A brief guide on how to hunt, secure and harvest a Demon Spider of Hell.
|Hell and its Benefits, Demon Spiders
Your average adventurer's trip into Hell usually involves cave crawling, battling hellbeasts and liberating the damned. You and me have a different motive. Profit. Pure and simple. What the average Sir Jim doesn’t notice is all the valuable hellspawn commodities around him. In this volume of “Hell and its Benefits”, we will look at Demon Spiders. Hunting, Securing, and finally Harvesting. All for gold. Read well, for the simplest mistake may lead to your eternal damnation.
For this section, you will need some standard Hell gear, as well as a longbow or similar ranged weapon. You’ll see why. You may also want to bring a long, sturdy pole.
Finding a Demon Spider in Hell isn’t particularly difficult. They’re everywhere. Large too. Being thrice the size of the largest dog you’ve seen, they’re hard to miss. Despite being some of the most common Hellbeasts, they are among the most dangerous, and have been the end of many adventurous buffoons.
When you’ve spotted a Demon Spider, the first thing to keep in mind is the deadly paralysing venom they produce. Get anywhere near a Demon Spider and you won’t be using your legs for much longer. To hunt a Demon Spider effectively, come prepared with either a longbow or one of those newfangled boomsticks. Though the latter may ruin the venom gland depending on where you hit. Aim for the thorax. A well placed shot will render the beast immobile. It’s fine if you miss or misplace your first few shots. You may try again. If your initial shot kills the beast, you’re aiming too high. Any shot on or below the thorax should not be fatal. A dead Demon Spider is useless for our purposes. This will be elaborated on in the Securing section.
After you’ve immobilised the spider, approach it from behind. Stay away from the face. That’s where the biting parts are. Demon Spiders rarely travel in pairs, so you should be relatively safe from any surprise attacks. If you spot another Spider, you may kill it however you like. Unless you’ve got two other friends with you, you can’t effectively secure and harvest a Demon Spider within the time a Hellstone provides. Once you’ve approached it, you must climb it. This may sound dangerous, and that’s because it is. You must mount the spider one way or another. I personally prefer jumping on it from a higher point, like a nearby rock. You may try something else. The chitinous shell should provide plenty anchor points to place your feet.
Once you’re on top of the Spider you’re ready to knock it unconscious. Some veterans may use their feet for this purpose, but a pole will be a safer bet. The next step depends on the gender of the Spider. It’s easy to tell. An experienced hunter will be able to do so at a glance. It becomes much clearer when you’re on top of the spider though. Simply look for the breasts. If they’re there, it’s a boy. That’s where the babies are. If there aren’t any breasts, it’s a girl. Now, you’re going to need to choke the spider. Your puny hands likely don’t have the strength nor width to grasp and suffocate a Demon Spider, so you’ll be using that pole. If it’s a male spider, place the tip of the pole between the breasts. Depending on how many babies a male has, you may not be able to pinpoint the exact position, but aim for the midpoint between the five nipples and you should be fine. Worst case scenario, you’ll burst a sac and release hundreds of deadly Demon Spider babies. Push hard. You need to keep up the constant pressure. Grasp the pole with your hands and lift a foot off the spider and use your body weight to push the pole down. If you can keep your balance for long enough, the Spider should be unconscious. If it’s a female spider, you don’t need to worry about the exact positioning of the pole. Just place it perpendicularly across the thorax, and apply pressure by either sitting or standing on the pole. It should go unconscious pretty soon.
Once the spider is paralyzed and unconscious, you’re ready to secure it for harvest. Here we go for section two. Securing.
For this section you will need a sharp knife, and a whole lot of determination and dexterity. This is the hardest part. You’re going to have to ride a paralysed spider out of Hell.
Since the Spider is both paralysed and unconscious you will need to manually contract and extend its tendons and muscles. Fortunately for you, all legs of the Demon Spider sprout out of its thorax, so you won’t need to hop around or need a helper. Lay flat on top of the spider, facing towards its head. You need to tear open the thorax to expose the innards, while still keeping the structural integrity of the spider. You may use the arrow you shot at the spider, or a sharp knife. I prefer the latter. Most bodkin arrows are not sharp enough and barbed arrows are too messy. You’d need custom arrows to get the same results you’d get from a knife. It’s simple to just use a trusty knife.
You may want to shave off some fur before going forward with the incision. It’s optional. Mostly depends on just how hairy the spider is. When you’re ready, make an incision lengthwise across the thorax. Be careful not to cut too deep. If you tear a tendon or muscle you won’t be able to move the spider. Carefully open up the skin, and you’re ready to go.
This next step is not very easy to describe in text. Nobody really gets it right in their first time. Chances are you will either not be able to move the spider at all, or immediately fall off when you get moving. You can practice spider riding mechanics by catching overworld spiders and practising with tweezers. Once you’ve got a handle on how to move legs, you’ll run into another problem. Spiders have eight legs. You have two hands.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to making a spider walk on two legs. Some people prefer simply dragging the spider with the two frontmost legs. Others prefer balancing the spider on any two opposing legs and walking the spider. Obviously, the latter is far more difficult. Still, it’s a lot faster than dragging a Demon Spider, and you don’t really want to get caught slowly crawling on top of a spider when a mischievous imp tries to slurp up your eyes. Either way, you’re going to have to get the spider moving. Once you’ve got it moving in a straight line at a decent pace, you’re going to need to go forward with the overworld ascent. As mentioned before, the spider will need to be alive for this step. It would require hundreds of hellstones to carry limp cargo the size of a Demon Spider. A single one is barely enough to drag a live spider and a human through.
You will open up the overworld portal the same way you opened up the Hell Gate. Just lob the stone forward and walk through the halo. Though it’s a far more challenging task when you’re controlling a spider with both of your hands. I prefer keeping my hellstone in my mouth whenever I’m in Hell. It’s generally a good idea to do so. Not only while securing a Demon Spider, but on any other Hell trek. You will need usage of both your hands often when you’re in Hell, and sometimes you’ll need to make a quick escape. Simply spit out the hellstone. Trust me, it’s lighter than it looks. The halo will be large enough to fit you and the spider. Once you’re in the overworld, you may transport the spider to a desirable position however you’d like. You no longer need to ride it. Once it’s where you want it to be, you’ll get into the meat of the business. Harvesting the Demon Spider.
You may not be in Hell anymore, but you’re not any safer from this Demon Spider than before. It’s still got venom filled sacs and dangerous teeth. Depending on how long it took you to transport it, it might even be close to waking up. You’d better not be in a place you’d prefer clean. This is going to be very messy.
Harvesting usually begins with killing the spider, but this is sometimes postponed. Spider babies are pretty valuable and if you have a gravid spider you might end up killing them. You will have to extract any spider babies before you go forward with the killing. This is a delicate process, but if you’ve managed to open up a spider thorax, you should be more than able. Get a small, sharp knife. Prepare a jar or similar container. You must essentially peel off the breasts’ outer layer without harming the sacs. Once the sacs are exposed, gently pick them up one by one and place them in your jar. Be careful not to burst any of them. Even a newborn Demon Spider can instantaneously render you paralysed with its venom. Tightly seal the jar and place it in a dark, dry and most importantly cold place. You don’t want to emulate incubation, unless you’re into spider husbandry. Which is another subject for another volume.
Once the sacs are secure, you must kill the spider. Hopefully it hasn’t awakened. The spider must be killed instantaneously. If you need to strike multiple times or take too long, it will wake up and attack. No man has survived a Demon Spider fighting for its life. Be very very careful. My preferred way of spider slaughter is to behead it. There aren’t any valuable parts where the body and the head is connected. Unlike Hellroaches, Demon Spiders can not live without their heads. Keep in mind that this will be very messy. The spider will bleed, and the blood will be highly acidic. This is a bit dangerous, but draining the spiders blood now will save us some trouble ahead. Just make sure you’re using a sharp enough cleaver.
Hopefully you’re wearing protective clothing. You’re about to slaughter one of the most vile creatures of the most hostile environment known to man. You can’t do this in a quilted doublet and laced leather trousers. If you do not, not only will your feet rot away at the acidic blood, but your hands will soon be naught but maggot feed if you somehow go through with the procedure. Anyway, now that the spider is dead you can start collecting the valuable parts. These are the venom gland, fangs, silk deposits and sacs (which you have already collected). Venom from the venom gland are used to create antidotes and certain medicinal stews. They are particularly risky to harvest, on behalf of all the venom.
The venom is stored in the Demon Spider’s underbelly, below the thorax. As long as you’ve shot and cut open the thorax properly, this part should not be damaged. The glands are thin but span all the way across the thorax. You’ve done this before, you’ll do it again; You need to peel the skin away. Thing is, this time you’re not on top of the spider. You need to go under it. Experienced harvesters have expensive rigging mechanisms to suspend a spider in the air, but if you’re starting out chances are you don’t have such a luxury. In my early days, I found success in propping the spiders rear up with a long pole. This gives you just enough room to crawl under the spider and get slicing. You may also want to use a spear instead of a plain pole, and pierce the spider if you’re just starting out. This will prevent the pole from slipping away, but it may ruin the silk deposits. Once you’ve done a couple spider runs, you should be able to prop the spider up with a plain pole.
Once you’re under the spider and you’ve successfully cut the skin away, you will see the bright red venom stored in the gland.It’s may look like a sturdy convex plate, but it’s surprisingly gelatinous. You will notice the two large venom lines extending to either side of the Spider. You will need to cut these to remove the gland, but this means that you run the risk of venom flowing out. You need to carefully hold the gland so it keeps its convex shape, letting the venom pool at the centre of the gland. It may be difficult to crawl out from under a spider when you’re holding a wobbly flab of venom, but it’s not impossible. Once you’re out and free, plug the venom lines with two silver corks. Most other materials will disintegrate under the effect of the venom. For that same reason, you must get a silver pitcher and pour in the venom after carefully removing one of the corks. When all of the venom is drained you can remove the other cork. Congratulations, you now have a pitcher of spider venom.
The fangs are far easier to extract. Since you’ve removed the venom glands there won’t be any venom excreting from the fangs. Simply grasp the fangs with a pair of calipers. Preferably silver ones. Just to be safe. Male spiders will have two pairs of fangs while female ones will have three pairs. Consider filing the fangs down, although they’re not venomous anymore, they are still razor sharp. It will make it easier and safer to handle when storing or transporting. Fangs are often used to make magical charms or ornamental jewelry. They fetch a nice price in particularly superstitious circles.
Finally, the silk. The most valuable and profitable part of a Demon Spider. Unsurprisingly, it is also the hardest to harvest. You will need to be more gentle and skillful than ever before. You will almost certainly fail the first few times you try to harvest it. It’s crushing to realise that you’ve personally ruined your chances at making a pretty penny, but keep practising and soon you’ll be able to harvest silk with the best of us.
This may be surprising to the uninitiated, but spider silk is stored in a viscous state. The Demon Spider pushes it through tiny ducts to get them into thin strands and elegantly weaves and knots it to make its famous webs. This is precisely why silk is difficult to extract. A slight vibration of the hand out of place and you might cut open a deposit and let loose a flood of spider silk. If you think Demon Spider webs are sticky, wait until you experience the joy that is liquid silk. Demon Spiders weave their webs primarily for cohesion, not adhesion. They need structural integrity. Their webs are their homes. Unrefined, spider silk is incredibly sticky. To the point where you will likely need to remove your boots if you step on any. If you have any on your bare skin, it’s never coming off. It’s common knowledge between spider butchers that the primary cause of dermal loss in hell workers is because of sticky silk and not burns. The only known treatment for a gob of unrefined silk on bare skin is to simply remove the skin and wait for it to heal. You will likely lose a couple square centimetre off your feet or hands. It’s a trademark of spider butchers. If someone doesn’t have excised skin on their body, they’re not an experienced hell butcher.
Describing how to extract spider silk is difficult, executing the description is a whole other problem. See, what professionals call the “ass” of the spider, the big wobbly bit, is just one big silk storage unit. It’s filled with almost exclusively spider silk. When a demon spider has reached sexual maturity, it has produced all the silk it will ever use in its life. Demon spiders have one single hole for their silk to come out. It takes a spider's entire lifetime to push and weave it. Demon Spiders live for over two hundred years. Unless I’ve severely misjudged my target demographic, you’re probably not going to live that long. So what we need to do as humans is to open up extra holes.
This is a far more delicate process than simply stabbing the spider wherever you’d like multiple times. Make the hole the wrong shape, the wrong size or in the wrong place the entire stock could be ruined. You must first spot the spiders natural hole. Keep in mind that hell beasts have no need for sustenance and are fueled by hate alone, so you won’t be finding more than one hole. Once you’ve found that hole, you will place a wooden tap inside it. Then put a wooden bucket underneath it. You will do this for all holes you will open as well. Now, you must use a large needle to pierce the holes. I personally use my knitting needle. Just sharpen it before you open every hole, and a normal knitting needle should be fine. You should find a knitting needle that’s about the same diameter as the natural hole. You can check for this by inserting needles of various sizes into the hole and testing how snug it is.
That’s the size and shape of the hole covered, now you need to decide where exactly to pierce the skin. Assuming the spider is laying flat on the floor, you must circle around its ass, and make thirty one equidistant holes. Placing a tap and a bucket after each hole. I can’t give you an exact figure on how far apart the holes should be, as each Demon Spider is different. The exact diameter of a spider's ass will change between every specimen. It’s up to your experience and estimation to figure out just how you should place these holes. It’s not easy. That’s why you will fail the first few times.
With thirty two holes, the silk should be depleted in about three years instead of two hundred. In nature, the spider must weave the silk as it's excreted, but we have no such necessity, so it takes a shorter amount of time to just get them out of there. Talented tailors can later turn the viscous silk into soft velvet and make the best, most comfortable clothing known to man. After you’ve hunted and secured a couple spiders, you will have a steady supply of spider silk at all times.
That’s all there is to Demon Spiders. You may be thinking that all of this is extremely dangerous or difficult and you would be right. The process from shooting to tapping a Demon Spider has so many delicate steps along the way that it’s really easy to mess up. Hunting, securing and harvesting a single Demon Spider is far more difficult than slashing ten to death. Yet, it’s immeasurably more profitable. I hope that this volume of Hell and its Benefits has been beneficial to aspiring Hell entrepreneurs. Please make sure you have enough equipment and have made the necessary precautions before you attempt any of these steps. We are here to assist people in making profits, not to needlessly endanger them. Happy hunting in Hell!