough to cause fatal puncture wounds to the torso and head/neck region. The venom wouldn't be necessary in most cases. This would be the same with any giant arachnid or invert for that matter. A scorpion's pinch applied to a torso would likewise crush vital organs and cause massive hemorrhaging even without use of a venomous stinger. Puncture wounds from a giant centipede's bite, a puncture wound from a giant assassin bug's bite, etc.

Eventually natural selection would cause a giant spider that has evolved to hunt vertebrates to lose its toxins over time due to the additional energy needed to manufacture the proteins and peptides for its overkill venom.
 

Malhavoc's

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 12, 2003
Messages
2,828
It depends on the species of spider, or the localle it is found, the desert dwelling and more dire species usualy have stronger venom, there is also two types if I recall correctly one that effects cells, one that effects nerves.

The immediate wound form the fangs would be comparable, the spider itself would most likely see a human as a prey item and be very quick to overpower and subdue, however, if the prey item escaped often it is a slow death, on the occasion I have seen crickets escape they last a minute, two before slowing down and faltering to the venom.
 

delherbe

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 30, 2008
Messages
55
Hi,

what a question....{D

Some hunting spider would firstly just move if you show her your back. As long as it sees your eyes it will stand still. Then, in the best second it will jump at you as fast as a lightning in 1/4 second and bite your neck. Some will directly hunt you down with or without a jump.

The fangs would penetrate your Organs and the more you move the more venom it will pump into your vains.

In case of some really potent neurotoxins some spiders have, and in this size relation every spider will give you an overdoze of venom..., it will take effects within seconds, directly after they intoxicate their prey venom will take effects. You will shrug some seconds, then shrug some more, the venomcomponents stream in your blood directly to some receptors and block every impulse which controls your organs. So your kidneys, lungs, heart etc. will shut down within second by any spider this size which intoxicates you.

Maybe some sicariidae will let you rotten away rapidly... but will kill you directly.

I`ve seen such things by snakes more then once. The snake bites and the prey begins to shrug just in the moment the snake tagged the prey.


There are different venoms. Neurotoxins, Zytotoxins, Haemotoxins.

Neurotoxins will attack the nerve system. Zytotoxins attacks the cells, haemotoxins the blood.

Its possible that blood cant clot anymore and you bleed out of every little scratch, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, lungs etc.

It can also happen that the blood clots in you.

It can happen that tissue gets distroyed and a necrosis will appear.

It don`t need a spider that size to ruin days. Just think that every spider is more or less venomous even if they are small. The quantity is just to lees. But if these spiders get 4 times as big as they are it for sure will hurt.

So what do you want to know? Every possible Venomeffect dependet to the injected quantity? It will fill lots of sites.

A spider injects just as much as it needs to paralyze the pray. The more active or bigger the prey the higher is the injected venomquantity.

If it had to be correct a player attacked by a spider that size is a dead player....:D

BTW: A spider isn`t poisonous. Its venomous.

poisonous means you both die if you eat it. Venomous means just the spider dies if you eat it but both die if it bites you while eating it.
 
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LeilaNami

Arachnoking
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2,164
For the sake of the venom aspect (despite what natural selection would probably have it end up):
Neurotoxins: If the animal packs enough of a punch, this type of venom could cause paralysis.
Cytotoxins (not Zytotoxins): This would cause tissue death and with this effect, you could create an increasing handicap on dexterity, constitution, or strength within your game for as long as the opponent remains or have roll to see the degree of handicap the player bitten will have.
Hemotoxins: This also causes tissue damage and kills blood cells. It is sometimes used to aid the digestion of the animal. From what I understand, the prey usually goes into shock rather than outright dying. This can cause disorientation in less extreme cases so for this type of venom I would assume you could use some kind of effect that would handicap accuracy or whatever stat you use that would be comparable.
Effects not caused by venom (dry bites): General crushing with or without impalement by the fangs
Urticating hairs in tarantulas: Some tarantulas have urticating hairs. These are hairs with barbs on the end that give nasty rashes and make you very itchy. Having a large spider spider kick hairs at you would probably suck. Potential range weapon?

Effects:
Immediate: bad puncture wounds from the fangs, crushing
Short term: venom, urticating hair effects
Long term: increasing venom effects and possible blood loss
Recovery: gradual recovery from venom effects

Delherbe is right, they are venomous, not poisonous (just fyi for the sake of accuracy)

As monsters they would have a lot of strength, dexterity, and speed but low hit points as they tend to be fragile animals. Some will lay down web as trip wires on the ground or in the case of true spiders, the typical web you think of when you think about spiders. I would suggest that because of the habit of web-laying in many spiders, this could be considered difficult terrain. (Don't know if you want to use that in D&D)

Hunting:
Many spiders will sit and wait until you get too close and grab the prey with lightening speed. They monitor their surroundings either with good vision (jumping spiders), web on the ground (tarantulas), or the typical spider web (various spiders). Some will have burrows with trapdoors that will wait until the prey gets too close and suddenly, the prey isn't there anymore. There is a kind of spider that will use a web net to catch prey. There are also those that will plan an attack.

Anything I missed? :D
 
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khil

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
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Oct 5, 2010
Messages
309
well if they get the hit, get the wound, they deal damage. Next turn, the venom takes effect and deals additional damage, and the target cant take avoid or armor save against that
 

allgood

Arachnopeon
Joined
Oct 15, 2010
Messages
3
Thank you

Ha! Thanks guys, that is exactly what I wanted. Thank you also for the correction of venomous vs poisonous. English is my first language and I do like to use it correctly if I can. :)

There is some great information here and it looks like they would be extremely dangerous creatures. I love the variety to make it more interesting. I have visions of trapdoor spiders coming out of nowhere and grabbing people. I had forgotten about jumping spiders. The next time I see a little one at my house I will have to get a ruler out and try to measure how far it jumps so I can scale the distance up depending on its size. Also, the idea of them not attacking if you are looking at it is pretty interesting, quite a tense situation.

Thank you very much again, it looks like I came to the right place!

Regards,

John.
 

delherbe

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 30, 2008
Messages
55
Hi,

no Prob.

I`ve seen that sometimes by Phoneutria sp.

The cricket walks its way and the spider sits fairly next to him. Every time the cricket looks to the spider it freezed, but every time the cricket looks in some other direction the spider begins to creep up on the cricket till its close enough to catch it without the risk of a escaping cricket.

In case of a game where human eyes see the spider and recognize that it is there the spider must look like a heteropoda boiei or other extremely comouflaged spiders which will merge into their suroundings.
 

Merfolk

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
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Dec 13, 2005
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1,330
I would say that arboreal spiders are more venomous, since a struggling prey will fall off the tree and get eaten by something else if it escapes, so the envenomation must work faster there.
 

Tsathoggua

Arachnopeon
Joined
Oct 5, 2010
Messages
23
Known toxin types in extant spiders include:

Sicarius/Loxoceles type cytotoxins, sphingomyelinase-D, possibly also represented by Cheiracanthium sp. but they may mind you have a different mode of action independent of SMase-D. mmmmmm...flesh rotting delightfullness, marburg virus in eight legged, lightening fast form :)

Latrotoxins present in the venom of Latrodectus sp. Presynaptic neurotoxins acting to cause massive neurotransmitter release, in the case of alpha-latrotoxin mainly acetylcholine which causes cramps and sweating as main symptoms, via activation of neuromuscular junction-type and ganglionic nicotinic actylcholine receptors and peripheral muscarinic acetylcholine receptors respectively, such as those controlling sweat glands, heart rate and gastric emptying, mimicking the 'SLUDGE' (salivation, lachrymation, urination, defecation, gastrointestinal, emesis) syndrome seen with nerve agent intoxication, and with toxicity exerted via certain fungi, such as Inocybe species, which are full of the quaternary ammonium compound muscarine, which whilst not causing the nicotinic effects of latrotoxin, being selective for muscarinic ACh receptors, is restricted to the peripheral nervous system, as it is charged, so leading to a similar state of affairs to the likely unavailability of alpha-latrotoxin anywhere past the blood-brain barrier, thanks to it being a sodding great polypeptide.

Then there are things like atraxotoxin/robus toxin of the australasian funnelwebs, some related toxins fairly homologous on an aminoacid residue level borne by the tree funnelwebs, Hadronyche, and one would believe, given reactivity to antivenom raised against Atrax which IIRC is also cross-reactive with Hadronyche sp. envenomation, and the fact that severe envenomation has been treated with such, the mouse spider toxin missulenatoxin also, these bind voltage gated sodium channels and force them open, mimicking the toxicity exerted by the highly toxic hellebore plants in the genus Veratrum, which have in the past been used as arrow poisons, and which in some cases are every bit capable of stopping a large animal such as a deer within a hundred yards of impact.

These cause massive floods of action potentials induced by the depolarization of nerve cells by the influx of Na2+ cations across cell membranes to activate the sympathetic nervous system, raise blood pressure, overstimulate and generally play hell with systems left right and center.


There are also some quite interesting polyamine small molecule toxins, unlike the more common bunch of assorted polypeptides and large proteins, exemplified by jorotoxin, from Nephila Clavata, which is actually a glutamate ligand, blocking AMPA type glutamate receptors, which in humans, and indeed in other animals, quite conserved for this, to the extent of being found in everything from us, to sea slugs, they are responsible for the majority of fast excitatory neurotransmission in the CNS, and nescessary for the induction of long term potentiation, the mechanism by which 'cells that fire together, wire together', forming stronger more efficient connections in frequently used, and therefore important synaptic arrangements.

Specifically in mammals, reptiles, inverts etc, in LTP in memory centers of the nervous system such as the mammalian hippocampus, whereby learning occurs, and memories are first encoded, then later beefed up over a long period of time.

Toxins acting like that would cause loss of ability at least temporarily, to form memories, make one mentally dull and stupid, think ampakine nootropic in reverse, less smart drug, more instant amnesia and just-add-water moron in the making sort of thing.

Phoneutria sp toxins block glutamate release and reuptake in a calcium-dependent manner, and are somewhat unselective calcium channel fucker-withers (to use the technical term :p) leading to noradrenalin release, and massive overstimulation, as well as acting, so I just found out, on serotonergic systems on nerve endings to directly cause pain, hm, never knew that until just now.

Unsure about some of those aboreal tarantula venoms, Haplopelma, 'pokies' etc, but I would guess at least partially a cholinergic action, maybe, given symptoms tend to stay restricted to neurotoxicity without cytotoxicity, and involve extreme cramping and sickness, smacks of similarity to the symptoms of widow bites too much to suggest much else, at least as a sole mechanism.

I'm probably missing a few, but they will likely come to mind.

Although surprisingly IMO, whilst there are cholinergics on the nerve agent theme, causing rigid paralysis and death, there seem to be nothing in the way of nicotinic ACh receptor blockers that act as either depolarizing (succinylcholine like, activating muscle until it wears out but resistant to acetylcholinesterase so remain bound, continuously stimulating until the action potential cannot regenerate and further stimulate) or curariform non-depolarizing neuromuscular blockers that simply block muscle type nicotinic ACh receptors ala curare or krait venom.

Just a thought, its strange they don't seem to be existant, let alone common amongst spider toxins.
 
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