Monster Manual A-Z: Drider

Monster Manual A-Z is a series of quick looks at each and every monster presented in the Monster Manual for Dungeons & Dragons 5e. New monsters go up every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in alphabetical order, touching on lore, mechanics, and ways to use them in your campaign. To search for all Monster Manual A-Z articles, search MMAZ in the search bar as we’ve excluded them from our Roleplaying Games tag to keep things tidy.



I have to admit, I’m afraid of spiders. So it should be no surprise I’m absolutely horrified of Driders! Driders are the failed and fallen drow who are unable to stay in Lolth’s favor and are then transformed into their new hybrid spider form as punishment. Gifted and talented drow are personally tested by the Spider Queen, and they know that this fate awaits them should they not succeed. They are driven to madness and unwelcome in their homes, living in the Underdark away from their former kin, and sometimes leading packs of giant spiders to hunt down prey. Drow hate and despise the Driders, but acknowledge they are a testament of Lolth’s power and reminder of their own, uncertain fates.

A Drider by itself is a tough and very possibly deadly foe for new adventurers, possessing both an immutable defense and rabid offense. Their natural and worn armor makes it hard to land a good blow, and they have enough vitality to take even the most ferocious of barbarian axes- multiple times! Add that with their ability to climb and hang upside down on the walls or ceilings and one may not get the chance to engage with the Drider on common ground. While they are also stealthy they have no qualms about direct combat, having a slew of longsword and longbow attacks with a vicious, poisonous bite. They do retain some drow qualities though, like a sensitivity to sunlight and some innate spells such as dancing lights, darkness, and faerie fire and an immunity to magical sleep. There’s even a caster variant that ups the difficulty a bit by introducing more powerful spells into the Drider arsenal, so players be warned!

Chaotic evil and crazy is usually not much of a hook beyond “kill it with fire because oh god it’s a giant spider person”, but I see some good potential. For starters, if there was a non-crazy Drider in need of help, possibly in search of some cure for their curse real or imagined they might beseech some players for help in exchange for navigation in the Underdark. Or, they may just want them to relay a message to a drow they can no longer access. Alternatively, the drow may be the ones in need of help after a band of Driders decided to stick together and attack their former home. No matter what, drow and Drider are not to be trusted, so the players should always be watching the backs for a poisoned dagger!

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