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Giant Spiders
Giant Spider
Giant Spider, from Memoirs of Sir Cabirus
Variants: Wolf Spiders
Dread Spiders
Phase Spiders
First appearance: Ultima I
Last appearance: Ultima IX

Normal spiders grown to enormous size and strength, giant spiders won't hesitate to defend their areas against any intruders. Despite their speed and painful, poisonous bite, these giant arachnids are often seen by more experienced adventurers as nuisances. They are perhaps best known for their spider silk, a useful spell reagent which has prompted some enterprising mages to run farms to harvest the silk.

Giant spiders usually are only encountered in dungeons and dark caves, but some colonies also exist outside in the wilderness.

First seen in Ultima I, giant spiders changed little for some time. In Ultima IX however, they demonstrate the ability to project their webs at a distance.

In Ultima Underworld I and II, the reddish-brown Wolf Spiders and pale white Dread Spiders are first seen. The peculiar Phase Spiders were discovered in Ultima IX.


Giant spider (Ultima V, cave)

Few moments hold more terror for the intrepid explorer than when a Giant Spider, venom dripping from its fangs, is encountered in the corridor of a subterranean labyrinth. These creatures are dazzling in their agility and tireless in the search of prey. Fight well, or face a paralyzing sting and the fate of becoming a living hatchery for their young.

- from The First Age of Darkness (Ultima I)

Beware of inadvertently wrecking a spider's web and this non-evil creature will probably leave thee in peace. If thou suffer the misfortune of crossing one, take care to avoid the venomous spittle.

- from The History of Britannia (Ultima IV)

Although weak and slow, spiders take their toll: they poison, both on touch and by spitting venom from a distance. Spiders have been known to carry a few goods.

- from The Book of Lore (Ultima V)


Though they spin their lethal webs deep inside dark lairs, spiders of this gargantuan variety often venture forth in search of prey. They are capable of inflicting painful bites or spitting their toxic sputum from great distances. But they are not invincible, and can be killed with a few well-placed blows.

- from Compendium (Ultima VI)

The repellent arachnids which patrol the depths of the Abyss are not of the web-building kind, but roam the crevices in search of fresh prey. The common Giant Spider is a dark gray in color. These gargantuan spiders are midway in stature between a bloodhound and a small pony, and since they travel in mated pairs or clans, these creatures present a reasonable challenge to the typical fighting man. Despite their bloated appearance and short legs, don't be surprised by their leaping form of attack.
Smaller in form and reddish-brown in hue is the poisonous Wolf Spider. It is the most easily killed of the large spiders, but the Wolf Spider will likely score one or two bites (and inject its red bile, a powerful poison) before succumbing to the inevitable. Most Knights think this spider to be relatively inoffensive, but Knight Vitalar reports the beasts have attacked him whenever they have detected his presence.
The greatest adversary among the arachnids of the Abyss is the Dread Spider. A ghostly white or light gray in color, this creature is the equivalent in combat of two or three of its cousins - very sturdy and thus difficult to kill. To compound the problem, this spider is a vicious opponent, capable of repeatedly penetrating one's armor with its sharp bite. The Dread Spider is one of the most venomous creatures known in the Abyss.

- from Memoirs of Sir Cabirus (Ultima Underworld)

Unfortunately, I can do no more than briefly mention the variety of enormous cave spider to be found here in the Valley of Eodon. This is a web - building spider, an absolutely huge species - one example I have seen measured six feet across with legs at extension. They occupy certain caves in the valley, but do not rely on the bounty of their webs: They go foraging at night. I have not had the opportunity to study them and cannot offer much in the way of scientific discussion of their origins.

- from Ultimate Adventures Magazine (Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire)

While this creature may be encountered anywhere in the wilderness, its lair is its giant web, which will almost always be hidden in a cool and dark place. A giant spider is capable of spraying its poisonous spittle from a considerable distance. Its bite is also tremendously painful.

- from The Book of Fellowship (Ultima VII)


In the underworld, the ordinarily tiny spider can grow to enormous size. The common giant spider is grey, and is the size of an extremely large dog. Giant spiders often form mated pairs or larger groupings, which will protect one another in a fight. They rear on their hind legs to bite their opponent. A single giant spider can be a challenge - one should always flee a larger grouping, unless one has the protection of numbers.
The wolf spider is smaller, but can inject a powerful poison with its bite. It is recognizable by its reddish-brown fur.
There are written accounts of a huge, pale white breed of spider dwelling deep in the underworld, dubbed the dread spider, but I would tend to dismiss this as hysterical exaggeration.

- from A Safe Passage Through Britannia (Ultima Underworld II)

The giant spider prefers to spin its web in darkness, hoping the lack of light will assist in securing a victim. Not only is its bite poisonous, but it can spray the same poison considerable distances.

- from Beyond the Serpent Pillars (Ultima VII Part Two)


A common hazard of dungeons and forgotten keeps, the spider does not roam far from its web that is spun in dark and cool corners. Most spiders encountered therein attack by poisonous bite, yet from the larger varieties, those in the vicinity may may be subjected to a spray of webbing that can immobilize its targets. If poisoned, death is slow, as if telling the victim that the mistake was his. A form of spider is know to phase between this plane and the ethereal void and, in so doing, has acquired a greater strength than its cousin.

- from Journal (Ultima IX)