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The Fangs of the Queen-Mother

"Such power and dignity, unhampered by sentiment....If I may put forward a slice of personal philosophy, I feel that man has ruled, this world as a stumbling, demented child-king long enough! And as his empire crumbles, my precious black widow shall rise as his most fitting successor!"
Vincent Price, "The Black Widow" prologue, Alice Cooper's Welcome to my Nightmare

Ananasi are werespiders, one of the surviving Changing Breeds of the world who refer to themselves as Damhàn.

Active PCs


Tenere Hatar Kumoti Uncatgorized
Secean Plicare Gaderin Agere Anomia Malum Kar Amari Aliquid Chymos

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"You don't have to look far to see a spider's web— in the corner of the window, on a fence, or in a bush— spiders make their home everywhere."
Laura Marsh[1]

The Damhàn view themselves as children of Queen Ananasa, an ancient and powerful spider spirit created by the Weaver itself (and theorized by some to be a backup and under-powered copy of the original Weaver), whose will is their law. They seek to restore the original balance of the Triat. Ananasa is patron and totem to the entire breed although some splinter traitorous groups (the Kumo and Kumatai) have abandoned her.

Unsurprisingly, the Ananasi possess many advantages of the spiders. At will they can secrete pheromones to attract mates[2], they possess venom glands (although the potency of this venom varies according to the species of spider they take after and the form they are in), they can spin webs in Pithus and Crawlerling forms (those in the Pithus form are preternatural strong), and in all forms other than homid they have multiple pairs of eyes and limbs.

Unlike most other changing breeds, the Damhàn have no connection to Luna and so do not possess Rage (and thusly do not normally frenzy). Instead, in addition to Gnosis, they draw supernatural power from the blood of humans and animals. They are able to use this blood to heal themselves, move with superhuman quickness, instantly change forms, create webs (required in Pithus form) or even to power some of their gifts. They do not regenerate the way the Garou and other Fera do, instead they heal with the power of their blood or or naturally over time like humans do; similarly they do not possess the same immunity to disease that the other shifters have, but they can purse diseases from their systems using the power of their consumed blood. Additionally, they do not step sideways to enter the Umbra; instead, they "crawl though the strands of the Great Web" in their Crawlerling forms (see below); as they are tied to the Weaver, this is easier for them in areas of high Weaver influence and more difficult in areas dominated by the Wyld or the Wyrm (effectively inverted from the way the Garou and other shifters interact with the Gauntlet).

Ananasi are generally considered alien and bizarre (or worse) by the other Changing Breeds; in return, the Damhàn often view the "Ovid" (as they collectively refer to the Garou and other Fera) as being beneath their notice. Ananasi possess no vulnerability or allergy to silver (perhaps because they are not related to Gaia), nor is there any other substance that they are vulnerable to as a Breed. They often point this out as proof of their superiority to the Ovid.

Ananasi Lexicon

Aspect: The subset of Ananasi determined by which part of the Triat the werespider is dedicated to. The aspects include: Hatar (the Wyrm), Kumoti (the Wyld), and Tenere (the Weaver). Similar to tribes among the Garou.

Crawlerling: The natural spider form. Ananasi can separate themselves into a mass of normal-sized spiders, and then regroup into one of their other forms at a later time.

Damhàn (DOM-hahn): The name which the Ananasi call themselves.

Faction: The given role that each of the Ananasi follows. The factions include: Myrmidon (Warrior), Viskr (Wizard), and Wyrsta (Questioner of the Way). Similar to auspice in the Garou.

Grandmother Spider: The Weaver.

Great Web, the: The universe as a whole. It is no longer perfect, and that imperfection is what the Ananasi seek to repair. Different than the Web or Web of Ananasa (see below).

Hatar: Wyrm-aspected[3] Ananasi.

Kumoti: Wyld-aspected[3] Ananasi.

Lilian: The spider/human hybrid form.

Myrmidon (MEER-mi-don): The martial faction of the Ananasi.

Ovid (OH-vid): The other Changing Breeds, mostly considered by the Ananasi to be insignificant compared to their own place and duty.

Pithus: The giant spider form.

Queen Ananasa: The creator of the Ananasi and the guiding force behind everything they do. She is both their Spirit parent and their totem.

AKA the Great Mother and the Mother-Queen.

Sylie (SI-lee): A haven and connection to the Umbra (and thus to Queen Ananasa) that each Ananasi creates; something like a Den-Realm.

Symmetry: The ultimate goal of the Ananasi and Queen Ananasa: the restoration of the Triat to their proper places and eventual restoration of universal balance.

Tapestry, the: Proper perspective on the universe. According to Ananasi thought, the universe is made of endless strands; only by observing the whole of this grand Tapestry can any creature understand its proper place in the Universe.

Tenere: Weaver-aspected[3] Ananasi

Unweaving: Deliberate alteration or destruction of a part of the Tapestry or Great Web, in order to restore Symmetry.

Viskr (VIS-kr): The magic-focused faction of the Ananasi.

War in the Heavens: The great battles that led to the fall of the Triat and the building of the Web.

Weaving: Deliberate alteration, restoration, or creation of a part of the Tapestry or Great Web in order to restore Symmetry.

Web, the: The Gauntlet. While this is a hindrance to most of the Ovid, the Ananasi use the Web to serve their own purposes. Different than the Great Web (see above) or Web of Ananasa, below.

Web of Ananasa: The connection and political body of the Ananasi as a whole. The entire race of Ananasi as relates to the great scheme of the Mother-Queen.

Wyrsta (WEER-stah): The “questioning” faction of the Ananasi.

Ananasi Society

"Have you ever heard of insect politics? Neither have I. Insects don't have politics. They're very brutal. No compassion, no compromise... we can't trust the insect. I'd like to become the first insect politician."
Jeff Goldblum, The Fly

The Laws of Ananasa

Queen Ananasa
  • Obey the Mother-Queen in All Things.
  • Defend Your Brethren from All Who Would Do Them Harm.
  • Follow the Aspect and Faction that Ananasa Chooses for You.
  • Understand the Ways of the Triat, Both as They Were and as They Are. Know the Difference.
  • Know Your Enemies.
  • Know the Great Web for What it Is.
  • Know Your place.
  • Keep Your Mouth Shut.
  • Worship None but Ananasa.

Ananasi Ranks and Rank Markings

Although rank among the Ananansi is significantly less formalized than among many of the other changing breeds, it does still matter. There is no law that those lower in rank must respect those higher, or vice versa, and there is no formalized command structure. That said, rank does, at least to a degree, reflect favor in the eyes of Ananasa, and as such, those Ananasi of higher rank are normally accorded a greater degree of respect and expected to lead when the Ananasi come together for common purpose, and likewise gain access to higher level gifts. The Ananasi do not have formal names for their ranks, but they do bear visible marks to show it. In human form, these marks show in the arrangement of pores on the skin, while in their nonhuman forms, it reveals itself in a pattern that is visible on the carapace and around the eyes. In all cases, the pattern is part of the texture of the skin or carapace, not merely the coloration of it.

  • Tenere: The pattern resembles very fine spider webs that join together. The number of anchoring strands indicates the rank of the Damhàn. Simple lines that run together are an indication of the first rank. Dual lines that cross over each other are indicative of the second rank. Triangular markings indicate the third rank, and webs patterned with four anchoring points indicate the fourth rank. Stylized web patterns with five anchors indicate the fifth rank, and with six anchoring lines indicate the incredibly rare sixth rank.
  • Hatar: For Hatar the patterns look rather like snakes slithering together in unison. The more snakes together in this pattern, the higher the rank.
  • Kumoti: For Kumoti, the patterns look rather like stylized lightning bolts crossing over each other. The more 'spokes' on the lightning cluster, the higher the rank. A single bolt would indicate rank one, while a pattern with four spokes would indicate rank two, and so on.

Rules and Systems

The Forms

Ananasi forms

Ananasi generally have four forms (homid, lilian, pithus, and crawlerling). Shapeshifting into any of them requires a Stamina + Primal Urge roll vs a difficulty depending on the form; Ananasi can always assume their breed form without a roll and can spend a blood point to change to any form they wish without a roll.

  • Homid: A normal human, to most respects. Unlike other shifters, however, Ananasi retain more of their spider characteristics even in their homid form. Their internal organs and blood chemistry are a blend of human and spider, with blood that can accommodate either human hemoglobin or the copper-based spider hemocyanin. They also possess vestigial fangs and pedipalps in their mouth. While they should avoid scrutiny by human doctors if they wish to maintain the Veil, they do remain inter-fertile with humans despite the changes.
No stat modifications for this form.
Difficulty to assume this form is six (6).
  • Lilian: This is the Ananasi's primary combat form, a hybrid of human and spider. The specifics of the form can vary dramatically from individual to individual, with virtually any combination of human and spider possible. Uniformly, the form will have an exoskeleton and modified musculature and circulatory system, and can use both claw and bite attacks. The Lilian form increases in height and weight by approximately 1/3 in comparison to the human form, and invokes the Delirium.
Str+2, Dex+3, Sta+2, Man-1, App-1
Difficulty to assume this form is six (6).
  • Pithus: The largest of an Ananasi's forms, this is a giant spider. While in this form, the werespider can use both claw and bite attacks, and may also spend blood to create webs with a tensile strength similar to steel. In comparison to the human form, weight increases by half. This form invokes the Delirium.
Str+4, Dex+1, Sta+3, Man-3, App-2
Difficulty to assume this form is seven (7).
  • Crawlerling: Unlike other shapeshifters, the Ananasi does not transform into a single animal, but rather a swarm of hundreds of spiders equal in mass to the homid form. When breaking down in this fashion, most Ananasi will designate between one and ten spiders as leaders, focusing their memories and perception on these spiders. While the death of most individual spiders is trivial (though they may need to recover mass if enough are lost), the loss of a leader brings with it the loss of a portion of the Ananasi's self -- memories, skills, even knowledge of gifts and rites. This form is best for escape, hiding, or infiltration. In some cases, an Ananasi may choose to not designate any leaders at all, which normally results in a swarm that operates purely on instinct, and may not regain human level consciousness unless the swarm as a whole is endangered or the Ananasi has used a rite to set a predetermined awakening time -- this is frequently used as a temporary escape when the stresses of the human world become more than the Damhàn wishes to deal with. The Crawlerling form itself does not invoke the Delirium, but a human who witnesses the transformation into it does suffer the effects. Webs spun in this form do not cost blood, but are no stronger than ordinary spider webs.
Because their Stamina is effectively zero (see below, but note that for code purposes on the MUSH it is a -5 to Str, Sta, Man, and App) Ananasi simply roll Primal Urge to shift out of this form per WhoopingCrane in a job reply (Job 4145) on 1 Nov 2020.
Str 0, Dex+5, Sta 0, Man 0, App 0
Difficulty to assume this form is six (6).

Umbral Travel

Ananasi Gauntlet Difficulties
Area Difficulty
Science Lab 3
Inner City 4
Mini-mall 5
Open Highway 6
Rural Countryside 7
Loney Train Track 8
Untouched Wilderness 10

The Ananasi do not travel to the Umbra in the same way as other Ovid. Rather than finding a spot where the Gauntlet is weak enough and staring into their reflections, the Damhan must assume the Crawlerling form and quite literally crawl between the strands of the Great Web. Once they have entered the Umbra, the werespiders may once again assume any form they desire, but for the Ananasi there is no other way to reach the spirit realms.

The difficulty for entering the Umbra depends on the strength of the Gauntlet, but inversely so; places where the Wyld is still prevalent actually cause the werespiders more trouble than places where the Weaver is strong. The Great Web is their only way of gaining access to the Umbra, and where the strands of that Web are fewer, it is more difficult to enter the spirit world.

The exception is that places where the Wyrm is strongest, whether those of low or high Gauntlet, cause greater troubles for the Damhan. In such places, the corruption along the Great Web is sticky and difficult to navigate (except for the Hatar, who have a natural affinity for the Wyrm's places of power). In such places, non-Hatar Ananasi are at +2 difficulty to "crawl sideways."

Links to Additional Rules


  1. This is the children's author, Laura Marsh, author of the National Geographic Readers: Spiders
  2. Ananasi pheromone release is the fluff explanation of the use of Charisma + Primal Urge for sex appeal by the breed.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Note that says aspected, not tainted.