Phase Spider Tactics

I’m puzzled as to why certain creatures are included in the “Miscellaneous” Appendix A of the fifth-edition Monster Manual, which consists mostly—but not entirely—of regular animals, such as apes, bears, crocodiles and so forth. Why, alongside this menagerie of mundane beasts and their oversize cousins, do we also find awakened trees and shrubs, blink dogs, death dogs, wargs (excuse me, “worgs”) and phase spiders? Why didn’t these monsters (none of them is categorized as a “beast”) rate their own listings in the body of the book? So odd.

Phase spiders differ from giant spiders in a variety of minor respects and two significant ones. First, while they have the Web Walker feature, they don’t spin webs. This struck me as so peculiar that I checked the MM errata to confirm that it wasn’t a mistake. Second, they have the Ethereal Jaunt feature, which lets them phase back and forth between the material plane and the ethereal plane.

I’m going to take a quick look at its other traits and then come back to these, because I think the phase spider is in need of some flavor text that explains what it’s all about.

Phase spiders are brute fighters, with high Strength and Dexterity and above-average Constitution. With Intelligence of 6, they’re also cleverer than you’d expect a spider to be. Although they’re not clever enough to act beyond their instincts, those instincts can take them a long way: Intelligence 6 is equivalent to that of a chimp. It’s not unthinkable that a phase spider might even use tools. Finally, the combination of Stealth proficiency and darkvision makes phase spiders nighttime or underground ambush predators.

So we have an ambush predator that can navigate webs but doesn’t create them. Why the former ability and not the latter? And why the ability to phase back and forth between planes? Here’s my theory: Phase spiders didn’t evolve independently. Rather, they’re the result of a magical hiccup in the evolutionary process. Something created them out of regular giant spiders, and they continue to live side by side with their mundane sisters. In fact, that lovely cornflower blue illustration notwithstanding, I imagine that a phase spider is indistinguishable from other giant spiders until it begins blinking.

But wait a second. Spiders, by and large, are solitary creatures. In our world, there are tens of thousands of known spider species, yet fewer than two dozen of these are social. On the other hand, as a practical matter of gameplay, giant spiders cease to be boss monsters when our player characters hit level 2. We send groups of giant spiders at our players all the time. You’ve done it. I’ve done it. So I guess we have to say that in Dungeons and Dragons, giant spiders just happen to be one of those social species, or at least subsocial. And phase spiders, occasionally, live among them.

Fighting on their own, giant spiders will first seek to ensnare their prey in a web, if the prey isn’t caught already. Then, once the prey is restrained, they bite (with advantage) to paralyze. When the prey stops moving, they wrap up their treat to enjoy the leftovers later.

Phase spiders act in conjunction with this behavior, but since they don’t make webs of their own, they aid their sister spiders by taking out moving targets, gaining advantage as an unseen attacker by using Ethereal Jaunt to appear suddenly behind their prey. Phase spider poison is no stronger than regular giant spider poison (we can infer this from the DC of the saving throw, which is the same), but the phase spider delivers a lot more of it (we can infer this from the greater damage it does, 4d8 vs. 2d8). Thus, contrary to predators’ usual habit of primarily targeting the old, the young, the weak, the isolated and the oblivious, a phase spider may attack the larger of its opponents, knowing on some dim level that it has a better chance of taking them out than other giant spiders do. Plus, as a brute fighter, it’s more inclined toward aggressive melee engagement.

Phase spiders follow different action patterns based on whether they’re “blinking in” (ethereal to material) or “blinking out” (material to ethereal). When blinking in to ambush, a phase spider first uses its Ethereal Jaunt bonus action, then its Bite action. (To be fair to your PCs, the phase spider should make a Dexterity (Stealth) check, opposed by its target’s passive Perception, to determine whether it can appear behind the target without being noticed. If it fails, it loses its advantage on the attack.) When blinking out to escape a foe who’s hurting it, it delivers a Bite out of spite, then uses the Ethereal Jaunt bonus action to vanish.

What if a phase spider blinking in to attack successfully paralyzes its prey on its first strike? Then it uses its movement to bring itself closer—within melee reach, if possible—to another opponent who does fit the usual prey profile. Bigger opponents are for engaging only with stealth strikes.

Once it’s engaged with a target, a phase spider remains engaged with that target until the target is paralyzed or the spider takes moderate damage (10 points or more in a single round). If a phase spider takes that much damage in a round, it bites once more, then blinks out. When a phase spider is seriously injured (reduced to 12 hp or fewer), it blinks out and doesn’t return.

Next: shoosuvas.

42 thoughts on “Phase Spider Tactics

  1. So basically like a fancier, brawlier Giant Wolf Spider, with ethereal jaunt and more HP instead of the stealth bonus?
    I like the idea of Giant spiders (at least the non-webbing kind) as somewhat social insects. In terms of ecology, I am imagining a nest or colony, somewhere in the underdark or somewhere, with specialized casts having evolved to do different kind of tasks, like some kind of creepy beehive or anthill. Or at least some type of mutualism of various spider-families, with Wolf Spiders alerting the others of incoming prey and Phase Spiders herding them into Webs made by the normal Giant Spiders.

  2. I like your idea of Stealth vs. Passive Perception when blinking in.

    At first I thought you meant in the first round, when surprise is being determined. I then imagined the phase spider surprising the PCs every round, which isn’t possible.

    So it sounds like you’re talking about later rounds and using the Unseen Attacker rule where you get advantage if you can’t be seen, and you’re saying the PCs should get a chance to see it because they’re expecting it to appear somewhere?

    I’m also expecting the PCs will have attacks “readied”, and I’m not sure how to rule on them. The spiders are going to try and appear behind/above the PCs, who will likely be whirling around, maybe standing back to back. It seems unfair to not let them attack when the spider appears, though to always get first attack seems to take away the point of being able to phase in and out in the first place (unless the spiders phase in order and all attack the same person? Seems cruel!).

    I’m looking forward to the tactical challenges of the battle (it’s tomorrow night) and I want to make sure I know all my rulings ahead of time to keep the pace flowing.

    1. Compare the phase spider to a creature that’s actually invisible. The invisible creature attacks while it still can’t be seen, then immediately appears. So that’s a clear-cut case of unseen attacker advantage. But when a creature comes out of hiding and then attacks, there’s that brief moment when it might be spotted, and so it has to make a Stealth check to make sure it’s still unseen when it does attack. That’s why the phase spider needs to make a Stealth check between when it phases in and when it attacks.

      A PC who Readies an Attack action to occur when a spider appears within reach has to know that the spider has appeared. So if the PC’s Perception beats the spider’s Stealth, the PC’s Readied Attack comes first, then the spider’s attack. If the spider’s Stealth beats the PC’s Perception, then the spider gets to attack first, after which the PC takes his or her Readied action. It all comes down to when the PC realizes the spider is there: when he or she hears its legs skittering across the stone, or when he or she feels its fangs sink in.

  3. Rules As Written, that’s not how them appearing as a bonus action would work. There’s no facing in the combat rules for 5e, just a space you occupy. There’s no
    hybackside like that to appear behind. Appearing would reveal them, as it is a bonus action to change planes. That’s done and they’re visible to a player controlling their space, as they move to take the Bite action.

    Following from that, the shift in to attack doesn’t really help them strategically, aside from positioning – that said, a round later, when they can use it to phase out after attacking, it makes them very hard to harm.

    1. That’s one interpretation of the RAW. Here’s mine: People don’t have panoramic vision. If you have darkvision, you can see in the dark. If you have truesight, you can see through illusions and into the ethereal plane. If you have blindsight or tremorsense, you draw on senses other than sight to detect creatures around you. Only blindsight and tremorsense, which have radius without direction, would allow you to perceive a creature in a direction you’re not looking in.

      Jeremy Crawford calls D&D “a game of exceptions,” in which a general rule always applies unless it’s overridden by a specific rule. I take this one step further: Reality always applies unless it’s overridden by a D&D rule. Thus, only an in-game fact (e.g., dragons exist, wizards can cast spells that let them float in the air) can supersede a real-world fact; the absence of a rule cannot. RAW, although there are tables for lifestyle expenses and food and drink, there’s no consequence for refusing to pay and deliberately starving. A DM has to draw the line between the fanciful and the outright absurd.

      Sounds like you’ve had some bad run-ins with rules-lawyering players.

      1. I mean, Facing is presented in the DMG as a variant rule (same as Flanking), so it’s clear that RAW doesn’t deal with that granularity.

        I personally wouldn’t use your suggestion because it’s much easier for PCs to get access to short-range teleportation than it is for enemies (in fact, Horizon Walker Rangers eventually get a feature that would give them advantage on all attacks forever if you use these rules for “attacks from behind”).

  4. Very interesting article!
    My two cents : Phase spiders could be predators of giant spiders, taking a giant spider’s lair (since it cannot spin its own web), with its food, leaving it when it has gone too old (can’t repair it!).
    Or, with a more “social” view of these nasty spiders (like Florian Albrecht said), they could be their rulers, or their more warrior-type individuals.
    A very old phase spider, swollen by years of feeding on nasty spidery fluids, lurking in its (borrowed) deep lair. Ah. LOTR.

  5. I see web walk as implying they still have spinerets, they just don’t have the ability to ‘fling’ webs like some other spiders. They may still spin webs. Imagine no signs on the material plain, but their ethereal demesne entirely surrounded with ghostly webs, ceiling covered with web sacks of nothing but dry bones (the only remains of previous victims)…

  6. A phase spider’s teleportation does not grant it advantage in combat. An ability that grants advantage has to specifically state that it does, such as a Monk’s shadow step.

    1. Phase spiders don’t actually teleport—they move back and forth between the material and ethereal planes. And it’s not Ethereal Jaunt itself that confers advantage, but rather the act of attacking while unseen, which is specifically stated to confer advantage. As long as the phase spider attacks before its prey sees it, it has advantage. This is why I recommend the additional Stealth check, to give the target a chance of seeing it before it strikes.

  7. I was using teleport as a shorthand term, not as a game mechanic. There is nothing in the description that states a phase spider gains the hidden condition, either. I can see using the phasing to gain surprise on the first round, but a creature cannot hide in combat unless they use an action to do so. If phasing were intended to impart the hidden condition to gain advantage, it would state that explicitly, just as shadow step explicitly states the teleporting monk gains advantage but the misty step spell does not.

    1. A creature can become unseen in combat by doing anything that makes it unseen. It doesn’t have to be a Hide action. It can be an invisibility spell. It can be a darkness spell. It can be something like Shadow Step. Or it can be something that brings it into the material plane from another plane in an out-of-view location.

  8. Those are completely different effects. A creature that is invisible can attack while invisible. It becomes visible after it attacks. A creature in the ethereal plane must appear in the prime material plane before it attacks. It cannot attack before it appears. If you want to rule that phasing has the potential to grant the hidden condition at your table, I have no argument there. But it’s not RAW, and you shouldn’t present it as if it were.

    1. Yes, it must appear in the prime material plane before it attacks. And it can still appear out of somebody’s field of view, and if it does so, it’s unseen unless and until it gives itself away (e.g., by attacking, or by failing a Stealth check).

      This is RAW: “When a creature can’t see you, you have advantage on attack rolls against it” (PH 195). In this case, ”you” is the phase spider. There is no condition called “hidden.”

      You can be as argumentative about this as you like, but I’m standing my ground on this one.

  9. If you feel a rules discussion with someone who disagrees with you is being argumentative, I don’t know what to tell you.

    But if you’re going to stand your ground, you have to back it up with more than just “common sense” and “logic.” You need to cite to actual rules in official rulebooks. And if phasing was meant to cause a creature to be hidden (or even potentially hidden), the entry would have said so explicitly.

    By saying that something “can still appear out of somebody’s field of view,” you’re implying that the creature is appearing behind someone. There is no facing in 5e. Appearing behind someone does not cause a creature to be hidden or even the potential to be hidden, necessitating a stealth roll.

    Hiding is specifically an action, not something that just happens because a creature can phase. Even an invisible creature is not automatically hidden and does not just get to make a stealth roll without taking the hide action.

    On its turn, a phase spider can use a bonus action to either phase in or out of the ethereal plane. The general rule is that a creature must use an action to hide. So if a phase spider wants to hide, it needs to use its action to do so. If a phase spider had an ability that was an exception to this rule, the entry would say so. There is absolutely nothing in the entry that says a phase spider gets to make a stealth check to hide as part of its bonus action.

    1. But if you’re going to stand your ground, you have to back it up with more than just “common sense” and “logic.” You need to cite to actual rules in official rulebooks.

      The same goes for you. Show me a rule that says a character or creature can see in all directions at once. The absence of a rule is not a rule. Just as general rules apply unless superseded by a specific rule, reality applies unless superseded by a rule in the game. In reality, people do not have 360-degree panoramic vision. There’s no rule that says a character can wield three weapons at once, one in each of his three hands—nor is there a rule that says a character can’t. That’s because we don’t need to be told that humanoids have only two hands. At any rate, we shouldn’t need to be told that.

      Now, I’ll confess that I was in error in my last comment when I said there’s no defined condition called “hidden.” The hidden condition is defined as part of the Unseen Attackers and Targets rule on page 195 of the PH—as meaning “both unseen and unheard” (emphasis mine). Note that the rule does not state that you have to be hidden to gain advantage on an attack roll. The rule, as I quoted it above, states, “When a creature can’t see you, you have advantage on attack rolls against it” (emphasis mine again). It says nothing about being hidden and nothing about being unheard, only unseen. Page 194 also mentions “hiding” (lowercase) as one way to escape foes’ notice, but notably doesn’t use the phrase “taking the Hide action” (capitalized). The Hide action is one way to make oneself unseen, just as the Search action is one way to actively try to perceive something in one’s surroundings rather than rely on passive Perception. The value of these actions lies in their granting a chance to make something happen rather than hope it just happens on its own.

      If you wish to interpret the rules differently as a DM at your own table, go right ahead—page 4 of the DMG gives you the right to reinterpret them or even change them if you prefer. But what you’re doing here isn’t “discussion,” it’s rules-lawyering and filibustering, and if you persisted in it with me at my table for as long as you have in these comments, you’d no longer be welcome at it. This is the last time I’m going to indulge you.

      1. A little thread necromancy here, but hey! The rules actually kinda say that people don’t have 360-degree panoramic view. The Wondrous item “Robe of Eyes” says that it confers upon the user the ability to “see in all directions”, so that would imply that players don’t have that ability without it.

      2. The issue at hand is that you and everyone else are using the optional facing rule as if it were part of the official ruleset, without ever mentioning its existence. It’s right there in the DMG, next to flanking, which is always called out as optional in this blog. This is primarily where the argument is coming from: RAW, Ethereal Jaunt does not grant advantage unless it appears next to and attacks an opponent that is effectively blinded (rare but possible–appearing in total darkness next to a creature lacking darkvision, for instance), OR you’re using an optional rule that specifically addresses the issue at hand.

        If that optional rule was mentioned, that would be fine. I think the disconnect exists because you seem to use facing all the time without ever mentioning it as an official, optional rule.

        The handwaving over the DM getting to make the final rules is a little silly. Everyone already knows that here, right? Sure it could be house ruled to gain advantage, but that’s specifically a house rule, which is the point that was being made. It’s a house rule to use facing, after all. Without it, the ethereal jaunt=advantage play doesn’t work without an even more specific house rule.

        If the phase spider doesn’t use an action to Hide, its prey can hear it appear and knows where it is, and since there’s no facing, they immediately whirl and see it. It can’t make a stealth check against the player’s passive perception without using an action, period. That’s RAW for sure. At best, you could give it a passive Stealth check against passive perception but even that’s a stretch.

        1. How do you know it makes a sound when it appears? THAT’S THE STEALTH CHECK (sorry, I don’t know how to do italics on this).

          1. Passive Stealth. No action. I take a similar tack when it comes to invisible creatures being tracked by the sounds they make.

    2. You know, if you were to ask Gary Gygax how to handle that situation, he would have asked you, “How did (or would) you handle it?”

      D&D rules aren’t meant to be taken as the be-all-end-all word of god with regards to your fantasy worlds. It’s up to the DM to use, tweak or negate the rules that are already laid out to fit their campaign. While using the written rules as law gives you an easy out for rules lawyers, players need to realize that the DM makes the rules, not the rulebooks. If someone were to make this argument at my table and push it like you are here, the phase spider would be critting him with every bite. 😉

      Read the last paragraph of the introduction in the Monster Manual. “Naturally, you can do with these monsters what you will. Nothing we say here is intended to curtail your creativity.”

      I would side with Keith on this. It makes logical sense and most people understand logic and would appreciate it applied here, myself included. A phase spider phasing into the ethereal plane is completely unseen (unless you can see into the ethereal plane) which inherently makes it “hidden” as you would put it. Having it roll stealth against the players passive perception makes sense as once it has appeared, the player could have turned their head and seen it out of the corner of their eye or possibly heard it step on a dry leaf as it appeared.

      I like it.

  10. You mention that a phase spider that is reduced to ~12 hp will phase and not return. I’m assuming that this implies that the spider can dwell for an indefinite period in the ethereal realm, correct? If so, then a spider that grapples an opponent and subsequently phases could carry its victim into the ethereal plane. Consequently, attempts to break grapple could take place in the ethereal plane. If successful, and the victim kills the spider or evades while in the ethereal, they could be stuck in the ethereal until they find a way out. Would you say this is a valid scenario?

    1. Eek.

      I don’t think I’d run it that way, because I don’t know that the phase spider has the ability to shift anything other than itself. And that would be an awfully cruel trick to play on players at the usual level at which their PCs will encounter a phase spider.

  11. What if, rather than living alongside/among giant spiders, phase spiders actually hunt them? Portia spiders barely produce any web (I think just egg sacs), but since they hunt a variety of web-walking spider species, they’re quite adept at moving along webbing. They’re also unusually intelligent for spiders, just like phase spiders – for example, portia spiders have been shown to have object permanence, and very flexible and adaptive hunting strategies.

    So you could treat phase spiders as the giant, ethereal-jaunting D&D equivalent of portia spiders, a species of clever predatory spiders adapted to hunting other spider species.

    1. I was also thinking about the Portia Spider when reading this article. I didn’t know that they had object permanence. They are one of the most fascinating creatures, imagine a Giant Portia Spider hunting the PCs… I think they’d be screwed lol

  12. Love your write-up and creative approach to phase spider combat. I’m going to spring this on my players this weekend!

    Also, pay no mind to these nitpicking rules lawyers. I feel truly sorry for their DM’s. This game gets stale without creative new interpretations of the rules. Well done!

    1. I agree. I do that sometimes, and I feel bad about it, but my party holds me hostage to get my mom to do something. I’m going to nitpick for any rule that lets me get out of that. It got to the point where in enemies, I put their names. Also, we’re forced to work together, so I have no loyalty to most of them.

  13. First, excellent write up. Thank you for your thoughtful insights, not just on this topic but on several others that have enriched my gaming experience.

    I admit I’m having trouble finding a reference that states Phase Spiders do *not* spin webs.

    The only definitive reference I can find is in the MM, where the description lists the web walker ability but the actions do not explicitly include a web attack. This is similar to the description of a (normal) spider, whose description also includes web walker but which also lacks a web attack. The giant spider differs from those two types because while it has web walker it also has a web attack.

    It is reasonable to assume that most normal spiders would spin webs, even if they do not attack with them. The web attack for giant spiders is a fun addition that provides a bit of variety to an encounter that would otherwise be fairly boring. Phase spiders already have a unique mode of attack, so giving them a web attack as well is not necessary to spice up the encounter (I doubt a DM would make much use of a web attack given the phasing ability, and doing so would simply make garden variety giant spiders less interesting).

    I like Rogue Scientist’s vision: “Imagine no signs on the material plain, but their ethereal demesne entirely surrounded with ghostly webs”. It makes sense to me that even if phase spiders don’t use webs to attack or trap victims, they could certainly spin silk within their lair on the Ethereal Plane. (The change in wording from “web” to “silk” is intentional for reasons that will become apparent.)

    Examples of real spiders that do not spin webs to trap prey, but which do spin silk, include wolf spiders (Lycosidae), fishing spiders (Pisauridae), jumping spiders (Salticidae), and crab spiders (Thomisidae). Wolf spiders use silk to line their burrows and bind egg sacs. Fishing spiders use silk for egg sacs and as a tether while hunting. Salticidae use silk as tethers for jumping and to spin shelters. Crab spiders use silk for drop lines and reproduction.

    While I am interested in finding a definitive reference that states phase spiders do not spin webs, my real motivation is to determine whether phase spiders produce silk. I know as a DM I can simply decree it, but I’d prefer to minimize deviations from published sources.

    FWIW, I’d like to use silk from phase spiders as thread for stitching together the material used to craft a bag of holding (along with a Gate spell cast on the resulting container). If there is another recipe out there, I’d be happy to use it.

    Your thoughts are appreciated. Thanks.

    1. I like what you’re saying Bob. Phase Spider silk sounds like a great idea. It wouldn’t be referenced in the MM because it’s not combat relevant. A quick google tells me that Everquest even has phase spider silk as an item!

      1. Thanks for pointing out its use in Everquest. At least there is precedence for it somewhere.

        If I pursue this (pending strong arguments against it), I’d still have to work out how much silk might be needed to stitch a bag of a given size. I anticipate a number of Phase Spiders would need to be subdued and milked to obtain enough silk to spin the thread needed for the whole bag. Hunting them down and working out the process could be a mini-quest in itself.

        For the record, I like the ideas of Phase Spiders deriving from, living among, and/or hunting Giant Spiders. Great potential for background material.

        1. Volo’s Guide to the Sword Coast, p228:

          W a r d m i s t
          (Evocation, Alteration, Enchantment/Charm)
          Range: Special
          Components: V, S, M
          Duration: Permanent
          Casting Time: 1 hour
          Area of Effect: Special
          Saving Throw: Special
          This 7th-level spell requires the use of an amount of silver larger in total volume than the caster’s fist.
          Other material components are *phase spider silk* and three
          powdered pieces of amber of no less than 500 gp value each.

          Phase spider silk was/is an official thing.

  14. When I was reading the discussion around whether or not the Phase Spider can remain unseen before it attacks (thus gaining an advantage on the attack) it reminded me of a situation in another D&D game.

    A PC wanted to sneak up on a guard who was in the middle of a castle courtyard and so could (in RAW) see in all directions at once. But that made no sense as the PC wouldn’t have been able to sneak up quietly behind the guard and take him out.

    The PC sneaking up quietly behind the guard is the equivalent of the Phase Spider phasing in behind a PC (and so the PC should have some chance of seeing it just before it attacks).

    I think common sense is the one rule all GMs should keep in their back pocket.

      1. I think he was agreeing with you but it sounds like you are saying he’s wrong.

        Would you rule that there is no way to sneak up on a guard in the middle of a courtyard? Certainly if the guard was alert I could see it being hard to pull off, but if he wasn’t expecting danger it seems logical that you could attempt to sneak up behind him.

        1. I’m not saying he’s wrong about the guard, but I disagree that the same principle applies to the phase spider. A guard is alert kinda by definition; an oblivious guard is the exception. No one should ever be able to sneak up on a guard across an open courtyard unless their attention is entirely fixed on something else, and even then, the sneaker would have only a split second to pull it off.

          A phase spider, on the other hand, appears right next to its victim and attacks immediately, with no opportunity to see it moving closer.

      2. Also, I really love this blog. I am a new DM and it is a huge boon to my game. I think I probably fall into the “strategically literate but wants to differentiate my enemies” category and this has been a huge help.

  15. Obviously, this is a loooooong time after your post, but I’m sure your used to getting delayed comments, with the popularity of this resource you’ve made and having your book published.

    I just wanted to pop in to comment about the web/lack of web and social/solitary nature. I think you can rationalize these things in multiple ways, including the one you went for. Another commenter I see commented that just because they don’t use a web attack doesn’t mean the don’t spin webs, which I think is a pretty good way to look at it too, but I wanted to bring up another possibility or two:

    There are several spiders (wolf, jumping, crab, etc) that have silk, but don’t spin webs. They often use their silk for making jump lines, so if they miss their prey from jumping, they can just climb back up. Thus, these spiders don’t spin webs per se, but can use their silk for utilitarian purpose and walk it.

    Another possibility would be to make them very NOT social with Giant Spiders, but rather they could prey on them, inspired by Portia spiders, which incidentally, are extraordinarily smart for such a small creature. Check out their wiki page for just how clever of hunters they can be. They love to get in the web of another spider and mimic prey and then kill and eat them. Any other spider better watch out! Now, just imagine something like that factored to the extreme in size and given the ability to phase!

  16. Since we’ve established that phase spider silk actually DOES exist (what with it being a spell component for Wardmist), it makes me think about the properties of phase spider silk. They’re magical creatures, it shouldn’t just be “sticky string”, ya know.

    What if phase spider silk somehow disrupted planar travel? Imagine a party in a forest that casts Plane Shift trying to go to the plane of fire/city of brass, but all the sudden they all end up caught in a phase spider web that they didn’t know they were in/near. Maybe anyone attempting teleportation/planar travel within X feet/miles/whatever of a phase spider web has a chance of getting caught in the web in the ethereal plane, with a higher % chance the closer they are to the web.

    You know when you’re walking around outside and all the sudden feel like you walked right through a massive spiderweb but can’t see a thing? Boom. Phase spider almost got ya. Lucky you didn’t cast plane shift.

    I’m actually going to use this. One of my PCs has a quest to collect phase spider venom. He also has two or three different teleport spells available to him. Next time he teleports, he’s gonna be real surprised, lol.

    1. I LOVE this idea. Obviously completely something for the DM to decide, but it makes sense, as you’ve pointed out. I’d definitely have the range be on the order of feet (basically “if you’d be in the web if you were on the Ethereal Plane right now”), but to compensate, maybe the webs don’t decompose very quickly in the Ethereal Plane, so there could be vast areas of forest, whole dungeons, or even parts of cities where planar travel is liable to get you into trouble. Of course, if you’re high enough level to cast Plane Shift, it’s probably pretty easy to handle.

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