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Master of the Web (Variant Monk)

The master of the web is a monk unlike any other or any other place in the planes. These beings (mostly drow) gain the ability to shoot webs from their hands and craft vehement taunts to draw their opponents into the fatal latticework of their complex martial arts style. Frenetic warriors, they traverse the battlefield in flips, cartwheels, leaps and bounds, carried along by their arachnid blessings with a grace that defies convention. Due to the structure of drow society, most of these beings are males, though female practitioners of this path do exist. Non-drow have coined the name for these beings, obviously—in the language of drow, they are known as verackt’zholur— which roughly translates to “arachnid executioners.”

Creating a Master of the Web

As you make your master of the web character, think about your connection to the dastardly orders that teach this lethal fighting style: Were you raised by the order? Sold to them? Did you join voluntarily or were you sold to them as the price for their assistance in assassinating a rival drow? If you are no drow, how did you gain the honor of learning this fighting style? Also, consider what made you leave, what made you become an adventurer. Perhaps you are the last of your order, the sole survivor of a feud between drow houses. Perhaps you were scheduled to be sacrificed upon the dark altars of the drow and refused this honor. Maybe you just don’t have what it takes to be a ruthless killer and thus ran from your home. The structured, yet chaotic nature of the orders teaching this type of martial arts also means that there is a lot of internal politics fought with poison, cloak and dagger going on—after adventuring for a while, you may want to return and teach those that exiled you or forced you to flee a lesson. Work with your GM to ensure that the vision you have is accurate with his conceptions of the class.

Quick Build

You can make a master of the web quickly by following these suggestions. First, make Dexterity your highest ability score, followed by Charisma. Second, choose the hermit or urchin background.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per master of the web level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per master of the web level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: None
Weapons: Simple weapons, shortswords
Tools: Choose one type of artisan’s tools or thieves’ tools
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Charisma
Skills: Choose two from Acrobatics, Athletics, Insight, Intimidation, Perception, Sleight of Hand and Stealth

Equipment

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • (a) a shortsword or (b) any simple weapon
  • 10 darts
  • (a) a dungeoneer’s pack or (b) an explorer’s pack
Level Proficiency Bonus Martial Arts Spider Points Maximum Web Uses per Turn/Maximum Web Length Features
1st +2 1d4 Unarmored Defense, Martial Arts, Vitriolic Tongue
2nd +2 1d4 2 4/80 ft. Arachnid Powers
3rd +2 1d4 3 4/80 ft. Spider Sense
4th +2 1d4 4 4/80 ft. Ability Score Improvement
5th +3 1d6 5 6/120 ft. Extra Attack
6th +3 1d6 6 6/120 ft. Burst of Speed
7th +3 1d6 7 6/120 ft. Evasion
8th +3 1d6 8 6/120 ft. Ability Score Improvement
9th +4 1d6 9 8/160 ft. Arachnid Appendages I
10th +4 1d6 10 8/160 ft. Poison Glands
11th +4 1d8 11 8/160 ft. Mutated Immune System
12th +4 1d8 12 8/160 ft. Ability Score Improvement
13th +5 1d8 13 10/200 ft. Dance of the Many-Legged Fiend
14th +5 1d8 14 10/200 ft. Weaponized Webbing
15th +5 1d8 15 10/200 ft. Eternal Hunter
16th +5 1d8 16 10/200 ft. Ability Score Improvement
17th +6 1d10 17 12/240 ft. Web’s Defense
18th +6 1d10 18 12/240 ft. Master of Arachnids
19th +6 1d10 19 12/240 ft. Ability Score Improvement
20th +6 1d10 20 12/240 ft. Arachnid Appendages II, Perfect Hybrid

Class Features

As a master of the web, you gain the following class features.

Unarmored Defense

Beginning at 1st level, while you are wearing no armor and not wielding a shield, your AC equal 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Charisma modifier.

Martial Arts

At 1st level, your practice of arachnid-inspired martial arts gives you mastery of combat styles that emphasize unarmed strikes and monk weapons, which are shortswords and any simple melee weapons that don’t have the two-handed or heavy property. You gain the following benefits while you are unarmed or wielding only monk weapons and you aren’t wearing armor or wielding a shield:

  • You can use Dexterity instead of Strength for the attack and damage rolls of your unarmed attacks and monk weapons.
  • You can roll a d4 in place of the normal damage of your unarmed strikes or monk weapon. This die changes as you gain master of the web levels, as shown in the Martial Arts column of the Master of the Web table.
  • When you use the Attack action with an unarmored strike or monk weapon on your turn, you can make one unarmed strike as a bonus action. For example, if you take the attack action and attack with a quarterstaff, you can also make an unarmed strike as a bonus action, assuming you haven’t already taken a bonus action this turn.

Masters of the web tend to train with monk weapons that emphasize piercing and slashing damage, featuring a look reminiscent of spiders and similar arachnids. These weapons have a lot of variations in name and specific design, but utilize the game statistics provided for simple weapons on page 65 of the System Reference Document 5. 1, only changing the damage type as appropriate.

Vitriolic Tongue

As an action on your turn, you can make a Charisma (Intimidation) check against a creature you can see that can hear you. Deaf creatures are immune. The pure spite in your words transcends language barriers and forces the target to make a Wisdom saving throw against DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier. On a failure, the target is so incensed by your spite, it has a hard time focusing on attacks on other creatures. The target suffers from disadvantage to attack rolls against all creatures other than you for a number of rounds equal to your Charisma modifier.

If a creature successfully saves against this feature, it cannot be affected by it again until you complete a short rest and think about new ways to insult it.

Arachnid Powers

Starting at 2nd level, all the concoctions of hallucinogens, poisons and spiders, the exposure to the underworld’s weird radiation and your own adrenalin levels react and begin to change your physiology, allowing you to gain the effects of strange powers. These powers are represented by a number of Hybrid spider points. Your master of the web level determines the number of Spider points you have, as shown in the Spider points column of the master of web table.

You can spend these points to fuel various arachnid features. You start knowing three such features: Flurry of Blows, Web and Spider Climb. You gain more arachnid powers as you gain levels in this class. When you spend a spider point, it is unavailable until you finish a short or long rest, at the end of which your body regenerates its potent powers. You must spend at least 30 minutes of the rest and eat and drink, since your metabolism fuels your powers. Some of your arachnid features require your target to make a saving throw to resist the feature’s effect. The saving throw DC is calculated as follows: Arachnid Powers save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier

Spider Sense

At 3rd level, the physiological changed within you give you almost preternatural awareness of incoming dangers. When prompted to make a Dexterity saving throw by an effect that you can potentially see incoming (you don’t have to look straight at the effect), you can expend one spider point to gain advantage on the saving throw. You must choose to do so before rolling your saving throw and you may not be blinded, deafened, incapacitated, petrified, restrained or unconscious when using this feature.

Ability Score Improvement

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Extra Attack

Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

Flurry of Blows

Immediately after you take the Attack action on your turn, you can spend 1 spider point to make two unarmed strikes as a bonus action.

Spider Climb

For as long as you have at least one spider point remaining, you are under the constant effects of spider climb, as your hands and feet feature miniscule, sticky hairs that allow you to move up, down, and across vertical surfaces and upside down along ceilings, while leaving your hands (or feet!) free. You also gain a climbing speed equal to your walking speed while you have at least 1 spider point. Unlike the spell, this feature is based on your physiological changes and thus cannot be dispelled.

Web

You have developed subtle spinnerets on your hands (or another part of your body of your choosing) that can produce a strong, resilient web-rope you can use for a variety of options. You get a free number of uses of web equal to your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier. This total is renewed after a long rest. Alternatively, you may reset this number by expending a spider point as a bonus action. Each use of web produces a line of up to 20 feet. To get a web of 60 feet length, you’d need to expend 3 uses of web, for example. You can spend a maximum of twice your proficiency bonus uses of web per turn (See Maximum Web Uses per Turn/Maximum Web Length column in the Master of the Web table). Webs you generate are only sticky in places you want them to be sticky— this is determined upon using the feature and cannot retroactively be determined. You could, for example, not suddenly declare that a non-sticky section of an already deployed web becomes sticky. Webs cannot stick to surfaces that cause any form of damage, nor can they stick to particularly wet, oily or exceedingly hot surfaces.

You can also use your web to try to restrain enemies.

You are considered to be proficient with your webs and you treat your webs as monk weapons for the purposes of proficiencies and ability interaction. You can take an Attack action and expend a use of web to try to restrain a single Medium creature. You may try to restrain creatures as a ranged attack as well, but you expend additional uses of web—a creature 30 feet away would, for example, require 3 uses of web (1 base + 2 for range). Creatures with larger sizes can be restrained as well, but you require more web. To try to restrain a Large creature, you need to expend 2 uses of web. You cannot try to restrain creatures that are larger than Large, but you can try to restrain up to two adjacent Small creatures with one use of web or up to 4 Tiny creatures. A target hit must make a Strength saving throw. On a failed save, the target is restrained by your web until either it or another creature tears it free. A restrained creature may attempt another Strength saving throw on each of its subsequent turns.

Alternatively, you can target a specific body part or piece of equipment with your web attack roll. You have disadvantage on the Attack action you make, but if you hit, you may attempt to trip, hamper or blind your opponent. If you attempt to trip your opponent, he must make a Strength or Dexterity saving throw (your choice) or fall prone. If you attempt to blind your opponent, he must make a Dexterity or Constitution saving throw or be blinded. If you attempt to hamper the enemy by targeting a limb, shield or weapon, the enemy must succeed a Strength or Dexterity saving throw or suffer disadvantage when attacking with the webbed limb or weapon. In the case of shields, the creature loses the AC bonus the shield conveys for as long as it is webbed. As above, you can use this feature as a ranged attack, but consume more uses of web when you do so.

Your webs are vulnerable to slashing and fire damage and attacks made with weapons and effects that deal either have advantage against your webs. Your web’s break DC and AC is equal to 10 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier. Your webs are considered to have 2 HP per inch of thickness.

Burst of Speed

Beginning at 6th level, you may spend 2 spider points to double your movement speed until the end of your next turn. Additionally, you gain +2 to AC and gain an additional action that you can use for an Attack, Dash, Disengage or Hide action.

Evasion

Beginning at 7th level, you can nimbly dodge out of the way of certain area effects, such as a red dragon’s fiery breath or devastating spells due to your mutation-enhanced reflexes. When you are subjected to an effect that allows you to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, you instead take no damage if you succeed on the saving throw, and only half damage if you fail.

Arachnid Appendages I

At 9th level, all the poison and chemicals you have been subjected allow you to create a frighteningly grotesque display of power. As an action, you may concentrate and expend 2 spider points. If you do, you feel a tingling and suddenly grow a pair of fully functional additional arms on your next turn. This allows you to hold up to two additional objects and you gain an additional extra attack when using the Attack action, but this extra attack is made at disadvantage. For as long as your additional arms persist, you gain advantage on all grapple checks made against creatures of your size or smaller. Alternatively, you may grapple up to two creatures that are smaller than you at once without incurring any penalty. Your arms persist indefinitely or until you take a short or long rest, at which point they grow back into your body, but while they exist, you suffer disadvantage on all Charisma-based checks against just about all creatures from nondrow cultures. Subject to the GM’s discretion, most intelligent humanoids will attack you on sight as they consider you an abomination. You may, at any time, meditate for 5 minutes to have your arachnid appendages retreat into your body. Alternatively, you may spend 2 spider points to instantaneously have them disappear within you.

Poison

At 10th level, you develop poison glands. When you successfully hit another creature with an unarmed attack, you may spend 3 spider points to inject your poison into that creature in addition to the normal effects of your attack. The target must make a Constitution saving throw or take 3d6+10 poison damage. On a successful save, the target only takes half damage. You may increase the potency of your poison by expending additional spider points, with a maximum equal to your proficiency bonus. For each additional point expended, your poison deals an additional 1d6+5 damage. You are immune against your own poison.

Mutated Immune System

Starting at 11th level, your own poison gland and other bodily changes render you immune to poisons. Additionally, you have advantage on saving throws to resist the effects of diseases.

Dance of the Many-Legged Fiend

At 13th level, you finally learn the legendary martial art that made the master of web feared throughout the underworld. You can take your action to make a melee attack against any number of creatures within 5 feet of you, with a separate attack roll for each creature. Alternatively, you may expend 3 spider points to move up to your base speed and perform a melee attack against any number of creatures that are within 5 feet of you during any part of the Move, with a separate attack roll for each creature.

Your movement potentially incurs opportunity attacks and you may attack a given creature only once during your move. Finally, you may expend 4 spider points as well as up to twice your regular maximum of simultaneous web uses per turn, to perform a number of web attacks against creatures within the maximum range of your web, provided you have enough uses of web to affect the targets. If you use either of the spider point powered uses of this feature, you incur one level of exhaustion at the end of your turn.

Weaponized Webbing

At 14th level, you have learned to harden your webs to clumps, razor-sharp edges or points. When you use the Attack action to attack with your web, you may choose bludgeoning, slashing or piercing damage and expend additional web uses up to your maximum of web-uses per activation. If you hit the target, it takes 1d4 damage of the chosen damage type per additional web use you expended. This damage is in addition to the usual effects of your web.

Eternal Hunter

At 15th level, your body no longer works as that of most mortals. You do not suffer (or stop suffering) the frailties of old age, and you can’t be aged magically.

You do not die of old age and no longer require air, food or water. You can hold your breath indefinitely without suffocating. However, you also no longer are wholly a humanoid. All effects that would only affect aberrations or that affect aberrations to a greater degree now treat you as an aberration.

Web’s Defense

At 17th level, your mastery of your webs allows you to survive what would kill most mortals. Whenever you make a Strength, Dexterity or Constitution saving throw and would fail, you can spend one use of web, up to your maximum of web uses per turn, to reroll the saving throw. Additionally, as a reaction to a spell or effect that requires you to make a Strength, Dexterity or Constitution saving throw, you may expend a use of web, up to your maximum of web uses per turn, to gain advantage on the saving throw. You must choose to do so before rolling the saving throw, though. If you use this feature while it’s not your turn, the consumed web uses are deducted from your maximum number of web uses per turn on your next turn.

Master of Arachnids

Beginning at 18th level, your impressive might makes lesser creatures scuttle and bow to your whim. Arachnid creatures will never attack you or your allies out of their own volition, unless you attack them first. This extends to demons, aberrations and similar creatures. You have advantage on all social interactions with such creatures and can understand them, even without sharing a language. You are treated as though you are under the constant effect of speak with animals, but can only communicate with any type of arachnid this way.

Arachnid Appendages II

At 20th level, all the poison and chemicals you have been subjected, reach the culmination of their mutating capabilities. When activating your arachnid appendages feature, you can expend an additional 2 spider points (for a total of 4) to grow a third set of arms. If you do, you feel a tingling and suddenly grow two pairs of fully functional additional arms on your next turn. This allows you to hold up to four additional objects and you gain two additional extra attacks when using the Attack action, but these extra attacks are made at disadvantage. For as long as your additional arms persist, you gain advantage on all grapple checks made against creatures of your size or smaller and such creatures suffer from disadvantage on grapple checks made against you. Alternatively, you may grapple up to four creatures that are smaller than you at once without incurring any penalty or one creature at advantage and 2 without penalty. Your arms persist indefinitely or until you take a short or long rest, at which point they grow back into your body, but while they exist, you suffer disadvantage on all Charisma-based checks against just about all creatures from non-drow cultures. Subject to the GM’s discretion, most intelligent humanoids will attack you on sight, considering you a horrid abomination. You no longer need to meditate to retract your additional arms into your body and can do so as a bonus action that requires no expenditure of spider points.

Perfect Hybrid

At 20th level, when you roll initiative and have no spider points remaining, you automatically regain 4 spider points. When you roll initiative and have no web uses remaining, you regain twice your proficiency bonus web uses. You are no longer fatigued by using your dance of the many-legged fiend arachnid power.

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Underworld Races and Classes © 2017 AAW Games LLC; Designers: Thilo Graf and Mike Myler